Monday, September 25, 2017

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 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 a 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.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It's Apple Picking Time

Photo by Dale Merrill

When Laurie Peltier and her husband Ray purchased McCallum’s Orchard in March of 2017 they knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. Over the past decade parts of the 77 acres, which originated as a peach farm in the 1930’s and expanded from there, was in need of some TLC.

Photo by Dale Merrill

Not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty, the two, along with their two young daughters, started right away in sprucing the place up. Along with clearing up and tearing the overgrown brush and grass around the 25 different varieties of apple trees they have on the land, there was also the pruning of berries bushes and that the planting of pumpkins and Christmas trees as well as much other produce that visitors will be able to pick themselves in futures seasons.

Photo by Dale Merrill
Along with the farming and planting the Peltier family has been doing this year, they also took on a project the painting and expansion of the play area they have for children to frolic in when they visit and as well as tending to the goats, bunnies, chickens and ducks that reside in the petting zoo area and wander the property. It's common knowledge that goats like to be eat but along with feeding them don't be suprised if a chicken moseys up to you looking for a snack as well.

Photo by Dale Merrill

Photo by Dale Merrill

While the orchard market does offer the varieties of apples currently available along with their famous donuts and cider as well as many other local products, a small cafe and the occasional guest foodie serving up things such as woodfire pizza, the family adventure of walking the orchard and find the perfect apples to take home is a long time family tradition. To get back to where the apples grow you can drive your own car back as well as walk, but we suggest hopping on the farm tractor pulled trailer to take you on the tour of the grounds and guiding you in the direction of where your favorite kind of apples can be found.

Photo by Dale Merrill
When apple season is ending that doesn't mean the McCallum's locks the doors and posts a sign that says "See you next year" either. Offering different events through Christmas, such as a corn maize and haunted hayrides during the Halloween season and more to follow, the Peltier's intention is to have a place that will create memories for families that will last a lifetime. Their work is paying off as people are travelling near and far to visit.



McCallum's Orchard & Cider Mill is located 5697 Harris Rd in Jeddo, Michigan. To find out more about them check them out on Facebook, visit their website or call 810-327-6394.

Monday, September 11, 2017

From History and Heritage to Hobos and Hounds: Ten Things Happening This Weekend In The Blue Water Area

Now that Labor Day has passed and school is back in session, many may think that it marks a slow down of things to do and see in the Blue Water Area. That isn't the case though as this upcoming September weekend has plenty happening in our region. Here are ten things to check out for an eastern shores of Lake Huron adventure.


Bach, Baroque and beyond. That's what to expect in Port Huron and Lexington this weekend at the annual Bach Festival. The celebration of the composer starts Thursday in Port Huron with noon and 7 pm performances at SC4's Fine Arts Theater with the Festival String Quartet performing a varied program of music from Bach to light classics.

Friday evening, the fete moves to Lexington where the Trio Phoenix will perform an evening of music for violin, cello and piano including works by Bach, Beethoven, Rameau and Debussy at the Lexington Village Theater. The music continues on Saturday and Sunday with the Festival Orchestra offering two concerts in St. Denis Catholic Church.

To find out more and to get tickets visit the Lexington Bach Festival website.


The music of Bach isn't the only sounds they will be hearing in Lexington this weekend either. The legendary B.J. Thomas, known for the hits such as "Hooked On A Feeling", "Rock-n-Roll Lullaby" and, of course, the #1 smash "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" will be playing two shows at the Lexington Village Theater on Saturday.


If your musical tastes run a bit more on the rockin' side of country music, make plans to be in Port Huron on Friday night when Scott Manery & The Barnburners turn up the heat at McMorran Place.


Also in Port Huron this weekend, the PH&DDR Historical Society celebrate Port Huron’s history as a vital international transport center, the city’s struggle to overcome the economic depression and the courage and resourcefulness of those that rode the rails seeking work and adventure with Hobo Fest on Friday and Saturday.


If seeing how people traveled by water in style is your thing, feast your eyes on the many vintage floating vessels (quite a few of which were built in the Blue Water Area decades ago at Chris Craft and Gar Wood) at the Blue Water Antique and Classic Boat Show. It's happening this Saturday at Port Huron's River Street Marina.


Throughout this upcoming weekend, Marine City is celebrating its sesquicentennial birthday on the grounds of their historic city hall for Heritage Days. Among the things happening at this jubilee include the Michigan 8th Volunteers setting up camp and remind us of our state's role in the Civil War, music ranging from ancient bagpipes to a swing band, a petting zoo, antique cars & tractors, horsedrawn wagon ride through town and more. Check out EBW's feature on Marine City Heritage Days here


Also in Marine City this weekend it's the premiere of Oliver! at the Riverbank Theater. This musical interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic. runs through September 30th.


One thing that September means to a lot of people is that it is harvest time. After the crops have been taken care of it is time to relax and then party. For many that means it's POLKA TIME. Especially in Kinde. Located a ten minute drive from Port Austin, the Kinde Polka Fest features ten polka bands over three days and brings people from all around the Michigan's Thumb to come and roll out the barrel of fun.


Harbor Beach is also having a harvest celebration on Saturday too with a Craft Expo 10 am-4 pm the on Murphy Museum lawn, a  pie & dessert contest 10:30 am at their visitors center and sampling of various chili recipes made at local merchants and organizations from 11 am-3 pm.


There's going to be good boys and cool pooches galore this weekend at Goodells County Park this weekend. The St. Clair Kennel Club's annual dog show is always a huge draw with area canine fans and friends and this year will be no different. The show starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

Discover all the Blue has to offer at Bluewater.Org

Monday, August 28, 2017

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 its 15th 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 2017 will be held in the village’s Tierney Park on
Saturday. It starts at 11 am 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 4th and will feature continuous music on 2 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 a variety of food vendors.  Find out all that’s happening at the 2017 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 9 am 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 11 in the morning to 2 pm. 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 9:20 am 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 artworks 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 its 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.

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.