South Haven – Harbor Village

South Haven Michigan

South Haven's beautiful waterfront

South Haven Michigan

South Haven Harbor

Mark gets a quickie haircut

South Haven Michigan

South Haven's riverfront

South Haven Michigan beach

Fun on the beach

South Haven Michigan kayaking

A kayaker tests the waters

South Haven Michigan

Funky raised boardwalk in town

South Haven Michigan lighthouse South Haven Michigan drawbridge

Drawbridge to the inner harbor

Catching ducks - on film

Twilight over South Haven Harbor

Pirate ship ghosts past the lighthouse

South Haven Michigan lighthouse

Lovers watch the sunset

South Haven Michigan car show

Cool cars cruise the beach

South Haven Michigan lighthouse South Haven Michigan lighthouse

Wedding photos

South Haven Michigan lighthouse South Haven Michigan lighthouse South Haven Michigan lighthouse South Haven Michigan car show

I'll take it!

South Haven Michigan car show

Mark would prefer this one

South Haven Michigan car show South Haven Michigan car show

Dad at the wheel -- just this one time.

South Haven Michigan car show

South Haven, Michigan

Early June, 2009 - We left Elkhart, Indiana and started up the west

coast of Michigan.  We were in search of cute little waterfront towns, and

there is an abundance along Lake Michigan, each unique and

welcoming.  The first was South Haven.  The town straddles a small

harbor and a river channel lined with a pretty boardwalk leading down to

a small lighthouse.  We walked through town, admiring the small shops

and catching glimpses of the boats in the harbor.

Mark needed a haircut, so we turned in at the barber pole and he

got a quick clip.  With his new summer do making him feel lighter

and freer, we headed out to stroll along the riverfront.

Boats of all kinds were cruising in and out of the harbor, and as we

approached the pier we found there were two terrific beaches on either

side of the channel entrance.

We kicked our shoes off to feel the Michigan sand squeeze

between our toes, and watched the action on the beach.

Teenagers were strutting their stuff all around us, with babes in

bikinis perfecting their runway walks up and down the pier.

Back in town, we found a fun and funky wooden walkway

that climbed up and down and around the harborfront


There were little

eateries everywhere,

and a drawbridge

leading to the inner


Big boats and small

boats maneuvered around each other,

and a young girl in a dinghy followed a

family of ducks trying to catch them

with her camera.

We found a small motel on the edge of

town, and when we commented on the

charm of this town she said, "Well, you

have to go down to the waterfront at

sunset.  Don't miss it.  The sun sets at

about 9:30, so get there

about an hour before and

you'll have plenty of time."

We've seen such stunning sunsets in the southwest, just

peering out our trailer's windows, that her insistence that

we go back to town and down to the beach for the sunset

that night struck me as kind of amusing.  The sky didn't

look especially promising for any kind of colorful display,

but we followed her advice anyway and returned to town

as the sun was slipping towards the lake.

What a spectacle awaited us.  We began walking towards the pier and

found ourselves surrounded by throngs of people heading down to the

beach to watch the sunset: young couples hand-in-hand; families with

kids romping around in excited circles; old folks with a hand on the

railing.  Everyone in town was making their way to the waterfront.

A restored pirate ship that had been

taking people out on lake rides all day

had one last sunset dinner cruise on

tap, and we watched her stately form

slip past the lighthouse in the dimming


Some people spread out on picnic blankets, and

others just enjoyed the quiet moments as the sun

worked its magic.  Every swing and slide in the

playground was in motion with kids crawling all

over, and behind them the cars cruised up and

down and round and round the streets.

There was a car show scheduled for the next day,

and quite a few antique convertibles

showed up early as their proud owners

cruised the beach the way they did fifty

years ago.

A newlywed couple posed for

wedding shots along the pier

with the lighthouse in the

background, as the sun sank

lower and lower towards the


The ice cream stand was a hub of

activity all evening, and the evidence

was everywhere as nearby folks

wandered slightly off kilter down the

pier, head sideways, tongue licking,

while their eyes stared around their cones at the sinking sun.

Photographers of all ages staked out places on the beach to catch the sun slipping into the

water.  None of us cared about the sand filling our shoes as we stomped through the dunes to

get the best angle.  It was a great evening and a great show.

Once the sun had fallen into the distant waves, everyone on the beach quietly packed it up and

headed home.  As we walked back up towards town, surrounded by smiling people carrying

folded blankets and empty coolers, I felt as though we'd just left an outdoor concert.  Nature's

symphony.  The innkeeper had been right: we didn't want to

miss the sunset that night.

The next day was the car show.  Again, the whole town came

out for the event.  The streets were lined with beautifully

restored cars and admiring fans.  Mark's roots from the motor

city sure showed as we wandered from car to car and he

pointed out the finer points of each engine.  A peak under the

hood and he would suddenly ooh and aah and give me a

history of the engine and tell me which of his friends had

owned such a beautiful marvel of engineering back in the day.

To me they were all just shiny cars from another era, alhough I did like

the sporty little red Corvette convertible.  Mark's taste ran more

towards the muscle cars that just looked like plain old sedans to me.

But then he'd drop to his knees and point out the wrinkle wall tires and

tell of the time his friend put a $10 bill on the dash board and challeged

Mark to catch it as they peeled out.  Plastered to the passenger seat as

the rocket launched, there was no way he could reach that bill when it

flew up in the air.

We got talking with a fellow showing off his dragster.  He used to race it himself, but now it was a

father-son project, with him supplying the bucks and know-how and his son taking the wheel at the


At the end of the day there was a parade

through town and we had a chance to see

each car in all its glory.  Some revved their

engines as they went by, although our

buddy in the dragster got a tow through

town instead.  There were prizes of all

kinds, and almost every car won

something.  We left South Haven in high

spirits and made our way north a few miles

to Saugatuck.