Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Dragon Lives in Michigan

This past weekend was our second annual trek to Saugatuck to see the fall colors and spend a weekend in the small tourist-friendly Michigan town. Eric and I went last year when I was pregnant and were excited to engage in the Fall Festival activities at a different level this year. As it turned out, we spent most of our time in bars, as the gift shops and craft booths got a little old and the outdoor festivities got a little cold. BUT in any case, Oliver was a hit in his dragon costume throughout. We're not typically "Halloween people," but something about a kid in a furry suit gives it some appeal.

Our fun started on Thursday, when I my sister
Danielle and her able, helping hands arrived from California to come on the trip with us. Friday was spent packing (a feat seriously underestimated by my husband) and driving (amazingly decent traffic for a Friday). The leaves were pretty along the way, but it was a little overcast, so not nearly as magnificent as they were when we drove around on Sunday while Oliver napped in the car.

First thing we did when we got there was go to the "Whatever we do, I'm not going to that horrible bar across from the hotel" place. Turns out that when you're not pregnant and people are not smoking, a bad bar becomes a great bar with excellent draught selection and a pretty decent menu. In fact, we returned to
The Boathouse on at least three more occassions and an attempted fourth. Oliver was a terror that night, not going to sleep until 10 p.m. and waking up pretty much every two hours thereafter.Ugh.
So we weren't especially well rested for Saturday, the big event. Oh well, such is life with a baby... We started with breakfast at the
diner across the street from our hotel, then it was naptime, so Danielle put The Monk to bed and Eric and I did the touristy shops, where I bought a book and some cards by Brian Andreas, who writes these cool little vingette story poems that actually touched me, even though I'm not normally very schmoopy. We also bought ourselves some toasty warm hats to get us through the inevitable winter.

As we tooled around town all day, we were continually running into this group of women organized into teams who were doing a scavenger hunt. Seemed like a lot of fun, so we got involved where we could and I ended up having a
woman eating a banana while sitting on my shoulders. Turns out they were all staying at our hotel, so we hung out in the community room with them while they did the final scavenger hunt counts and round-ups. Nice ladies. Great idea for the scavenger hunt. I might have to try something similar sometime.

By the time Eric and I were done exploring on our own Saturday morning, Oliver woke up, it was time to don the Dragon costume, to drink an afternoon beer, to cruise through the craft booths, and to do more shopping and time killing until the parade. Was a good time. Everything is just funnier when you have a 9-month-old dressed as a Dragon in tow. The Halloween Parade in Saugatuck is exactly two blocks long and we joined just at the end, but had a good time anyway. (We managed to miss the Adult Halloween Parade in nearby Douglas that night, but that's really another story.)

After the parade, we stayed out and about and tried to tire out our little Dragon, which seemed to work pretty well. A highlight of the tiring out was a trance induced by a Barry White "karaoke" number -- see
the 2:00+ minute video of said Dragon watching a musician at The White House Bistro -- HILARIOUS. We were grateful for the Dragon costume for keeping the little guy toasty throughout the day because it was pretty dang chilly.

Saturday night Eric and I went out to Douglas and I got my face painted like a pumpkin and drank more beer. No surprise there.

The next morning, we packed it up and headed out of town. First to Douglas's
Kalico Kitchen for some breakfast buffet -- grits and biscuits and ham and eggs and potatoes and not a piece of fruit in sight. Then, of course, we had to stop at Crane's Pie Pantry for some PIE and CRISPS. Yum! But before pie, of course, we had to drive around so Oliver could finish his snooze, so we detoured and saw some seriously awe-inspiring leaves. The sun was shining so brightly and the colors were super. We stopped at a lakeside park, too, and took turns bundling up and walking down to the beach where the waves were big and the gusts of wind even bigger. Good times!

On the way home, we stopped at a Halloween USA to get our costumes for the big party next weekend, but more on that later. And that's about it.

Sorry for the length of this posting and the play-by-play nature, but in addition to broadcasting updates to all of you through this blog, it also serves as diary / journal for me, so I'll need to come back to this next year when I start questioning the expense and the hassle of a roadtrip to Michigan. As it turns out, it's all worth it and I'm sure we'll do it again -- hopefully with Aunt Danielle again because that made it all that much more fun!

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