Grand Haven – A Winter Delight

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”
Victor Hugo

Nothing delivers the promise of spring like a sunny winter day.

On Saturday, the sun came out and the temperatures rose into the upper 30’s. We had completed our second LaughFest volunteer training by 1 PM, so we decided to go for a drive to Grand Haven to see the Lake Michigan shore. Along the way, we stopped at Engelsma’s Orchard’s farm stand and purchased apples, cider and honey. We then took the scenic Leonard Road, which winds along the Grand River for 25 miles through the quaint towns of LaMont and Eastmanville. We stopped at Greenvale Farm and sampled cheese, which resulted in another purchase. We spoke with several of the dairy workers, who were a delight to converse with. In Spring Lake, we stopped at Vander Mill Cidery. They have a wide variety of very tasty hard ciders, and they now have a nice little restaurant at the front of their establishment. They have quite a few gluten free offerings. Of all the local ciders, Vander Mill is tops on my list.

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When we arrived at Grand Haven State Park, we were pleasantly surprised to see a multitude of people out on the ice piles having fun!

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Old and young, on foot and on bicycles…everyone was out having a good time.

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The largest of the piles extended out a few hundred yards from the actual lakeshore, and there were plenty of brave souls who ventured out to the highest peaks.

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This gentleman drove two hours from the east side of Michigan to capture some images for himself.

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The pier was packed with people from end to end, despite being coated in ice.

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We decided to venture out a little ways. It started getting a little too slick for our tastes, so we stopped partway and enjoyed the view. We met a couple visiting from Shanghai, China who were taking it all in.

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The channel side of the pier was open water. This is where the Grand River meets Lake Michigan.

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Railings and light posts were coated with ice from previous storms, turning them into wintery sculptures.

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It is probably safe to assume that no flag on the pole means it is too cold to swim!

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It was interesting to see the snow and sand mixed together. We had to be careful, as we would step on what we thought was a solid sand pile, only to sink ankle deep into a sand covered snow drift.

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The ice piles also had plenty of cracks and fissures. It was quite evident that, even though they seemed solid, the mountains of ice were actually moving. We definitely were watching where we were walking!

All the way back to Grand Rapids, we kept repeating how much fun we had. This sunny winter day had delivered a promise to us, and spring will surely be on its’ way soon!

14 thoughts on “Grand Haven – A Winter Delight”

  1. You guys are giving me the shivers just lookin’ at these shots! But I’m sure you had a fun time. Funny, isn’t it, the way those weekend trips end up making food purchases along the way. I love picking up fresh squeezed cider, and artisanal cheeses, and jams and jellies. But then I like almost anything FOOD!
    One be long now and the temps will start moderating….
    Not sure if I”m trying to reassure YOU or OURSELVES! 🙂

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  2. We always welcomed a reprieve from the winter cold in Wisconsin, even if it was temps in the 30’s. I hear this winter is not nearly as bad as last winters constant cold temps, I am sure that is a welcome change!

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    1. Snowfall-wise, we are above average and not too far behind last year…but we have had warmer temps and enough thaws to keep the snow depth lower. Lots of open water on Lake Michigan. Last year, we could have walked to Wisconsin!

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    1. We were really surprised to see so many people, Karen. The pier was a tad dangerous, especially with all the open water on the river side. Did you catch at Mike went for a flight with a buddy over South Haven?

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  3. What an amazing scenery! I didn’t know that the ice would pile up like this on Lake Michigan. The ice and the pier makes a beautiful shot!

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    1. The Great Lakes are very powerful, that’s for sure. Lake Michigan is 83 miles across between Grand Haven and Milwaukee. The wind can really whip the waves up in that distance, Inger. Best part of the lakes though…. No salt and no sharks! 🙂

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