Tag Archives: Blue Water Bridge

Port Huron: Blue Water Roadtrip

5 Sep

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With another scorching summer on hand, we often take refuge with a drive along Michigan’s beautiful blue waters. One of our favorite routes is to follow the shoreline from Lake St Clair to Port Huron via M-29; the turquoise blue water and lake breeze does wonders for both mind and body.  In Port Huron the double span of the Blue Water bridge is picturesque as it crosses the St Clair river; the water turns a cobalt blue as it flows into Lake Huron, Canada awaits on the other side. We parked at the Thomas Edison Depot Museum located on Edison Parkway; in front of us the Thomas Edison River Walk stretches south from under the bridge to the USCG dock; a favorite spot for sight-seers, walkers and fishermen, it is always a bevy of activity.  Today we were in search of a little history and some air conditioning; inside the museum we go!

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Built in 1858 for Grand Trunk Railroad the tiny Fort Gratiot Depot is now home to the Thomas Edison Depot Museum. As you can clearly see, young Thomas made a great impression on the city during his boyhood years. The Edison family moved to the area from Ohio, that’s where his story begins. I think it’s cool that this is the actual structure where Thomas worked as a “news butcher”; beginning in 1859 the then 12-year old boy departed daily from this depot on the Port Huron to Detroit run. The young entrepreneur actually published the first newspaper to ever be printed on a moving train, the Grand Trunk Herald; his job was to sell newspapers and candy to train passengers, he was quite successful. There is not a lot of square footage for exhibits, but all look fresh, are done well and give visitors an opportunity to participate hands-on. The timeline continues into Edison’s adulthood and success as an inventor. A restored baggage car is just outside the museum, you are able to go inside and have a look at what Thomas’s printing shop and mobile chemistry lab would have looked like. The museum is really interesting, be sure and stop in.

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We continued our drive south on the parkway to Pine Grove Park where the Huron Lightship Museum is embanked; definitely check this out! Built in 1920 she was launched simply as Lightship 103 of the United States Lighthouse Service. Back in the day, floating lighthouses were used in places where it was too deep or too costly to build an actual lighthouse. A light shone brightly at the top of a mast, ships also sounded fog signals when visibility was difficult. This was the last lightship afloat on the great lakes; it was retired from active service in 1970, enshrined at Grove Park in 1972 and in 1989 the Huron was designated a National Historic Landmark. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to climb aboard such a neat piece of history. We first wandered around the main level and got an idea of what it was like for the crew to live aboard; the galley is long and narrow, complete with stainless steel sinks and counters, a small dining area consists of a simple table and chairs, cots dangle from chains in the sleeping area…..not exactly roomy. We climbed down the ladder into the engine room; originally powered by a compound steam engine, in 1949 it was converted to diesel power using 2, 6 cyl. GM 6-71 engines. Get an up-close look at the gauges, tanks and over-sized components that made this ship run;  hard hats and lanterns hang overhead; I can only imagine how loud it must have been down here. Back up the ladder, a turn, then up another stairway to the weather deck; here you get a complete panoramic view of the dazzling river, bridges and deep blue lake, Wow! Here you also have access to the pilot house, complete with its signature brass steering wheel and numerous gadgets. When we completed our tour it was time for lunch, we drove a little further south to the banks of the Black River to find some outdoor dining.

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This area of downtown in particular seems to be thriving with new life; every time we come there seems to be a new restaurant or cafe. Quay Street Brewing Co. offers both indoor and outdoor dining on two levels with fantastic water views; we chose outdoor. There was a table available right along the river’s edge; we were on the upper deck, mounds of Wisteria vines hang off the side and create a roof over the patio level. As we started to look at the menu our attention was diverted by the rumbling sounds that can only be made by a powerboat; sure enough we had stumbled upon the 2nd Annual International Offshore Powerboat Races at Port Huron/Sarnia. That’s the advantage of living on the great lakes, it seems no matter where you go or what lake you are near you can always find yourself smack dab in the middle of some great event. Kris inspected the boats more closely as they traveled by on the Black River, going to and from Lake Huron, I studied the menu. First order of business at a brewery; choose a beer. I am very fond of dark beers, so it was an easy choice with the Black River Stout. Food was more difficult because everything looked good. We settled on the Muffuletta sandwich; a wonderful diced olive mixture topping a stack of salami, mortadella, capicollo and provolone on a roll. The Garden Salad was large; crunchy romaine and veggies with a unique lemon-mint vinaigrette, delicious and refreshing. We sat at our table under the shade of a bright yellow umbrella; the food was tasty, the beer, excellent and the boat race an unexpected pleasure. Yes, it’s good to live in Michigan!

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A few local folks told us about a new ice cream shop in town, so we went over to have a look. I know I’ve said it before, but, Port Huron has a gorgeous downtown, the lovely Victorian style of a by-gone era still remains here. The Mackinac Island Creamery on Water St is located in one such building; beautiful red brick and fanciful trim painted in shades of green, looking as pretty as it did when it was new. Inside we discover its former life as a bank; along the back wall a safe serves as a reminder; incredibly fancy it even has a landscape painting as part of its decor. The ceiling is unusually stunning; an intricate wood design that carries down a cove. The shop serves, as you may have guessed, Mackinac Island Creamery brand of ice cream in 12 delicious flavors, they also sell Mackinac Island Trading Co. fudge and  POHO popcorn.  The flavors all sounded good, there is a different feature ice cream each month, the flavor for August was a creamy vanilla ice cream with rich cinnamon swirls throughout, like eating a decadent cinnamon roll, yum! The shop was busy with customers; a family stood by the map of the US placing a pin near their hometown in Pennsylvania. It’s good to see people discovering Port Huron and our beautiful Blue Water Area!

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Roadtrip….M-29 to Lexington MI

26 May

park 477 Lexington Michigan is one of our favorite small town summer destinations. We made our first drive up for the season on Sunday, and Oh, what a day! The only way to get there is the scenic route of course, probably the best place to begin is New Baltimore. Located in the northeast corner of Macomb County the city rests on the coastline of Lake St Clair, specifically Anchor Bay.  There is a small beach , a playground, and a dock for fishing or just staring off into the lake. They have a Sunday Farmers Market beginning July 17, fresh picked local vegetables and herbs, and lots of homemade goodies to choose from. park 457 From here get on M- 29, it will take you east, enjoy glimpses of the bay between cottages and restaurants, maybe stop in at a roadside vegetable stand, the road continues south through St John’s Marsh. Driving through the marsh is intriguing, there is water of some sort on each side of the road, look for wildlife in the marsh, swans and heron are a common sight. Finally you will head back north up the St Clair River. From here the scenery goes up a notch, the river is less obscured. Algonac is another little town on the water, it has a pretty riverside park where you can stop and stretch your legs. Marine City is the next teeny tiny little town, it has it’s own charm, and seems to be on the upswing.  The historic downtown lies just east of M-29, paralleling the river. We stopped  in at an old fashioned candy store called “The Sweet Tooth“, right on Water Street. It’s really cute inside, they have all the candies from my childhood; like giant Pixie Sticks, Zotz, Blow Pops, and those crazy Necco Candy Buttons; the little pastel candy dots that you end up eating as much paper as you do candy, yeah, those! It’s a place that brings a smile to your face everywhere you look. If it’s a nice day get a hand dipped Hudsonville Ice Cream cone and take it outside to Riverpark to enjoy. The view is as pretty as the ice cream is good. park 451 Bask in the scenery as you make your way, the river is a gorgeous bluish green, it was such a spectacular day for our drive the sunlight danced upon the water. Elegant Victorians, richly decorated Tudor homes and cottages are intermixed on the west side of the road, each looking like they belong, newly built mansions sit back in the distance. St Clair is next, this is a higher end town than the others, the residences here reflect money. Palmer Park is perfect for sitting and watching the freighters go by or taking a stroll along the boardwalk. The St Clair Inn has been around since 1926 and is on the National register of Historic Landmarks. All done up in it’s English Tudor style, it takes you back to a grander place in time. Stop in for a meal or stay for the weekend. park 546 park 472 park 488 Port Huron is the big city with the spectacular view, there’s just too much to list here, so look for a future post about it. I will say this, drive through the historic downtown, it is quite lovely, at its end veer right. Head back to the river and drive along taking in the sights of the Blue Water Bridge, sailboats, Canada, and of course Lake Huron. As you pass the Thomas Edison Inn follow Gratiot to continue the scenic path and avoid the malls and traffic of the everyday life. park 513 park 533 I believe it is 22 miles north on M-25 to Lexington, it is truly a one stoplight town, so don’t miss it! As you make your right turn at that light, you will suddenly feel like you are on vacation. In the distance is Lake Huron, all blue and picturesque, on the right are quaint shops, and restaurants. Lexington T-shirts and hoodies hang in doorways, tourists carrying double dip cones and sporting hats and sunscreen peruse the sidewalks. For all the years we have been coming here Sweetwater’s is where we eat, and what we eat is pizza, either a Sweetwater or a New York, and a Greek Market Salad, you can’t go wrong with an order like that. Sit outside and feel yourself relax, do some people watching as sun worshipers head to the beach. After you have eaten head to the lake yourself, there’s a extensive pier that takes you out in the lake, bordered by huge rocks floated down from Rogers City.  It’s an excellent getaway that lets you enjoy one of our states most significant assets, our Great Lakes, and Lake Huron certainly is great.  park 500 park 511