Break from the norm with these unique things to do this Spring

Spring is the starting line in the race to summer. Which makes this fleeting season easy to overlook. While many participate in the rite of spring break, we’re embracing the season. Spring is a time of reawakening and Saugatuck is blossoming with experiences that break from the speed of everyday life.

An Inspiring Story

The documentary film “The Biggest Little Farm” is a great source of inspiration. In it, a city dwelling couple follow their dream of building a farm. After watching the trailer, it got us thinking about all the unique farm experiences available in the Saugatuck/ Douglas and Fennville area.

By the way, if you loved the trailer as much as we did you can see the film at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts on April 18.

Local Farm Experiences

There is so much to experience at Virtue Cider in Fennville beyond the obvious sampling and taking home of delicious hard cider. They have a comfortable and welcoming outdoor space with rows of fire pits, picnic tables, and outdoor games. It urges you to hang out for awhile. Beyond the Tap Room and Bottle Shop, you can explore the farm grounds where you’ll find the vegetable gardens and heritage breed animals that make Virtue a working farm.

It’s the variety of experience coupled with unique events happening year round that make the farm at Virtue Cider a place worth frequenting.

What’s happening in April at Virtue Cider

Virtue Cider Birthday Party- April 13

Wish Virtue Cider a happy 7th birthday! The tap room will have cake and frozé from 4pm- 7pm.

Lapinette Weekend- April 20

The event features an educational rabbit show and the opening of a new dome home for Virtue’s farm rabbit, Grimes. In addition to the bunny laden festivities, s’mores from Chicago-based XO Marshmallow will be on deck.

Arbor Day- April 27

Tree sale, plant workshop and cookbook signing with Abra Berens. Get a copy of their soon-to-be released book “Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables”. Berens is chef at Granor Farms in Three Oaks, MI.

Pedal through the countryside

Farm country is full of sights, sounds and smells that are missed when driving from place to place. The best way to get the lay of the land is on a much slower mode of transportation. Which is why we think this event is brilliant! The first annual Great Douglas Bike and Brew takes place on April 27th. This event invites bike and brew enthusiasts to embark on a self-paced 28-mile ride connecting three different breweries in Saugatuck, Douglas and Fennville. See you there!

Top 4 spots to bask in the glorious return of spring in Saugatuck

spring in saugatuck

Chances are, the bitter cold winter months have prevented you from spending quality time in nature. Your body is probably feeling that deprivation—time spent in natural surroundings has a direct connection to your overall health. In Japan, it’s common to prescribe “forest bathing”—or taking in the forest atmosphere—as preventive health care.  That’s not a bad idea. This spring in Saugatuck, devote some time to getting back into nature.

Come to Saugatuck to take in the smells of earth taking its first breaths after months of snow cover, the birdsong, the bluer skies, and the warmer temperatures. Take a forest bath and leave those dreary winter doldrums far behind you.

Here’s where you should go:

Top 4 natural places to experience spring in Saugatuck

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

With miles and miles of winding trails, you can spend hours taking in the natural beauty of Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Witness the diversity of forest and dune ecosystems that make up the park. See the beautiful wildflowers that pop up before the canopy of trees above them fills. Make your way to the beach and be invigorated by the crisp breeze off of the still-way-too-cold-to-swim-in Lake Michigan. Time spent in this park will leave you feeling refreshed.

Mount Baldhead

For a challenging hike that ends in a rewarding dune-top view of Lake Michigan, try ascending the 302 steps at Mount Baldhead. This park is a Saugatuck favorite, and it offers a 1-mile trail loop for walking, hiking, and running. Cooler spring temperatures mean you won’t overheat as you hike to the top and then descend through the grassy dunes to the lakeshore.

Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area

This natural area is located near Oval Beach and features 2.5 miles of trails winding through precious interdunal wetland, forest, and dune ecosystems. Discover the ways water marries land as you meander along the shores of Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, and the Oxbow Lagoon. This hike can be hot in the summer, so spring is a perfect time to enjoy it.

River Bluff Park

For a lighter hike, try River Bluff Park. Take in spring in Saugatuck as you wander through its 27 acres toward the Kalamazoo River. Rest at benches along the trail, and bring your fishing gear to try your luck on the river!

Look for these spring wildflowers in West Michigan parks!

spring wildflowers in west michigan

As the snow melts (and it will melt again, we promise), bright little pops of color will start to push through the leaf litter, stretching toward the sky. These wildflowers will bloom as long as the budding trees above them allow enough sunlight to touch the ground. When the canopy closes, they’ll disappear, giving way to other shade-loving flora. But before they do, you can catch glimpses of spring wildflowers in West Michigan parks.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan has put together wildflower guide to help you find spring and summer wildflowers in their preserves and partnering parks. Page through the guide to find beautiful photographs, detailed descriptions, months in bloom, and the locations and ecosystems in which you can find spring and summer wildflowers in West Michigan.

Some spring wildflowers start popping up in West Michigan as early as late February. Here are a few you might be able to find in March and April in Saugatuck’s forested parks.

3 spring wildflowers to find in Saugatuck

Trillium

This wildflower is famous in Michigan–known to many as one you absolutely should not pick. Though you can find them in abundance, they are a protected wildflower in the state of Michigan and are therefore illegal to pick or transplant. Their brilliant white petals can fill a forest floor, turning pink as they age and wilt.

Wild Geranium

The purple-blue petals of the wild geranium appear to glow against the green forest growth. Their stalks grow to between one and two feet tall. Find colonies of this flower in shade or partial sunlight starting in April.

Yellow Trout Lily

The Yellow Trout Lily is so called because of the similarity the brown mottled pattern of its leaves bears to the fish. The bright yellow petals of its drooping flowers curve upward. It depends on an open forest canopy that allows in lots of sun, and it can be found in West Michigan as early as March.

Download the Land Conservancy of West Michigan’s guide for more wildflowers to find in the area throughout the season!