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Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

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chicago, il
posts: 61
reviews: 1
Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

Help. We are trying to finalize a house rental for a summer vacation in August.

Which location would be best for young children and their parents who like good food (restaurants), beach time, berry picking, farmers markets and lake views and a little antiquing? Everyone here in Chicago is raving abour Harbor Country, but I am having a hard time finding nice lodging options. Any suggestions?

In case anyone has personal experience, first hand knowledge, the properties we are looking at are as follows:

New Buffalo house

11083 Garden Drive

South Haven

(house is still being built, but Shores assures me it is one the highest quality houses they have -- 66 Lake Shore)

or a property called Dunescape from Lakeshore Lodging

or another house in Glen Haven Shores (where is this?)

Saugatuck/Douglas

Heron Creek or Beach House from Lakeshore Lodging

Or should we rent a house in the little point sable area? any input? I would LOVE some help here. I just don't want to regret being stuck in one area. I know that SH and Saugatuck are close to each other, but not so much with UP/NB further south.

Thanks so very much.

Caro, Michigan
posts: 449
reviews: 12
1. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

Personally... New Buffalo... or s a second, South Haven. I'd be a little nervous about the newly built house (will it be done in time?) But either South Haven or New Buffalo will give you the chance to drive to Saint Joe to the children's museum if it rains... and there's an adorable Drive-In about 35 minutes from NB if you want that for a nighttime experience.

Also, it depends on the weekend... Ship and Shore weekend is always fun in NB with plenty of things to do... the same for South Haven's festival weekend.

I LOVE Saugutuck as an adult, but I'm not sure it's exactly a "kid-friendly" area.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,475
reviews: 14
2. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

My first thought also is if I had children I think they'd have more to do in SH. I don't know NB that well. All three towns are nice, have their plus'. NB is closer to Chicago, SH probably has the most public beach, and Saugatuck would get the nod for restaurants. SH and Saugatuck are only about 20 minutes apart so it would be easy to enjoy both. NB is about a 50 minute drive south of SH.

The South Haven address you listed appears to be right on the North Beach. There are two houses being built there presently and either would be very nice. One more so as the front facing the beach is oval and lots of glass. Depending on when you're coming it will be a busy area, cars creeping by all day and into the night. Lakeshore is between the houses and the beach. Some like the activity. Course there are swings etc on the beach. Both of these houses aren't sided and appear to be not near complete. I'd have Shores assure you that you'll have a place to stay.

Glenn Haven Shores is off of Blue Star Hwy about 6/7 miles north of South Haven. A quiet community, just the opposite atmosphere of the North Beach area. It is gated. I looked up a house out there for someone last year and it was back from the bluff, but a relatively new home. Most of the homes back there are less than 30 years old and many are new. Not many rentals. You wouldn't be on the beach but in this community you can drive down (steep road) to within 50 feet of the beach, unload, and actually park down there. There is a little grocery in Glenn about a mile down the road that has nice things and a pretty good wine selection.

Just ask if you narrow it down a bit and need specifics. Just be sure to come and bring your friends.. Michigan needs your money! LOL :)

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,475
reviews: 14
3. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

I may have given the wrong impression about Glenn Haven Shores. Its an easy walk to the beach from any house in the neighborhood.

chicago, il
posts: 61
reviews: 1
4. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

Thanks Rono. This is very very helpful. You seem like you have a wealth of knowledge! I know I am asking a lot for the location, etc. but with two families, each with two young kids, we will be tied to the location for parts of the day (i.e., nap time etc) so we want to make sure we are happy with both the house and the location. Would you say that SH is a better base for us than Saugatuck? I like that Saugatuck has more restaurants. Are there farmers markets in Saugatuck, Glenn or Sh?

I think you are right about the house still being built. It seems a little fishy to try and rent something that is not at all ready yet.

Thanks so very much.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,475
reviews: 14
5. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

South Haven has a farmers market on Wed. and Sat and I believe Saugatuck has theirs on Fri. I think both are 8 to 2 pm. There are also several roadside stands. I hate to say one over the other. I think the best thing I can suggest is to look at Saugatuck.org and southhaven.org. Both sites list things to do in the area. The Glenn Haven Shores house would be nearly in the middle of both. 10 minutes to SH and 15 to Saugatuck/Douglas.

chicago, il
posts: 61
reviews: 1
6. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

ok. last question. we are all big foodies and we buy a lot of our produce and meats here in chicago during the summer and fall from Green City Market (which has a lot of different vendors/farms from Michigan). Having said that, we would love to shop locally and cook a few nights but also go out. I have compiled a list of what I hear are good restaurants in the area (was hoping to decide on a house based on proximity to these). Thoughts on these places? Are they even still around?

Saugatuck

Everyday People Cafe

Blue Moon

JourneyMan Cafe

[others?]

South of SH

Red Arrow Roadhouse

Redamaks

SOE

Blue Plate

Horsefeathers

timothy's

Frankies

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,475
reviews: 14
7. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

Saugatuck

Everyday People Cafe Very Good

Blue Moon Best urban look a like,, I really like it.

JourneyMan Cafe Don't bother,, unless you like paying top dollar for bad food. (oh its organic so people like to talk it up,,, if you go order the pizza,, it's the only thing on the menu that isn't covered in gravy to cover the poor quality.)

[others?] Clearbrook (best in town, but only open in the summer),,,I like outside,, the walleye is killer. Mermaid outside on the water, food is average but the view is great.

South of SH

Red Arrow Roadhouse ?

Redamaks I hear good hamburgers.

SOE ?

Blue Plate ?

Horsefeathers ?

timothy's ?

Frankies ?

In my opinion the best restaurant in sw Michigan is Tosi's located in Stevensville, just south of St Joseph. 15/20 minutes from New Buffalo. One problem,, it'll be busy. My brother hates it as they made him wait. Call ahead, no reservations are taken but get placed on the list. Tip Brad the valet, tell them you are new but heard from a close "friend" that this is the place. I suggest Malfatti but that's just me.

In South Haven,, Hawkshead is very good.

Saugatuck, MI
Destination Expert
for Saugatuck
posts: 296
reviews: 21
8. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

I have to disagree with Rono about Journeyman Cafe...If you are a foodie, you will enjoy it although it is expensive...they recently added Rye, a more casual dining experience, right next door. I also think Clearbrook is vastly over-rated...pretty ordinary food, if you're old you'll probably enjoy it's snooty, private club atmosphere.

We do however agree about Everyday People Cafe...the best around in my opinion.

South of here, Soe is great as is Timothy's

Caro, Michigan
posts: 449
reviews: 12
9. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

Okay.... I visit Saugatuck and South Haven... but I'm not frequent enough to rate those restaurants for you. As for the Union Pier, Saint Joe, new Buffalo area-

Red Arrow Roadhouse

Good Food, convenient location (right on the red arrow) =) Not too pricy... but a cute place... but rather small. It's in one big open room, and on a weekend night can get packed... with the high ceilings in there, it can also get rather loud.

Redamaks

The locals will tell you... they don't eat there. The fuss is all the out-of-towners. Redamak's burgers are really not all that great... and REALLY pricy!!!!!!!!! If you must go to a NB institute just to say you've gone... fine. But if you're going because you think you're going to get the best burger of you're life... you might be disappointed.

Horsefeathers

It was fabulous!!! But... it's closed! Sorry!!!!

timothy's

Nice, quint place... quite location... go on Wednesday nights for their half-off specials.

The menu is a little bit pricy, but worth the splurge. Try the Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Grouper or the Keylime Sea Scallops and Shrimp. We have family in Lincoln Park that drives out just for the dinner (sometimes they call us! =) )

Also... another one you didn't have:

Brewster's

They are fabulous in the summer. They have an inside section, but their outside patio is what it's all about. It's surrounded by greenery... fabulous italian food (more italy then american) a nice wine selection... great desserts... this is an evening experience... might be a great destination for the

parents for one night!

And, take the kids to Mikey's Drive-In. It's in Stevensville... right on your way to South Haven / Saugatuck. If they haven't been to a drive in... this is the real deal... they bring it out to the car... make the malt's fresh... it's nothing fancy... but that's the point of a drive-in.

Caro, Michigan
posts: 449
reviews: 12
10. Re: Help. Saugatuck, New Buffalo or South Haven

BTW, you might want to plan on a parent trip to Tabor Hill / Round Barn / Lemongrass wineries... with a stop at the St. Joe Children's Museum and Beach for the kids... and dinner at Tosi's in Stevensville. I think that's a day everyone would enjoy.