11 Nov

Zach and I woke up slowly and lazily on Saturday morning and it was wonderful. It’s rare that we wake up (even on the weekend) and don’t have anything specific to do so we milked it for all it was worth! We were awake by 8:30 but didn’t actually get out of bed until 10am. We ate leftover pizza from the night before for breakfast (1 slice for me, 4 for Zach…haha!) and we watched TV and talked and snuggled. 🙂 We finally dragged ourselves from bed and got ready for the day no matter what the weather was going to throw at us. Dressed in hiking clothes, despite the rain, we left the hotel and drove a few miles south to Saugatuck. If you are familiar with my blog or trips, you’ve heard me mention the “magic umbrella”. This umbrella is the one I bought for our vacation in 2013 when it was supposed to rain quite a bit and it didn’t get used one. single. time. Told you, magic. Well we brought the umbrella along and it turns out that the magic still works! Our hike was cold and windy but totally rain-free and TOTALLY amazing.

We hiked to the top of Mt. Baldhead via an incredibly large set of stairs…


I knew that the total was 303 but that didn’t sound like that much initially. Correction to me. It WAS. Haha as we climbed the view got better and better which provided the excuse to stop and take a picture *cough-catch our breath*.

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At the top of the stairs we could see the adorable fishing village of Saugatuck and much further. I was amazed at how much color was still on the trees for as late into the year as it was!

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Looking down the stairs made you realize just how far you had come!


At the summit was a decrepit watertower, the old kind with stairs starting at the very bottom. One of my bucket-list items has ALWAYS been to climb a watertower and I literally check them out everywhere we go for security/accessibility/ease of climbing/etc.  I reallllly though we’d be able to do this one but it turns out that I needed to be child-sized to make it into the gated area….


I tried. If there weren’t so much insane barbed wire (like the really scary kind, not just the small-barbed kind) I would have tried to climb up and through but all paths were blocked. (Trust me, I checked :)) After we’d done all that climbing up, it was time to climb down the opposite direction now because far in the distance we could see the lake!


We took a path called the North Woods trail that went down the giant dunes and again stopped for some photo ops all while avoiding “snakes under the leaves”. 😉


Getting closer but you can still tell it’s a ways down there…



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At the bottom, before we could get right to the beach we had to pass through a narrow area between some dunes. The wind was so fierce and strong that it whipped the sand into a miniature sandstorm. I had to put my camera in my jacket and we walked backwards so it wasn’t blowing it into our faces and causing us to inhale it. It stung the backs of my legs and despite walking backwards I could grit it in my teeth, but the view that awaited us on Oval Beach made it alllll worth it.

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The angry sky and wind only made it better in my opinion! It was so breathtaking!! The waves crashing made it all that much more like an ocean and we were in love. We snapped a few incredibly windy shots-

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We actually had to rig the tripod to a fence post so it didn’t blow over. Crazy! When we doubled back we were faced with the choice to take the North Woods trail or head straight up the steepest dune:


(Yes, that is a sand dune. It may look like a forest trail with all the leaves and trees but it is a giant dune!) Which path do YOU think we chose? 😉 It was tough and it was SO steep, especially at the end.


I don’t know if you can tell or not but we were going straight up. Luckily we knew what awaited us- the stairs down.

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This trail was incredibly fun, maybe one of my favorites we’ve done because of the variety and unique aspects of it (though we’ve done a lot of awesome hikes). We were one, happy couple. 🙂 Especially with the lack of rain!!

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We warmed up in the car and had time to kill before we had to head to Grand Rapids so we decided to go back into Holland. There is a brewery there that we were going to visit the night before but hadn’t wanted to drink anymore so we skipped it. Zach asked if we had time to go, I said sure and I found myself faced with this:


No, not that strange guy, the best, most extensive bloody mary bar I have ever seen!!! You got to choose your vodka (I got tomato basil), choose from several bloody mary mixes (I went with their spicy house), a huge assortment of spices (I chose black pepper, celery salt and fresh horseradish), multiple other mix-ins (I used olive brine, clamato and tabasco) and then you could pick from their insane amount of garnishes:



For garnish I did olives, sriracha pickled pickle, sweet red pepper, pickled jalapeño, cube of pepperjack cheese, cube of gouda, pepperoncini, salami and OF COURSE bacon.


This came with a beer back and this was hands down the BEST bloody mary I’ve had. And I’ve had some good ones. Zach and I were both super impressed with my skills as I used my little knowledge of bloody mary’s combined with my more vast knowledge of cooking and flavors to create just the right mix of heat and intricacy without going overboard. We’re dying to try this at home. Zach got us a brownie with ice cream to share that he just had to try because it was made with one of his favorite beers, Dragon’s Milk.


Unfortunately it wasn’t that great so I let him have the majority of it but other than that, this place was so awesome!!


If I were in the area again, I would definitely go back here, maybe even for supper! We love you Holland, MI!!

Stay tuned for installment 3 of Michigan updates, the Grand Rapids chapter…



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