The first time I caught a glimpse of Saugatuck Michigan was on someone else’s Flickr photos and although I loved those photos, I didn’t garner enough interest to visit the place sooner. At least not until I read this article on one of my favorite travel magazines naming it as one of the coolest little towns in America. It caught my attention and that’s when I got curious. I love small towns and Saugatuck’s charm and laid back appeal won me over.
Saugatuck is a small harbor village on the southwest coast of Michigan just 2 1/2 hours away from Chicago. It’s a quaint town with a lot of art galleries, theaters and charming restaurants, and B&Bs. It’s a gay friendly community and it’s often called the Provincetown of the Midwest. A lot of artsy people reside there and it does have that same feel of Provincetown only smaller and more subtle. It’s very small that you can walk anywhere and I like that there are no chain restaurants or hotels on sight. It’s a small town but there’s still a lot of activities to do both outdoors and indoors. You can go hiking, biking or simply hang out at the beach. There’s also plenty of activities at their downtown area that could keep the whole family busy but not overwhelm.
We spent a weekend there and it was very nice. It had everything we needed for a quiet weekend getaway. We had a picnic at Oval Beach one afternoon and watched the sunset. We went in May which is off-season so we had the beach to ourselves and it was beautiful. We climbed up the longest stairway to the top of Mt. Baldhead and got an amazing view of Saugatuck from the top. We strolled along the boardwalk and browsed every art gallery. We ate at a few places and had dinner at Everyday People Cafe which we loved. This restaurant actually looks dull from the outside but don’t let the looks fool you. The food was great and the ambience was nice and cozy. The locals say it’s the best in Saugutuck. My other favorite was this cute and trendy coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds. They had great coffee and a lot of selections too. I also like the fact that the owners work directly with coffee farmers around the world not only to bring great coffee to their customers but to help the farmers’ living conditions as well. I like that.
We stayed at the Beechwood Manor and Cottage which was in my opinion a destination in itself. It’s a Victorian cottage with so much history and it’s the only Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck that is listed on both the State and National Historic Registers. The new owners were very nice and they really made us feel at home. There was a bottle of wine and a box of truffles in our room when we arrived. Free coffee and pastries all day. They also prepared a beach bag with towels and magazines for us to take to the beach if we wanted to…and we did. One of the owners was even so nice to give us a tour of the whole property and showed us the other cottage that they are also renting for families. What a nice couple! The cottage was in a perfect location. It’s walking distance to the village and breakfast was AMAZING! It wasn’t your typical B&B breakfast. It was gourmet and it was really the best. I would definitely stay there again.
Saugatuck to me is a great weekend getaway. It’s a nice blend of nature, art, romance, entertainment, and community. It’s diverse enough and festive enough and yet not too crazy. I love it there. Just remember though that summer in Saugatuck can get very busy and since it’s a small town, booking a place could be a challenge. We were also told that finding parking downtown is near impossible. We went in May and it was perfect.