Saugatuck, Michigan family vacation
Yes, we’re mid-way through the fall season already, but this Michigan summer vacation that Jillian’s family takes every year is perfect inspiration for the upcoming family gatherings we’ll all be planning for in the next few weeks.
In August our family took our yearly trip to Saugatuck, Michigan. If you’ve never heard of Saugatuck, you need to look it up. It’s a small town 2.5 hours north of Chicago on Lake Michigan. My husband’s family has lived and owned property there for over a century, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to visit every summer. As soon as you step foot into Saugatuck, you want to roll down the windows, and take in the fresh country smells and lake breezes. You instantly slow down and feel relaxed.
This year marked a special milestone in my father-in-laws life, he turned 70, so naturally as a blogger and designer, I wanted to have a pretty dinner on the beach. Luckily Scott’s family is super talented, and always up for a party! As our vision began to take shape we couldn’t of planned for how beautiful and impactful that moment on the beach would be.
The Clark family cottages are decades old and rich with history. At the end of everyday we sit on the porch, cocktail in hand, reflecting on the day as the sunsets over the lake. The sunsets here are always a high point during our trip.
This scene above has been the pinnacle spot for many of the Clark family wedding celebrations, but no one had created a dinner, like this one, on the beach. To create the moment we carted down all the vintage chairs, glasses, and dishes. We didn’t have a table large enough to fit 12, so my architect brother-in-law, constructed a table using sawhorses and storm shutters. It was brilliant! He also handmade these poles, for our lights, which were originally used for an arbor at his sisters wedding. Yeah, he’s a good guy to have around!
Our menu was simple and seasonal, and everyone chipped in to create a dish. Since we were visiting at the end of August, it’s the perfect time for fresh blueberries and peaches. Naturally we handcrafted a blueberry cocktail, yum! All the flowers came from a local market, called Summertime Market.
Looking back on these photos and remembering how we felt in this moment makes my heart explode. This moment was priceless, and so important. I think we can all get busy, and set in our routines of life, and forget that we need to create a really special, really *real* moment to enjoy together. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to have an excuse to take out the good china, move a table outside for a change of scenery, and invite people over for a magical moment under the stars. You might just surprise yourself, which is exactly what happened to us. As we sat watching the sun set over the lake and the stars pop out in the sky, we were suddenly amazed by a surprise firework display. But, the best part was that this was my son Liam’s first firework display. While the fireworks were amazing as they always are, Liam’s reaction was the moment we all relished in together.
Now that we’re thinking about Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays, we’re looking back on these photos as a family and remembering that with just a teensy bit of extra effort from everyone, we can create a memorable meal that will be all the more enjoyable because we created it together.
Photos by Scott Clark Photo.