Last weekend my wife and I visited the west coast of Michigan for an early anniversary get-away, and we were privileged to see some famous sights and meet some interesting folks along the way.
The DeZwaan Windmill dominates the landscape at Windmill Island Park.
Our first stop was the Windmill Park in Holland, Michigan, where the annual Tulip Festival had just ended the day before. The tulips were in top form, and the 400-year-old windmill was open for tours. Our guide was a Dutch American woman named Irene who was able to climb five flights of stairs to the fifth floor of the mill to give us a tour. This particular mill was a fully operational grist mill that grinds flour with the power of the wind, and there is some really old wooden technology inside. The gears are all made of wood, mostly ironwood, which is self-lubricating. It was bought from the Dutch and shipped to the US in 1964 sporting an array of bullet holes from being strafed by warplanes during World War II. It’s the last windmill that was allowed to leave the Netherlands as they had just declared all their windmills as historic sites and were beginning to restore many them.
Irene gives a knowledgable and friendly tour of the old windmill.
Next we had lunch with some friends at a Dutch restaurant called the DeBoer Bakery on the north side of town. The cuisine was authentic and delicious.
We stayed at the Maplewood Hotel in Saugatuck for the next two nights, a nineteenth century edifice with much of the original woodwork intact. The floors creaked appropriately in a lot of places as we rambled through the convoluted corridors, and we imagined spooky tales of ancient ghosts roaming the halls at night.
Killwin’s fudge shop in town was open and we took full advantage. Scooter’s restaurant on the waterfront has some of the best pizza in town at a reasonable price.
We spent the second day of our trip near the Lake Michigan waterfront in the town of St. Joseph enjoying the parks and the wharf. This was my first opportunity to shoot the lighthouses there, and I was also happy to find the fishermen on the jetty hooking some catfish. I don’t know if these guys knew I was coming or what, but their attire was perfect for the setting.
The Beachside Deli is an authentic Mediterranean restaurant downtown where the Greek gyro sandwiches are filled with a delectable mix of lamb and chicken and a specialty sauce. Mmm, terrific! It’s on State Street near Broadway (not near the beach).
Kaye and I love the west side of Michigan, and return year after year to enjoy these very picturesque and welcoming people and places. I hope you get a chance to visit there too. There is a lot to see!
The lighthouses on the pier at St. Joseph/Benton Harbor guide the boats going and coming.
See a gallery of my Holland/St.Joe photos at my photo website here. Click “Slideshow” in the top right corner to view the photos in full screen mode. Thanks!