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Saugatuck Things to Do: 15 reviews and 48 photos

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Keewatin Maritime Museum - Saugatuck

Keewatin Maritime Museum

The Keewatin Maritime Museum

Be sure to see all four photos [two of the ship, one of restaurant, one of lighthouse]

For all you history buffs, there is the wonderful Keewatin Maritime Museum in Douglas, Michigan. It's located just south of the Saugatuck-Douglas Bridge. You cannot miss it because this beautiful big steam-powered ship can be seen for miles around.

The S. S. Keewatin [affectionately known as the "Kee"] is the last of such ships that cruised the Great Lakes. It sailed between Port Arthur/Fort William and Port McNicoli with passengers for the Pacific Railway's Great Lakes Steamship Service. It was built in Scotland, completed in 1907, and entered service in 1908. Passenger service ended in 1965. It is now a maritime museum.

This 350-foot passenger steamship museum is open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.

There are guided tours available seven days a week during that season from 10:00 until 17:00. Admission is rather expensive [I think] at $12.00 for adults; Children 6-12 $6.00; and children 5 and under are free. This price is more expensive depending on which tour you choose.

The name "Keewatin" means "Blizzard of the North", a word from the Cree Indians of Canada. During her service, she carried 288 passengers. Their literature says that visitors are able to see the cabins and public areas. Most tours last about 45 minutes but some more extensive ones last 1 1/2 hours.

This ship, often called "Queen of Lakes", is filled with polished brass, walnut/mahogany paneling as well as Italian hand-etched skylights.

You are able to see:

Lovely staircase

Cocktail lounge and ballroom

Bridge or Wheel House

Dining Room where 120 passengers were served meals [prepared by Chinese cooks].
(this dining room is Edwardian in style)

Forward Lounge/Drawing Room for Ladies where tea was served and cards were played.

105 Staterooms with hot/cold running water

7 deluxe suites with private baths

A Flowed Well Lounge

It certainly is worth a visit to go back to that area of luxury travel on the Great Lakes.

Address: Douglas, Michigan 49406

Directions: Docked just south of the Saugatuck-Douglas Bridge.
Bue Star Highway & Union Street
P.O. Box 638, Douglas, MI 49406

Phone: 269-857-2464


Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 28, 2009
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Spectacular Oval Beach:  Saugatuck, Michigan - Saugatuck

Spectacular Oval Beach: Saugatuck, Michigan

Saugatuck"s Oval Beach...Supreme Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area Review

I think one of the most memorable moments of our entire trip for both Mickey and I came when we visited the famed OVAL BEACH. We were literally "taken aback" by our first view...truly it reminded both of us of the beaches in Hawaii ,

We had read all the ratings and raves about this beach:

"Conde Nast Traveler rates it as one of the 25 best shorelines in the world

MTV has rated it "as one of the top two freshwater beaches in the country."

An article in the Chicago Tribune says it is ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the world".

We were afraid that we would be disappointed after all that acclaim...fortunately, we were not disappointed.

Of course, when we visited, it was the beginning of September, and although it was quite warm for that time of year [75 degrees F ], it was not swimming weather in frigid Lake Michigan. The beach was relatively empty; lifeguards were not on duty; and parking was not a problem nor did it require a fee.

Part of the beauty of the beach is its shape (an oval) and the towering sand dunes. Also, the crystal white sand, its seclusion, and the spectacular views add to its charm.

In season, one is able to take a freewheeling ride on a converted pickup truck that is called a "dune schooner". That way people climb the towering nearby sand hills.


1. A view of the Oval Beach
2. Mickey holding her shoes and walking barefoot on Oval Beach
3. Seagulls on Oval Beach
4. Dee wading in Lake Michigan at Oval Beach
5. A lone red kite flying above Oval Beach

The facilities are really good here with cold water fountains, clean restrooms, concessions, and lifeguards in season.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 28, 2009
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Saugatuck Chain Ferry - Saugatuck

Saugatuck Chain Ferry

Hand Cranked Chain Ferry

I visited Saugatuck over 25 years ago with my husband Allan, and one of the experiences I remembered most was the ride on the Chain Ferry. So, when Mickey and I decided to include Saugatuck on our Michigan trip, the famed Chain Fair was on our agenda.
Woe to us...The hand-cranked chain ferry is operated only in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day! But at least, we were able to see it and to take photos.
See Photo #1 of the ferry with its "gingerbread trim"

It is one of the oldest [if not the oldest hand-cranked chain ferry in America]. This ferry is claimed to be the ONLY remaining chain- driven ferry in the United States.It goes across the Kalamazoo River via a person who hand cranks it along a chain that stretches across the river. The unique operation has been going on since 1838. However, this present ferry was built in the 1930's.

I recall my trip and being impressed that 3 pullys kept the ferry in line, and when it was ready to cross the water, the operator would use an air horn that alerted all boat traffic to STOP. The operator turned a wheel on the inside which, in turn, pulled the ferry along the chain.

This is a short ride because it goes from its location [in Wicks Park on Water Street ] across the Kalamazoo River to the other side of town. See Photo #3This is great because you can then walk a short distance to Oval Beach and not have to pay the steep parking fees. HOWEVER, to arrive at the beach, you climb the 282 steps to the top of Mount Baldhead (600 feet high) [a giant sand dune] and then run the dune to Oval Beach.

Directions: Located in Wick's Park on Water Street in downtown Saugatuck

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 28, 2009
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Fenn Valley Wines - Saugatuck

Fenn Valley Wines

Wine Tasting at Fenn Valley Wine Shop

Both Mickey and I love to do wine tasting...Mickey is partial to red wines, and I prefer blushes and whites. While in Saugatuck, we had several opportunities to do tastings. Our favorite was at the Fenn Valley Wine Tasting Shop

The Fenn Valley vineyards and wine cellar are located at 6130- 122nd Avenue in Fenneville, MI 49408 very near South Haven, Michigan. They have been growing award winning wines since 1973. They are a small family owned vineyard and winery. There location along the shores of Lake Michigan is perfect for the unique great lakes climate and the deep sandy soils.

We did not visit the vineyard; instead, we visited the tasting room in downtown Saugatuck.
It was very organized and a lovely experience. We were giving a brochure listing all the wines. We were each able to select 5 wines that we wished to taste.

Between us, we tasted: Sparkling Riesling, Dry Riesling 2007, Meritage 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mulled Wine, Blueberry, and classic port.

I purchased a bottle of "Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 with a rich and fruit laden taste with a long tannic finish. There are notes of oak and berry throughout" for my husband Allan. It cost $16.00.

I also purchased Mulled Wine with its "lightly sweet red wine with cinnamon, clove, & orange taste for $7.00." It is for the winter and to be served warm. Mickey also purchased a Mulled Wine[$7.00] and the Meritage 2007 [$18.00] for she and her husband.

Of all the wines that we tasted on this trip, The Fenn Valley Wines were the best by far.

Address: 310 Butler, Saugatuck, Michigan

Phone: 269-857-5170

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 28, 2009
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