The Beautiful People
As we sat at the sidewalk cafe, we saw the new Land Rovers, Porsche’s and BMW’s cruising the main street of town while the sidewalks plied with fashion conscious 20 and 30 something hipsters on their cellphones. On the street corner played Joe, a violin player sharing his repertoire of everything from classical to country to gypsy music for tips.
It had been at least 25 years since we last visited Grand Haven, Michigan. We had just completed our trip to Holland, Michigan to see family and thought we’d head to one of our old favorite haunts, Grand Haven. It seems like a hundred years ago when we lived in Cascade (Grand Rapids), Michigan and kept our sailboat “Exodus” in Grand Haven for several years. It was a sleepy little Port Town on Lake Michigan with a wonderful waterfront. Grand Haven has the distinct designation as Coast Guard City, USA and once a year they have a great week long celebration with the Coast Guard Festival.
On top of a sand dune, across from the channel between Lake Michigan and the town they had a unique attraction that displayed on weekend evenings called the Musical Fountains. The locals joking called them the “Singing Sprinklers”. This was a huge fountain display with lights and music wonderfully choreographed into an entertaining evening’s program.
While we were living our lives elsewhere, Grand Haven had evolved. Main Street was now full of chic boutiques, micro-breweries, esoteric book shops, trendy restaurants and festive ice cream shops. The town is now beautiful and vibrant. Young people bring an energy and as a result, the older generation comes to enjoy the youth and energy. One of the things that hadn’t changed was the wonderful and picturesque waterfront. Grand Haven’s waterfront is like a boardwalk from the Downtown area to Lake Michigan. Boats can tie up along the boardwalk breakwall while the crew enjoys a stroll into town or their favorite yogurt sundae at one of the several ice cream shops.
The Grand Haven State Park is an awesome destination for families that want to be located right on the water. You can get an RV site that backs right up to the beach. Based on our visit, you better make reservations.
Grand Haven State Park Aerial View
If you visit Grand Haven, Michigan, try to make a stop at Fricano’s Pizza Tavern. This locally cherished establishment has been serving very unique pizza since 1949. The pizza has paper thin crust and a heady concoction of herbs and spices. Try their EBA (everything but anchovies) and you’ll be ordering like the locals. Their facility is almost as unique as their pizza. The building looks like an old house and in fact was a boarding house in the late 1800’s. Fricano’s claims to be the first pizzeria in Michigan. I can remember coming to Fricano’s as a child and to the best of my recollection, it hasn’t changed a bit – it’s still pretty close to perfect!
I’m happy to report that the Musical Fountains are still alive and well. To learn more about the Musical Fountains, visit their Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/ghmusicalfountain
Scenes From Grand Haven