Saturday, July 30, 2011
Grand Haven Lighthouse
Last week my husband had a business trip to Grand Haven, Mich., and I tagged along. With our summertime temperatures here in Dallas in the 100s, we figured it would be a great time to enjoy the cooler weather up north.
Wrong! With our bad timing, we started our trip on the week when most of the U.S. was facing a record heat wave. Even 1,000 miles north of Dallas, we found unbearable heat and humidity. While we were there, Grand Haven was suffering through record-high temperatures, and the heat wave was big news in all the newspapers, on the radio and on TV.
However, even with all that record heat, Michigan STILL felt nicer than Texas, and it ended up being a nice vacation after all. You know why? In Michigan it actually cools down at night!
Here in Texas, we get no lake or ocean breezes, and it stays hot all night long. Our "low" nighttime temperatures have been hovering around 85 degrees F. But in coastal Michigan, the heat subsided as the sun went down, and it soon became pleasant enough to walk the quaint downtown streets, stroll along the lakeside paths and saunter along the sandy beaches. In fact, we were surprised to see how many people were out and about enjoying the balmy evenings. In Dallas, most people hole up in their air-conditioned homes from about June to September. In Michigan, it was refreshing to see people actually enjoying the summer and relaxing outside without sweating.
Grand Haven is a cute, charming little town on the shores of Lake Michigan with a population of about 10,400. Founded by French fur trappers, the city later became a logging center and a manufacturing hub. Nowadays it attracts tourists with its picturesque views and white-sand beaches. In fact, Grand Haven State Park has been rated one of the country's top five beaches.
Coming from Texas, we were surprised to see how clean and pristine the beaches were, with no trash, no jellyfish and no seaweed. The beaches were beautiful and filled with families and teenagers having fun in the sun.
The most noted landmark in Grand Haven is its historic lighthouse. We walked out a long jetty to reach it one evening. The breezes were so cool and nice, and the views were picturesque. The main lighthouse, painted red, was built in 1875 and is connected to the shore by a metal catwalk once used by the lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse marks the mouth to the Grand River and is now owned by the Coast Guard.
I thought the lighthouse was incredibly scenic and hope you do, too.