Well, according to Lars’ photographs, the last time Lars and I went to Saugatuck Dunes State Park was July 21, 2007–almost exactly FOUR YEARS AGO. I remember that day-trip as one of my favorites in Michigan and just loving Saugatuck Dunes Beach. This could have been a result of the fact that I read a majority of the last Harry Potter installment on that beach while Lars hiked around and played in the water–but I’m glad to report that four years, one husband, one two year old, and at the conclusion of the Harry Potter movie franchise, the beach is still as enchanting as ever and undoubtedly remains my favorite in Michigan.
It is a two hour drive to Saugatuck from Ann Arbor made well worth it by the beautiful summer scenery. Creeping rivers, expansive green trees, occasional billboards expounding the virtues of Jesus Christ (welcome to the West Side of the state of Michigan, friends). Religious nonsense aside, its a nice drive that we were happy to make. We arrived in Saugatuck about 1:30pm and started the half mile hike to the beach. Armed with swim diapers, gold fish, an inflatable boat, and some good books–it had all the makings for a perfect day. I had always thought that the half mile hike to the beach would deter some of the crowds that can be found at some of the other public beaches along the west side of the state. In honesty, the beach wasn’t totally desolate–in fact, it was quite busy–but not so busy that we had to fight for a place to layout or have no room to maneuver in Lake Michigan.
On the hike in, Bjorn decided to channel his maternal Laver roots and threw a total temper tantrum unless he was being carried–he would not hike on said death march of one half mile. He also was concerned about all the indigenous Michigan Monkeys to be found in the Saugatuck Dunes wildlife area. He kept pointing to the tree tops asking about the elusive primates. Genius. I can only attribute this to our recent obsession with the creepiest episode of “Little Einsteins” ever that involved a monkey that speaks in classical music.
Once at the beach, we set up camp and tested out the water–it was a little chilly but totally clear and very refreshing after lying in the 85+ degree heat. Bjorn and Lars lounged in their inflatable boat and loaded up the water squirter, prepared to defend themselves….against an unknown threat. Rogue frisbee? Lake shark? Damn dirty monkeys?
Bjorn also loves to play in the sand and rocks. It is his mission in life to, slowly but surely, take all the sand of the beach and deposit it back in Lake Michigan. One plastic shovel-load at a time.
We left around 6pm–a solid four hours at the beach with no meltdowns, lots of fun, and an entire canister of Ranch Pringles that was eaten primarily by Bjorn. Dinner in Saugatuck, a quick trip to the public beach in town, and a car ride home with a sleeping toddler. It was perfect.
Photographic evidence of our perfect day can be found here. Why we don’t go to Saugatuck every weekend is now a mystery to me. We certainly shouldn’t let four years lapse between our sojourns to this fantastic region again. They even have a public bathroom muralled (not sure this is a word but for the purposes of my blog, it is now) in my favorite painting, La Grande Jatte. What more could I a girl want?