Saugatuck Michigan is a small, neighboring resort town scenically sited on a harbor off Lake Michigan. It is the center of what is called the Art Coast. While the town is supposed to be the center for many of the area’s galleries, we found that clothing stores outnumbered galleries by about 10:1 and that many of the so-called galleries were stocked by anodyne crafts and prints.
Still, the views along the harbor and its park, including of its hand-cranked Chain Ferry (for carrying pedestrians and bikes across the harbor) are lovely.
So too are the views from the other side of the harbor and the top of Mount Baldhead, which is accessible via a 282-step staircase up the side of a now fully overgrown sand dune.
We had a nice lunch at the harborside restaurant, The Butler. While service was less than we hoped, our two dishes: grilled salmon with pesto aioli and balsamic glaze, and Sesame Ahi tuna lettuce wraps with kale, Asian ginger sauce and leaf lettuce were both quite good.
Douglas Michigan is Saugatuck’s tiny next-door neighbor along the Art Coast. In our mind, it is much more of an art town than is Saugatuck. The four-block Main Street is lined with mid-to-late 19th century buildings and several innovative contemporary art galleries.
We particularly enjoyed two of these.
- Water Street Gallery, as for its oil paintings and especially its art glass–particularly Fred Kaemer’s intricate blown glass orbs that contain a mass of needle-thin intersecting glass filaments; and
- Button Gallery, for its art glass, quirky outdoor sculptures and especially, its intricately painted sculptures of men and women in unusual poses—some of whose heads open to reveal surprises, such as the golden beans in a head of someone who may be Jack, just down from his beanstalk.