Fewer Chills, More Thrills with Holiday Shopping in South Haven

It’s never too early to form a shopping game plan— especially when it comes to avoiding long lines, excruciating traffic, and delayed shipping dates. Forego any retail woes and satisfy everyone on your shopping list with these important dates:


Dine On Us
November 1, 2022 – May 15, 2023
Participating Lodging Members & Restaurants

Dine on us

Discover South Haven’s winter charm and local flavor with a $25 DINE ON US card, available when you book a stay at select lodging properties. Certain restrictions apply, Click the link above for a full list of participating locations and upcoming events.

Offer valid November 1, 2022, through May 15, 2023. Some restrictions may apply.  Exact details of promotion vary at each participating lodging member property; check for details.  Must book directly with lodging property and mention the Dine on Us promotion to receive a card.  Not valid with any other promotion.  Not valid during Holidays and special event days or special event weekends. 


2nd Annual Women’s Shop ‘Til You Drop Saturday
Saturday | November 12th | 10 am – 6 pm
Over 30 Participating Locations
After-Party at Harbor Light Brewery | 6 pm

Womens Shopping Saturday

Tag the girls: Women’s Shop ‘Til You Drop Saturday is back with over 30 participating locations offering exclusive deals, fun activities, crafts, complimentary treats, and drinks! Spend $15 at a participating shop and receive (1) stamp on your Shopping Passport. Turn in your card with six stamps to be entered in a drawing for awesome gift baskets at the after-party! Gift baskets contain 5-6 gifts valued at $40 or more. Visit the Facebook Event to browse promotions and live updates.



36th Annual Mistletoe Market
Preview: November 18th | $20 Members / $25 Non-Members | 6 pm
Free Admission | November 19th – December 11th
South Haven Center for the Arts

Mistletoe Market SHCA

This holiday-based consignment shop transforms the SHCA into a fine art market from November 19th through December 11th. Get a sneak peek at vendors and artist-curated showcases during the Mistletoe Market Preview Party on November 18th. The evening includes live music, good food & wine, a raffle, and fun while supporting the arts!


Small Business Saturday
November 26 | Downtown South Haven

Small Business Saturday

Looking for a more relaxed pace of holiday shopping? Visit downtown South Haven on Small Business Saturday where you’ll find unique gifts and deals at boutiques, antiques, toy stores, and candy shops, not to mention fabulous dining options where you can relax after crossing the final name off your “Nice” list.


All About Blueberries in South Haven, MI

South Haven is home to the largest concentration of blueberry growers in the world. There are nearly 300 blueberry farmers with roughly 18,500 acres of blueberry farms within a 50-mile radius. The beloved blueberry is celebrated when it’s in season at our farm markets, u-pick farms, and at our National Blueberry Festival. Let’s learn about all things “blueberry” in South Haven!


Typical Blueberry Season: July-August

Sample Types of Blueberries Grown:


This powdery-blue berry is often large, typically ready to be picked between mid-July and early August.

Blue Crop

This variety provides a “classic” sweet blueberry flavor and medium size; typically ready to pick from mid-July to mid-August.


A firm, sweet berry. It is often large in size and typically ready to pick in mid to late July.

Early Blues

Just as the name suggests, this sweet, medium-sized variety is typically ready to pick at the beginning of July.


A large, mildly tart berry that is hardy. Great for pies, jams/jellies, or as a snack. Typically ready to pick mid-August to mid-September.


One of the oldest varieties, Jerseys are medium-sized, sweet, and very popular for baking. It is typically ready to pick up from late July through mid-August.


A small, semi-sweet berry, preferred for pies and baking. Perfect for muffins and pancakes. Ready to pick mid-July to mid-August.


A crowd favorite for its sweet flavor and large size, this variety is only available for a short time, usually ready to pick around mid-July.


(varieties and descriptions from DeGrandchamp Farms and True Blue Farms)


Blueberry U-Pick Farms

Bumbleberry Acres

6785 Baseline Road, South Haven


DeGrandchamp Farms

76241 14th Avenue, South Haven


True Blue Farms

09589 CR 215, Grand Junction


Farm Markets

Barden’s Farm Market

1101 Phoenix Street, South Haven

Open May through November, 8 am to 7 pm daily.


South Haven Farm Market

539 Huron Street, South Haven

Open 8 am to 2 pm on Saturdays, mid-May through mid-October, and Wednesdays, June through August. Special evening markets take place on the first Thursdays in June, July, and August from 4 pm to 7 pm.


The Blueberry Store

Your one-stop shop for all-things blueberry, located downtown South Haven on Phoenix Street! The Blueberry Store specializes in all things blueberry. They carry fresh and frozen Michigan blueberries, dried blueberries, blueberry coffee, blueberry syrup, blueberry juices, Michigan blueberry gift baskets, and more!


National Blueberry Festival

Always the 2nd Week in August!

The National Blueberry Festival has been South Haven’s signature event since 1963! It is always held on the second weekend in August and is one of the country’s oldest continuously-running fruit festivals. and includes free concerts, a parade, kids’ activities, blueberry pancake breakfasts, pie-eating contests, and much more!

Add These Waterfront Bars to Your South Haven Itinerary

Summertime in South Haven! During the summer, streets are filled with people of all ages, hands are filled with shopping bags, and bellies are full of good food and adult beverages. Nothing draws a crowd like the three, beautiful bars/restaurants that are located right on Black River.

The IdlerAdmiral Jack’s, and Captain Lou’s are the perfect spots to truly experience the summertime South Haven vibes. With amazing views, the best company, and drinks on the river, some could say we are one of the best small beach getaways, even for a day. While walking around town be sure to add all these riverfront bars to the agenda, and feel right at peace with twinkling tiki lights and music that is reminiscent of Margaritaville. The IdlerAdmiral Jack’s, and Captain Lou’s are some of the hottest spots in town, and are worth adding to the itinerary!

The Idler Riverboat & Dockside

First stop, the Idler. Nothing gets your day going more than a South Haven Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.), one of their signature drinks. The Idler is located conveniently downtown, so if your thirst needs to be quenched stop by and have a S.H.I.T or a Foxy Rum Punch to take a break, rest your feet, and enjoy the views the Idler has to offer. The Idler overlooks the Black River Channel, and if you are lucky enough to get a seat in the outskirts, you may even see glimpses of Lake Michigan. Something unique the Idler offers is the “shot ski” where you and three other friends can take a shot from a ski! Just be sure to have people with similar heights, otherwise you might wear the shot instead of drinking it.

Admiral Jack’s

Within walking distance, and right next door is Admiral Jack’s, settled right on the river. Jack’s, as it is known by the locals, is that escape you’ve been looking for in that little chunk of paradise. They are known for their tropical drinks, so you’ll have to try a Rum Runner. It has two bars, and plenty of space to enjoy the views of the Black River, and maybe even catch the sunset. Jack’s is unique in that it serves both the people on land and in the water, as they have a dock to park your dinghy! Before cruising Lake Michigan for the day, be sure to stop by to get some food and drink. Jack’s is the middle stop of the riverfront bars, so be sure to have some water with your adult beverages, and gear up for the second half.

Captain Lou’s

When it seems like the day is coming to an end and the sun goes down, be sure to check out Captain Lou’s for the nightlife scene, located right across the Dyckman Bridge. Lou’s serves ice cold drinks and food during the day, and becomes the hangout spot during the night. The two-bar set-up is the best place to watch all the boats come in for the evening. Lou’s is the best place to find yourself relaxing from the day in the sun, or the place to get the party started; accommodating both mindsets! The two bars include covered and uncovered seating, and plenty of space for dancing while live music echoes over the river. If the sun was a little too much for the day, relax in the shaded bar area and sip on something delicious! Or, if the night is just getting started, plan on dancing until your feet hurt. Lou’s might be your first or last stop of the day- either way Captain Lou’s is a must-visit while in South Haven.

So, when coming to South Haven on your next adventure, be sure to add these riverfront bars on the agenda. These small-town places have a lot to offer your vacation: drinks, food, memories, and maybe even some hangovers, but the stories will be told for years to come!

Planning Your Destination Wedding in South Haven, Michigan

Here at the Visitors Bureau we receive calls, emails, and visits asking about South Haven’s opportunities for weddings and receptions. This being the case, I’m happy to put together this wedding guide for those who are interested in marrying, having a reception, or simply having engagement photos taken in the South Haven area.

Photo credit: Katlyn Eltzroth


If you’re interested in getting engagement photos taken in South Haven, you have many scenic options to choose from:

South Haven Piers

Our iconic red lighthouse is a popular backdrop for many people who wish to capture their experiences in South Haven.


South Haven Beaches

Walking on the beach, whether during the day or during sunset, is always so picturesque.

Photo by Josh and Andrea Photography



As you walk south along South Beach, you’ll start to walk along the side of the bluffs. Standing or sitting atop the bluffs with Lake Michigan as a backdrop is a beachy must.



If you would like a bit of greenery (or fall colors) to your photos, head out on the Kal-Haven Trail or the Van Buren Trail.

Photo by Josh and Andrea Photography



South Haven’s downtown area has a very quaint charm. There are also a couple hidden gems for unique photos – check out Old Harbor Village or the alleyway where Cookies on Call is located. The hanging string lights are a bonus.

Old Harbor Village



South Haven has many parks with different types of scenery. Riverfront Park is a stretch of green along the Black River, with a view of the piers and lighthouse. Stanley Johnston Park is a former grove that is lush with trees and a backdrop of the harbor. Dyckman Park contains the antique-style clock tower. Here’s a list of our parks for even more options: http://south-haven.com/parks_and_recreation/parks.php


Nature Preserves

Looking for even more nature, maybe off the beaten path? Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, Casco Township Nature Preserve and Black River Preserve are just a few options in the immediate area.


When it comes to tying the knot, there are many indoor and outdoor choices to suit your interests. The area boasts many types of houses of worship, including St. Basil’s Catholic Church which has an overlook of Lake Michigan and South Beach. The First Hebrew Congregation was built in 1924 and is a gorgeous building for your ceremony. In addition, there are many other Christian Churches throughout the area, here is a link: https://www.southhaven.org/places-of-worship


A common question we hear concerns having ceremonies on the public beaches. Yes, you certainly can have a wedding on the beach. The caveat is, since the beaches in South Haven are public, you cannot reserve the beach to yourselves. Regardless, there have been many weddings on the public beaches and the photos we have seen are gorgeous. Here is a link to the City of South Haven’s website regarding beach weddings: http://www.south-haven.com/parks_and_recreation/weddings.php


Let’s talk venues!

The Black River Barn is South Haven’s newest wedding venue construction. This is a gorgeous luxury construction with indoor and outdoor capabilities. Max capacity is 350 people. http://www.brbsouthhaven.com/


South Haven Creations is newly refurbished and looks crisp and stunning! South Haven Creations has indoor and outdoor capabilities as well, in addition to their own catering services. Max capacity is 215 people. https://southhavencreations.com/


Big Red Barn is located just outside of town and offers exceptional weekend packages. You’ll love the aesthetic of the luxury barn. Max capacity is 200 people. https://www.bigredbarnsouthhaven.com/


Want to go even more rustic? The Black Sheep Shelter is located between South Haven and Fennville and hosts small weddings. https://www.theblacksheepshelter.com/


Our two top-rate golf courses also double as hosts for weddings and receptions. Beeches Golf Club and HawksHead Links are each located about ten minutes from South Haven’s downtown and offer gorgeous scenery to accompany your celebrations.




Another ten-minute drive from South Haven is the small town of Bangor, which is home to the Historic Bangor Elevator, a National Historic Place. https://www.facebook.com/BangorElevator/


The South Haven Center for the Arts is a beautiful location with plenty of natural light opportunities in the upstairs event space. Max capacity is 80 people. https://www.southhavenarts.org/



Michigan Flywheelers Museum is located on 80 acres with wooded areas, flower gardens and historic buildings. You can reserve their Stephenson Barn, Peaceful Knoll Church, or the museum grounds. https://michiganflywheelers.org/


Lake Bluff Inn and Suites provides the perfect backdrop of Lake Michigan to your outdoor ceremony and reception. Plus, you’ll have rooms to sleep in! http://www.lakebluffinnandsuites.com/


The Kal-Haven Outpost is another outdoor venue with sleeping capabilities, including camping cabins, RV sites, tent spaces and vacation rental homes. Their campus has tree-lined options and open space, with the Kal-Haven Trail at your backdoor! https://www.kalhavenoutpost.com/


Sun n’ Sand Resort is a refurbished 1920’s resort that is sure to add a certain charm to your day. This unique resort has options to stay, play and celebrate together with an outdoor pool, dining room, fire pit, open grounds and more. https://southhavenresort.com/


For smaller, more intimate weddings and elopements, check out:

Carriage House at the Harbor – https://www.carriagehouseharbor.com/

Martha’s Vineyard – https://www.marthasvy.com/

Yelton Manor Boutique Hotel B&B – https://www.yeltonmanor.com/


For a list of accommodations, click here: https://www.southhaven.org/lodging


On top of venues and scenic locations for photos, planning for weddings also involve caterers, florists, salons, and more. I encourage you to check out our wedding planning page with a further list our local vendors: https://www.southhaven.org/wedding-planning


As you can see, there are many options in South Haven to have your perfect wedding, reception and photos. The charm of our quaint downtown, beaches, indoor venues and outdoor spaces provide excellent backdrops for your special day.


If you have any questions about any of this content, we are more than happy to help. Call: 269-637-5252 or email: relax@southhaven.org. Happy wedding planning!


Prohibition and Pearls website: www.prohibitionandpearls.com

About the Author

Amanda Owens is a resident of South Haven, MI and is the Guest Services and Social Media Coordinator for the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Public History, and is delighted to help visitors with their visits to South Haven. 

Planning the Perfect South Haven Vacation: Accommodations are Key

Everyone loves a good vacation: the break from routine that lets us escape into what we long for, whether it be rest and relaxation, adventure, special moments with family and friends or expanding our view of the world.

With quiet charm, festive nightlife, stunning scenery and maritime culture, South Haven offers it all. What you can do depends solely on your desire. To complete your perfect vacation with us, you need only match your accommodations with your goals for your time here.

Types of Lodging in South Haven

South Haven has unique places to stay you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll start with a basic review of where you can stay according to your plans.

Bed & Breakfasts

Visitors who wish for a warm, peaceful at-home atmosphere will appreciate our South Haven bed & breakfasts (B&Bs). Our B&Bs are popular with couples (as most are adult-only), as well as with travelers seeking one-of-a-kind rooms and décor.

The Last Resort: Browse your choice of South Haven’s bed & breakfasts

Usually located in historic homes with vintage or antique furnishings, B&Bs have guest rooms with common areas (e.g. living and dining rooms, gardens). Owners typically live on or near the property. Included as part of the stay, breakfast ranges from continental fare to sumptuous home-cooked meals.

A delicious, home-cooked breakfast at the Victoria Resort

Inns & Resorts

Inns and resorts are either operated by the owner or run by an innkeeper or a manager who often lives at the property. Larger than most B&Bs, they typically include more rooms, and some serve both breakfast and dinner. Often, there will be family-friendly scheduled activities at the resorts.

Sleepy Hollow Resort: Learn more about South Haven’s inns and resorts

Cottage, Condos & Vacation Rentals

If you’ll be staying in South Haven for several days to a week or more, you might consider renting one of our cottages, condos or vacation homes. A rental can offer you the comforts of your own space and amenities. Because of their greater size and privacy, rentals also are particularly popular for those traveling in a group or as a multi-generational family.

Discover more about South Haven’s rental properties, condos & cottages

Hotels & Motels

With close proximity to the highway, many appreciate the consistency of a national brand hotel. With convenient access to services and amenities, a South Haven hotel is an excellent choice at a great price point that may suit both your plans and your budget.

Find the right South Haven hotel or motel for you

If basic comforts for a lower price are all you need, a South Haven motel can be the way to go. Motels are often ideal for those who might be on a stricter budget or intend to be out and about a bit more. Formed from the phrase “motorist’s hotel,” they also often provide ample parking for vehicles and close proximity to highways.

Camping Cabins

Will you be visiting South Haven to experience the great outdoors? Our camping cabins can be a way to stay where scenic beauty is all around you. Aside from being economical, camping cabins connect you to South Haven’s nature and wildlife.You’re beyond the bustle of town but still close enough to enjoy the beach, a day of shopping or a night of dining and strolling if you choose.

The Willow Room at the Kal-Haven Outpost’s camping cabins: Find out more about South Haven’s camping cabins

Other Lodging Considerations

You may already know which type of lodging will be best for your next perfect South Haven vacation, as well as your budget for it. The following ideas will help you further zero in on the right accommodations.

  • Know your companions’ needs and preferences, especially if you’ll be traveling with children or seniors. Consider whether they’ll need convenient access to stores, medical centers, and child or senior care. Family entertainment and activities might be factors as well.
  • Make a list of where you’ll want to spend time. It is important that your lodging be central to your destinations?
  • Factor in food. Will your budget allow for dining out often at South Haven’s restaurants, or will you want to buy groceries and prepare your own meals? Perhaps you’re in a position to mix both. Beyond the time you plan to enjoy in South Haven, food might influence your choice of quarters.

We love helping you find your escape in our beautiful beach town on Lake Michigan. If you have further questions about South Haven lodging, please call us at (800) 764-2836.


About the Author

A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.

Celebrating the Harvest in South Haven, Michigan

Hot cider, pumpkin patches, apple picking and hayrides are the hot buttons that make us all think of the Fall harvest. The leaves are turning and creating a colorful backdrop, temperatures are cooler giving us the excuse to start bonfires, and whether or not you believe the spirits are among us, we are evoking earlier times when harvest was a time to celebrate and come together.

South Haven is one of the best areas to keep the harvest tradition alive. A number of area farms are eager to have people come and observe the harvest, do some of their own picking, or hey, even get lost in a corn maze or spooked in a haunted house.


DeGrandchamp Farms



Start off the harvest season at this family farm that hales back to 1958. October 8 marks the DeGrandchamp Farms cranberry harvest. One day a year from 10 am to 4 pm, the farm located just south of South Haven opens up their fields so that guests can witness the beauty of harvesting of cranberries in the natural bogs.

Catch a hayride to the bogs throughout the day to watch as they rake in the bright, red cranberries from the flooded bogs. Then, head to the sorting line to learn about the way they sort and package cranberries for shipping. Cranberry products are available for purchase at the retail market including jams, salsas, dried fruit and baked good. Fresh cranberries are available in October and November; frozen cranberries from December through September.


Overhiser Orchards

6405 109th Avenue



Starting October 1, grab the kids and head to Overhiser Orchards to pick your own pumpkins or apples and explore the farm and its many harvest activities, 10 am to 3 pm every day until the end of October. Available apples for U-pick include Empire, Cortland, Jonamac, Blonde and Gala for $.80 a pound. They also have pre-picked Honeycrisp for $1.89 a pound. Munch on some fresh donuts while you sip cider, pet the farm animals or feed the birds with the farm’s sunflower seed harvest.








Every weekend in October the farm has donuts and cider to enjoy, along with a food truck offering corn dogs, sweet potato fries and smoothies. Take time to get lost in the corn maze or head over the sunflower field for the farm’s new nature walk. Hayrides are available weather permitting. You can also fish in the pond onsite. Corn Maze and wagon ride weekend passes are $7 and includes a free feed cone to feed the animals at the animal barn and a trip out to the U-Pick orchard.


Bumbleberry Acres

6785 Baseline Rd.



If you’re looking for true October Halloween-like adventures, Bumbleberry Acres goes out of their way to put the scare on. There’s a corn maze with maze games for everyone that wind you through the 10 acres of live corn. You can choose the Farm Scene Treasure Hunt or Farm Scene Investigation or simply go through the 3 mile maze and hit all 12 checkpoints. There are also farm animals to enjoy, pony rides, wagon rides and a corn cannon to please all ages.


Dutch Farm Market

6967 109th Ave.



At the Dutch Farm Market just north of South Haven, apples (Red Delicious, Matsu, Cortland, Yellow Delicious, North Spy, Ida Red and Rome) and Bosc pears are there for the picking, and free wagon rides are available until the end of October. The market store has all the apples and pears, and everything from homemade jams, taffy apples, fresh-pressed cider, honey and maple syrup, to home baked pies, bread, turnovers and donuts, to name just a few. And Sherman’s ice cream, of course.

World Class Fishing on Lake Michigan

Take a stroll along the Black River in downtown South Haven and you’re likely to encounter the serious fishing boats. If you’re already a fisherman (or fisherwoman), you may know what fishing on the big lake is all about. But if you’re like me, lake fishing invites curiosity and a certain mystique.

I’m not a complete fishing novice. I have experienced the occasional casting from a rowboat or canoe on camping trips, once tried fly fishing in Wyoming and had the distinct pleasure of salmon fishing in Alaska on a rare sunny day where, with a lot of help from a seasoned guide, I caught a 25 pound King Salmon.

Fishing on Lake Michigan, however, is a different experience and fishing with die-hard sports fishermen opens up a whole new world. Chuck Moore and his crew, experienced friends Bill and Kevin, graciously offered to take me out and glimpse their unique world. Moore’s boat is a 33-ft. craft called the Merry More, which he bought 4 years ago and retrofitted for optimum fishing.

We started out at 6:30 am and I was sure to take my Dramamine, though I wasn’t sure I needed it (I did). We headed out of the harbor into open water. It was a cloudy, close to foggy morning, but the lake was smooth. At about 3 miles out, the crew put trolling bags over the side to help with steering and to slow the boat while trolling. One by one, while Chuck steered the boat, Bill and Kevin put fishing lures onto the lines and cast them out, using boards to keep the lures away from the boat until 18 lines were out.

That was my first surprise of the day (that’s a lot of lines)–this is serious fishing. Chuck has radar in the cabin to track where the fish are lurking and steered the boat to optimize its position. The lures they used were called spoons (oblong pieces of metal with a treble hook at one end and a grommet or loop at the other.) The spoons were colorful and, it was explained to me, wobble in the water which attracts the predator fish. The lures have colorful names, too. One used was called Mixed Veggie, another, still in its package and never to be used, was named the O.J. Simpson.

Eventually we were 5 miles out in the lake. It occurred to me that we could have been on an ocean. We couldn’t see the shore and I once again marveled at this amazing body of water I have the privilege to live near which offers, what Chuck calls, “world class fishing”.

I confess, despite the Dramamine, I still became a bit queasy. I was told not to go below deck, to stand in the middle of the boat and look at the horizon. It helped. So did being called to land a fish. We hooked one and I was brought to the stern to bring it in. I began reeling it in and then a yellow devise called a rod butt cushion was placed on the butt of the fishing pole so that I could position it in my belly button and give myself some leverage without severely bruising myself. It took a bit of arm strength and I didn’t embarrass myself. The guys were good at giving instruction and I managed to bring the fish in so that they could net it and land it on board. It was a beautiful lake trout.

I let my husband, along for the fun, land the other three we brought in—two king salmon and a steelhead, all three larger than my lake trout. We headed back to the harbor, sooner I know than the guys would have liked. We watched them process the four large fish in about 15 minutes and we bid them farewell. They were headed back out. It was a good fishing day, and they weren’t about to let the day go to waste.

If you are looking for your own world class fishing experience on Lake Michigan, South Haven has a number of charter fishing companies who are eager to help. Here’s a resource to get you started on your fishing adventure: https://www.southhaven.org/experience/fishing-and-hunting

About the Author

Nancy Backas has been writing, mostly about food, for more than 30 years. South Haven is a favorite place, and she and her husband Terry visit as often as they can. The rich food and art culture, along with opportunities to explore South Haven’s magical natural surroundings is what draws she and her husband to SoHa. She looks forward to sharing her South Haven discoveries. And, while they currently live in Chicago, with moving plans in the works, South Haven will soon be their new home.

Fun at Full Sail Onboard Friends Good Will

The ropes are untied and the boat embarks. You slowly steer through the Black River channel and into the blue sprawl of Lake Michigan, which reflects the diamond chips cast by the sun.

Once you’re on the lake, the strengthening air begins to cool: You pull on a sweatshirt. Crew members dressed as 1800s merchant seamen begin to move on the deck. One asks you to help him.

You join in raising a sail, which billows and cracks as you face the horizon. The wind whips your hair and the beaches of South Haven grow smaller behind you.

You cruise and float with your fellow passengers until the sky begins to dim and splash the coming night with celestial paint. You gaze out at the South Haven sunset, a blazing ball of copper that drops slowly like an eyelid at bedtime.

And somewhere, deeper within it all, you sense the spirit of an American era.

You’re at the pinnacle of South Haven sailing.

Built entirely of wood (mainly Douglas fir) in 2004, the boat on which you stand is an exact replica of Friends Good Will made specifically for the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. If you lose yourself in the moment, you might even imagine what it was like to be on the deck of the vessel during her early 19th century voyages.

The original Friends Good Will was built in 1810 at River Rouge in Michigan by Oliver Williams, who owned a dry-goods store in Fort Detroit (now within Detroit city limits).

Williams sold everything from hammers to cut trees for houses to candles and barrels of whiskey. Before building Friends Good Will, the only way he could get the goods to his store was to buy them in Buffalo, New York, about 260 miles away on the far east side of Lake Erie. Once loaded on wagons, the goods would make a horse-drawn trek back to the fort, which could take from four to six weeks depending on the weather.

Determined to be more efficient, Williams built the ship so the goods could be acquired by traveling down the Detroit River and straight across Lake Erie. When sailing in good wind, the ship would trim the Buffalo trip from several weeks to two or three days.

In summer 1811, soon after Friends Good Will’s initial launch, Williams’ business was profitable. Just two round trips with the ship could stock his store for more than a year.

In fall 1811, Williams entered a contract with the U.S. government. Friends Good Will would transport soldiers, materials and military supplies including guns and gunpowder first up Lake Huron to Fort Mackinac (now part of Mackinac Island) and then down to Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago.

When Friends Good Will was making one such voyage to Fort Mackinac in summer 1812, Williams was not yet aware that the U.S. and Britain were at war. The British, who had taken Mackinac Island just days before, lured the ship into the harbor near the fort by flying false colors above the ramparts. They seized the boat and its cargo and crew and renamed it HMS Little Belt, an insult at that time. The British then armed the vessel and added it to the Royal Navy for battle against the U.S.

In September 1813, U.S. Commodore Oliver Perry recaptured the ship at the Battle of Lake Erie and kept the name Little Belt as a snub to the British. He also did not return the boat to Oliver Williams; rather, he put it into service for the American Great Lakes navy, which used it to ferry military cargo and ammunition.

In December, the ship was driven ashore by a storm just south of Buffalo. The crew unloaded it and went up to the city. Later that month, a British raiding party entered Buffalo and burned it down, including the boat.

Thanks to South Haven’s Michigan Maritime Museum, Friends Good Will lives on through day sails, school field trips and educational tours. Schedule your ride today for an exhilarating Lake Michigan journey guided by the ghosts of history.

Discover more about the museum’s other inspiring boat rides as well!

Friends Good Will
Michigan Maritime Museum
260 Dyckman Ave., South Haven, MI 49090
(269) 637-8078 / www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org


About the Author

A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.


Find Your Sensory Feast at the South Haven Farm Market

Farm-to-table produce and meat. Freshly picked berries and nuts. All-natural Amish cheese. Herbs and spices. Artisan woodwork. Whimsical jewelry. Candles and soaps. Leather wraps.

You’re not in the middle of an exotic bazaar – you’re among the 80 vendors at the South Haven Farm Market at the Huron St. Pavilion, an annual highlight of downtown South Haven.

A point of interest in South Haven for many years, the market connects regional producers and artists with people from all over for a celebration of original food, beauty and creativity.

The Delight of Diversity

The joy and success of downtown South Haven’s farm market reside in its variety.

Farm Manager Harold Stanton of Stanton Farm of Gobles, Michigan, has been selling his farm-raised, non-GMO beef, chicken and pork at the market for eight years.

“For us, being at the market is like going to an event,” he said. “We really enjoy the customers, the personal aspect and the South Haven atmosphere. People there ask a lot of questions because they care about where their food comes from. They like being able to speak to the farmer and know how the animals are raised and fed.

“The market is also a meaningful extension of our farm’s livelihood. It represents about 20 percent of our sales.”

Stokes’ Blueberry Farm & Nursery has been participating in the market for the past six years. The farm and nursery

specializes in blueberries but also offers asparagus; dark sweet, Rainier and sour cherries; peaches; apple varieties such as Gala, Red Delicious and Jonagold’s; and jarred jams, jellies, preserves and pickled asparagus.

“As a first-generation family farm, we take pride in our Michigan farm land and feel blessed and honored to be providing locally grown produce alongside other hard-working Michigan farmers,” said Jamie Stokes-Glowacki, the farm and nursery’s office administrator.

“We enjoy being able to interact with market visitors and answer their questions about how we grow and care for our crops. We believe the power to obtain safe and healthy foods needs to be with consumers. A local farmers market lets them purchase fruits and veggies that are truly ‘in season’ from trusted local sources.

“The South Haven Farm Market is a great way to bring the community together and support local business, all within walking distance of beautiful Lake Michigan. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Honduran family–owned Patas de Pluma (Michigan City, Indiana) offers a variety of handmade artisan carvings (e.g. bowls, jewelry boxes, wall art, statuettes), as well as hammock chairs. In 2019 they are also adding Mayan woven cloths and purses, Garifuna shell jewelry and some handmade pottery items.

Born and raised in Honduras, Roberto Enamorado is in charge of Patas de Pluma’s products and sales. He has found great value and appeal in the market since joining in 2018.

“The South Haven Farm Market brings together beautiful summer days, interesting people and great food all in one place,” he said. “It’s also conveniently located for those who come to enjoy Lake Michigan’s coastline.”

The market has been a boon for business as well.

“I love to talk to people about my home country of Honduras and the wealth of its talent and the resourcefulness of its people,” Roberto said. “The response to what we offer has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people say they have never seen anything like our products before.”

For even more insight into the vendors’ diversity, view the complete listing.

Make Your Plans for the Market

Whether you’re here for fun in the sun, dining, fishing, shopping or trips out on the lake, the South Haven Farm Market adds excitement and culture to your stay. The market welcomes visitors 8am–2pm on Saturdays May–October as well as on Wednesdays June–August.

For more information, call (269) 206-0324 or visit www.southhavenfarmmarket.com.

While many market vendors accept credit cards, some do not; carrying some cash is recommended.


About the Author

A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.


Early Industry and Community Beginnings in South Haven, Michigan

Businesses First Saw Mill Built By C P Ludwig Circa 1850's

South Haven is a vacation destination with a rich history of progress and expansion, making it one of the favorite stops on the West Michigan Pike by adventure-seeking travelers. Industrial innovations and circumstances have shaped the area over time, leading to the charming city we know today. 2019 marks one hundred and fifty years since the incorporation of South Haven as a town. Throughout the year the city will celebrate this achievement and past historic accomplishments. South Haven has continued to build since its first settlers in 1833, both in size and reputation. Behind the quaint storefronts and glistening beaches of this destination town is a story of a community who has efforted toward expansion and prosperity, beginning with the lumber industry and progressing with the changing pace of time. The citizens of South Haven in the 1800’s were not only a community of hard workers, but a community who engaged in celebrations, political meetings, church services, and more. Much like our own communities today.

In 1833, the first white settler arrived and made the area his home. Judge Jay R. Monroe was granted a land patent from the U.S. government for sixty-five acres of land along the Lake Michigan Shore. He is believed to have built the first house, a double log cabin, located at the mouth of the Black River. While later relocating to nearby Lawrence, Monroe recognized the potential of the area. Settlers slowly began seeing this potential as well, especially after roads were established from South Haven to the Kalamazoo area and Paw Paw around 1835.

The industry that provided a means of expansion at the beginning of settlement was lumber, which was an achievable business with the available water sources in the area. In 1850 the first steam saw mill was built with one upright saw on the bank of the Black River. Two years later another saw mill was built, and more followed. Saw mills allowed for expansion in multiple ways. Jobs were made available as labor was required to operate the mills and the area was being cleared, providing spaces for buildings. These structures were soon used for housing and businesses, and the town of South Haven began to grow and shape. That same year in 1852, the village was platted, and the first one-room schoolhouse and post office were constructed. The first hotel was built one year later and served an equally important role for the developing town.

South Haven’s first hotel was originally named the Forest House, and later changed to the National House, and then the Pacific House after new ownership. In 1852 the population was estimated to be two hundred people, with around half of that number residing in the Forest House. The structure was three stories high, with the third floor serving as a full-length ballroom. The ballroom was the hub for social gatherings, political meetings, and religious services. Through the years of service, name changes, business changes, and even relocation, the Forest House still stands today as South Haven’s oldest building, located at 313 Center Street.

The construction of the Forest House hotel would not have been as possible without the presence of sawmills, and sawmills were the first of many industries to inhabit the area. The result was the development of the town. South Haven has seen growth every year since 1833, with buildings, population, businesses, and organizations. The Forest House is representative of the changing tides in South Haven as it has progressed through time. The hotel’s beginnings were rooted in community, as it was used for housing, renting, entertaining and conducting business. These same aspects are what keep South Haven afloat today, serving as both a permanent residence and a vacation retreat. Over the course of the present year I will be taking readers through this popular city’s timeline and exploring the unique aspects that have made South Haven what it is today; A haven, for the community and its visitors alike.

Photographs courtesy of the Historical Association of South Haven

About the Author

Amanda Owens is a resident of South Haven, MI and is the Guest Services and Social Media Coordinator for the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Public History, and is delighted to help visitors with their trips to the beautiful city of South Haven.