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travelingtanya.comSpontaneous Trip to Saugatuck, MichiganSpontaneity is definitely not my strong suit. I’m a list maker. I’m a planner. I follow the rules. But as I get older I’m learning to embrace the unknown a bit more. And I’m finding it can be full of wonderful surprises! Saugatuck, Michigan was my latest spontaneous adventure. My husband, Brent, thought it would be a great idea to rent out our house through Airbnb over Memorial Day weekend. Living near Indianapolis, there is a huge demand for accommodations among race fans coming to our state to enjoy The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indy 500. I knew my daughters would be with their dad this year for the holiday weekend, so I said, sure let’s go for it! Spontaneous act #1! We listed our home on Airbnb and it wasn’t long before we had a renter all lined up! Cha-ching! We were excited about the extra income this would generate (a little over $700, not bad!). We have stayed in several Airbnbs and had great experiences, but this was our first time to be on the other side of the deal. I set to work typing up the House Rules, because as I said I’m a list maker and a rule follower. And I expected the same of the people who would be staying in our home. As the weekend approached, Brent and I both worked to give the house a thorough cleaning. I’m not sure the house had been this clean since we moved in! But strangers would be staying in our home and I couldn’t have them finding dust bunnies or dirty baseboards! So…when you rent out your house…you have to go somewhere else! Technically, on Airbnb you can just rent out a room in your house and still stay there, but that is not the option we provided. The weeks leading up to Memorial Day had been extra busy with the end of school year activities and all the cleaning we were doing. And we hadn’t actually figured out where we would be staying. On Saturday morning, the last counter was wiped down, our bags were packed, and the pets were re-homed for the weekend. Brent and I got in the car and picked up some much needed caffeine at Starbucks. Then we agreed to head north. Chicago or somewhere in Michigan were options we had mentioned over the last few weeks, so we knew we had 100 miles or so before we had to decide which direction to veer off. While Brent drove, I pulled up the map of Michigan on my Iphone, thinking a trip to a beach town sounded fabulous. I saw Saugatuck on the map and vaguely remembered someone mentioning this quaint town. Next I logged onto Airbnb and within a few minutes, I found what looked like the perfect Bed and Breakfast for our 2 night stay. Brent, being the far more spontaneous one, didn’t need to hear too many of the accommodation’s details. If I thought it sounded nice, he was in. A couple more clicks and we had a place to stay for the next 2 nights, and I could really begin enjoying our trip. Now I was excited about Saugatuck and continued searching on my phone for reviews and suggestions on sights to see. I was starting to think we might need more than just 2 nights to enjoy everything this town had to offer! (Turns out I was right…but that just means we will have to make another trip to Saugatuck soon!) Accommodations We checked into the Saugatuck Harbor Inn and received an extremely thorough explanation of everything the Inn and the town had to offer. We stayed in the Lady Anne Room and found it to be charming, comfortable, and spacious. Perfect for a romantic weekend! Saugatuck Harbor Inn sits right by Kalamazoo Lake and the Inn provides access to a large lakeside pool that is shared with the neighboring upscale condo units. We never made time for swimming, but we did enjoy a bottle of Michigan Cherry Wine as we watched the sunset one evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the homemade, full course breakfast provided each morning by the Inn keeper and her assistant. The food was delicious and the hospitality was first rate. We could have sat for hours in the charming front porch breakfast area…but there was a whole town to explore, so we never lingered too long. One of the best parts of the Inn was the location. Just a 5 minute walk away were the charming shops and delightful restaurants that make Saugatuck a premier Midwest vacation destination. We enjoyed strolling up and down the quaint streets as we popped in and out of unique shops. Saugatuck definitely had an upscale vibe and was lacking the touristy souvenir and t-shirt shops many beach towns are filled with. Dining While there were several restaurants to choose from, we only had 2 dinners and tough decisions had to be made. The first night we dined at the Mermaid Waterfront Bar & Grill. We opted to dine inside so we could be seated right away. We settled in with some adult beverages and we each enjoyed one of their seafood options. The second evening we headed over to The Butler, and this time we decided to wait for a table on the outside deck. While we waited we enjoyed a few adult beverages at the outdoor tiki bar…afterall, we were on vacation without the kids! After about 45 minutes, we were seated close to the live band playing for the holiday weekend crowd. Maybe it was the music, or the beautiful sunset, or the cocktails, but I don’t quite recall the food we ordered. But I do remember having an amazing time! Brent and I sang along with the musicians and the many tourists also delighting in their Saugatuck getaway. And when you are on vacation, there is always room for ice cream! So once we left The Butler, we indulged our sweet tooth with some ice cream at Kilwins before calling it a night. All I can say is YUM! Seeing the Sights Of course when visiting a beach town, you must go to the beach! Oval beach was just a short 3 mile drive away. While the water was still too chilly to take a plunge, we spent several hours lounging on the sand reading and taking a stroll down the beach. Before heading to the beach, we did have to stop in one of the beach shops in Saugatuck to buy Brent some swim trunks. One of the hazards of spontaneity! Note to self: Always pack swim trucks. You never know when you will end up at the beach! We decided to drive a little further north one afternoon to check out the neighboring town of Holland, Michigan. While not as close to the beach, Holland had plenty of quaint shops and restaurants. Of course, its not really vacation without wine tasting! We checked out the tasting room at Warner Vineyards, bought a few bottles to take home, and enjoyed some wine slushies. The perfect adult treat for a hot day! Heading Home All good things (and vacations) must come to an end. But we had the luxury of some time before we had to be home, so we meandered south, scoping out several more beach towns along Lake Michigan. We did some vacation reconnaissance in South Haven, Saint Joseph, and New Buffalo. We will definitely be planning a family trip to South Haven soon! And we will be sure to visit Saugatuck again. We love the beaches in Florida and the Carolinas…but we are thrilled to know we have some fabulous beaches just a few hours north in Pure Michigan. Comment below and tell me about your favorite beach town! And in case you were wondering…our first experience renting out our home on Airbnb was fabulous! Our renters left the house in great shape and gave us a positive online review. Even after our Saugatuck vacation expenses, we still came out ahead financially. And we made some priceless vacation memories! Wherever the road takes you, make it a joyous journey, Traveling Tanya P.S. 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