This weekend Gina and I spent two magical days with our hubbies in Saugatuck, MI. We began our weekend by checking into the Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast. Jane, the Innkeeper (who is also Mayor of Saugatuck) and her canine companion (Winnie) greeted us on the front porch and then showed us to our quaint rooms tucked in the furthest corner of the second story of the Inn. Our rooms each had their own fireplaces, rose bouquets sitting on the desk, and a plate of hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries!!!
After settling into our rooms we set afoot downtown. First stop, Phil’s Bar and Grille. (At this point I should pause to say that this blog is not much at all about the food we ate. Quite honestly, the food was not a highlight of our experience. However, it was the coming together over meals and drinks that served as a catalyst for all the fun that was to come). Once we finished two rounds of drinks, our baked Gorgonzola dip, and seared ahi we were off to Lakeview Lanes in Douglas, MI, an unassuming yet thriving art town just 2 minutes from Saugatuck across the Kalamazoo River.
Lakeview Lanes, as their website will tell you, is ‘redefining the American bowling alley.’ Ain’t that the truth!!! This bowling alley is more restaurant and lounge than it is alley. In fact, it is so thoughtfully designed that you can sit in the lounge area, sipping your dirty martini and hardly notice the pins being knocked around behind you. We came to Lakeview Lanes that evening to enjoy fresh rolled sushi courtesy of the Nakajima’s, a husband a wife sushi duo from Holland, MI. Every Saturday LL invites the Nakajima’s to prepare sushi from 6-9pm (or until it’s gone). As we waited for a lane to open we dined on the deliciousness below.
After 3 games, it was getting late and we were all growing tired. Mainly, we were tired of being reminded how bad we are at bowling. Except for Ryan who consistently bowled near 200 and even had a five bagger (5 strikes in a row).
It was back to the Inn for us.
The next morning we ate a traditional American breakfast of fresh fruit, blueberry pancakes, sweet cakes and coffee. All prepared by Jane. We sat around a table in the four season addition on the back of the Inn. We were joined by Carol and Jim, a couple staying in Saugatuck from the Chicago area.
As we sipped coffee, nursed hangovers and made small talk around the table, we grew increasingly aware of how truly connected we all were.
First, Jane coordinates tours to South Africa. I spent a month volunteering in South Africa in 2008.
Second, On one of these tours Jane was accompanied by Watercolor Artist, Nita Engle. In the summers, Nita resides in a cottage in Marquette, MI. Her cottage just happens to be down the road from Gina’s family cottage!
Third, Jim is an Internist and Carol is a Physical Therapist. Two practices Tim and Gina are very familiar with.
Finally, Jim shared a story with us about an elderly patient with a broken hip. Ryan’s Oma is dealing with recent complications from a hip she broke last year. As Jim concluded his story he added, “make sure you’re getting enough calcium.” A lightbulb went off for me when he said this. At that point, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a glass of milk, a slice of cheese or anything that contained my recommended dietary allowance of calcium. (I have since started taking a calcium supplement :). Could this conversation have saved me from my own fractured hip at age 90????
After a breakfast that turned into much more than just 6 people around the same table making small talk; Gina, Tim, Ryan and I set off for adventure. We found it in Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
We wandered through cedar forest.
Tim and Ryan invented a new form of sledding.
And we ended our hike at the frozen shoreline of Lake Michigan.
On this Valentine’s Day may you find beauty in your surroundings, your partner, and most importantly yourself. May you also be blessed enough to share stories, laughter and memories like those we were able to create on our weekend retreat to Saugatuck.
With love. Amber. Out.