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Adventuring in Grand Haven: Art Festival, The Toasted Pickle & More

By June 27, 2017Adventures

It was a pleasant summer day this past Saturday, cooler and sunny with temps in the high 60’s so we decided to head to Grand Haven to explore. I knew the town was featuring their 56th annual Art Festival and I was excited to check out this show for the first time.

The fine art show decorated the main downtown street of Washington Avenue with unique vendor booths full of fun art, painting, pottery, photography and jewelry.  We were able to park just a few blocks away and the show appeared to have a nice turnout without being over-crowded. There were 98 artisans this year and the Chamber of Commerce booth offered a unique catalog showcasing the artists and their contact information. I have attended many art fairs and this was the first time I saw such a detailed brochure.

It was a nice day for a stroll and we had fun looking at all the creative treasures. I purchased a unique metal carved Christmas ornament from American Forging which I just love.

We decided to visit some of the local shops before lunch and one of the fist stops was Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa. I was excited to return to this boutique for the furkids as I originally found their beloved raincoats here. I am happy to report they still carry these portable raincoats (they fold into a pouch) by RC Pet Products and I picked up another set in new patterns for Gucci & Tucker. I will keep these coats in the camper as it is one less thing to remember to pack for each trip.

There were many fun boutiques with lots of unique treasures downtown on Washington. Some of my favorites: Blueberry Haven  featuring everything you could want in blueberry. Carlyn & Company showcasing unique finds from Michigan artists. The Paper Place with so many cards, stationery and fun gift items. What A Gem! Jewlery Boutique offering such pretty things and unique Michigan themed jewelry too. I also found the perfect beach hat at Michigan Rag Co.  I often struggle finding these type of hats to be small enough for my head and luckily this one worked. We actually have a family beach vacation planned this August so this was truly a wonderful find.

After shopping, we decided to grab a bite to eat. Garrin wanted to try out The Toasted Pickle for a sandwich. It was quite crowded in this cute downtown restaurant. Garrin waited in line to order while I waited to snag a table when people vacated it.

I enjoyed the “Gooey Grilled Cheese” which featured a blend of grilled cheeses on sourdough and a cup of tomato soup for dipping.

Garrin tried the “Oddside Ale Pulled Pork” sandwich which was tasty.

We also shared a basket of fries that were delicious. Of course, there was a pickle on the side to top of our meal.

After lunch, we explored the Tri-Cities Historical Museum which is also located right downtown.  It is interesting to see the Fur Trade Post example which was the first major industry in Michigan. Tri-Cities Ports were key centers of commerce and Grand Haven is the Coast Guard City, U.S.A which is a unique part of history. The museum also featured a fun gift shop and I found a bronze Michigan themed bottle opener to bring home for the camper.

I wanted to see the beach and lighthouse before heading home so we walked down to the marina to Bi-Centennial Park and explored.

We enjoyed watching the boats in the water and strolling along the boardwalk.

The pretty red benches stood out along the walk.

There were restaurants that featured outdoor seating with views of the water that I hope to try next time.

We also saw small food and gift shops along the walk where you could find a souvenir or enjoy an ice cream cone. There was even Shaved Ice which is my favorite summer treat so we had to stop on the way back.

We viewed the campground on the beach which would be a fun place to stay however the sites are too close together for our preference. Arriving at the beach and lighthouse, we discovered the pier was under construction.

Unfortunately, we could not venture close to the lighthouse or take many pictures. The beach was indeed crowded and there were lots of people swimming even though it was a cooler day.

We took our flip flops off and enjoyed our feet in the sand for the first time this summer. It was a great end to the day before walking back and heading home.

Grand Haven has lots to offer and many things we have yet to explore so I look forward to adventuring here again soon.




Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.