A Foodie-Focused Weekend In The Art Coast

There are two kinds of people in this world—those who eat to live and those who live to eat. If you’re part of the latter group, this foodie-focused itinerary in Saugatuck/Douglas is just for you. Get ready for a memorable vacation full of culinary-inspired activities and flavorful meals crafted to tempt the most discerning and adventurous palates. We’re sure you’ll want to savor every bite in this gastronomic getaway to the Art Coast of Michigan.

Day 1

Kick off your culinary adventure by indulging in brunch at Lady Bird, one of Saugatuck’s newest epicurean treasures. This modern American eatery offers delicious seasonal fare paired with excellent service. For something more unique than your standard breakfast fare, try their Elk Breakfast Scramble, featuring elk sausage, tater tots, caramelized onions, Fajita peppers, cheese fondue, and jalapeno aioli, topped with a fried egg. 

Then, plan on spending some time at Uncommon Coffee Roasters, where you can book an experience to become a Roaster for A Day, where you’ll learn how to roast coffee and then take home 10 pounds of your own custom blend to share with friends and family. Or sign up to take their Coffee Flight and Warehouse Tour. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the roasting process, sample a variety of freshly brewed coffees, and chat with knowledgeable staff about the journey from bean to cup.

For lunch, stop by Duck Alley and try their signature Duck Wings paired with a craft cocktail. This cozy spot offers a relaxed atmosphere and delicious fare that sets the tone for your foodie adventure.

No trip to the Art Coast is complete without taking in some of the stunning scenery. Plan to spend some time exploring the sandy, forested trails of Saugatuck Dunes State Park and enjoy the 2.5 miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. 

End your day with an elegant dinner at Bowdie’s Chophouse, a quaint, Sinatra-era premier steakhouse that rivals any fine restaurant you’d find in a big city. Indulge in creative starters like their Bone Marrow served with citrus salt and toasted baguette or their Escargot with garlic herb butter and crostini. Follow it up with one of their perfectly cooked steaks and some delectable sides for a truly satisfying meal.

Lady Bird
Bowdie’s Chophouse
Cider flight at Virtue Cider
Virtue Cider

Day 2

Don’t miss the most important meal of the day. Enjoy breakfast at Pennyroyal Café & Provisions, where you’ll be sure to enjoy their Twice Baked Potato Bird’s Nest Hash, featuring shredded potato, bacon, onion, pickled peppers, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and over-medium eggs. For those with a sweet tooth, their Dutch Baby soufflé pancake with powdered sugar, Michigan maple syrup, and seasonal fruit compote is a must, as is their renowned Blueberry Pancakes.

Head over to Virtue Cider in Fennville and explore the world of cidermaking with a Production Tour experience. Learn about pressing, fermentation, blending, and barrel aging as you travel through their three cider houses and taste various ciders along the way. Afterward, visit their orchards and farm and see the Heritage breed animals that call the 48-acre property their home. 

After your tour, stop by Root Café in Fennville for lunch. Known for its eclectic menu and fusion of flavors, you’ll want to try their Lamb Poutine, which combines a hearty helping of country fries and slow-roasted grass-fed lamb with brown cumin gravy, feta, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and cilantro. Or enjoy their Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake topped with bonito flakes, tempura crumbles, Okonomiyaki sauce, pork, pickled ginger, and green onions.

During the late afternoon, enjoy a leisurely cruise exploring the harbor, river, and Lake Michigan on the Star of Saugatuck. This 51-ton authentic sternwheeler paddleboat also offers occasional themed cruises, such as Wine on the Water or Beer on the Boat, where you can indulge your palate with tastings of your favorite libation curated by an expert.

Conclude the day with an elegant four-course prix fixe dinner at The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant. Indulge in sumptuous dishes like Mussels in Pernod Cream and Vegetarian Pansoti, plump ravioli pockets filled with sweet potato, walnut, and sage, served with a Parmesan cream sauce and julienned vegetables. The inn’s stunning European-style gardens and architecture offer a beautiful setting for a memorable meal.

Evergreen Lane Farm & Creamery
Coast 236

Day 3

Try one of the amazing breakfast entrees at happystance, a new chef-driven breakfast/brunch spot in downtown Douglas. With an emphasis on local ingredients and friendly service, a meal here will undoubtedly be a great start to your day.  

After perusing the nearby art galleries, make your way over to Lulu Cadieux in Saugatuck for a Hands-on Cooking Class. Learn essential culinary techniques in a beautiful, light-filled kitchen, from proper knife skills to sauce-making. The small group setting ensures personalized instruction, and the best part is enjoying the delicious dishes you create in their beautiful chef’s garden at their big farm table. Class topics include Sweet and Savory Souffles, Perfect Paella, Hand-Made Pastas and Sauces, and more. 

After enjoying the fruits of your labor from your cooking class for lunch, plan a stop at Evergreen Lane Farm & Creamery in Fennville. This unique farm experience allows you to sample artfully hand-crafted cow and goat cheeses. Interact with the playful goat kids or spend some time with Falyn, their resident retiree dairy goat.

To make room for dinner, we suggest heading over to Saugatuck and climbing up the 300+ stairs of Mt. Baldhead, where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. Then, walk (or run) down the dune and spend some time relaxing at Oval Beach. Arrange for the Interurban to get you back into town. For dinner, indulge in a decadent six- or nine-course tasting menu at Coast 236. Delight in culinary masterpieces like Tuna Crudo with grapefruit, shallot, and crispy caper, Seared Foie Gras with pickled fennel, apple puree, and shallot marmalade, or Steak Tartare with quail egg. Each course comes with a recommended optional wine pairing.

Two women looking toward the sunset with drinks.
Borrowed Time
Plate of salmon and quinoa at Salt of the Earth
Salt of the Earth

Extend Your Stay

If time is on your side, extend your stay and spend a day exploring the fabulous wineries in the region, including Modales, Michigan Wine Co., Fenn Valley Vineyards, and Crane’s Winery. There are group ride and private tour options with Coastal Tours, Untapped Sights & Tours, and Singapore Shuttles for worry-free transportation between locations.

For other must-try restaurants with outstanding menu options, we recommend Borrowed Time, J. Paul’s at the Kirby Hotel, and Everyday People Café in Douglas, The Southerner and The Grill Room at Clearbrook in Saugatuck, and Salt of the Earth in Fennville.

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