We live in Saugatuck-Douglas, so when we need this or that, we know who, what and where to ask. If you come for a visit, or if you have a second home and are new to the area, you probably don’t know where to go for what you need. This is a subjective and selective list – our favorites. And information provided is from internet sources, is subject to error, and may change.
BUY REAL ESTATE
Dee Dee Hanson (C21 Affiliated, 62 Center St, Douglas, (616) 836-8535). My clients say: Knowledgeable, well-connected, exceptional service. If you are my client, and have a home here, I have a list of good people who do maintenance, services, home repair and remodeling. Just ask.
GO TO THE BEACH, SEE THE WATER
Our favorite is Oval Beach (699 Perryman Street, Saugatuck, parking fee during the season). It’s clean, and pristine, now bordered by the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, a 173-acre preserved duneland. We went all over the country looking at beaches. We’ve seen some nice beaches, but this one is special. We buy a yearly pass. If you’re going to be here for more than a couple days, it’d probably pay you to do so, if you spend a lot of time at the beach. There are also Douglas Beach (free), Saugatuck Dunes State Park (parking fee), West Side County Park (2152 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, parking fee), Pier Cove (free). Consult this guide. If the beach is free, the parking is limited, so plan to get there early on days during the season, or, take the Interurban to Oval or Douglas Beach. $1 gets you a dial-a-ride trip from anyplace to anyplace in Saugatuck, Douglas, or Saugatuck Township, (269) 857-1418. Take a ride on Marilyn Starring's Star of Saugatuck (716 Water St, Saugatuck (269) 857-4261). This hour-and-a-half paddleboat ride discloses the landscape background on which Saugatuck was founded -- river, lake, dunes and beaches. On a beautiful day it is glorious.
SEND PACKAGES, BUY STAMPS
Douglas Post Office (70 Center St, Douglas. 9-11:30 am, 12:30-4 pm Mo-Fr, 9-11 am Sa). This small town post office is a meeting place for many people in the area. Douglas doesn’t have home mail delivery, so everyone has a box here instead. But there are also post offices in Saugatuck (434 Butler St, Saugatuck – 9 am-12:30 pm, 1:30 pm-4:30 pm Mo-Fr, 9-12 am Sa), and Fennville too. If Douglas post office is closed for lunch, Saugatuck is open, and vice versa.
Nearly everyone does at least part of their shopping at DeMond’s SuperValu (237 Center, Douglas, 7 am-9 pm Su-Th, 7 am – 10pm Fr-Sa). It’s quick, because it’s here. They feature local products too (local fruits and vegetables in season, Palazzolo’s Gelato, Salt of the Earth breads). And, especially during the summer, they can surprise you. We made Indian food the other day, and guess what, they had naan in the bread aisle. Our grandfather, James D. Audett, liked to shop in Fennville, many other people do too, Wagoner’s (125 Main, Fennville, (269) 561-4111). We also shop in Holland, the full-line grocery choices there are Meijer (we go to the north store, 3320 West Shore Drive, Holland, 24 hours, (616) 994-1100) – it’s our first choice for produce, Family Fare (1185 Washington Ave, Holland, (616) 392-7941), and D&W (50 Douglas Ave, Holland, (616) 392-8111). Meijer now has a store in South Haven, convenient for people who are coming from the south of us (1223 Phoenix St, South Haven, 24 hours, (269) 639-3500). For natural foods (staples in bins, vegetarian options, vitamins/supplements, you know the kind of place) go to Nature’s Market (1013 S. Washington, Holland, (616) 394-5250). For Asian ingredients we go to Huynh (143 Douglas Av, Holland, (616) 394-9200). Szechuan peppercorns? Spice Merchants of Saugatuck (103 Butler St, Saugatuck, (269) 857-3031).
HAVE BREAKFAST, HAVE LUNCH
Like so many people, locals and visitors alike, we like Ida Red (631 Water St, Saugatuck). They don’t take plastic, are only open Thursday through Sunday (sometimes Wednesday), and the wait can be excruciatingly long, especially during the high season, but we think this is the best breakfast in town. We also often have breakfast at Blue Star Cafe (141 Washington St AKA Blue Star Hwy, Douglas (269) 857-1030). Lunch? We like Farmhouse Deli (100 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas (269) 455-5274).
Absolutely no question. Pizza Mambo (10 Blue Star Hwy (at Center), Douglas (269) 857-4400).
GO OUT FOR DINNER
Our current favorites include Hercules (236 Culver Street, Saugatuck, (269) 455-5112). Skip and Johnny run a nice little restaurant that we visit again and again. People who visit Everyday People Cafe (11 Center Street, Douglas, (269) 857-4240) find it is always a good restaurant, with an inventive menu. The Southerner (880 Holland Street, Saugatuck, (269) 857-3555) has exquisite food. We’ve enjoyed meals at Salt of the Earth (114 East Main St, Fennville, (269) 561-7258). For sushi we go to Mizu Sushi (99 E. 8th St, Holland, (616) 395-0085).
GET FRAMING DONE
We love Marie at Framing for Friends (105A Blue Star Hwy, Weathervane Mall, Douglas, (269) 857-8262).
Our family has been getting flowers from Michelle at VS Flowers (2914 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, (269) 857-4613) for longer than she’d care to remember. She delivers, too. Once she learns about a person, she remembers what flowers the person you are buying flowers for likes best, a very special service if you are sending flowers to your host or hostess.
BUY A SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
DeMond’s, River Market (650 Water St, Saugatuck, (269) 857-8899), Dunesview, at I-196 Exit 41, Saugatuck (6397 Blue Star, Saugatuck, (269) 857-1010), or Reader’s World (194 River Av, Holland, (616) 396-4600), a nice little bookstore.
BUY ART SUPPLIES
Artists have been coming to this area for over a century to capture that special light that bathes our lakeshore, our river, and our woods. Visit James Brandess Studio and Gallery (238 Butler St, Saugatuck, (269) 857-1937) who has watercolor and drawing supplies for sale, and also his original paintings and reproductions. Peggy Boyce at Discovery Art Center (Main and Water Sts, Saugatuck, (269) 857-8225) stocks some watercolor supplies. It’s a little co-op gallery in downtown Saugatuck that shows an interesting selection of local art. Fris’ downtown store (30 W 8th St, Holland, (616) 396-6518) has a good selection of what you need.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
We enjoy the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck’s concerts. They are on Thursday and Friday nights in July and August and take place at the Saugatuck Woman’s Club, Butler and Hoffman Streets, Saugatuck. And we go to the Gilmore concerts in Kalamazoo. They have a keyboard festival every other year. The best international pianists are invited. And there are occasional concert series at other times. Fontana Chamber Arts summer concerts at the Kalamazoo Nature Center are magical. We are also fond of the music of the local jazz vibraphonist Jim Cooper who plays in various venues around the area.
SEE LIVE THEATER
Every summer at Mason Street Warehouse, at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St, Saugatuck (269) 857-2399).
My clients Mike Gustaitis and Laura Zangara own Wine Sellers of Saugatuck (247 Butler St, Saugatuck (269) 857-7815). Mike is a sommelier and knows his stuff.
GO LOOK AT ART
We go to the Ox-Bow Friday night open studios. Our favorite gallery is Water Street Gallery (98 Center St, Douglas, (269) 857-8485). Just walking around in downtown Saugatuck? Stop by Chemical Bank (249 Mason St, Saugatuck, (269) 857-2116) and look at their collection of paintings by the great Saugatuck painter Carl Hoerman.
BUY FARM FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
We love the parade of produce – morels, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, more raspberries, apples – each at its own time and each at the peak of perfection. We wait for Red Haven peaches, and Ida Red apples – local lore says each of them are the best, though my brother has become a fan of Cortland apples. It’s easy to eat local in Michigan in the summer. Al Meeusen at Sunrise Orchards (M-89 at 62nd St, Fennville, (269) 561-2854, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. in season) has wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, all local. Or we shop Holland Farmer’s Market (8th and River, Holland) on Wednesday or Saturday, or Saugatuck Green Market on Friday in the parking lot of the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St., Saugatuck).
BUY PLANTS, VISIT A GARDEN CENTER OR A GARDEN
Huntree (2346 Blue Star, Fennville, (269) 543-3761). Jan and Dave Landry, and their staff, are good people and they have a lot of what we need. We also go to Jonker’s Garden (897 Lincoln Av, Holland, (616) 392-7234), Robin's Flower Gardens (A-6032 144th Av, Holland (616) 856-4996), and Van Til's Greenhouse (1881 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, (269) 543-4395), who tell us, if you want your flats of annuals or hanging baskets, come before Mother’s Day – that’s when the rush is on.
Visit Carol Brown's and Dan McGavin's, my clients', lavender farm just outside of Douglas. Summerhouse Lavender Farm (2975 65th St, Fennville MI 49408 (616) 218-5793 email@example.com)
READ MORE ABOUT IT
Judy Bowman Anthrop, A Portrait of Ox-Bow: Architecture – Art – Artists (Douglas: Judy Bowman Anthrop, 2009)
Kit Lane, Buried Singapore: Michigan’s Imaginary Pompeii (Douglas: Pavilion Press, 1994)
Kit Lane, Painting the Town: A History of Art in Saugatuck and Douglas (Douglas: Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, 1997).
David Lubbers, Within Two Miles: Views of the Saugatuck-Douglas Area (Grand Rapids: David Lubbers, 2010)
James Schmiechen, Off the Record: the unpublished photographs of Bill Simmons, a pictorial history of Saugatuck in the ‘40s and ‘50s (Douglas: Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, 2001)
James Schmiechen, Raising the Roof: A History of the Buildings and Architecture in the Saugatuck and Douglas Area (Douglas: Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, 1999)
Alison Swan, The Saugatuck Dunes: Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape (Saugatuck: Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, 2009)
JUST FOR DOGS
Saugatuck Township Tails ‘n’ Trails Dog Park (6359 134th Av, Saugatuck, for info call the Township (269) 857-7721). Our dog-friendly beach: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (leashes please). Django and Rowan love to visit their friends at Happy Tails Daycamp for Dogs (6053 127th Av, Fennville, (269) 561-7387).