Hand Cranked Chain Ferry
I visited Saugatuck over 25 years ago with my husband Allan, and one of the experiences I remembered most was the ride on the Chain Ferry. So, when Mickey and I decided to include Saugatuck on our Michigan trip, the famed Chain Fair was on our agenda.
Woe to us...The hand-cranked chain ferry is operated only in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day! But at least, we were able to see it and to take photos.
See Photo #1 of the ferry with its "gingerbread trim"
It is one of the oldest [if not the oldest hand-cranked chain ferry in America]. This ferry is claimed to be the ONLY remaining chain- driven ferry in the United States.It goes across the Kalamazoo River via a person who hand cranks it along a chain that stretches across the river. The unique operation has been going on since 1838. However, this present ferry was built in the 1930's.
I recall my trip and being impressed that 3 pullys kept the ferry in line, and when it was ready to cross the water, the operator would use an air horn that alerted all boat traffic to STOP. The operator turned a wheel on the inside which, in turn, pulled the ferry along the chain.
This is a short ride because it goes from its location [in Wicks Park on Water Street ] across the Kalamazoo River to the other side of town. See Photo #3This is great because you can then walk a short distance to Oval Beach and not have to pay the steep parking fees. HOWEVER, to arrive at the beach, you climb the 282 steps to the top of Mount Baldhead (600 feet high) [a giant sand dune] and then run the dune to Oval Beach.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
The Keewatin Maritime Museum
Be sure to see all four photos [two of the ship, one of restaurant, one of lighthouse]
For all you history buffs, there is the wonderful Keewatin Maritime Museum in Douglas, Michigan. It's located just south of the Saugatuck-Douglas Bridge. You cannot miss it because this beautiful big steam-powered ship can be seen for miles around.
The S. S. Keewatin [affectionately known as the "Kee"] is the last of such ships that cruised the Great Lakes. It sailed between Port Arthur/Fort William and Port McNicoli with passengers for the Pacific Railway's Great Lakes Steamship Service. It was built in Scotland, completed in 1907, and entered service in 1908. Passenger service ended in 1965. It is now a maritime museum.
This 350-foot passenger steamship museum is open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.
There are guided tours available seven days a week during that season from 10:00 until 17:00. Admission is rather expensive [I think] at $12.00 for adults; Children 6-12 $6.00; and children 5 and under are free. This price is more expensive depending on which tour you choose.
The name "Keewatin" means "Blizzard of the North", a word from the Cree Indians of Canada. During her service, she carried 288 passengers. Their literature says that visitors are able to see the cabins and public areas. Most tours last about 45 minutes but some more extensive ones last 1 1/2 hours.
This ship, often called "Queen of Lakes", is filled with polished brass, walnut/mahogany paneling as well as Italian hand-etched skylights.
You are able to see:
Cocktail lounge and ballroom
Bridge or Wheel House
Dining Room where 120 passengers were served meals [prepared by Chinese cooks].
(this dining room is Edwardian in style)
Forward Lounge/Drawing Room for Ladies where tea was served and cards were played.
105 Staterooms with hot/cold running water
7 deluxe suites with private baths
A Flowed Well Lounge
It certainly is worth a visit to go back to that area of luxury travel on the Great Lakes.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
- Museum Visits
Wine Tasting at Fenn Valley Wine Shop
Both Mickey and I love to do wine tasting...Mickey is partial to red wines, and I prefer blushes and whites. While in Saugatuck, we had several opportunities to do tastings. Our favorite was at the Fenn Valley Wine Tasting Shop
The Fenn Valley vineyards and wine cellar are located at 6130- 122nd Avenue in Fenneville, MI 49408 very near South Haven, Michigan. They have been growing award winning wines since 1973. They are a small family owned vineyard and winery. There location along the shores of Lake Michigan is perfect for the unique great lakes climate and the deep sandy soils.
We did not visit the vineyard; instead, we visited the tasting room in downtown Saugatuck.
It was very organized and a lovely experience. We were giving a brochure listing all the wines. We were each able to select 5 wines that we wished to taste.
Between us, we tasted: Sparkling Riesling, Dry Riesling 2007, Meritage 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mulled Wine, Blueberry, and classic port.
I purchased a bottle of "Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 with a rich and fruit laden taste with a long tannic finish. There are notes of oak and berry throughout" for my husband Allan. It cost $16.00.
I also purchased Mulled Wine with its "lightly sweet red wine with cinnamon, clove, & orange taste for $7.00." It is for the winter and to be served warm. Mickey also purchased a Mulled Wine[$7.00] and the Meritage 2007 [$18.00] for she and her husband.
Of all the wines that we tasted on this trip, The Fenn Valley Wines were the best by far.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Wine Tasting
SAUGATUCK CHAIN FERRY
The SAUGATUCK CHAIN FERRY a hand-cranked vessel, departs from Wick's Park and takes tourists from the town side of the river to the other shore, so folks can walk to Oval Beach, visit the historical museum or climb the stairs to Mount Baldhead.
The Ferry is claimed to be the only remaining chain driven ferry in the U.S. It has been in use since 1838. Three pullies keep it in line as it is being pulled across the Kalamazoo River.
One -Way Fares:
Children 3-12 $1.00
Infants 2 & under Free
Stop in at a Local Gallery
After our garden tour we walked a little bit down the street and were attracted by a sign posted on the window of an art gallery which we thought said:
"GOING OUT OF BUSINESS - ALL PAINTINGS AND FRAMES 60% TO 75% OFF
What the sign really said was:
'GOING OUT FOR BUSINESS - ALL PAINTINGS AND FRAMES 60% TO 75% OFF.
Good marketing!! Anyway having been to this store the only other time we were in Saugatuck 12 years ago we bought yet another painting, but this was one of a Parisian scene with the Eiffel Tower in the background. If you've been to our Paris page here on VT you know that we didn't visit the Eiffel Tower when we were there even though we did get some distant shots similar to the painting. We had it framed while we waited and then I walked the 3 blocks back to the car so I didn't have to carry it around with us the remainder of the day.
The picture shown here and on the opening of this page is not the art studio where we bought the painting but one of the other working studios and galleries in town. The owner granted me permission to take this picture of his workshop.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Women's Travel
Visit a Local Garden
We spent most of Saturday on our 3 day weekend trip in the town of Saugatuck about 20 miles from South Haven. After cruising around a bit we found a FREE parking spot at the north end of town which is just a short 3 block walk from the main area. After watching and video taping a story teller reading several books to children in a quiet park we strolled forward where we saw our first painting artist of the day. (Another tip in this section)
In the back part of a shop which sold signs, and various other nick nacks was a small garden open to the public. We ventured through and I happened across a couple of Monarch butterflies flittering through the garden area. After a couple of minutes trying to capture them on film I finally met with success as you can see with the 2 pictures posted here.
It was then time to move on to our next stop a visit to one of the many art galleries in town.Related to:
- Women's Travel
County seat for Allegan County and wonderful country drives wtih fun things to do. A single main shopping street (Locust) is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
But be sure to get down to the river front. Once the backside of the city, the riverfront has a growing boardwalk that will surround the city on three sides. More restaurants and shops are opening on the bottom level of the buildings along Hubbard. Beginning as the west or southwest end here's what's up:
Allegan County Historical Society (Walnut & Hubbard)
Allegan County Library
Riverwalk along Riverfront Plaza
Second Street Bridge (visible from the Riverwalk) - A wrought-iron Bridge built in 1886, still open to traffic.
A bit of a break at State Street (at the bridge), but continue to water street and you'll find the walk continues once the river returns from it's wide bend.
This second is a bit wilder and you'll come out at Cutler Street, a block from the north end of Locust.
Just under a mile (.75 maybe).Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
There are dozens of Art Galleries in Saugatuck. I've visited serveral, but I don't have an eye for art (painting, sculture, clothing, etc). So, I can't advise on any particularly good places. There are some that have a specific theme, i.e., painting, or there is a natuical shop in the west end of town. Even the bookstores have an artsy style to them, including one in the east side of town that's much more literary than in it's books than the others.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
Water Front Film Festival
Sixty films. Seminars and panel discussions with experienced film industry veterans. Past attendees have included stars like Academy Award nominee Robert Forster and you can expect more Hollywood legends are planned for future years.
Entertainment professionals from Los Angeles, New York and Michigan created the Waterfront Film Festival in 1999 to provide a "middle coast" venue for independent filmmakers eager to show their work to sophisticated audiences.
The WFF is fully volunteer run non-profit organization. All donations and proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales go directly to the operational budget of the festival. All donations are fully tax deductible and allow the organization to continue the tradition of the festival and to bring quality films and filmmakers to Michigan.
STAR OF SAUGATUCK
A large Paddle-Wheel Boat, the STAR OF SAUGATUCK gives daily tours of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. It offers daytime or sunset cruises. it is a narrated 1 1/2 hour cruise.
Adults $19.00 Cash $18.00
Children 6-12 $8.50 Cash $8.00
Children 3-5 $5.50 Cash $5.00
2 and under - No charge
SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS DISTRICT LIBRARY
Located at 10 Mixer Street, downtown Douglas, is the SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS DISTRICT LIBRARY. The Library offers books, Music CD's and DVD Movies.
You can also have access to EBooks and EAudioBooks.
The Library also offers Wi-Fi and Computer use if you want to access the Internet
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Located just south of Saugatuck DOUGLAS is a village in Allegan County, Michigan. Douglas was first settled in 1851 and was a lumber mill town. It was incorporated as a village in 1870. Area sawmills provided much of the lumber needed to rebuild Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Today, tourism is an inportant part of their economy.
Douglas has oer 1.5 miles of coastline along the shores of Lake Michigan and over 2 miles of frontage along the Kalamazoo River. Douglas is well known for its impressive Art Galleries like Water Street Gallery pictured here.
Other points of interest include the Library, the Old School and the Village Hall.
I wandered down the main street of Douglas and at the end, came upon a lovely spot by the water, with a Gazebo .
2885 Lakeshore Drive, Saugatuck, Michigan, 49453, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
I would only recommend this hotel as a $80 per night economy place. Their price is WAY off. the pool...more
3457 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, MI 49453
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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