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.

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.



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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.