A Family Getaway + A Wedding in Saugatuck


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I love it when my friends make my travel plans for me, because I always find myself experiencing things I would never have thought to look for myself. My friend, Jess (a travel agent and fellow photographer) convinced us to take Zel to Hawaii with her family when she was 13 months old and to plan a family trip to Costa Rica this December with two four-year-olds and two almost two-year-olds. She took me along to Austin this year and planned our trip to Puerto Rico last December.

This time, my friend Lisa asked if she could tag along with me to a wedding to see what it’s all about. When it worked out to have her come along to Saugatuck for Jess and Jon’s wedding, she booked a farmhouse for both of our families to stay in across the river in Douglas. We went to the wedding while our husband’s hung out with the kids in Saugatuck.

Lisa has a son who’s four months older than Zel and a daughter who is less than two weeks younger than Arden (her daughter was actually due on the day Arden was born and decided to wait a few extra weeks to make her appearance). The combination of other kids to play with, sleepovers in the farmhouse, bunk beds, fireflies and chickens out in the yard made Zel so so excited. The kids would get up and run outside with their pajamas still on to see the chickens and look for the barn cats in the yard. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to stay that’s relatively close to the beach and the cuteness that is Saugatuck, check this place out.

Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Toddler looks at a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area

Here’s Lisa with all the kids before breakfast. We were all still in our pajamas.

group photo near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
chickens in a chicken coop
kids holding hands

After a morning in town scouting out pretty spots for photos, peeking at the marinas (of course) and enjoying some amazing food, Lisa and I headed off to Jess and Jon’s wedding at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Bah – I can’t wait to share the rest of these photos, but here’s a quick preview for now:

oval beach wedding photos in Saugatuck, Michgan

On Sunday, we drove north to Muskegon to see if the weather would cooperate and let us go sailing. My dad joined us after he had to cancel his Grand Canyon rafting trip at the last minute (literally the last minute—he was about to get on the raft when he decided not to go because of record setting temperatures in the 120s and higher).

We spent some time at the beach, and after some rain, cold, wind and a scraped knee, we were packing up the car to go home without sailing when the weather made a last minute shift that gave us a chance for a mini sail on Lake Muskegon.

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family sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck

We learned an important lesson this weekend about sailing with kids. Always, always have snacks available. Arden cried so much that I finally took her down below and read her a book (her favorite thing to do) while Jeff and my dad sailed the boat back to the marina.

We ended the weekend with a picnic overlooking Lake Michigan, where Arden ate everything in sight. Noted, my dear. We won’t leave the dock without snacks again 🙂

kids sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck
the girls in a cart at Great Lakes marina

Captain Barnacles comes along on all of our family adventures.

the girls in a cart with "Captain Barnacles" at Great Lakes marina

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