We arrived Saturday afternoon, August 10, at North Shore Marina, in Grand Haven, MI and stayed through Monday, August 12. The marina is on the opposite side of the Grand Haven channel isolated from Grand Haven's shopping and restaurant district, except by dinghy. This is the marina where WaterMarks was purchased last Fall and Grand Haven is where we spent 40+ hotel nights over this past winter refurbishing her in the marina's warehouse and we had a few items for them to check on. Grand Haven is a plethora of activity on summer weekends with lots of fun activities. It has a great beach and the city has done a wonderful job of creating a boardwalk from downtown out to the pier head. After having the famous ProntoPups (highly recommended by our friend Ryan who is a hot dog connoisseur), we needed to walk the 4 mile round trip to the end and back. We saw at least 4 looper flags (boats doing the loop) as we were walking back to our dinghy, but were not able to connect with anyone. I'm sure we'll run into them again as we enter the river system. The evening culminated in sitting in our dinghy directly across the channel from the Dancing Waters display. If you stay at the municipal marina in Grand Haven, you will have front row seats to this great display of magical waters dancing to lights and music...if you can stay up long enough. They do not start until 10 pm! On our final day in Grand Haven, Linda utilized their terrific transit system where you call them and they pick you up wherever and drop you off wherever for $1. She made it to the grocery store, the sign shop, the flower shop, the chocolate shop, the hotel where we stayed this past winter, and a couple of other jaunts around town for $8. Great service when you don't have a car!
We said good-bye to Grand Haven early Tuesday morning and headed south to South Haven. We have visited both Grand Haven and South Haven many times in previous years while vacationing, but not recently. It was fun to reacquaint ourselves with both towns. We arrived in South Haven around Noon and they directed us into a slip that looked a bit small from the channel, but Conrad was up for the challenge. As we got closer we realized there was no way our 45' boat was going to fit into that 35' slip. The dockhands seemed a bit befuddled, but reassigned us to a correct sized slip. Because of the high waters on Lake Michigan, this marina's docks are waaay low. The uprights on the pier were much lower than our boat and we had to be very careful pulling into the slip. The piers are fixed, not floating, and were about 6 inches inches above the water. Our portable boarding ladder was too short, so we used the transom ladder to get down to the swim platform in order to get on and off the boat. It took us awhile to get settled, but we were finally able to explore town. This is another town with great shops and restaurants. Clementine's restaurant, just up a couple of blocks from the municipal marina, is a great stop, if not to eat, then just to learn about the history of this building dating back to the 1800's. We finished the day with a nice dinner on the balcony of the South Haven Yacht Club overlooking the Black River that flows into Lake Michigan.