Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Celebrating National Rum Day in the Blue Water Area

Made from a byproduct of molasses production or directly from sugar cane juice, precursors to rum date back to antiquity. In the 17th century distillation of these byproducts concentrated the alcohol and removed impurities, producing the first true rums.

Rum first made its way to the United States in colonial times and has been a staple in cocktails ever since. It even has a day dedicated to it. That day is today, August 16th.


In celebration of the day, we asked one of the Blue Water Area's favorite mixologists, Bob Nickerson
from Casey's in Port Huron to mix up one of his favorite rum drinks, The Cobra's Fang.



According to cocktail history books, the Cobra’s Fang was one of Don the Beachcomber’s original go-to recipes. Opened in the early 1930's in Hollywood, California, Don The Beachcomber's is considered the world's first tiki bar, predating the huge popularity of such places in the late 40's through the early 60's by more than a decade.


Though their original locations are long gone, the drinks they invented and inspired are still popular today.

If you can't celebrate National Rum Day today, don't fret. Many of the drinks done in the style are featured at Casey's during Rumba Thursday through Rockin' The Rivers this month so you still have time to enjoy a tropical and flavorful drinks served up in colorful and fun glasses in a breezy and lively setting before autumn arrives.
Casey's is located at 628 Huron Ave in Downtown Port Huron.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

3 Spots To Visit On A Family Trip In Michigan's Thumb

On a work-related tour around Michigan’s thumb, I was reminded how important it is to “be a tourist in your own town” on occasion. Every day I promote our beautiful blue shores as a getaway for people in the Detroit area or hailing from west Michigan and beyond. But I forget it’s a great day-cation spot for me and my family, too. Here are three great points of interest that I’ll hit up again with family in tow.


1) Port Austin Farmer’s Market, Port Austin, Michigan
Port Austin is abuzz on Saturday mornings Memorial Day thru mid-October.  Cute downtown shops and diners are a draw; however the biggest culprit is the farmer’s market.  Over 150 vendors display their goods ranging from fresh produce to handcrafted items. 
Freshly plucked berries, peaches, tomatoes and yellow peppers pour from baskets and leafy greens splay across checkered table cloths along with all the colored vegetables that you know you should be eating.  Homemade honey, jellies, baked goods as well as antiques, refurbished furniture, metal art, wooden signs and more are yours to peruse in this happy market. 
After shopping, grab a bite downtown, or walk the couple blocks to the shore of Lake Huron to enjoy the beach, lake breeze and gorgeous view.
2) Port Crescent State Park’s Dark Sky Preserve, Port Austin, Michigan
Port Crescent State Park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve.  This means artificial light is reduced or eliminated so the night sky is visible in all its glory, without the distortion that artificial light evokes.  Though I was there in the middle of the day, it was easy to see why this area is an excellent environment to view star constellations, meteor showers or the northern lights. 
Night sky enthusiasts can choose anywhere in the park to look up, however there’s one spot in particular that suits a star gazer.  The observation deck, also known as the Hawk Watch, sits slightly elevated over an area of natural trees, brush and sandy grassland.  Enclosed with a wooden guardrail, and several benches to lean back on, the deck is an ideal setting.   A wonderful and logical addition to the deck is a night sky guide that points out the constellations and their names. 

The deck is also a great spot to view hawks and other birds of prey during the day time, since it is on a migratory route.   
3) Harbor Beach Lighthouse Tour, Harbor Beach, Michigan
The Harbor Beach Lighthouse is anchored in stone at the end of a rocky break wall.  So how do you get to it?  By boat, of course!  The taxi boat picks up at the marina and takes passengers on a quick ride to the lighthouse.  From there, the Preservation Society tour guides tell the tales of life on the lake and about the many ships that have needed to take refuge in the harbor. 

Visitors will get a glimpse of the duties of a devoted light-keeper.  Most guests are surprised and happy to see that it is not one long spiral staircase to the top, but six decks (rooms) inside the tower, so catch a breath between flights of stairs.
I will warn you though, the 360 degree view from the top is breathtaking! 

Tours fill up fast, so early reservations are suggested.     
Whether you are from our Blue Water Region or somewhere beyond, explore and enjoy 140 miles of shoreline and all that there is in between. Discover the Blue Water Area at our website. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

From the Blues to the Blue and the Grey: What's happening in Port Sanilac this Weekend

From the Blues to the Blue and the Grey. Port Sanilac has it happening this weekend.


On Friday, take a tour of the Port Sanilac Lighthouse. Now a private residence, the lighthouse has rarely been open to the public before so it's a unique chance to check out on Friday through September 1st. Tours are from 11am to 2pm.  Admission is $5 for adults and children 12 & under are free (must meet height requirements.)


The boogie is going to be full effect on Friday along the lakeshore. The Port Sanilac Blues Festival kicks off at 3pm. The headliner for the evening is Mr. Larry McCray.


The Arkansas-born, Michigan-based singer/guitar player has been playing soulful blues in the vein of B.B. King and Albert King for close to three decades. In 2014 Larry was voted Top Guitarist in International Blues Matters' annual writer's poll.

The music, food and craft beer tents continues through Saturday evening with the Mike Wheeler Band closing out the festival.

It's a battle of the Blue and the Grey in Port Sanilac this weekend too. Check out Civil War Days at the Sanilac County Historical Museum and Village on Saturday & Sunday. This year, the reenactors will recreating the drama of Battle of Shiloh.

Looking for a bite to eat while in Port Sanilac? Let us suggest the tasty seafood at the Stone Lodge, some good old fashion homemade eats at Mary's Diner and the awesome barbecue at the Portly Pig.



A post shared by Dale (@smashintransistors) on

Feel like driving into the sunset while visiting Port Sanilac? Check out the Hi-Way Drive-In. Located nine west on M-46, this locally owned outdoor theater is only one of the nine still in operation in the state of Michigan. Opened in 1947, it's also the state's oldest operating drive in. It's a bit of working Americana. A visit to it is family memory that will last ages.

Find out more things happening in the Blue Water Area at our events page.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The End Of July Is Packed With Things To Do In The Blue Water Area

Even though this weekend marks the end of month, there's still plenty of time left to celebrate summertime. The Blue Water Area has quite a few things happening over the weekend to finish up July and welcoming in August.


Port Crescent State Park takes a blast to the past this Saturday at the annual Vintage Camper Show. Last year's even saw Tin Can Tourists bringing close to 100 cool, classic and kitschy vintage trailers and campers to the park to show off and have people check out. Visit and see how your grandparents luxury camped. 


Another port along the eastern shores is having a party too. Starting Friday at 5pm with a barbecue and a beer tent, The Port Sanilac Summer Festival kicks off and runs through Sunday. The fun for the weekend includes Kid's carnival games, a watermelon eating contest, inflatables, a karaoke contest and live music.

Also, while in Port Sanilac stop by the Historical Museum & Village and check out their annual Arts & Crafts Fair which is happening this Saturday and Sunday.




On Saturday, the Schoolhouse Grille in Harsens Island invite you to bring a lawn chair, your favorite friend or friends or come alone and meet someone during this casual and easy summer day and enjoy some music to warm your soul. The 8th annual Harsens Island Roots Music Festival starts at 2pm and will feature music throughout the day as well as a fish fry, a barbecue and local vendors. 



How long will a cardboard boat float? How fast can an outhouse move? And, most importantly, who will be the next King and Queen of Bologna. All these questions and more will be answered at the Yale Bologna Festival this weekend. This 3 day weekend event closes the streets of Yale's downtown and transforms the community of just under 2,000 to a gathering of over 20,000 Bologna starved party-goers! Find out more at the Yale Bologna Festival website. You can also download the schedule here 


Come see what Port Huron has to offer, view the many cars, see old friends and make new ones this Saturday. The MainStreet Memories Car Show will many have sweet machines of the past up to modern times to check out along Quay Street starting at 10am and through the afternoon. Find out more at their website.


The water is gonna roar and there's a party on the shore at St. Clair's Riverfest this weekend. On the St. Clair River thundering powerboats charge in a race to be the fastest machine on the water! On land, there will be a carnival midway along with live music from Skid Row on Friday and the Guess Who on Saturday. Admission to the races and concerts are FREE! See the whole schedule of action at the Riverfest website.

Other events happening along the Blue this weekend include the Blue Water Volleygrass Festival at Port Huron Northern, the Glow Dash 2.5k Fun Run in downtown Port Huron, Our Lady Of The Lake Huron's Summer Festival in Harbor Beach and Almost Queen at the Lexington Village Theater.

What's your plans for this Blue Water Weekend?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Festivities On The Sand

The Blue Water Area has two big beach parties happening this week. Both of them serve up a unique kind of fun that only the eastern shores of Michigan can offer.


Now in it's 5th year The Blue Water SandFest is Michigan's first and only Master sand sculpting and Advanced Amateur competition/festival. For 3 days the grounds of the Fort Gratiot Light Station will see extraordinary sculptures crafted from sand and water that will dazzle and impress visitors to the site.
Photo by Dale Merrill

Voted one of the 10 Best festivals of its sort by USA Today, the Blue Water Sand Fest is much more than just checking out the impressive works of art.
Photo by Dale Merrill

There will be an eclectric array of live music through out the weekend, a Quick Sand Speed Sculpting Show, hands on sculpting lessons, tours of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and much more.

Photo by Dale Merrill

The Blue Water Sandfest runs July 14th-16th in Port Huron.

Discover all the things to do in the Blue at our events page.