Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Five Happenings Of Frightful Fun For October

Halloween is creeping up closer every day. The ghosts and ghouls will be making the bumps in the night often through the month of October and the Blue Water Area has quite a few things happening where you can be part of a hauntingly good time.

 This upcoming weekend (Sept 30th-Oct 1st), North Park Campgrounds in Harbor Beach get all spooky with Halloween Weekends. Campers will be decorating their sites in ghoulish finery and both Saturdays will feature a costume contest and a parade, hayrides, trick or treating, a live dj in the evening and much more. The campground will also be hosting a 2nd Halloween weekend on the 7th through the 9th. To make reservations call 989-479-9554.


The world's record for the most simultaneously carved pumpkins is 1,060. On Saturday, October 15th Marine City plans on breaking that record 140. At an event called Pumpkins, Popcorn & Politics, 1,200 pumpkins will be set up in Nautical Mile Park and people are invited to join in to set a new Guinness World Record. "But where does the popcorn and politics part of the event come from?" you ask? Well, along with the pumpkin carving, Marine City is also going to shoot for setting the record for making the longest string of popcorn. The politics part is to remind people to vote in the upcoming election. To learn more about this event and to register to be part of it visit the Pumpkins, Popcorn & Politics website.


The buildings of the Sanilac County Historical Village and Museum in Port Sanilac all have a storied past. Did you know some of them might be ghost stories though? On the evenings of Saturday, October 15 and the 22nd, spirits of the past lurk the grounds and structures at the Haunted Village and Spook Walk. Come warm up around the bonfire and sample goodies at the Food Boooooth after getting chills from a walk through the cemetery in the woods and meeting the likes Wicked Witch, Dr. Loop, the Mad Hatter and the Grim Reaper. If that is not enough of shriekful thrills, the village also has day of family fun on the 22nd at Boooo Fest.


Would you like to take a straaange journey? How about one into the world’s favorite rock’n’roll musical! The Rocky Horror Show Live! returns for its eighth season to the McMorran Place Theatre in Port Huron.  There will be three shows all together. Friday, October 21 at 8 pm and Saturday October 22 at 8 pm and midnight.  Tickets are now available at the McMorran box office and Ticketmaster. Come down and be a part of one of the Bluewater Area's favorite Halloween traditions!


On the last Saturday of October (and just a couple days for the trick or treaters come to your door) enjoy Halloween in Lexington with Children's Costume Parade, Pet Costume Parade, Children's Activities & More!

To find out more about these happenings along with plenty of other things going on around the area you can Discover The Blue at our events page.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sound The Horn! It's Time For Whistles On The Water

     One of the sounds that was characteristic of the shoreline of the Blue Water Area for centuries was that of steam powered freighters sounding their whistles. In the 19th and early 20th century when steamships were the royalty of of Great Lakes trade, Ship captains would tune their steam whistles to create a unique sound so that their ship could be identified before it could be seen.  The whistle’s unique sound allowed another ship captain to identify the ship in bad weather and let people on shore know which ship was docking.

 
     As the stream driven vessels gave way to petroleum powered engines, the steam whistle also found itself being replaced with horns and sirens to signal their positions and other notifications to fellow boats and people along the shore. With modern technology such as GPS doing the work these days, even those sounds have become heard less save for foggy conditions, to alert wayward boats that may be in the fishing channels or as a greeting to other ships they may pass.


     This Saturday in St. Clair you can hear the sounds of those bygone days at Whistles On The Water. Powered by a giant custom-made steam generator, a plethora of steam whistles will be sounded as well as the history of each whistle given and what different series of toots and blasts meant as message being sent out. One of the crowd favorites whistles includes a whistle that was originally on The Boblo boat SS Columbia. It also really cool when a passing freighter sounds their horn back to those on shore checking out the event.

 
     Along with the many whistles that will be sounded off by the professional collectors, the general public can have a chance to blow off steam along Palmer Park's boardwalk with a variety of smaller whistles too.


     While in St. Clair this Saturday to check out the whistles be sure to take a walk across the street from Palmer Park to the Riverview Plaza to Chalk The Walk and put your artistic mark on the sidewalk.


Chalk the Walk will have kids, teens, adults and young-at-hearts filling the sidewalks and the downtown streets of St. Clair with imaginative imagery.  

Both these events start around 9am on Saturday and admission to both is free.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Boats and the Lights That Guide Them



Some of the most beautiful and iconic pleasure boats in the world have a lot of Blue Water Area history to them.

At the age of 13 years old Christopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in the city of Algonac. By 1881, his skiffs had been reknown across the Great Lakes, so him and his brother Frank went into building boats full time. In 1922, Smith and his family formed the Chris Smith and Son Boat Company, producing fast and economically priced runabouts for the general public. During World War II the company, now known as Chris Craft, the company 12,000 military vessels such as patrol boats, utility launches, and rescue vessels for the United States Navy and Army.

Following World War II, the American economy started to grow immensely. Families had more money to spend on fun things.  Boats were high on a lot of people's lists and the company's vessels, from the finest mahogany, their boats were considered to be the best available. Though Chris Craft built custom vessels for superstars such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, even their lower-priced boats were known for their high quality by using woods like mahogany and teak as well as having many luxury items most other boats did not come with.

Within ten years Chris Craft became virtually synonymous with pleasure boating, offering 159 different models and became the sales leader in many categories of small civilian powerboats.


This Saturday, you can see plenty of those models plus many more on display at the Blue Water Antique & Classic Boat Show being held at Port Huron's River St. Marina. Along with the many classic, wooden boats made in Michigan as well as other interesting buoyant beauties to marvel at there will be free antique boat rides from 11 am until 2 pm, a marketplace, shore fun, entertainment and children’s events.


Before GPS and all the other navigational available at a watercraft's reach these days, lighthouses played an integral role in guiding the way along the coast. While many lighthouses now have private owners, they still operate as beacons along the shores as well as functional historical sites overseen by the US Coast Guard. One of those is the Port Sanilac Lighthouse. The octagonal shaped structure, built in 1886, stands 59 feet tall and has been opened for tours only once. Until this Saturday, September 10th, that is because the public is invited to the Port Sanilac Lighthouse Open House and Tour to celebrate it's 130th birthday from 10am-6pm. This rare opportunity gives visitors a chance the original 1886 classical lighthouse Fresnel Lens that has sat on top of the tower one last time as the the US Coast Guard will be replacing it with a new LED light in the following weeks.

If you'd like to visit more than one lighthouse this weekend, you can also take the boat taxi ride in to take the Harbor Beach lighthouse tour from 10am-1pm on Saturday or climb the 94 steps to the top of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron Friday through Sunday between 11am and 5pm.

Other Blue Water Area events this weekend include The Port Huron Hobo Fest on Friday and Saturday, The Fall Craft Show in St Clair, Algonac's Annual Car Show and the Great Lakes Tattoo Expo at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron.

Find out more about the many things happening around the area at our events page.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Relaxing Adventures For Labor Day Weekend

Though we most likely have quite a few warm weather days ahead of us still, Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of summer for many. There are many events happening over the long weekend to say farewell to the season.


Now in it’s 14th year, it is safe to say that Thumbfest has become a tradition in Lexington, Michigan. Featuring multiple stages, workshops, jam sites, children’s stage area, dance, craft/food vendors and a hootenanny at the end of the night, Thumbfest 2016 will be held in the village’s Tierney Park on
Saturday. It starts at 11am and will have a wide variety of music ranging from Celtic,
blues, bluegrass and gypsy to New Orleans brass, Americana, roots and folk. Bring your lawn chair or blanket, your friends and family and voice and join in on the fun. Find the full schedule at the
Thumbfest website.


What started as a backyard party at a home in Fort Gratiot Township has now grown into an all party
celebration at St. Clair County’s largest public park. The 7th Annual BlueChiliGrass Festival at
Goodells County Park on Monday, September and will feature continuous music on 3 stages and a chili cook-off by eight Blue Water area chefs and caterers. Music and chili aren’t the only stars of the
festival though as there will be artisan booths and displays along with variety of food vendors. Bring
your instrument and stop in at the open jam tent from l0am to noon too. Admission to
BlueChililGrass is $1 for adults and kid 12 and under admitted free. Find out all that’s happening at
the 2016 BlueChiliGrass Festival at their Facebook event page.


Before heading to BlueChiliGrass on Monday, why not Trek The Trestle? This five mile Labor Day
event has been held annually since 2007. The walk starts at 9am at the at the Avoca Road Trailhead
in Downtown Avoca and crosses the 640ft. Mill Creek trestle, the longest bridge of its kind in the
state of Michigan. The Trestle Trek is one of the Labor Day Community Walks that are held
throughout the state in conjunction with the Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Walk. Community Walks help provide a similar experience to residents unable to participate in the annual walk across the Mighty Mac.


When you dip a chip do you like it mild. Or perhaps spicy is your thing.No matter your flavor preference this Saturday's Salsa Tasting in Harbor Beach has something to tantalize your taste buds from noon to 3pm. Your tour begins at the Harbor Beach Visitor’s Center where you purchase a button and ballot for $2. Then stroll downtown following your map to be sure to stop at all salsa tasting locations. After you are done vote for your favorite.


Don't wait til noon to start your adventure in Harbor Beach this Saturday though. Hop on the boat taxi and take a ride out to tour the Harbor Beach Lighthouse. The taxi leaves the Harbor Beach Marina starting at 9:20am and then about every 20 minutes until 40 minutes before closing time. Tickets are $20 each and also include admission to the Harbor Beach Grice House Museum, which houses the original Fresnel Lens from the lighthouse.  Find out more about the Harbor Beach Lighthouse at their website.

If browsing some art is your thing, the Blue Water Area has a couple shows that are just the thing for Labor Day weekend too.


Port Austin's Art In The Park will have many original artwork to look at and for sale for sale this Saturday and Sunday. With a wide array of mediums including everything from watercolor, oil, acrylic and photography to decorative iron work, stained and fused glass, gourd art, hand carved ice fishing decoys, and wearable art, there is sure to be something to catch your eye. Art In The Park is presented by the Thumb Arts Guild.


From one end of the Blue Water Area to the other the city of Algonac is holding it's Annual Art Fair this Saturday and Sunday too. With the St. Clair River serving as a picturesque backdrop, the fair was started in 1972 and has continued ever since. With around 100 artists as well as entertainment for all ages this fair is a fine way to spend the day in the river flats region of the Blue Water Area. Find out more about the Algonac Art Fair at their website.


Just a quick ferry ride over from Algonac is Harsens Island. This weekend they'll be having days filled with family fun! The Harsens Island Lions Club Turkey Shoot happening includes parades, food and beer tent, live music, dancing, 50/50 drawings and daily raffles along with kids, teens and young adults games and activities. Find out more by visiting the Harsens Island Lions Club on Facebook.

Discover all the happenings around the Blue this month at our events page.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Taking A Walk Around Lexington

Located less that 30 miles north of Port Huron, the Village Of Lexington, Michigan mixes the charm of a small coastal town with the lush greenery of the country. It's a perfect place for those who want to relax at a laid back pace and enjoy the fresh air and beaches, but it's bustling shops, parks, harbors and theater also show that the town is hopping with fun things to do.

We recently took a walk around Lexington, stopped in a few places and enjoyed the day. Here's some of the sights we took in.

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When my kids were little, they always made sure that we stopped at Crazy Joe's Beach Shop before any place else in Lexington. They HAD to say to the hermit crabs, check out the colorful beach gear and, of course get a bright colored shirt to have as wearable souvenir of their visit.  They're a bit older now but it is now a tradition for me to make it my first stop when visiting Lexington in the summer to. Yes, to say hello to the hermit crabs as well as the other things that I already mentioned.


Another thing that we always like to do during a summer day in Lexington is to walk the breakwater of their harbor. First though we decided to stop in at the Lexington Village Pub for a snack and sip.



Located in the building that also houses the Lexington Village Theatre, the Village Pub offers an eclectic mix of eats and drink. It's mix of brick and wood ambience balances the old school small town flavor with a modern flair. The theatre itself has become a destination for music fans of all sorts and has become renown for every seat in the house having a great view and impeccable acoustics.


We then headed east down Huron St. towards Lake Huron. The shoreline features the first harbor of refuge north of Port Huron along with the Windjammer restaurant and Tierney Park which hold a lot of the village's summer events.

A photo posted by Discover The Blue (@discoverthebluewaterarea) on

The harbor is protected by a north breakwater roughly 1,900 feet in length and a 700 feet long south breakwater. This breakwater has a walkway so if strolling the whole thing to the end in back gets a person close to a mile done in any walking regiment.

Once reaching the farthest point of the breakwater it is time to take in the vast amount of blue that surrounded us.


Then our feet led us back up to Huron Avenue to check out the many shops that dot the Lexington's downtown area such as Angel's Garden, Weekends, Beatrice, Noble and many more.

A photo posted by Discover The Blue (@discoverthebluewaterarea) on


For a couple generations now the Lexington General Store is a must stop for anyone wanting to please a sweet tooth. Of course we stopped in. Not only is the old fashion candy counter a treat, the store also stocks many other specialty food items, cook books, fun gifts and much more.


Michigan is famous for taking a major part in the craft beer movement, with many town both big and small having at least one microbrewery serving up local flavors. Lexington is no exception. Located in the village's one time courthouse, the Lexington Brewing Company and Wine House has eight taps of their in house brews always flowing. It was hard to choose just one to try so the flight option offering a variety of tasty sips.


Their wines have also received many accolades including their Pinot Noir which took the silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2012.


If you're looking for a fun day over this Labor Day weekend, don't forget that Thumbfest is happening in Lexington this Saturday, September 3rd. The all-day, all-free bash of music on multiple stages throughout the town of Lexington is a tradition in the village now when it comes to capping off another great summer Whether you're in the mood for Celtic, blues, bluegrass, gypsy , New Orleans brass, Americana, roots, folk and a whole lot more, this event has you covered. There are also workshops, jams, street parties and more, so bring your lawnchair and your friends and family.

To find out more about Lexington and the entire Blue Water Area be sure to Discover The Blue here.