8 Reasons to book a vacation rental for Thanksgiving

vacation rental for thanksgiving

If you’re used to hosting family at home every year during Thanksgiving, the idea of renting a vacation home for the main event might strike you as unorthodox. But lend us your eyes for a moment and we’ll show you why staying in a Lakeshore Lodging vacation rental for Thanksgiving is actually a brilliant idea.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a lot of work. But choosing to host in a vacation rental can take a lot of the headache out, and you can enjoy the perks of a nice home with beds for everyone. Here are 8 reasons why you should book a vacation rental for Thanksgiving.

8 reasons to stay in a vacation rental for Thanksgiving

1. Homes with great views

Maintaining holiday traditions is nice, but sometimes a change of scenery is in order. Make your holiday celebration picturesque: rent a vacation home with a view of Lake Michigan, or rent a cabin tucked away in a forest of vibrant autumn trees.

2. Room for extended family

One of the hardest things about hosting Thanksgiving is not having the space to host all of your family.  But it’s simple when you can just rent a larger home. When your house isn’t big enough to host the Thanksgiving dinner of your dreams, it’s easy to find a spacious vacation rental with everything you need.

3. Homes with spacious kitchens/entertaining areas

Having the space for everyone to gather and enjoy each other’s company can be hard when you have a lot of people to host. But a variety of vacation rentals  for Thanksgiving come with open floor plans, large dining tables, and spacious kitchens with all the amenities you need to entertain and make the most of your togetherness.

4. Sleeping accommodations for the whole family

Everyone can have a comfy bed to retreat to when the festivities are done in a vacation rental big enough to host everyone. No one need sleep on an air mattress when you choose to stay in a vacation rental for Thanksgiving.

5. Off-season pricing

The fall and winter months mean lower prices on all of our vacation rentals. You can save between 30-50% off of peak season rates when you stay with us for the holidays. So, really, Thanksgiving couldn’t be a more perfect time to stay in a Lakeshore Lodging vacation rental!

6. Personal catering and grocery delivery services

Take advantage of the hospitality hook-ups vacation rental services can offer. You can arrange to have your meals personally catered by a local business or have your grocery shopping done for you in advance when you stay with Lakeshore Lodging. Grocery delivery is available in the Saugatuck area via Shipt, so Shipt members can have groceries delivered right to their vacation rentals. Take the tedium out of your holiday hosting tasks!

7. Homes are clean and ready when you walk in

Another stressful chore associated with get-togethers: making sure everything is clean and ready for your guests. Well, when you choose to stay in a vacation rental for your extravaganza, we take care of all the cleaning for you.

8. Housekeeping service when you leave

When all is said and done, you don’t have to clean after your guests when everybody leaves. All we ask at Lakeshore Lodging is that you load and run the dishwasher (no need to unload it) and take out the trash. The rest is up to us.

There are even more reasons to book a Thanksgiving stay at a Lake Michigan vacation rental. Discover them for yourself when you book a cozy cabin with Lakeshore Lodging.

Get first dibs on the 2019 Saugatuck summer vacation you’ve been dreaming of

2019 saugatuck summer vacation

For a handful of dates in summer, lodging in Saugatuck starts getting snatched up well before you’ve even started thinking about your 2019 Saugatuck summer vacation plans. When you plan in advance, you benefit from the most selection for lodging and the peace of mind for having secured your dream vacation early on.

Book these 2019 Saugatuck summer vacation dates ASAP

If you want your 2019 vacation in Saugatuck to include any of the following dates, book now. These ones are always the first to get scooped up!

Memorial Day (Monday, May 27, 2019)

The first official three-day weekend of summer is a beautiful time to visit Saugatuck. Everything is blossoming and you can feel the release and surge of energy after what has undoubtedly been a long winter. People are rightly eager to get back on Lake Michigan and into the full swing of summer, so these dates get snatched early on.

Fourth of July (Thursday, July 4, 2019)

This holiday is a classic time for a summer vacation for a reason: The weather always ushers in the best of summer and a resplendent fireworks display is basically guaranteed. Check out our fireworks when you stay over Fourth of July. Book now to make sure you don’t miss it!

Venetian Festival (Friday, July 26-Saturday, July 27, 2019)

Saugatuck Venetian Festival is a beloved annual event. With food, drinks, live music, and a themed dinghy poker run, there’s fun for everyone. It’s so popular, lodging around town becomes sparse fast. If this beautiful summer weekend is in your vacation game plan, book now.

Labor Day (Monday, September 2, 2019)

Don’t let the last hurrah of summer pass you by without the appropriate fanfare. Spend Labor Day in Saugatuck and send off our favorite season the best way you know how: by relaxing on the lakeshore. Book your Labor Day weekend plenty in advance to secure your vacation.

Stay with Lakeshore Lodging and get first dibs on the same dates the following year

The real trick to getting first dibs on your ideal Saugatuck summer vacation dates is staying with Lakeshore Lodging. After your stay, you have one week to book the same dates in the same vacation rental for the same rate for the following year before anyone else does. After that week, the following year’s rates are entered in and the dates are free game to anyone. It’s a great opportunity for those who’ve found the perfect vacation rental and know they’ll be making a tradition out of their Saugatuck summer vacation.

El Sueño Americano: Images of the confiscated possessions of migrants seeking the American dream

el sueno americano

This October, Saugatuck Center for the Arts will host an exhibition of thought-provoking photographs titled “El Sueño Americano”—or “The American Dream”—by photographer Tom Kiefer.  You can attend the exhibition’s opening reception on October 25, 2018. The images will remain on view through December 22, 2018. Learn all about the exhibition below.

El Sueno Americano
El Sueno Americano
El Sueno Americano
Images: Tom Kiefer

Tom Kiefer’s “El Sueño Americano” comes to Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Separating an object from its context can obscure its meaning, eliminating any sense of certainty you might have had about it. In its place sprout questions like “Whose was this?” and “How was this used?” and “What is it doing here?” The decontextualized object takes on a life of its own, becoming a kind of ghost of its former owner, replete with mystery.

This is the feeling Tom Kiefer’s series of more than 100 photographs titled “El Sueño Americano” inspires. The photos will be on view at Saugatuck Center for the Arts from October 25-December 22, 2018 in what will be Kiefer’s first major solo exhibition.

“I saw Tom’s work at Art Prize last year,” said Whitney Valentine, the education and exhibitions manager at Saugatuck Center for the Arts. “With our Growing Young Artists program still at the forefront of my mind, I was incredibly moved by his images and knew that our West Michigan community would benefit greatly from seeing his works.”

She reached out to Kiefer and secured this October’s exhibition featuring new work. In the time that has passed since, the exhibition has received a flurry of national attention.

“While the aesthetics of the images alone are striking, the work reminds us of the game-changer that is context. The stories behind these objects, especially the mysteries, are what give the work its real power,” Valentine said.

The extraordinary ordinary

The objects within Kiefer’s photographs once belonged to migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. When Border Patrol officials apprehend undocumented migrants, they confiscate “nonessential” possessions and discard them. Kiefer worked as a janitor for a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in Arizona for 12 years, and it was during this time that he began collecting these items from the trash. At first, he sought packaged food to donate to a local food pantry. But the more he dug, the more items he discovered, and the more questions he had. He began to collect and photograph the objects, and “El Sueño Americano” was born.

“Tom’s images remind us how extraordinary ordinary items can be,” Valentine said.

Stuffed animals soiled in the spots where children once held them. Plastic water jugs insulated by torn clothing. Toothbrushes, shoelaces, and rosaries—all labeled “potentially lethal” by Border Patrol. These are the objects in Kiefer’s bright photos.

The images’ effect on viewers can be destabilizing. Curator Tori Pelz said the exhibition reminds her of a variously attributed quote on the role of art, which is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

“I think the best art wakes us, calls us to attention, and offers a new perspective on the familiar,” Pelz said. “Tom’s photos possess both a commanding visual presence and a powerful human message.”

Immigration is a divisive political topic. Tom’s work, Valentine said, brings a necessary element of humanity back into the discussion.

“The photographs of the migrant’s personal objects remind us that at the heart of this issue is people—children who treasure their teddy bears, people trying to feed themselves and their families, and those who can’t imagine taking a trip without brushing their teeth,” Valentine said.

Experience “El Sueño Americano” and meet the artist

October 25 marks the exhibition’s opening. It kicks off with “Tacos, Tequila, and Tom”—a themed party featuring the alliterative trio in its title. One $15 VIP ticket gets you two tacos, a tequila-based cocktail (or another drink of your choice), and a guided tour of the exhibition with Kiefer and Pelz. This portion of the opening reception takes place from 5-6 p.m. If you are unable to make it at that time, you can still enjoy tacos, cocktails, and mingling with the artist during the public portion of the reception from 6:30-8 p.m.

“This is Tom’s first major solo exhibition, but since we’ve announced it, he’s received a dizzying amount of national press, and this exhibition is now booked for the next two years,” Pelz said. “In short, he’s kind of a big deal. And he’s eager to speak to what this work means to him, personally.”

Best apple orchards in Southwest Michigan

apple orchards in southwest michigan

There is nothing more quintessentially fall than going to an apple orchard, picking your own peck, and warming up with cider and donuts afterward. There’s plenty of great places to do just that in Southwest Michigan. These are the top 5 u-pick apple orchards in Southwest Michigan.

Top 5 apple orchards in Southwest Michigan

Crane Orchards

6054 124th Ave, Fennville, MI 49408

Crane Orchards really has it all, with a U-Pick apple orchard, corn maze, cow train, and hay rides. After a day jam packed with fall fun like that, you’ll probably be hungry. Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery is right on site and offers a selection of great meals, a bakery with homemade treats, and house-made hard cider and wine.

Overhiser Orchards

6405 109th Ave. South Haven, MI 49090

This orchard boasts u-pick apples, wagon rides, a historical barn tour, a corn maze, and a variety of farm animals you can see. Take part in the Great Pumpkin Search for a day of hot apple cider, pumpkin picking and fall family fun you won’t soon forget.

Virtue Cider

2170 62nd St., Fennville, MI 49408

Virtue Farms serves craft made hard cider on their scenic farm. Visit Virtue Cider on October 20, 2018 for Apple Fest, an annual festival with tons of fun fall activities. Horse drawn cart rides, a field maze, and a farmers market are just a few of the attractions you can anticipate on that day.

McIntosh Orchards

6431 107th Avenue, South Haven, MI 49090

McIntosh Orchards offers u-pick apples alongside house made hard cider and wine. Check out the cider mill, farm tours, and farm market as well.

Dutch Farm Market

6967 109th Avenue, South Haven, MI 49090

This popular South Haven market has tasty baked goods and ice cream alongside a selection of locally produced goods. You can choose to purchase some already picked fresh apples or pick your own at this spot.

6 classic fall snacks paired with West Michigan craft drinks

fall snacks paired with west michigan craft drinks

Fall is here, and there are some snacks that just taste better in this season than they do in any other. These foods have a tendency to evoke Proustian “la madeleine” moments, rooted in nostalgia for childhood autumn fun. But we aren’t all children anymore, and while that does mean there’s more space between us and our carefree pasts, it also means we are legally able to consume alcoholic craft beverages. Revel in the glory of your favorite fall snacks by pairing them with these signature West Michigan ciders, wines, beers, and spirits.

6 classic fall snacks paired with West Michigan craft drinks

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Hot cider and cinnamon sugar donuts is a classic combo and well worth revisiting every year when the temperature starts to drop. But if you’re looking for something a little more mature, swap out hot cider for hard cider! We recommend Virtue Cider’s “The Mitten.” The Mitten is a smooth, bourbon barrel aged hard apple cider that tastes delicious and imparts its own kind of warmth.

Baked Apples

Apples are synonymous with autumn. A day of apple picking is an essential fall activity, and you get to come home with bushels of sweet, fresh fruit. Put that fruit to use in the form of a beloved dessert. The baked apple is a simple, but delicious delicacy whose warm, gooey bites beg to be followed by a sip of smooth bourbon. May we suggest Coppercraft Distillery’s Straight Bourbon?

S’mores

Okay, s’mores are good at all times of year. But there’s something about a fall bonfire that you just don’t get in summer–a crisp breeze seasoned with crackling leaves. We think that makes the s’mores taste better. You know what makes them taste even better? Being followed with a swig of a tasty stout. We recommend Saugatuck Brewing Company’sDarker Than Your Soul.”

Roasted Autumn Squash

Roasted autumn squashes like butternut squash and acorn squash are a great way to add a touch of the harvest to your diet. We suggest pairing autumn squash dishes with Fenn Valley’s Riesling. This crisp, semi-dry white wine will bring out the sweetness in your favorite autumn squashes, however you choose to prepare them.

Hot Chocolate

For the cold, late fall days, hot chocolate warms the soul unlike any other beverage. A splash of Coppercraft Distillery’s Vodka puts a tasty adult spin on the classic drink. Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, and/or sprinkles if the child in you feels so inclined.

Popcorn

Pop some kernels over the stove in your well-seasoned popcorn maker (or just microwave a bag, if that suits you). Then sink into your comfy, fireside couch for a cozy fall night filled with movies and snuggles. We recommend picking up a growler of The Mitten Brewing Company’s West Coast Swing Red Ale to pair with this harvest-time snack. A hoppy amber is a great fall brew, and this one is one of the tastiest.

The perfect fall 3-day weekend adventure

fall 3-day weekend

You’re a month into the rush of school, work, and the usual fall hustle. You’re enjoying the autumnal vibes, but you’re busy, so it’s hard to bask in them completely. Graciously, there is a fall 3-day weekend coming up that is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this gorgeous, ephemeral season. Columbus Day weekend is October 5-8, and there’s going to be plenty of fall events happening in Saugatuck to make the most of it.

Make the most of this fall 3-day weekend

Saugatuck Ghoul Fest

October 6, 2018 – 11am-5pm

Enjoy some spooky pre-Halloween family fun at this annual event. Here you’ll find the “Art of Halloween” one of a kind bazaar, coffin races, kid friendly activities, live music and more!

Annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll

October 6, 2018 – 4-6pm

Get a hearty dose of art when you attend the annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll. Area galleries join together for a weekend full of artist receptions, openings, demonstrations and live music.

Blue Coast Artists Fall Tour

October 6, 2018 – 10am; October 7, 2018 – 7pm

This tour of 10 studios between South Haven and Fennville is packed with great art. You’ll view handmade ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, glasswork and more.

Music in the Vineyard at Fenn Valley

October 6, 1-4pm

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the changing colors of the scenery at Fenn Valley’s vineyard for another Music in the Vineyard session. Solo jazz guitarist Randy Reszka will perform on this weekend, and it’s sure to be a treat. Order a glass of Fenn Valley’s signature wines, sit back, and take in the autumn atmosphere.

Eat Drink Saugatuck/Douglas Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 6-9pm

Head to Wade’s Bayou for this outdoor harvest dinner featuring selections made with ingredients from local farms. Each course will celebrate the harvest season and feature a delicious beverage pairing.

J. Petter Galleries Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 7-9pm

J. Petter Galleries’ Harvest Dinner will be a tented meal on the gallery’s lawn. Tastings from seven local restaurants will be available to try while artists paint en plein air.

Find the perfect place to stay

Lakeshore Lodging has cozy cabins and homes encircled with vibrant fall foliage available for rent for your fall vacation. Check them out here.

4 Reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall

oval beach in fall

Oval Beach is undoubtedly the most popular beach in Saugatuck, and it’s one of the most popular beaches on the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Its scenic sandy stretches led Condé Nast’s “Traveler” to name it one of the world’s best beaches. The famous beach is most frequented in summer, but it’s just as worthy of a visit in autumn. Here are 4 reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall.

4 Reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall

Park for free

After Labor Day, there is no parking fee at Oval Beach. In the early autumn days, the weather is still plenty nice to enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan or picnic with a view. Having cost-free access to this award-winning beach is a major perk of visiting in the fall.

Explore the dune trails

Oval Beach is connected to some beautiful hiking trails that are incredibly scenic in the fall season. Plus, the cooler temperatures make for a much more comfortable hike. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or even crisp enough for a few snowflakes, this is a hike you won’t want to miss. It’s a brilliant way to experience how fall changes the lakeshore.

Kayak and catch vibrant views

Kayaking along the Lake Michigan lakeshore is a great way to get views you can’t see on land. In fall, those views are bursting with color. If you go later in the day, the setting sun will set the lakeshore aglow. Morning, afternoon and evening, paddling on the lake is a great way to spend the day, and Oval Beach is a great, easy access point to put in your kayak.

Get cozy and watch the sunset

We’re on the sunset coast of Michigan here in Saugatuck, and that means every night the sun descends over Lake Michigan and creates astounding plays of light. In the cool fall, evenings are best spent wrapped in a warm blanket on Oval Beach watching the sunset. Bring a bottle of wine or a thermos full of hot cider or cocoa and enjoy each other’s company as day becomes night.

 

What’s happening this Halloween in Saugatuck 2018

halloween in saugatuck 2018

Halloweekend is coming up. You’ve got a plan for your costume, but where will you go to show it off? Whether you’re looking for kid friendly activities or you want to light up the night, you’ll find something fun to do this Halloween in Saugatuck 2018.

Celebrating Halloween in Saugatuck 2018

Glow in the Park

October 26, 2018 | 6-9 p.m. | Saugatuck Yacht Club

Get your glow on at this fun, family friendly annual kick off party for Halloween weekend. There will be music, food, drinks and plenty of opportunities to glow. Come in your own glowing gear and then enhance it with UV reactive face painting, black light areas, and a merchandise booth.

Halloween Family & Pet Parade

October 27, 2018 | 3:30-5 p.m. | Downtown Saugatuck

Saugatuck’s annual Halloween family & pet parade is always a fun event.  Partake in hot cocoa, cookies, costume contests, and candy at this beloved annual Saugatuck event. Costumed kids, adults, and pets alike are welcome to join in the fun.

Pre-Parade Halloween Dinner at The Kirby

October 27, 2018 | 5-10 p.m. | J. Paul’s at The Kirby

Fuel up for the famous Douglas Halloween Nighttime Parade for Adults with a delicious dinner at J. Paul’s restaurant at The Kirby. Enjoy a 3-course meal and a ghoulish cocktail for $44. This annual event sells out, so make your reservation ASAP!

Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults

October 27, 2018 | 9:30 p.m. | Line up at Beery Field

This energetic display of clever costumes kicks off when the darkness sets in. Adults march through the village of Douglas dressed in their Halloween best. Join in on the fun–line up begins at 9:30 p.m. at Beery Field in Douglas.

Halloween Bash at The Dunes

October 27, 2018 | Immediately following the parade | The Dunes Resort

For those looking to continue the party after the parade, head over to The Dunes Resort for a night of dancing and karaoke.

Free Rides on the Interurban

Oct 27-28, 2018  | 7 p.m.-2 a.m.

Stay safe with our favorite way to get around Saugatuck. The Interurban will take you where you need to go (within Douglas and Saugatuck township) for free on these Halloween weekend nights. Call 269-857-1418.

Featured Image: Douglas Halloween by Erin K. Wilkinson

Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Michigan Fall Festivals

thanksgiving in michigan

With autumn approaching, there’s a lot to look forward to: crisp air, leaves changing, football, and fall festivals! In Michigan fall festivals are the best way to celebrate the season. Pumpkins, stunning scenery, family fun, and much more are all on the schedule when autumn comes to the Great Lakes State. From the Art Coast to the Upper Peninsula, here’s your ultimate guide to the best fall festivals in Michigan.

Michigan Fall Festivals

Saugatuck-Douglas

Known as the Art Coast of Michigan, Saugatuck and the towns nearby are home to some of the best fall festivals in Michigan. In October, Downtown Saugatuck hosts its Fall Fun Days events, where families can enjoy games, food, and music, during this month-long celebration. In nearby Douglas, Beery Field will come alive at night during “Glow in the Park,” on October 26, 2018. Expect plenty of glow in the dark fun, halloween costumes, food, music, and more. Make sure you come back for the Douglas Nighttime Halloween Parade for Adults the next evening on October 27, 2018!

If you want to see Saugatuck’s artistic side this fall, don’t miss the Blue Coast Artists Fall Tour of Studios. This free event will take place on October 6-7, 2018, and allows attendees to see the best of the area’s art.

Just ten miles away from Saugatuck is Fennville, home of the Fennville Goose Festival. This year, from October 12-14, 2018, attendees can enjoy activities like a 5k race, car parade, carnival, live music, a beer tent, and food.

There’s more where those came from. Learn about other fall events in Saugatuck here.

Charlevoix

Fall without a great apple festival is arguably not fall, no matter what the calendar says. Head to Charlevoix on October 12-14, 2018, and celebrate the unbeatable autumn-apple combination at the 40th Annual Apple Fest.

Detroit

Enjoy shorter days and excuses to buy pumpkin beer at the 10th Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival on October 26-27, 2018.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids might be Beer City, USA, but when fall comes around, its downtown also plays host to ArtPrize, a multi-week display and celebration of art. This year, it will take place from September 19-October 7, 2018.

Marquette

Fall isn’t reserved solely for seasonal produce and hayrides (although we do love those) – it’s also a great to time to celebrate Michigan craft beer. Head to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula on September 8, 2018, for the U.P. Fall Beer Festival.

Zeeland

Few things signify the arrival of autumn better than pumpkins. Pies, jack-o-lanterns, overpriced coffee drinks – they’re all signs of the season. Take the family to the Zeeland Pumpkinfest on October 5-6, 2018, and enjoy everything pumpkin over this packed weekend that features games, music, a tractor pull, petting zoo, and more than we can fit in this blog.

“Mercury in Retrograde” premieres in Michigan at Saugatuck Center for the Arts

mercury in retrograde

Saugatuck Center for the Arts is hosting the Michigan premiere of Michael Glover Smith’s film “Mercury in Retrograde.” Filmed in Saugatuck and Fennville, “Mercury in Retrograde” tells the story of three Chicago couples at various stages in their relationships who convene for a weekend in a West Michigan cabin in the woods. On Friday, September 21, head to Saugatuck Center for the Arts and watch as the characters play disc golf, swim in Lake Michigan, and explore our region’s one-of-a-kind landscape.

Mercury in Retrograde: An exploration of relationships and communication between men and women

“Mercury in Retrograde” explores the way men and women communicate, and miscommunicate, with one another. The film’s three couples each occupy the space between falling in and out of love. Throughout the weekend vacation, tensions arise, secrets are revealed, and the characters explore new territory within their relationships. The film has been lauded as a compelling depiction of modern love, and Saugatuck’s unique landscape provides a beautiful backdrop.

See the Michigan Premiere of Mercury in Retrograde

Tickets for the premiere, which takes place September 21, 2018 at 7 p.m., are $13 for adults and $7 for students with ID. Director Michael Glover Smith and actor/producer Shane Simmons will be present after the screening for questions and discussion.

Purchase a VIP Preview Party ticket to catch previews of the film on the night before the premiere. The party will take place in the cottage where Mercury in Retrograde was filmed and will feature a cash bar with craft drinks and food provided by The Kirby. Director Michael Glover Smith and actor/producer Shane Simmons will be in attendance to answer all your questions about what filming in Saugatuck was like. Ticket cost includes one complimentary drink, fresh plates from The Kirby, and a reserved ticket for Friday’s 7 p.m. premiere screening of the film at Saugatuck Center for the Arts.