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Camping in Coldwater

By July 5, 2019Adventures

Last Friday, we headed out for our first camping trip of the season. Starting late this year due to the weather and family wedding trips so we were all very excited for the trip.

Garrin did not have any time off for this adventure so we planned a more local trip and drove South to Coldwater. We booked our trip at a new campground in the area called Harbor Cove RV Resort.

The last part of the drive we passed several industrial buildings and I have to admit I was starting to feel apprehensive about the location of the campground. Luckily, it was tucked back past the industrial locale and upon checking in–I received a super friendly greeting from the staff making me feel very welcome.

We were told to “pull in and then back out” of our campsite. This instruction seemed off and Garrin did not attempt it initially. He soon realized that the normal way to back the camper into the site would not work. About this time, our neighbor offered the same advice the staff had to “pull in and back out”. After moving the picnic table and some creative maneuvering of the truck–Garrin had the camper in place.

It was a super hot evening and upon camper setup we found the electrical breaker kept tripping as the air conditioner stopped working.  When Garrin cleared the water lines–a terrible sulfur smell filled the camper. We did not know if the odor was from the hot water tank being cleared out or if just the condition of the water at the campground. I was concerned this trip was not going to work out very well and headed to the office before closing for help with the electrical issue.

The staff’s friendliness and concern of the problem eased my mind that they would take care of us. Soon a maintenance gentleman arrived at our site and looked at the issue with Garrin. The only thing he could ascertain was our surge protector was potentially causing the issue. We tried removing it and luckily the issue did indeed resolve.

After such a bumpy start, we were happy to finally start cooking dinner as we were rather hungry–it was after 8:00 pm after all. It is amazing what a gorgeous view of the lake, some brauts and drinks will do for your spirits.

The campground sits on South Lake which connects with several other lakes in the area.

As the sun went down, the temperature cooled off enough to start a fire. We had purchased two bundles of firewood from the camp store and the wood was impressive–full logs at $5.50 a bundle. We noticed a lot of the trees in the area had to be cleared for building the campground and appears utilizing this lumber for the bundles.

The mosquitoes are bad this year due to the extra wet season in the Mitten, however we were luckily as they could have been so much worse near the water.  We decided to enjoy the season’s first s’mores before heading in for the night. S’mores are still my favorite part about camping!

The next morning, I was happy to discover the water odor had dissipated so I could enjoy my shower. We enjoyed pancakes, eggs and bacon from the grill to start our day.

It was already in the 80s early in the morning so we knew it was going to be a hot day. We wanted to venture out and explore the area so we packed up the dogs and headed downtown.

The architecture downtown features quaint old buildings and historic looking houses. We walked the streets and were disappointed to see only a few retail and restaurant businesses appeared open. A cute apparel store that I would have liked to check out was closed and several businesses seemed to be closed permanently.

We walked through the local Farmer’s Market which was small and cute.

It is a shame to see that the area overall does not seem to be thriving currently. Coldwater’s history shows that the area was first inhabited by Potawatomi Native Americans at the time of first contact with European trappers, traders, and colonists. Control over the area passed from Great Britain to the United States in 1796, with American settlers moving into the area around 1830.

As Michigan is known for, the area features lots of water: Coldwater Lake flows into the Coldwater river into the city from the south. The Coldwater chain of lakes also has an outlet called the Sauk River and both combine to form a series of shallow, connected lakes on the city’s west side.

There was not much to explore downtown so we drove by some beautiful historic houses in the area and headed to Shorts Rootbeer Stand, an old fashioned drive-in restaurant.

The vintage 50s feel of this place is super fun as wait staff comes to your car window to take orders. There is music in the air that reminds you of a simpler time and the waitstaff brings the food on a tray that does indeed attach to your window. I asked the history of the place and learned it was an A & W back in the day and has changed ownership several times though they could not tell me when the restaurant originated.

Garrin ordered a coney dog & a hot pretzel with cheese for me. We also decided to treat ourselves to Rootbeers as the house specialty. The food was very disappointing, however the Rootbeer was delicious. I am still glad we experienced this nostalgic place.

If it had been a nicer day, we would’ve driven 30 minutes drive to Marshall which is one of our favorite towns. However, to get out of the heat, we headed back campground. We hung out in the air conditioned camper most of the afternoon. As the temps became more reasonable, we decided to explore the campground. It does not have a pool or playground area for the kids and the trees planted will need to mature to provide a more rustic experience. It did however have a large pond that is stocked with fresh fish for your fishing pleasure.

There were also several of these unique community swing pavilions with a fire pit in the middle. If it had not been so hot–we may have used one of these as quite a fun idea.

We enjoyed burgers on the grill and s’mores by the fire for a second night.

We discovered our gas lines were leaking after grilling that evening which meant no breakfast cooking.

I really appreciated the beauty of our front view for this trip as it seemed to ease the challenges we had to face.

The next morning, Garrin bought bagels and coffee from a local Bigby to start our day then we packed up to return home. Excited the next adventure will come soon enough.



Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

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