Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Christmas Horses

When it comes to mentioning some of the very unique events that happen around the holidays in the Blue Water Area, the Old Fashion Christmas Horse Parade in Lexington makes the top of the list. This Saturday, people gather will gather in the village's streets to watch the horses dressed in holiday finery step lively by.

Photo courtesy of www.equitrekking.com

Don't take just our word for it though. Check out this article that horse lover and Michigan resident Karen Braschayko wrote about the 2016 parade.

A post shared by @fromthethumb on

Don't forget to share your photos of this years Horse Parade on Instagram and Twitter too. Use the hashtag #LexHorseParade and we can share them with our readers and social media followers.

Find out more about the Lexington Christmas Horse Parade at their website.

Along with the horse parade, there's also plenty of other things going on in the Blue Water winter. Check our events page to see all that is happening.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Take A Night Time Climb of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron

Photo by Dale Merrill
The Christmas Candlelight Tours of the Lighthouse at the Fort Gratiot Light Station have become a holiday tradition in the Blue Water Area in just a few short years.

Though tours of the site are available in the warmer months during the daylight hours, these Christmas season night tours give visitors to the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse a unique, evening view from of the Blue Water Bridge, Lake Huron and the St. Clair River and everything else for as far as the eye can see

Your tour starts with the walkways leading up to Michigan's oldest lighthouse illuminated by many candles. The lighthouse itself is dressed up in twinkling finery with red lights wrapped around observation deck railings at the top and strings of white lights cascading down the sides of the tower. It's quite a sight.

As you climb the 94 cast iron steps of the 84 foot structure, a tour guide will give you bits of history and trivia about the lighthouse. They're well versed in their knowledge of the building and Great Lakes lore so don't hesitate to ask them any questions. Don't forget to bring your camera too because the view at the top is always something to behold and keep a memory of.

The Candlelight Tours of the Fort Gratiot Light Station will be held each Saturday evening from 5-8pm through December 16th. Find out more at the Port Huron Museum's website.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Night Out in the Blue

Getting out with a date or some good-time friends?  Port Huron and the Blue Water region of Michigan is your playground!  Here are a handful of night-out ideas for you to run with: 

  Dinner & a Movie
Photo courtesy of Keith Macke

Dinner and a movie is a classic date-night event.  Now with Sperry’s Moviehouse right downtown, Port Huron is a great date destination with plenty of restaurants to choose from and the movie theater within walking distance of many places to grab a bite.Sperry’s own 2nd Floor Dinnerhouse (hint, hint: located on the 2nd floor of the movie theater) is a great option for dining.  Its second story vantage overlooks Main Street and may be the only public area to see downtown from this height.

For a touch of old-time movie house magic, visit The Mariner Theatre of Marine City which shows classic movies and films.  An antique popcorn machine, peanut roaster and period theater seats add to the ambiance of the throw-back scene.  Upcoming features include The Mummy, showing on October 14 and Bride of Frankenstein, showing on October 28.     

Live Theater

Live theater can be a riveting experience and the Blue Water region has excellent venues to catch a play, like the sister stages Snug Theatre and Riverbank Theatre in downtown Marine City.  Tickets are available now for the comedy Moon Over Buffalo playing at the Riverbank Theater October 20 thru November 4. 

Another lively performance will take place at McMorran Theater in Port Huron presenting the musical Rocky Horror Show on October 20 and 21.  Just down the street the quaint but talented Citadel Stage will put on Frankenstein October 13-29 and 12 Angry Jurors November 10-19. 

Challenge Your Wits

If out-of -your-chair fun is more your style, check out The Hallway Escape Room in downtown Port Huron.  The objective is to gather the clues and solve the puzzles in sixty minutes or less.  There are three themed rooms to choose from: casino heist, Thomas Edison time warp and murder mystery.  Are you and your date or a group of friends up for the challenge?  It’s a rush to escape!

Under the Stars

Get outside and wander the natural beauty of your Blue Water evening.  Algonac, Marine City, St. Clair, Marysville and Port Huron have wonderful boardwalks and walking paths that stretch along the riverfront.  Further north Lexington and Harbor Beach’s break walls reach into Lake Huron for a beautiful panoramic view.

Kick your feet up at St. Clair’s Riverview Plaza where their open air courtyard grants a gracious lawn, Adirondack chairs and gas lite fire pits for visitors to gather at and enjoy.  Just across the street is the longest freshwater boardwalk in the world, so take a stroll!   

There are many more great things to do on a night out in the Blue Water region.  The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and your company!           

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

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. 

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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Beach Life is the Best Life -- It's Maritime

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival starts this coming Thursday, July 6th and runs through Sunday. We knew just the guy to get talk to for all the details. Welcome guest blogger Clark Ramsey.

Right on the heels of America’s biggest block party comes the best beach party on Lake Huron. The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival takes place the weekend after the Independence Day festivities in the small town nestled along the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Thumb. It’s four days filled with music, sand, water and sun – combined with some of the friendliest and welcoming people in all of the Great Lakes State.

The Maritime Festival is most known for its open-door policy: concerts on the beach with no cover charge. That’s right, you heard me right, no cover charge! This is not a limited time offer (although operators are standing by) and has been that way since the festival began in 2001. What began as a celebration to commemorate the transfer of ownership of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse from the federal government to the City of Harbor Beach, it has now turned into a city-wide party with some of the biggest talent in the Midwest.

This year’s festival features 13 different music acts on two separate stages. The Hooligans kick off the music Thursday night during the self-proclaimed “largest bocce tournament this side of the Mason Dixon Line.” Whether that is considered Fake News or not, it doesn’t change the fact that there are 64 four-person bocce teams playing on 20 courts just feet from a Great Lake.

Friday pushes the Maritime Festival into full gear with both music stages underway, the weekly Farmer’s Market on the Murphy lawn, a 64-team corn-hole tournament (this is the Midwest after all…) with the party going all the way until Midnight. Imagine yourself on a beautiful sandy beach, enjoying a cold beverage (that you brought yourself and didn’t have to purchase on site), listening to some excellent live music, conversing with friends, admiring the World’s Greatest Man-Made Harbor, the Harbor Beach Lighthouse and suddenly Mother Nature reveals a massive constellation and star galaxy right above your head. ALL OF THIS COULD BE YOURS IF…. you’re in Harbor Beach July 6th through the 9th (the author of this post is a game show host…). It truly is a remarkable sight and every band that has performed at Maritime over the 17-year history says the same thing “this is truly the best place we have ever played.”

If you didn’t have too much fun Friday night, you can join the 300+ runners and walkers for the Harbor Beach Community Hospital 5k. Considered one of the most beautiful courses in the state, it begins beach-side and follows the shoreline on the Harbor View Trail (paved) all the way to the Marina, onto the break-wall and back to the beach for the final push. If a Great Lake can’t motivate you to run faster, nothing will (that’s my excuse at least).

Shortly after, the H&R Block Jet Ski Invitational gets underway on the same course the professionals used to race on; and if you really feel like putting your body through the ringer, sign your team up for the beach volleyball tournament, beginning at 10am. Music begins at 1pm and officially starts the all-day beach party. The beach and water is open to the public and be sure to take advantage of our hidden gem. A small village of inflatables is available for everyone to enjoy (free of charge) and the Harbor Beach Conservation Club display is next door.

At 1pm the fast-paced world that we live in comes to a screeching halt as the world-famous Maritime Festival Frog-Jumping Contest begins. Imagine living in the time of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer while watching contestants get their favorite amphibian to jump the furthest (collective length after three jumps). This event is definitely a crowd favorite. Due to eligibility issues of some of the international competitors, the hot dog eating contest is taking a one-year sabbatical (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it – actually the host has a wedding out of town…).

All the while on Saturday, music continues to fill the light offshore breeze from the stage underneath the tent and the mainstage, featuring our freshly-completed mobile stage. This has been three years in the making and gives Harbor Beach the ability to have a pop-up concert, whenever and wherever we so choose. It is definitely an added benefit to the community.

The music acts continue into the night and keep getting better, leading up to the best fireworks in the state of Michigan…after the 4th of July. But for real, as David Letterman used to say “call the dog, wake the children, call your neighbor, because this is an extravaganza you don’t want to miss!” A spectacular spectacle of American Patriotism lights up the summer sky over the harbor just after dusk (typically 10:15pm). Any spot from the beach or water is a great way to view the 25-minute fireworks show. Immediately after the last shell, Brett Mitchell and the Giant Ghost retakes the stage and rocks out until the cows come home (actually much later than that).

Sunday brings a wrap to the festival with an ecumenical service in the morning, a fish fry, car show, dueling pianos and the community big money cash raffle. It truly takes an army to make this festival happen and we are extremely grateful for those who make it a reality. It is an expensive venture, but is made possible by very generous businesses and sponsors so that the Maritime Festival can remain a free and fun event for all to enjoy.

So tell your friends, clear your calendar and turn your iPhones to “Do Not Disturb” because everything is happening down at the beach, in Harbor Beach.

For more information and to register for events, go to www.TheMaritimeFestival.com

Harbor Beach: Life’s at ease, with an offshore breeze!

Clark Ramsey is a former Chairman of the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival and remains on the festival committee presently. He was born and raised in Harbor Beach and chose to make it his home after graduating from Michigan State University in 2011. Clark is the vice-chair of the Harbor Beach Parks & Recreation Commission, sits on the Harbor Beach Planning Commission and hosts various events throughout the area – most notably, The Harbor Beach Gameshow Series which takes place every Mother’s Day weekend at the Harbor Beach Community Theatre. It is his goal in life to spread the gospel of the great things Harbor Beach has to offer, and bring Harbor Beach up in conversation as much as possible (eight times in this profile alone). His day job is the Director of Marketing at Scheurer Hospital, while moonlighting at his own production company, Clark Ramsey Productions; sports broadcasting with The WLEW Sports Network, and is the founder of a non-existent business, The Clark Ramsey Manor. He enjoys boating, porch-sitting, tennis, Spartan Athletics, reading books, candle-lit dinners, long walks on the beach and complaining about the weather.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Urchins Of The Thumb: Mountain Babies Play Port Austin's Porch Fest This Saturday

This weekend, people on porches across the village of Port Austin will extend more than just their always friendly waves and warm greetings.

Now in its second year, the Porch Fest welcomes musicians from all around the region to come and play songs in the porches, yards and gazebos of Port Austin residents. Featuring 30 different acts this year, the casual gathering gives visitors a chance to hear a wide variety of music, take a stroll, maybe grab a bite to eat and check out the beauty that the tip of Michigan's Thumb has to offer.

One of the groups returning to play the festival this year is Mountain Babies. Though the band is Port Huron based these days, their shepherd Dave Peters has a lot of ties to Port Austin. We had a little chat with him about what area means to him.

The region has had an lasting effect on Dave and served a lot of the inspiration and subjects on their 2015 album The Cottage, The Creek & The Spirit.

That thread of exaltation still runs through their music on their latest release Existence Of Resistance. Sometimes, it's obvious with song titles such as "Pine Cones & Grindstones" but also is in mood in general as songs such as the arcadian feel of songs such as "The Temple."

It's like one can practically see the stars twinkle in the clear night sky and smell the smoke of a bonfire while the song plays.

Port Austin's Porch Fest runs from 1 to 5 pm this Saturday, June 23rd. Mountain Babies play at 4 pm at 111 W. Spring St. To find out more and to see a full schedule of all the acts playing check out Porch Fest's website.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Things To Do In Port Austin This Weekend

Located at the tip of Michigan's Thumb, Port Austin has been a destination for vacationers and day trippers alike. It's a haven for those who want paddle on the water, hike a trail or peddle around on a bike and for those who want just simply want to kick back and watch the sun shine over Lake Huron all day long.

While things to do in Port Austin are quite plentiful in the summertime, there's some weekends where there's even more happening. This weekend is one of those.

Photo courtesy of www.riversidekayak.com
Surrounded by water on three sides, one of Port Austin's biggest diversions is kayaking. For the beginner taking on the activity may seem a little intimidating at first but once they get the hang of it their hooked.  Starting on Friday and running through the weekend the annual Port Austin Kayak Symposium covers many aspects of the fast growing sport.  The symposium is one where the teaching is entirely student driven.  Tell the teachers what you want to learn and they'll will coach you at your own speed in a fashion in which you learn best.  A lot with lesson there will guest speakers, demonstrations, guided paddles, plus bonfires, cookouts and parties. There's still some spots open for this weekend and you can register at Riverside Kayak's website.

Speaking of fresh produce the Port Austin Area Historical Center celebrates the start of strawberry season with treats, activities & music at their Annual Strawberry Social on Saturday from 3 to 6pm.

While in Port Austin this Saturday don't forget to take a stroll around the streets of town. You'll notice many front yards will be filled with music. Many homes in the downtown region have donated their porches for Porch Fest.  Offering a wide variety of music throughout the day, Porch Fest is now in it's second year and

After your adventure is done and people ask you what you did over the weekend you can hold up your hand, point at the top of your thumb and simply say "here."

Find out all the things happening this weekend at our events page.