31 May 2010

Saugatuck and Soap

One of our family's favorite weekend spots is Saugatuck Michigan. A quick 2.5 hour drive straight west to Lake Michigan puts us in the R & R mood! It's hard not to relax when you are sitting on white, sugar sand beaches facing indigo blue water and 80 degree temperatures! Not to mention, there is no wireless service on the beach, so real life just blurs into blue water and sailboats!

We have always loved the town as well. Cape Cod-ish look on the Kalamazoo River with a bustling marina and very walkable downtown. Lots of live outdoor music, a world-renowned film festival in June, art galleries, shops and restaurants, it's a trendy fun town. The teenagers have a good time as well and we never leave empty handed.

I always buy a bar of Nesti Dante soap from the Tuscan Pot shop. A charming shop, studio and gallery of ceramic artist Rachael Hirt. She creates lovely Italian inspired ceramics and stocks interesting, authentic, imported Italian goods. I stock up on Florentine paper notecards and stationary, leather goods and these Nesti Dante soaps. BIG bars of lather-y, scented goodness that doesn't dry out your skin, give you a rash or leave a soap ring in the tub! The above photo is my favorite scent, but Tuscan Pot has a great selection of scents! Rachael has some new Venetian glass pendants this year and beautiful Italian wrapping papers....I will be back to pick up later this summer! You can see her shop online at www.tuscanpot.com

We also love the neighboring town of Douglas. The Wild Dog Grille is always a winner for food and outdoor seating. I had their Gazpacho and Wild Dog Burger...a burger topped with grape tomato jam (a homemade chunky ketchup) avacado/pesto sauce, french fried onions and gorgonzola all on a medium cooked burger with a grilled bun. Incredible! Outrageously delicious! The best burger I've had in a really long time. Gina's friend, Lewis, concurred. John and Gina got the Tilapia Fish Tacos, Jamie a brick oven pizza. All was wonderful!

In Douglas, I always have to stop at the Steve Rubinkam Gallery and Joys of Life Artful Gifts . He is a very talented impressionist acrylic painter and his work never fails to bring me joy! Joys of Life Artful Gifts always has a little something sweet and interesting to pick up for myself or gifts! Plus the owners are fabulous!

Our favorite place to stay is a little unconventional...room 16 at Captains Quarters Motel on the Blue Star Highway. We LOVE motels! Nothing fancy, but large rooms, lots of pillows, great air conditioners and plenty of hot water! Everything is clean. I enjoy taking my coffee to the backyard in the morning and waking up to the great outdoors. Funky statues, manicured gardens, comfy outdoor seating allows me to read and wake up amongst the little grey squirrels and roses. Not dirt cheap, or for everyone, but we love it! If you go, tell the owner "The cheese people sent us!" (Here's hoping that he likes us too!)