This weekend, I was able to go to Saugatuck, Michigan with my friend Kam to visit our mutual friend Alisha. I met Alisha through her boyfriend Rich, and I had met Kam through Rich and Alisha. Though I’ve only known both Kam, Rich, and Alisha for a couple of years, I number them among my very dear friends.
On Saturday, Kam stopped by my apartment around 10:30am and off we drove to Saugatuck! It rained a bit on the way there, but it looked like it was going to clear up by the time we arrived.
When we got there, we met at Alisha’s house. She is currently living with her parents and her younger sister while she works at Holland Hospital. The place they live in is filled with history, as her father used to own a hardware store, and they still live above the same space that the hardware store used to occupy. It was a really cool place, to be sure.
Alisha, Kam, and I went to lunch at this restaurant called Wicks Park, and we shared a delicious meal of pasta, scallops, and ribs. Everything was delicious and I had a great time as we sat and talked around the table.
After lunch, we went to Lake Michigan by way of Mount Baldhead. Mount Baldhead had a lot of history surrounding it as well, and it was awesome because Alisha was an excellent tour guide as she showed us lots about the surrounding area. We ran down the “mountain” and onto Oval Beach, which Alisha was proud to inform us that it was one of the top ten beaches in the United States (according to MTV), and it definitely was a great beach.
Alisha and Kam Hiking Down from Mount Baldhead
Alisha, Kam, and I at Mount Baldhead
We walked along the water for a while towards a pier, but then we decided to jump in the water. The waves were about three or four feet high, and it was really cool to jump up into them and through them. It felt awesomely freeing, and all I could think of was that it was great to be alive. A storm was rolling in to our south. We saw lightning split the sky a few times, which was amazing to see with all that distance between us and that storm. However, the storm turned a bit north and it started to rain. So, we got out of the water and continued on our hike. We hiked to the pier and then did a really cool hike through some woodlands and dune areas. Kam got pretty tired and discouraged by the rain and the challenging hike. He also accidentally dropped his towel in the lake, and so he had to carry the heavy wet towel for the remainder of the hike. Soon, we made it back to the car, and we were safe and warm at Alisha’s house. It didn’t take long before Kam was back to his normal happy self.
Kam Dropped His Towel in the Lake
We had dinner with Alisha’s family that evening. Her father, Ron is a great man. He has traveled a lot and has a great number of interesting stories to tell. I also really appreciated his sense of humor. Her mother, Bonnie is an amazing woman as well. I could tell that she was really intelligent and empathetic from the moment I met her. They were both excellent hosts throughout the entire weekend, and I soon felt like they were my friends. Alisha also has a younger sister named Tess. Tess has a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor and is really cool. She baked a blueberry pie for the dinner, and I have to say that it might have been the best blueberry pie I’ve ever tasted. The presentation was excellent with the top crust having that great lattice-work you see on television. Oh, and the taste was sensational! It seemed to me to have a perfect blend of sweet and tart. I even asked if there was rhubarb in it or something to give it that great taste. Tess informed me that it was just blueberries, corn starch, and splenda. Overall, I was very impressed at how generous, kind, and loving Alisha’s family was. I could definitely see where Alisha gets those same qualities.
Tess Makes Awesome Pie
After dinner, Alisha took a short nap, and then got ready for work because she would be working third shift. After she got up, we were able to spend a short while with her and that was very nice.
Alisha is Off to Work
At midnight that night, Tess would be celebrating her birthday. Kam and I joked about hanging out with her as her bouncers. I was very surprised when she asked if we actually did want to hang out with her. That’s another example of how that family seems to operate. Even though we were Alisha’s friends, Tess was willing to include us in her life! I thought that was incredibly nice of her. I was hesitant at first but she seemed geniunely serious about it, so Kam and I decided to join her. First, she and a few friends went to SwirlBerry and had frozen yogurt. I had some as well, and it was quite good. After that, we met her friend Sam, and the four of us drove to her friend Edgar’s house. There were quite a few cool people there, and I enjoyed spending time with them. We counted down to midnight and when it came, we all clapped and wished her well. I considered it an honor that she included us on her special day. We hung out for a while after midnight, and then headed back to Alisha’s house.
The next morning, I woke up fairly early and told Kam that I would wander around town for a while. I checked out quite a few of the sights and sounds of Saugatuck, as well as some of Douglas (a town practically connected to Saugatuck). I also thought it was pretty cool to see one of Tess’ friends that I had met the previous night on the sidewalk when I was coming back from Douglas. We chatted for a couple seconds and continued on our separate ways. Saugatuck itself is a really cool village with a lot of little art galleries and interesting hole-in-the-wall-type places. Before too long, I noticed it was getting to be about time to head back to Alisha’s house.
When I got back to the house, Alisha’s mom and dad helped me to make some eggs, and Alisha’s mom offered me some amazing tea that was mixed green and black tea with an Earl Grey sensibility. I was very impressed with it. Kam and I then listened to some music with Alisha’s dad. He has great taste in music, and I was really happy to hear a few bands that I hadn’t heard of before. Then, he took us on a tour of his former hardware store, his current workshop, and introduced us to a couple of his tenants. It was really fun, but it was also greatly informative. His skills as a tour guide are well-developed. It seemed that he was very nonchalant, but he definitely kept my attention with all the little tidbits of knowledge he was willing to share with us.
We went back upstairs and relaxed for a while before Alisha got up. However, when she did get up, she was still really tired from the night before as it had been quite stressful for her. We talked for a while about our plans for the day. Finally, we settled on Kam and I going to a local museum, as Kam is really interested in urban history and architecture. Alisha would then meet us there. We took the chain ferry across the river and walked to the museum. The museum was small, but they had quite a few excellent exhibits on village life over the past hundred years or more. I learned a lot about Saugatuck and they had some cool maps of the town at various stages in history, which I thought was really interesting. I love maps, and especially old ones, so it was a lot of fun for me to see them. Kam seemed fairly interested, but not as much as I thought he would be. Before long, it seemed that he was getting antsy to go, so we walked outside to call Alisha to let her know that we were finished. Lo and behold, she was walking up as we were about to call! She didn’t seem too put out by the fact that she had come across the chain ferry just to stop in for a moment, which I appreciated. So, we then took the chain ferry back across the river to eat a meal.
A Real Working Chain Ferry!
Alisha and Kam on the Ferry
We ate at this wonderful restaurant called Mermaids. The food was superb. We sat on an outdoor deck that butted up to a dock, so we could see the boats moored up as well as some others passing by from time to time. It was lovely.
Alisha Likes Her Meal!
Kam Likes His Meal
After eating at Mermaids, Alisha, her mom, and I took a hike up to a place called “Crow’s Nest.” It held a fantastic view of Lake Michigan! As I looked over the expanse of green, brown, and blue, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of wonder and joy at the world. It was absolutely beautiful. It was also great to hear stories from Alisha and her mom about the area and its people throughout the hike. I love how connected they are to that place, and I could see that it means so much to them. I was really grateful for what they shared with me.
View from Crow's Nest
Alisha, Bonnie, and I at Crow's Nest
That evening, Tess was going to have a birthday dinner with the rest of the family. Although they were really kind and generous, I thought it would be a bit forward of us to stay although Alisha had invited us to do so. Eventually, I was talked into it, and we stayed for the dinner. It was a great steak dinner, and I really enjoyed basking in Tess’ happiness and the family’s joy. They sang a special birthday song to Tess, and it really reminded me of my family’s birthday song. Though they are two very different songs, my perception was that it was something as special as my family’s.
Guess Who's Birthday
After dinner, Kam and I said our goodbyes and we headed on our way. Though I was physically tired, my soul felt very refreshed from such an amazing time with such wonderful people. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend and I am so grateful for all the people, places, and things that made it that way.