South Haven, MI

Our trip to South Haven was uneventful.  We arrived late in the afternoon and were assigned a slip on the north side of the river.  The south side of the river is in town so we had a bit of a hike from the other side.  But we were ok with that.  Beach is available on both sides and it wasn’t that far of a walk to the other side.  After a long day on the boat we needed to take a walk.  We grabbed the girls’ scooters and headed across the draw bridge into town.  It had been a few years since we’d been to South Haven but we remembered an amazing bakery and the walk out the pier to the beach.  We scoped out the bakery for the next morning and continued out past the south side marina towards the beach and sunset!

 

The next morning we headed back across the bridge and straight to the bakery.  After checking the forecast we knew we’d be sitting pretty for a few days so we started to make a list of what we wanted to see and do after we loaded up on cookies and donuts.  We started with an incredible farmer’s market and bought some goodies there as well.

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We decided to go see the Michigan Maritime Museum.  We had seen a number of their boats on display outside during our walks past and wanted to check them out.  The museum inside was dedicated to war efforts, aircraft carriers and a plane crash into the water.  It was all quite interesting, but we wanted to go climb on some boats.  First we checked out the USCG Motor Lifeboat.  This specific boat starred in the Disney movie The Finest Hours, representing another boat just like it.  The other boat was involved in a dangerous rescue in 1952 off the coast of Massachusetts.  It was pretty amazing to look at this little boat and try to imagine how it saved so many people.

 

Next we moved onto the Friends Good Will.  This is a historic replica tall ship that still sails once or twice a day as an excursion boat.  We didn’t take the boat ride (something about living on a boat turns us off from paying to go on other boats!) but we had so much fun touring the boat at the dock.  The docent working on the ship was so good to the girls.  He explained everything.  Showed them the cannon, and the very large windless, as well as the huge mast and sails.  We were all impressed with the windless.  It’s a lot different than ours which just wraps our anchor chain right around a tiny circle.  This thing was HUGE and wound the rope around and around.

 

The girls also took turns with the huge wooden tiller.  The docent then showed us the compass in this beautiful wooden enclosure.

 

And he pointed out the deck prisms.  We saw a few of them and wondered what they were.  We went down below to see the cabin and find out how the deck prisms worked.  Down below in the tiny cabin space we saw the light the prisms let in and the girls climbed back in the tiny bunks to find more prisms back there.  We then went one level lower down to where the bunks were and the galley.

 

We truly enjoyed our tour of this fabulous ship!

 

The Friends Good Will was a highlight of our visit, but we did continue on to see the rest of the ships on display and walked through the out buildings as well.  There was one building full of nothing but old motors.  We spent some time searching for a Johnson motor just like the very old one we had on our previous dinghy.  It now resides with our friends up in Manistique and still runs like a charm.

 

After a long time at the museum we grabbed lunch and the girls and I headed to church a little later in the day.  The following day we were on a mission to find the Kids’ Corner playground we’d heard so much about.  It was just past the church we’d gone to and quite a hike from the marina.  But that’s ok!  We had scooters and I’m happy to walk any amount. We left Ben at the boat working and set out in a different direction than we’d walked previously.  The kids were in search of ice cream so we stopped at Dairy Queen to fuel up for our trek to the park.  The kids had a blast playing.  I love how no matter where we go they will play with and make friends with anyone.  It happened again here. Maddy and a little girl were off and running having a great time playing some game where Molly was supposed to find and chase them.

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Monday morning brought time for work for Ben and school for the girls.  There were lots of Loopers in South Haven also waiting on weather and we planned to see them later in the day.  We’d already stopped by the docks on the other side and talked to quite a few.  The girls and I packed up and worked in the very lovely boaters lounge on the north side.  Each time we talk about home schooling we seem to find someone with a story.  This day the lady working at the marina noticed we were working and came over and turned the music way down. I said it wasn’t bothering us but she insisted.  She then went on to tell me how she had home schooled one of her sons for years and what a wonderful experience it was.

After we wrapped up school work for the day we enjoyed the gardens at the marina.  The flowers, the butterflies, the herbs and the tomatoes were all gorgeous.  The marina employees told us to take what we could carry.  We took a lot of tomatoes and fresh basil.  What a treat!

 

We ended our stay in South Haven with docktails with all the Loopers.  The girls brought their baby dolls and one lady even asked to pose for a picture with them and their babies!  Another Looper brought out his bagpipes and gave us all a real treat.

 

We connected with old friends who we hadn’t seen since our first loop and met many new ones.  South Haven was again a wonderful stop.  But it was time to head back to Chicago!

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