Food for the Soul at Douglas Michigan

 July 20, 2021

This past week I spent three days at Douglas, MI, while my husband attended a gathering for members of his fraternity. While he and his buddies played euchre, golfed, shared memories, and updated each other on their lives, I enjoyed the small town of Douglas. We both experienced food for our souls. He found it socializing with his friends. I found food for the soul at Douglas Michigan.

Douglas and Saugatuck

So many sights – gardens, artwork, sculpture, all surrounded by water. It was a feast for the eyes. A necessary break from the computer and the noise of the world.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon, settled into our pet-friendly air BnB before heading out to the home on Lakeshore drive where the fraternity brothers were gathering. I walked our dog, Seamus, along Lakeshore drive, enjoying the view of Lake Michigan and the large houses along the way. An informal memorial was being held for a member who had died two years ago. Wives were welcome to stay for the memorial. By eight we were sent on our way.

I wanted to be able to take Seamus with me as much as possible rather than leave him cooped up in an unfamiliar place. Douglas was the perfect spot. The owner of the BnB left us a brochure with a walking tour of Douglas. This gave some direction for my wandering. I loved seeing the different houses, and especially the gardens. Seamus loved all the new smells.

colorful flowers

Saugatuck was a short drive from Douglas. We spent a drizzly morning walking with Seamus along the downtown, looking at the different shops before my husband rejoined his fraternity brothers. Saugatuck is more well-known than Douglas (I had never heard of Douglas before this). However, Saugatuck was more commercial and touristy and lacked the charm of Douglas. And there appeared to be more art galleries in Douglas, at least per square foot. If there were more in Saugatuck, they were lost amid the stores.

There are enough stores and restaurants in Douglas to be interesting but not touristy. It also wasn’t difficult to maneuver downtown Douglas with my dog.

Art Galleries

I loved Water Street Gallery and Button Gallery. Both had sculpture gardens along with beautiful artwork. The Old School House History Center featured a gallery of American Indian artwork, all by contemporary artists. And where else would you find a mini free art library? Take a piece of art, leave a piece of art!

mini free library

Petter Gallery was just a house away from our BnB. There were two floors of artwork along with a wine bar. Patrons can buy a glass of wine then walk about the gallery. While Seamus was welcome inside, I didn’t want to take a chance. His tail has been known to knock over wine glasses in a glance, before unsuspecting drinkers can save them. I left Seamus at the air BnB for this jaunt. Besides pictures, there were fun sculptures of people.

art gallery with statue of woman looking at art

Thursday night there was a Chamber Music Concert in Beery Field with Akropolis Reed Quintet. Outstanding! Another pet-friendly event. They started their performance with a piece by Gershwin. Love Gershwin! Afterwards I walked to the marina, just a block from where we were staying and enjoyed a remarkable sunset.

More Food for the Soul at Douglas and Environs

On Friday, after dropping my husband off at Clearbrook Golf Course, I took a short walk at River Bluff Park, giving Seamus a chance to stretch his legs. Afterwards I drove to Khnemu Studio, on a farm on the outskirts of nearby Fennville. The collection of pottery was minimal but the farm was fun. Geese, chickens, cows, goats, horses and peacocks. Most of the owner’s collection was in her store in Fennville where she also had a restaurant featuring fresh food from the farm. Something for another trip.

white peacock

From there I visited Peachbelt Studio in a remodeled old schoolhouse on 89. I chatted with the artist, Dawn Stafford, for almost an hour. Awesome artwork. I was surprised to hear that she had been making a living off her artwork for sixteen years. She told me she believed it was harder for writers to make a living off their work than artists. Apparently, there are art enthusiasts around who are willing and able to spend thousands of dollars on artwork they love.

On the way back I visited a Lavender farm, lovely smells for both Seamus and me and more outdoor sculptures. Then back to Douglas where I visited galleries I had missed the previous day, followed by a short trip to Douglas Beach and Oval Beach, both of which excluded dogs. Still the drive and view from above were beautiful. I dined on the patio of Bistro 44 with Seamus as my date.

salad and wine glass

(Seamus in sculpture garden at Button Gallery. Inside the gallery was a smaller version of this large cat which Seamus growled at thinking it was real. He left this one alone.)

A Much Needed Break

It was a break from my everyday life, one I needed. After all of the negativity of the past year, the beauty of nature and artwork reminded me there was life beyond the internet and provided much needed food for my soul. It reminded me of the beauty present all around us and the healing power of that beauty.

How has art and nature brought healing into your life? I would love to hear from you.

“The soul should always stand ajar.” Emily Dickinson

(If you would like to see more pictures from my time in Douglas, go to my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaMarieRobertson)


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