Michiganders and visitors alike are all too aware of how great West Michigan is to visit in the summer. Long, luxurious days at Lake Michigan’s lengthy beaches, or exploring dunes and hiking trails, are just a couple things that make Michigan great in the summer. That’s not all the state has to offer though! On a #MittenTrip to Ludington this fall, I was reminded how important it is to slow down, look out the window, and enjoy the crisp, clean air of West Michigan. With the help of Ayyo Weekends and some local insider knowledge, my travel companion and I truly made the most of a windy, chilly and albeit sunny Saturday in Ludington. You can get a complete rundown of the weekend from the Ludington guide, but this is a look at ways to make the most of the daylight hours.
When starting out the day, we had some idea of stops we wanted to make and adventures we wanted to have, but we also wanted to keep it loose in case the weather wasn’t cooperating perfectly. Following breakfast, we wandered over to Trailhead Bike Shop to pick up the bicycles that Ayyo Weekends had scheduled for us. The wind was blowing, but the sun was out and our resolve was high to get a little two-wheeled exploring done.
Ludington has a quaint downtown area with boutiques, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that are sure to offer a little something for everyone. We both are book lovers through and through, so we headed to Book Mark to grab a coffee and wander around for a bit. The selection of books was great, and the coffee gave us the pep we needed to keep riding around town.
Following some shopping, we rode over to the Waterfront Park to look at the sculptures that show a little about the region and its history. The SS Badger was still in dock, so we made sure to take some pictures and ride around the many sidewalks that are usually teaming with people in the summer. One thing can be said for Michigan’s beach towns in the fall, they sure are peaceful. After taking in a few more glimpses of the lighthouse on the break wall and Lake Michigan, we figured that we’d had enough wind for the morning and we’d escape to the car for a different kind of adventure.
Since my travel buddy is originally from Ludington, he was the perfect navigator for a drive through the countryside. Although this trip would be ideal on a bicycle, the comfort of the car made for more sights to be seen and a little more comfort for both of us.
We made a stop at Kistlecrest Farms to pick up some of the best maple syrup the state has to offer before exploring the orchards surrounding the adorable farm stand. Taking long and winding roads, we stopped frequently to look at the leaves making patchwork blankets that stretched across the rolling hills outside of Ludington. A sign intrigued us during our travels that landed us at The Jam Farm, which was a tiny trailer with a delightful proprietress eager to show us just how delicious her jams and jellies are – we bought a few jars.
The sun was shining and the wind had died down a bit, so we decided walking around a bit would be a good turn of events. We stopped at the Historic White Pine Village where history comes alive in a replica village of a time long gone. This would be a great time for the little ones traveling around Ludington, but believe me, we had as much fun as anyone might hope.
Just a little further down Lakeshore Drive, we found Buttersville Park where we wandered around the dunes of sand that make up the secluded beach. In the fall, we were lucky enough to be one of a few groups exploring the crashing waves of Lake Michigan, so we could get some excellent pictures and enjoy the serenity to its fullest. We drove a little further up to grab some shots of the cityscape of Ludington from across the water before calling it a day.
If you’re looking for a lovely way to spend a few hours in Ludington, I highly recommend mixing up your traveling methods and taking the backroads through the colors and quaintness that surrounds the little town. Do you have any other recommendations for folks making a #MittenTrip to the Ludington area when traditional beach adventures aren’t on the menu?