Fennville is another small town located just minutes from Twin Oaks Inn and fall is the perfect season to make the short trip. Innkeepers Sherry and Lisa will be happy to point the way. Fennville has orchards, wine vineyards and restaurants that are well worth visiting. The annual Goose Festival is held in early-October in downtown Fennville and includes a 5k run, an arts and crafts show, and a car and truck show.
Just outside of downtown Fennville are Crane Orchards growing a variety of seasonal fruit you can pick yourself including cherries, peaches and apples. Fall is the season for apple picking. It’s also the season for Crane Orchards’ corn maze. They create a new and challenging design every year.
Located on the grounds of Crane Orchards is Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery which specializes in delicious fruit pies and desserts. Their bakery puts out bread, cinnamon rolls and much more. When my sister and I visited Crane’s we had time to stop in their bakery and we bought the most wonderful apple cider donuts.
For barrel-aged apple cider, you’ll want to stop by Virtue Farm and Cider. Go there for cider tastings, tours and their farm market. Check their website often for events like Thursday’s Night Market Series featuring farm-fresh fare and artisanal crafts.
Head to Fenn Valley Vineyards and Wine Cellar and try their award-winning wines. In addition to winery tasting and cellar tours, Fenn Valley hosts popular events in the fall such as the popular Wine Vine’d 5K Run, a scenic trail through their vineyards, meadow and forested ecosystems, and the annual Nouveau Fest where they introduce the first wine from the vintage.
Salt of the Earth Rustic American Eatery & Bakery in downtown Fennville is well-known among foodies. On my next visit to Saugatuck I plan to dine at this farm-to-table restaurant and I want to try the Campfire Coffee from their dessert menu! When you go be sure to buy one of the perfect loaves of artisanal bread to take home with you.Read more →
When staying at Twin Oaks Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan, you’ll want to make the short drive down Blue Star Highway to the City of the Village of Douglas. Like Saugatuck there are shops and art galleries to be explored. Some unique shops that are well worth visiting are found on Center Street in downtown Douglas. Among them are Brackett and Company and Upscale Mercantile. Plus, downtown Douglas has a number of art galleries including Water Street Gallery, Button Gallery and LaFontsee Galleries.
There are several restaurants in Douglas of note – my favorite is just over the bridge from Saugatuck, on the right – Red Dock Patio. Park your car and walk down the pier to Red Dock Patio. On the way you’ll pass Shaka Surf, where you can rent a stand up paddle board (they even give lessons).
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day Red Dock’s eclectic atmosphere and location on the water make for a wonderful and leisurely lunch. They serve sandwiches, hot dogs, soft drinks, and they have a full bar. Red Dock typically features live music from 4:00pm until sunset. It is fun, fun, fun. Be prepared to pay cash as they don’t accept credit cards or checks.
Other restaurants that you’ll want to try in Douglas are Everday People Café and Wild Dog Grille (both on Center Street in downtown Douglas) and along Blue Star Highway are a few others such as Farmhouse Deli and Cristo’s Roadhouse.
Also on Blue Star Highway are the J. Petter Galleries, which include a huge gallery of fine arts and a wine shop. Enjoy a glass of wine while you stroll the art gallery.
For antique lovers, drive a little further south on Blue Star Highway and visit the Antique Pavilion. Then, stop in Saugatuck Brewing Company for a craft beer and a bite to eat. On Saturdays you can tour the brewery, but be sure to get there early for a ticket because spots are limited.
My favorite time to visit Douglas is at Christmas. In a future blog, I’ll write about all there is to do in Saugatuck and Douglas during the holiday season.Read more →
Art is a big part of the culture in Saugatuck – after all Saugatuck is known as the “Art Coast of Michigan” – and there are many art galleries located within steps of Twin Oaks Inn. Here are just a few of the many art galleries to explore.
On Butler Street in the old post office building is my favorite art gallery, James Brandess Studios and Gallery. James Brandess’ work often includes landscapes and images of the Saugatuck shoreline and Lake Michigan, but on my recent visit he had just completed a painting of flowers that almost popped off the canvas. If you can’t take a painting with you, he sells cards with prints of his paintings. Sometimes you may see him in the dunes of Saugatuck’s Oval Beach painting the many moods of Lake Michigan.
Right next door to James Brandess is my favorite ceramics shop, Jeff Blandford Gallery. I have several pieces of Jeff Blandford’s ceramics, as do Sherry and Lisa, and my brother acquired several pieces when he visited last December. His work is graceful, timeless but stylish, matching any décor in your home.
Another favorite gallery is Amazwi Contemporary Art on Culver Street with contemporary African paintings, sculpture, jewelry and unique crafts. I have a graceful giraffe carving from here. Jeff Blandford has collaborated with one of the painter’s whose work is displayed here.
GoodGoods, located on Mason Street, features fine art, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, ceramics, glass, jewelry and wearables. Lisa’s mother gave her a flying pig handmade out of metal for a recent birthday. You’ll see it hanging on the screened-in porch of the inn.
Cindy’s, also on Mason Street, is a bright, friendly shop with art by Cindy, handmade jewelry, home décor and other accessories.
The galleries above are my favorites but there are so many other fine art galleries located in and around Saugatuck that you will want to visit. Be sure to tell Sherry and Lisa which are your favorites.Read more →
Lisa and Sherry often get questions about where to eat in downtown Saugatuck, Michigan. Located within easy walking distance to Twin Oaks Inn are numerous restaurants, from casual to upscale and everything in between. There is a restaurant to satisfy any craving or taste. I wish I could list them all but here are some of my personal favorites.
Just two streets from Twin Oaks on Culver Street are a few gems:
Grow features a farm-to-table menu. Lindsay and Alec serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, picnic baskets, and a $5 late-night fare served from midnight to 2:00 AM on weekends
Scooters Café and Pizzeria, owned and run by Chuck and Chris, has a large selection of craft beer and they serve pizza until midnight. (Tip: their cheesy bread is a favorite of Lisa’s, co-owner of Twin Oaks)
Hercules Bar and Grill serves up Mediterranean-inspired food. The restaurant has a beautiful courtyard providing a perfectly intimate atmosphere
Bowdie’s Chop House is known for their steaks. On my recent visit Sherry, Lisa and I shared the cowboy ribeye steak, truffle fries (perfect, addictive), wedge salad, brussel sprouts and broccoli. There were three of us sharing this meal and we still walked away with doggie bags
At the corner of Mason and Water Streets is Marro’s which serves traditional Italian food and offers a piano bar and a neat lighted bar where you can enjoy a beverage while you wait for your table. (Tip: you must order the garlic rolls and spend the extra $1 for the marinara sauce. It’s well worth it)
On Butler Street is Phil’s Bar and Grille. I have to say this place is my absolute favorite. The atmosphere is energetic and friendly, and the food is great. I always order Phil’s vegetarian pasta with a house salad and glass of Pino Grigio.
Wally’s is another spot I enjoy. I particularly like the onion rings! That’s Lisa and Sherry having lunch at Wally’s.
Here’s another tip: Sherry and Lisa keep a notebook located in the lobby filled with menus for many of the local restaurants. They will be happy to make suggestions on restaurants when you check-in. Just ask.
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On the last day of my recent visit to Twin Oaks Inn in Saugatuck, I took a quick walking tour of downtown Saugatuck. My plan was to write this blog on all the shops, art galleries and restaurants in Saugatuck that are just a few steps out the front door of the Twin Oaks Inn. However, as I started to type the list became longer and longer and just seemed to run together. So I thought that maybe I would just write about the favorite spots that I always stop in when I’m there. And, even then, the blog seemed too long. Instead, I will just mention a few of my favorites and I’ll save some of my other favorites for future blogs.
On Culver Street is a not-to-be-missed shop, the Bright World Candle Co., with the most beautiful glassware, candles and other giftware. I’ve bought many gifts for friends, and myself, in this shop. Susie, the owner, has a wonderful gift for color, shape and design and she’ll even wrap your purchases for you.
Also located on Culver Street is Just Dogs which stocks homemade dog bones and dog collars with bows or bow ties; Rosio’s which features casual clothes and handcrafter jewely; and Sanborn Jewelry which has created a special white Murano Pandora bead for Saugatuck that features an artist’s palette engraved on the side and “Saugatuck” etched around the outside edge. It should be in stock now.
Hoopdee Scootee on Mason Street is a really fun shop that the manager describes as “unexplainable” merchandise. You’ll know it’s summer when you see a pair of lady’s legs with spike heels hanging out of the upstairs window.
Just down Water Street is a women’s clothing store called The Beach House, The owner has row after row of clothing racks tucked into a 500 square foot store. Another small shop, located on Butler Street, is Fat Cats with its 300 square feet of mostly Life is Good t-shirts for men, women and children. My daughters, sister, friends and I have all made purchases in these both of these shops, and we love them!
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The innkeepers of Twin Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, Michigan are continuously improving their inn for their guests. Lisa and Sherry not only create breakfasts pleasing to the eye and stomach but also create an atmosphere that makes their guests feel pampered and welcome.
Recently they made more improvements to the grounds, first by removing the old shed from the backyard. You can see it was quite a process. Then they replaced the old fence and added new plants.
Now their guests have an additional place to sit outside and enjoy the quiet of the day – a place to share a bottle of wine (they will provide the opener and glasses and nature will provide the backdrop) – a place to talk about what you did during the day – a place to enjoy your morning coffee (they will provide the morning coffee or tea).
I visited Saugatuck just last week and saw the new and improved area. I think it looks great. See for yourself.
My primary reason for going to Saugatuck, besides to see my girls, was to talk with many of the local owners of the shops, restaurants and art galleries that are just steps from Twin Oaks Inn.
My blogs for the rest of the summer will contain up-to-date information on where to eat, buy that piece of art or pottery, where to buy beach attire or souvenir or fun-to-have kitchen gadget, bottle of wine or extra virgin olive oil or piece of fudge, and where to go for evening entertainment.
I had a great time and can’t wait to share with you all that I learned.
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Let’s talk about breakfast at Twin Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, Michigan. I’ve stayed in B&Bs all along the east coast and have definite ideas about the way I want my breakfast served – I don’t want to stand in a buffet line and serve myself. I want to be greeted with a welcoming smile from the innkeepers, and I want to be served a delicious breakfast that is described to me so that I know the ingredients. These are a couple of the many things that Twin Oaks Inn is known for.
One of my favorite breakfasts is French toast – my mother fixed French toast on weekend mornings – it brings back fond memories. Of course, my mother’s version was a piece of loaf bread dipped in an egg, milk, sugar, and cinnamon mixture and then cooked on a griddle. Innkeepers Lisa and Sherry have a few different types of French toast that they serve to their guests. One is their Blueberry and Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole which is stuffed with fresh blueberries – usually from the local blueberry farm – and covered with homemade blueberry compote and then topped with homemade whipped cream. Lisa sometimes prepares it with locally-grown strawberries.
They also cook up savory dishes like frittatas, which are crust-less egg casseroles filled with yummy ingredients such as vegetables, meat and cheese, or a quiche as in this photo – Ham and Cheese Quiche with Hashbrown Crust.
Now people, that is a fresh-baked buttermilk biscuit on the plate that is made from scratch, and in case you don’t know, I know biscuits. I was born in North Carolina and grew up eating them at my grandmother’s every breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Here is an interesting story. I was in Scotland working, staying at a small inn that served breakfast to its guests and they had porridge on the menu. I didn’t know what porridge was so I ordered it. It was oatmeal. You probably eat oatmeal at home but you will be surprised to find that it is something else at the Twin Oaks Inn – Lisa’s creation is a Cinnamon and Oat Bake. It’s like a moist oatmeal cookie topped with vanilla yogurt, juicy summer berries and fresh ground nutmeg. It’s one of Lisa’s most requested recipes. Here’s the recipe for you to try at home.
Twin Oaks Inn Cinnamon and Oat Bake
4 cups oats, old fashioned or quick cook
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Serve with vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit and toasted nutsRead more →
I love live theatre – community and professional – and Saugatuck, Michigan has it this summer! I’m excited to tell you about the 2016 season for two theatre groups, both performing at venues within walking distance to Twin Oaks Inn.
The Mason Street Warehouse produces Broadway-style shows, often featuring professional performers, at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. The Mason Street Warehouse’s 2016 season will feature Million Dollar Quartet (June 24 – July 10), Murder for Two (July 22 – August 7) and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (August 12 – 28).
For all of you rock ‘n’ roll fans, Million Dollar Quartet is the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Set in 1956, these four musicians came together at Sun Records in Memphis to perform one of the greatest jam sessions ever.
Murder for Two is a wacky and fun story of an aspiring detective who attempts to solve the murder of a popular novelist hoping he’ll be promoted at work. He meets 13 zany suspects, all played by one actor. From the bespectacled wife of the victim to the victim’s gruff, cigar-smoking therapist, he must get to know the suspects and make sense of their wild stories in order to solve the crime.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical explores the relationships between the tenants at the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park in Florida, particularly between the stripper, the Dr. Phil-loving agoraphobic Jeannie, and her tollbooth-collector husband.
For top-notch community theatre, Saugatuck Civic Theatre is producing two shows in Saugatuck this summer. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play about an upstanding pillar of the community in Hertfordshire (Jack) who is the guardian of a pretty 18-year old ward (Cecily). To balance his upstanding persona, he pretends to have an irresponsible black-sheep brother (Ernest) that he must constantly rescue from all sorts of escapades. Jack is in love with the cousin (Gwendolyn) of a wealthy gentlemen (Algernon) who pretends to be Ernest when he meets, and then falls in love with, Cecily. A series of farcical events take it from there. Performances will be held June 17-18 and 24-25 at the Saugatuck Woman’s Club.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy that centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a Putnam Valley Middle School where six middle-schoolers vie for the spelling championship while telling stories from their home life. The popular musical runs July 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 at the Saugatuck High School. There’s also a special performance on July 21 to benefit the high school’s drama department.Read more →
How do you like to enjoy the great outdoors? Is it by fishing, sailing or kayaking? Is it by hiking, biking or walking on the beach? Whatever you like Saugatuck, Michigan has it and Twin Oaks Inn B&B in downtown Saugatuck is located within steps or a short bike ride or drive from it.
From Twin Oaks Inn you can bike to Mt.Baldhead Park and Oval Beach, to Saugatuck Dunes State Park where you can hike one of the trails in the 1000-acre park that features over two miles of secluded shoreline, or follow the trail from Saugatuck to Holland (about 11 miles).
You’ll find a great source for sailing and fishing charters and rentals of all types, including kayaks, paddleboards and bikes on the site for the Saugatuck-Douglas Visitors Bureau.
If you’re adventurous and looking for a workout for the legs and heart, take the hand-pulled chain ferry from Wicks Park in downtown Saugatuck across the Kalamazoo River, and walk the 282-steps to the top of Mt. Baldhead (aka “Mt. Baldy”) sand dune. The cost is minimal (take your bike at no charge), and they may even let you pull the chain yourself.
More my speed is the quick two-mile drive to beautiful, pristine Oval Beach. There’s on-site parking for $8.00 daily in season (or $50.00 seasonal), and if you hike in or ride a bike, it’s free. Saugatuck’s beach features concessions, picnic tables, grills, plus restrooms, showers, and a playground.
It’s easy to see why Saugatuck’s Oval Beach was named one of the top 25 beaches in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. The expanse of white, sandy beach and waters of Lake Michigan are beautiful. You feel like you’re on a secluded, sandy beach on the ocean. Bring your beach chair, towels and suntan lotion. Don’t forget your book and iPod. And then let all those work worries just float away like big fluffy clouds in the deep blue sky.
There are many reasons why Saugatuck was voted 2015 Best Small Coastal Town by USA Today readers; come visit and stay at the Twin Oaks Inn B&B and experience Saugatuck’s great outdoors!
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Hello! My name is Gloria Maley. My daughter, Sherry Forbes, and her partner, Lisa Stafford, own and operate Twin Oaks Inn bed and breakfast in Saugatuck, Michigan. I will be writing a blog on their B&B to let you know what is going on in Saugatuck and Douglas, Michigan. The area is one of my favorite places to visit, not just because of my girls, but because the scenery is beautiful every season. Saugatuck and Douglas are wonderful places to visit, to wander the waterfront, explore the art galleries and shops, taste the wine and beer, and enjoy the casual and upscale dining in restaurants that are locally run.
I’m a Southern girl, born and bred. When I think of beaches, I think of Virginia Beach (where I live) and beaches in the Carolinas and Florida where I’ve basked in the sun. But, if you’ve never seen Saugatuck’s Oval Beach, you are in for a huge surprise. The sandy beach is white and wide; Lake Michigan is beautiful.
When you stay at Twin Oaks Inn, a quick block and a half walk out of the front door puts you on the main street where there are beautiful gift shops, local art and craft galleries, restaurants, wine shops, restaurants, and theater. In future blogs, I will be describing the local shops and businesses and keeping you up to date on planned activities in the area. I’ll write about the restaurants, fun things to do and shows to see. You can plan your trip to take advantage of the ongoing activities or just to take in the local scenery. More to come soon!Read more →