An Art Enthusiast’s Guide To The Art Coast

Saugatuck/Douglas has long inspired artists of all mediums and captivated the art lovers who visit. Home to numerous galleries, studios, exhibitions, and public art installations, art aficionados will find much to appreciate in the Art Coast of Michigan.

Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Exhibitions

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts regularly featuring exhibits throughout the year. From June 4-September 10, 2021, see Elevating Humanity: Forging Healing Through Connection, artist Sandra Antongiorgi’s collection of work which allows viewers to reckon with their shared legacy of inhumanity and invites people to connect with individuals most marginalized by systems of oppression.

Launched in 2021, the Saugatuck Douglas Fennville Arts Initiative is dedicated to placing highly interactive visual, performing, culinary, healing, and horticulture arts in public venues at no cost. From July 1 through October 10, 2021, Art of the People: Anishinaabe Contemporary ArtistsMaking Moves to Break Down Barriers will be on display at the Saugatuck Douglas Old School House. Prepare to discover a dynamic and evolving culture where history, identity, social justice, and environmental issues are brought up in the works presented by seven regional artists from the Anishinaabe culture. From July 15 through August 15, 2021, eight Latino artists take over the Fennville District Library with the ARTE:LATINO Contemporary Latino Art: Creativity Takes Courage exhibition. Never before seen contemporary works delve into civil rights and immigration as these artists look deeply inside themselves to find a voice of their Latino identity.

J. Petter Galleries

Gallery Strolls

While the long-established Fall Gallery Stroll is known for being the premier arts weekend of the year in Saugatuck/Douglas, other inspiring Gallery Strolls featuring special exhibits and activities happen here each season. Wander through dozens of galleries and artists’ studios, chat with the artists, watch live demos, enjoy live music, and sample delicious local bites and refreshments, all while expanding your artistic tastes. The picturesque streets of downtown Saugatuck and Douglas make for a charming backdrop as you stroll leisurely from one unique gallery to the next. 

Village Square Park Art Show

Art Festivals

Each year in July, the Saugatuck Douglas Art Club hosts two juried outdoor art fairs—the Waterfront Invitational Fine Art Fair and the Village Square Arts and Crafts Fair. Both are open-air art fairs that attract art collectors and art lovers from near and far. The fairs showcase the work of fine artists from around the nation working in a variety of media, including painting, photography, glass, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry, basketry, fibers, and sculpture.

James Conner Gallery and Studio

Artist Studios

Experience art at its source and get the opportunity to speak with artists directly with a studio visit. Discover the artist-owned Peachbelt Studio in Fennville, where original oil paintings by Dawn Stafford are exhibited in a rural historic red brick one-room schoolhouse circa 1867. Stop by the James Brandess Studios & Gallery, housed in the historic Post Office of Downtown Saugatuck, to see the artist in action painting landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits. Enjoy the ambiance of the 1890’s Fernwood Farm, which houses the solar-powered Khnemu Studio where resident artist Dawn Soltysiak makes handmade art and functional pottery. Of course, no artist’s farm would be complete without chickens and ducks roaming free, along with a horse, llama, and a few peacocks!

Downtown Saugatuck

Public Art

Art is everywhere around the Art Coast, and here are some of the places you can encounter it as you’re out and about.

One of the most iconic sculptures in Saugatuck, Family of Man IV, created by artist Cynthia McKean, resides in Coghlin Park, overlooking Lake Kalamazoo. Vibrant red with a dramatic silhouette, the sculpture represents the cyclical nature of mankind’s existence from the present to the past and the future.

Encounter Seurat in Saugatuck just across from Wicks Park. Adorning the walls of the public restroom is a stunning recreation of Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The mural has been a Saugatuck fixture since 1977 and was painted by artist Carol Miron. Visitors can often be seen lounging leisurely on the grass around the park, just as the subjects do in the painting.

Located nearby on the Dockside Market Place building on Water Street is the colorful Smile! You’re in Saugatuck mural, which makes the perfect backdrop for a pic to commemorate your time with us.

The Village Square Park and playground is home to Romero Britto’s Big Temptation sculpture as well as the “Girl With Puppet” statue, erected by the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club and Friends in honor of Burr Tillstrom, the famous puppeteer and creator of Kukla, Fran and Ollie and distinguished citizen of the area.

Stop by our Visitors Bureau in Douglas and see Big Fish, a colorful 12-foot by 8-foot rainbow fish sculpture created by artist Stephen Rubinkam in collaboration with local artists Jeff Blandford and Josh Russell.

At The Present Time – A 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Support small businesses this year and check off your holiday shopping list with must-haves that don’t come from a mall. A host of specialty boutiques and independently-owned galleries and storefronts line the walkable streets of our downtowns, giving you the opportunity to find distinctive gifts in a more relaxed shopping experience.

For the…

Arts Lover

Home to over 20 galleries and artist studios, there is no shortage of places here to shop for incredible artwork. Stop by the Jeff Blandford Gallery for unique and original plates, bowls, and vases to delight everyone on your list. Check out this artist’s intriguing glow glass pieces, made from phosphorescent glass and inspired by bioluminescent species, for a one-of-a-kind gift. Be sure to visit J. Petter Galleries, the largest fine art gallery in the area, which also offers extraordinary wine-themed gift and other items that make for the perfect host/hostess gift. Extraordinary ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and other handcrafted treasures can be found at Capizzo StudioFernwood 1891Armstrong De Graaf International Fine ArtButton GalleryMixed Media Gallery, and the Water Street Gallery, just to name a few of our galleries. For a complete listing of all our galleries and studios, click here. With many galleries offering gift cards, like Amazwi Contemporary Art Gallery, you can be sure your recipient will get exactly what they want.

Smaller, but just as meaningful, art gifts can also be found throughout the area. James Brandess Studios & Gallery is offering beautiful 2022 Calendars and Hand-Deckled Cards that are suitable for framing. And don’t forget to stop by The Laffing Glass to treat yourself and everyone else to a handcrafted, whimsical glass ornament or nightlight.

If experiencing the arts in a myriad of ways is what you’re looking for, gift someone with an SCA Art Pass. Passes can be used for performances, classes, concerts, or camps hosted by the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

For the…

Foodie & Entertainer

Please someone’s palate with Michigan-made edible gifts from Crane’s Pie PantryThe Butler Pantry, and American Spoon. A seasonal favorite to share with friends is American Spoon’s Holiday Jam, a festive limited release made from a merry blend of figs, sour cherries, tart cranberries, and holiday spices. For the freshest, most aromatic herbs, spices, and teas available from around the globe, explore all the exotic offerings from Spice & Tea Merchants. Or, for a selection of small-batch and artisan extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world, stop by The Olive Mill. Your favorite gourmand is sure to appreciate a food gift basket from Isabel’s Market + Eatery or a gift card that can be applied to their specialty food items or demonstration cooking classes.

For the craft beer connoisseurs in your life, purchase a six-pack (or two) from Saugatuck Brewing CompanyGuardian Brewing CompanyWaypost Brewing Company, and The Mitten Brewing Company. Or pick up a bottle of Michigan wine or cider from Fenn Valley WineryCrane’s WineryVirtue CiderModales, or Michigan Wine Company. And don’t forget to pick up a gift certificate from one of our many fabulous restaurants for a memorable stocking stuffer.

For the…

Fashion-Forward

For unique Saugatuck apparel and a wide selection of men’s and women’s outerwear and activewear, be sure to stop by Landsharks. Stylish men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, all imported directly from France, are featured at My French Marta boutique dedicated to cultivating affordable French style. Carefully curated West Coast-inspired styles for both men and women can be found at Coastal Society, which also features a craft cocktail lounge on-site for the ultimate shopping experience. 

For the fashionista in your life, Articles Boutique offers a selection of classic modern styles with an urban edge, while TOTU Boutique features European-inspired fashion and accessories. Other on-trend clothing and accessories can be found at Brass Anchor Co.Gina’s Boutique, and Glik’s, while more classic styles can be found at Saugatuck Traders. And for a unique accessory that also makes a sustainability statement, check out Sea Bags for a wide assortment of stylish bags made from used sails.

For the…

Jewelry Lover

Make someone’s eyes sparkle with handcrafted fine jewelry from Koorey Creations for a blend of stunning originality and timeless design that’s sure to become a family heirloom. Find unique and beautiful artisan-made jewelry in precious metals and stones at Good Goodsalong with a variety of other beautiful handmade items. Or, for Southwestern-inspired jewelry, stop by Santa Fe Trading Co.  For inspiring and unique sterling silver necklaces, earrings and rings entwined with beautiful opals and semi-precious stones, explore the Blue Wildwood Jewelry Boutique.  Handcrafted fair trade jewelry can be found at Lucia’s World Emporiumwhile other covet-worthy statement pieces await your discovery at Endora BohemianArt Glass Alcove, and Urban Found.

For the…

Home Decorator

Plant lovers will love receiving a handcrafted traditional English-style terracotta pot or a beautiful pre-potted Kokedama moss ball garden from Puddingstone. Home décor enthusiasts will appreciate eye-catching finds, both vintage and new, from Upscale Mercantile. Stop by Brackett & Company to find urban contemporary, French country, and elegant estate quality home and garden accessories and furniture for the discerning decorator. While known for their stunning array of contemporary fine art, Roan & Black also offers beautiful home furnishings and accessories that are sure to spark delight.

For an eyeful of holiday inspiration, make Kindel & Company a must-visit on your shopping excursion. Dubbed as a “Lifestyle Mercantile,” this boutique is recognized for its creative decorating ideas, which are demonstrated on full display throughout the store. Looking for some holiday décor? Stop by It Is What It Is for festive and fun home accessories along with other handmade treasures and unique gifts. And don’t forget Tuck’s of Saugatuck, a year-round Christmas shop that features stunning collectible ornaments from Old World Christmas, Christopher Radko, Kurt S. Adler, and more.

For the…

Furry Members of Your Family

Spoil your beloved pet with a new collar, chew toy, or whimsical holiday hat from Lakeshore Pet Boutique, which also offers pet-themed items for humans and their homes. Or find a new bandana, food bowl, or specialty treat at LUXE of Saugatuck.

Turn Up the Heat

Romance isn’t hard to celebrate when you’re spending time in our charming coastal towns. There’s something enchanting about the way this area makes people feel. For an unforgettable Valentine’s Day weekend getaway or romantic retreat, we invite you to discover some captivating ways to while away the winter hours together and get the sparks flying.

Friday

Find the perfect room for your romantic retreat at The Belvedere Inn or The Wickwood Inn, both charming establishments that have the ideal ambiance to make you fall in love all over again. Or cozy up together by the fireplace with a book or board game in a suite at the Sherwood Forest Bed & Breakfast or The Rosemont Inn. Searching for a stay with other specific amenities? Explore more lodging options here.

After check-in, make your way over to the J. Petter Wine Gallery to appreciate some fine art and purchase a bottle of wine or champagne to enjoy later in the evening. Then head downtown in Saugatuck to bask in the glow of the twinkling lights as you stroll along our streets. Stop in a boutique or two, like Good Goods and Art Glass Alcove, to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures before grabbing dinner and a nightcap.

Saturday

After breakfast, grab some coffee from Respite Cappuccino Court or Uncommon Grounds, and rent some snowshoes from Landsharks and take in a long wintry walk to admire the stunning views at the Saugatuck Natural Harbor area. The rolling landscape of shifting sand, dune grass, and wetlands is a sight to behold during the colder months. Or, if cross-country skiing sounds like more your style, head to the trails of Saugatuck Dunes State Park and explore our winter wonderland. Be sure to make a quick stop at Oval Beach and look out for some unusual weather-related phenomenon like “erupting” ice volcanoes and sculpted ice spheres along the shoreline. Even if the conditions aren’t right for you to encounter these incredible winter anomalies; the serene and spectacular view of a frosty Lake Michigan is well worth the interlude.

After your outdoor adventure, warm up by pampering yourselves with a couple’s massage at Bella Vita Spa or Redefine Med Spa. Or, for a completely different way to relax and rejuvenate together, check out the salt cave experience at Massa Body.

Known for our culinary and craft beverage scene, there are many places open in the winter that will leave your palates pleased. Borrowed TimeWick’s Park Bar & Grill, and Guardian Brewing Co. offer heated outdoor seating areas should you want to dine al fresco while other establishments, such as Pennyroyal Café & Provisions and the Saugatuck Brewing Co. have take-out options that you can enjoy in the private comfort of your room.

Sunday

Sleep in and then take your special someone to dash through the snow in a horse-drawn open sleigh. Arrange for a 40-minute, private sleigh ride through the woods with Wild West Ranch for a romantic experience you both will never forget.

Enjoy lunch at Isabel’s Market + Eatery and grab some delectable croissants or cinnamon rolls for the car ride home. And before you say good-bye to the Art Coast of Michigan, you’ll want to peruse the many galleries in Saugatuck and Douglas. The Button GalleryMixed Media GalleryJames Brandess StudiosRoan & Black, and Armstrong De Graaf International Fine Art are just some of the many galleries worthy of a leisurely stroll through.

Tantalizing Tastes of Winter

Whether you’re planning a culinary-focused getaway or stopping for a sip. Winter is the best time of year to enjoy the delicious dishes and craft beverages of the region. And the best part? You get to avoid the crowds.

There’s no better way to warm up after a long wintry day than with a Michigan-made craft beverage. If beer is what you’re craving, try out Saugatuck Brewing CompanyGuardian Brewing CompanyWaypost Brewing Co., and the Mitten Brewing Company. Hard cider fans will appreciate a visit to Virtue Cider or Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery.

To experience our region’s wine varietals, check out Crane’sModales Wines, the nearby Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery, or its Fenn Valley Tasting Room in downtown Saugatuck. And, for award-winning, handcrafted spirits, be sure to stop by the Coppercraft Distillery Tasting Room and the New Holland Brewing Tasting Room.

A must-experience culinary destination, as noted in Condé Nast Traveler’s “20 Best Places to Go in 2020,” Saugatuck/Douglas is a foodie favorite. Tempt your taste buds with a stop at Pennyroyal Café and Provisions for fresh farm-to-table seasonal dishes or Coast 236 for approachable, coastal-inspired fare.  For casually elegant dining combined with the region’s best live music, try Wicks Park Bar & Grille or Salt of the Earth.

Look no further than Bowdie’s Chophouse for an exceptional, intimate steakhouse experience that’s big on flavor. Or, if a burger is more your style, head for The Butlerwhere the selection ranges from the classics to more gourmet.

If sampling a variety of small plates is what you’re after, your trip needs to include a visit to Borrowed Time where seasonally-driven ingredients are artfully prepared and meant to be shared. A local favorite and hidden gem is Clearbrook’s Grill Room Restaurant, who have been serving their house special walleye since 1985.

Explore Our Winter Wonderland

Recapture the joy and spirit of childhood while sledding under a gentle cascade of snowflakes. Explore our tranquil woods and snow-covered dunes on snowshoe or cross-country skis.

With such a variety of outdoor adventures available in Saugatuck/Douglas, you’ll find it easy to create warm winter memories that will last a lifetime.

Get ready to bundle up and feel the crunch of snow beneath your feet. Stop by Landsharks in Saugatuck to rent skis, boots, poles, or snowshoes. Then head out to Saugatuck Dunes State Park to explore miles of spectacular scenic trails that are stunning no matter what time of year. Or make your way over to the Oval Beach Trails or Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, where you’ll breathe in the fresh cool air and marvel at the stark beauty of the wooded dunes and shoreline.

Don’t forget to bring your sled for some frosty downhill fun at Schultz Park in Douglas. For skiing and tubing enthusiasts, enjoy the charming and relaxing atmosphere of Saugatuck/Douglas as your home base and take a short hour-drive to the following ski resorts and ski areas:

And for a more relaxing yet equally spectacular outdoor adventure, let Wild West Ranch take you on a private horse-drawn sleigh ride through magical snow-covered woods.

Cheers Your Way Across the Beachtowns Craft Beverage Trail

Odd Side Ales flight of beer

As you travel through the Lake Michigan Beachtowns, don’t miss stopping at the many spots along our Craft Beverage Trail! We have breweries, vineyards, tasting rooms, distilleries, and cider mills. Discover some new favorites and bring them home as souvenirs and gifts!

Holland

New Holland Brewing was founded in 1997 and today is recognized as one of the leading innovators in the revolution of craft brewing and distilling. Their Pub on 8th in downtown Holland where you can sample the beers on tap as well as their Michigan made bourbon, gin, vodka, and rum. New Holland also has a few menu to pair with your drink of choice. Farmhaus Cider Co. in Hudsonville has their Cidergarten Tap Room located on their 150 year old family farm. On the weekends, they invite local food trucks to sell food to enjoy with their ciders. Our Brewing Company is a nano-brewery in the heart of downtown. They create small batches of complex beer using local ingredients that you can drink while playing trivia, games, and live music. Learn about all of the Holland area stops along the Lake Michigan Beverage Trail here!

Muskegon

Unruly Brewing was the first brewery to brew been in Muskegon since 1957. Their downtown taproom is always alive with live music and their outdoor beer garden is a favorite spot in the summer months. Down the way from Unruly is 18th Amendment Spirits who found their home inside of the former Savings & Loan Bank. Their craft cocktails are made from house made ingredients and freshly squeezed juices. Take your chance on the ‘Dealer’s Choice’ and trust their barstaff to create an original, handcrafted cocktail based on your preferences. North of Muskegon, in Whitehall, you will find Fetch Brewing Company who has an ever changing on tap list. They are known for hosting local food trucks and live music and open mic nights. Learn about all of the Muskegon area stops along the Lake Michigan Beverage Trail Here!

Saint Joseph

Southwest Michigan is home to their very own Makers Trail! Grab yourself a free copy of the Makers Trail Passport which will help you discover over 40 participating craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries. You can also download the Makers Trail app to help navigate to each stop. Collect stamps at each participating location to earn rewards including apparel, tickets to the Makers Trail Festival, Yeti tumblers, and overnight stays in the Saint Joseph area. Learn more about the Makers Trail here!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart

Big Hart Brewing Company’s mission is to provide the best beer, the finest in fresh local food, and excellent service. They are committed to showcasing the bounty of Hart and Oceana County. Big Hart serves up their craft beers as well as their Big Hart blends of wine. The Fox Barn Winery in Shelby is a fruit and asparagus farm with over 2000 acres. In 2005 they introduced their Farm Market and then their Winery soon after. They serve up their fruit wines as well as hard ciders on tap and ‘Barn Bites’ like cheese & crackers and smoked fish dip. Learn more about the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area craft beverage stops here!

Grand Haven

Oddside Ales in downtown Grand Haven began as a humble microbrewery in 2010 and has since grown so much that they now brew in their own 44,000 square foot facility. Their taproom has gone through 3 expansions and now has 27 taps of their newest craft brews. Across the street from Oddside you can find Long Road Distillers. Long Road was the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids and has recently opened up a sister location in Grand Haven. They serve up specialty cocktails with their Michigan made spirits as well as farm-fresh food. Vander Mill in Spring Lake started as a cider mill in 2006 and then began distributing their hard cider in wine bottles and kegs in 2008. Their mainstays are Ginger Peach, Bluish Gold, Hard Apple, and Totally Roasted. During their Sunday Brunches, you can order ‘cidermosas’ to go along with your cider doughnut sliders. Learn more about the Grand Haven area craft beverage stops here!

South Haven

Situated on the riverbank in downtown Paw Paw, Warner Vineyards turned the village’s old water-works building into their Wine Haus. They offer wine, beer, and cider tastings as well as host live music and food trucks. You can find one of Warner’s tasting rooms in downtown South Haven, Holland, and New Buffalo. Harbor Light Brewery in downtown South Haven is just down the road from the area’s famous lighthouse. They have 20 original house-made beers on tap as well as 6 ciders. Three Blondes Brewing was founded by three sisters who were born and raised in the South Haven area. Their revolving tap list includes the likes of Boom Boom Betty, Just Took A DNA Test Turns Out I’m 100% That Beer, and Dill With It. Learn more about the South Haven area craft beverage stops here!

Saugatuck-Douglas

Saugatuck Brewing Company boasts two tasting rooms, 16 taps, hard cider, wine, full menu, and outdoor patio dining. They are currently the only brewery in Michigan to offer a Brew on Premise Program. Participants work with the SBC’s brew masters to create their very own unique beer. Virtue Cider in Fennville makes farmhouse ciders from local heirloom apples and an expansive barrel-aging program. Taste and sip their ciders while touring one of their cider houses and wandering around their gardens to greet their pigs, sheet, chickens, and more. Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery offers tasting, tours, and many events throughout the year including cooking classes, festivals, and live music. They also have a tasting room in downtown Saugatuck! Learn more about the Saugatuck area craft beverage trail stops here!

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