Until I met my partner six years ago I thought that getting away meant leaving the state. Michael, growing up in Muskegon and traveling locally with his family knew all the nooks and crannies of the lakeshore. When he began trapping me into going on car trips around West Michigan I have to admit I was wary. I am not a water person so what could anything along the lakeshore have to offer me?
In short: everything. Food, from awesome hole-in-the-wall restaurants to fine dining (OK, I don’t do fine dining but still) to ice cream. Bookstores. And used bookstores at that. Several dog boutiques with specialty products for your four-legged family members. Ice Cream. Wine stores (not for me, for my “in-laws”). Kitchen supply stores. Ice Cream.
To be sure, some of the small towns and villages get extremely congested in the summer (Saugatuck I’m looking at you) but the food and the get-away-from-it-all experience is actually worth it. Or just try and go on an off day if you can. Or consider the congestion part of it and roll with it. The West Michigan Tourist Association has several ideas for you. Virtually every place along the lakeshore has ideas on their websites too.
This has been a mixed week for me. I have heard both very bad news and very good news. The very good news is that I am going to be an uncle come November. It might be time to escape by staying local.