Thursday, September 17, 2015

An Evening in Grand Haven

The main reason for a late summer visit to Michigan was to celebrate my mom's birthday. For the celebration itself, she had requested that we make a short trip to the lake town of Grand Haven for dinner, so one afternoon we all piled into the car and drove west. Located on Lake Michigan at the shore of the Grand River, Grand Haven is one of several picturesque beach towns in Western Michigan.
Yathzee anyone? One of several games folks can play at the marina.
Blessed with a fantastically mild summer's day, we arrived before dinner to stroll near the water and enjoy the waning warmth of August. After parking near the marina on the river, we walked along the boardwalk until my brother-in-law spotted the sailboat on which he'd recently taken some foreign business associates. The captain invited the kids on board -- they particularly enjoyed watching the adorable little dog who makes his home on the boat, and who is also a Michigan State fan like my nephew. (I did not manage a good photo of the pup in his kelly green MSU jersey.)
(Photo credit: my brother-in-law)
We continued our stroll, but stopped to take some photographs, and to watch both boats and people coming and going. It truly was one of those gorgeous summer evenings that you wish would not end! 
Family fun!
We loved these bright red benches!
However, we had dinner plans and made our way to the restaurant, Snug Harbor, which is located on the River. Although it does offer some outdoor seating, we sat inside, but next time I would certainly sit on the patio or find another restaurant, as this establishment's redeeming quality seemed to be location. (Though I must say the kids' portions were very generous, and my niece and nephew both enjoyed their mac-and-cheese and chicken tenders. Two of the adults also had meals that were quite tasty.)
After our meal we drove to the lakefront to continue savoring the weather and good cheer. It's possible we may have parked illegally, as the beach  is part of Grand Haven State Park, and one needs a special permit to park in the lot, yet it was late enough that open spaces were available and no one seemed to be checking. My niece immediately discovered the playground, while my nephew noticed the paradise found just beyond it - twenty-one beach volleyball courts! He stood next to an ongoing game, watching intently, then was transported to cloud nine when the incredibly friendly folks invited him to join their game. 
My nephew and brother-in-law were busy playing ball, but my niece realized the warm soft sand was perfect for other games as well.
I had wanted to walk out to the lighthouse, but we determined that the stroll was a bit too much for our capabilities or needs on that evening. Plenty of other people, however, were making their way down the long pier to one of Michigan's iconic lighthouses.
Then it was time to find ice cream for dessert, and after our treats we headed home. Due to its late starting time (9.50pm on that particular date), we couldn't stay for Grand Haven's famous musical fountain, though I would love to see that some day! (Interestingly, the large anchor which overlooks the river was until very recently a cross.) Judging by the short time we spent in Grand Haven, it is certainly a place to which I would happily return.

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