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Monday, September 14, 2009

Historic towns and lighthouses decorate Western Michigan










Today we drove along Michigan's western boundary, Lake Michigan. Quaint little towns border the harbors filled with sailboats, yachts and fishing boats. Fresh, blue water stretches from the sandy beaches to the horizon. The lake is beautiful.

We first stopped at Warren Sand Dunes State Park. The dunes are much taller than I anticipated. The fine sand creates spacious beaches. Lots of walking and biking through all the state parks we visited.

Tall, magnificent trees line the highway and city streets. I marveled at some of the most beautiful weeping willows I've ever seen. It's mid-September and small patches of color dot the landscape as a few leaves begin to trade their green for their fall colors.

In Saugatuck, we visited several art galleries and neat little shops, walked along the waterfront at the Singapore Yacht Club and ate lunch at a picnic table with a great view. We took photos of buildings erected in the early 1800s. Visions of another time and lifestyle contrasted with the reality of today.

We searched long and hard before we finally asked directions to the lighthouse in Holland. I now know why the man grinned so broadly when he said "Just go to the end of the road, park your car and walk around the corner, and you'll see the lighthouse." The road winds around much farther than we thought and that "walk around the corner" is about a mile away from the parking lot.

It was a beautiful walk - lake shore on one side and unique homes on the other. After many "around the corners" I saw it. There's something about a lighthouse that creates emotion, a sense of adventure and a connection with history. Each one offers a glimpse back to the days of sailing ships loaded with their cargo and fishermen coming home after weeks at sea.

I took loads of photos.

Next we headed north to Grand Haven. The afternoon sun made it impossible to photograph the lighthouse at the Grand Haven State Park without walking the full length of the pier and looking back at it. Once again many boats traveled up and down the lake, or sat patiently in the water as fishermen offered tantalizing treats to the fish.

It wasn't crowded but a steady stream of people walked to and from the end of the pier. Some carried fishing poles, some rode bikes, some simply strolled along enjoying the scenery and pleasant weather.

Night time came fast. We decided to stay in Grand Haven and start with the Muskegon lighthouse tomorrow morning.

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