Temperatures are cold for this Californian, but I’m not complaining about the snowless winter I experienced in Muskegon this year. The truth is, I grew up there, moved to California eleven years ago for an adventure, returning each year to get my winter fix.
I arrived at the Muskegon County Airport to chilly winds. After ordering my favorite turkey sandwich from The Brownstone, the only restaurant at the airport, my parents and I head home through iceless and snowless streets. The scenery looks no different then what I left behind in Cali.
My visit was full of rest, warmth, and homesteading. I spent most of my days visiting my grandparents and being creative indoors, from baking bread and homemade dog treats, making Christmas and birthday presents, and writing. Some days, we climbed out of the house to walk in the woods. Though the trail was wet and muddy, the bare trees and carpet of leaves filled the acres of land. We walked to a nearby park to see Lake Michigan, where I am taken by its beauty and rustic feel. Our 4.6 mile walk that day is one main reason why I enjoy being back home.
I was treated with Fricano’s Pizza twice on this visit. The pizza is an Italy original that started in Grand Haven and is sporadically throughout Michigan. You can’t get this in any other state, so settle in at either location (Muskegon or Grand Haven), order yourself a pizza (you’ll want your own, trust me) and enjoy each bite. If you can’t eat it all in one sitting, you’ll be craving it later, take it home. You can also order half bakes, we did this for our Christmas dinner…delicious!
My last week in Muskegon, I spent a full day enjoying the city with a friend. Catching a glimpse of a coal freighter across the lake, we raced it to the Pere Marquette channel to stand at awe of its massive size before heading in to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, where memorabilia from WWI and WWII were showcased. If you are one for history, I strongly recommend a trip to the museum. We managed to gander for 45 minutes before closing, but could have lingered longer. So, be sure to give yourself enough time to take it all in. Ending our daylight, we chased the sun wrapped amongst clouds, catching it already melted into Lake Michigan. It was a teeth chattering cold as we stood on the shoreline to take pictures. You can choose to stay in the vehicle for pictures, but you’ll miss out on the full experience. So, on your trip, bundle up and give it a shot, the fresh unsalted air is worth it. To warm up, we met up with family at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in downtown. Its industrial urban feel meets a little old school bar had our eyes absorbing our surroundings. As we were waiting for our order, my brother pointed out the picture on the wall, of which the brewery was named after. Pigeon Hill is the sand dune where my grandparents built their home in the 50’s and the same photo still resides at their residence. The atmosphere was friendly and light, and the beer tasty. If you are one for sweet drinks, and want to try the beer, get a sample of the O.C.P., you may find yourself ordering a pint after a sip of this goodness.
Before leaving Muskegon, we spent time hunting for winterberries on our property, this is an experience one must do on winter hikes. After picking a few winterberries, I popped one in my mouth, the soft white center sprung my senses to life with a cool fresh taste. Just as the weather was, cool and fresh, but I didn’t notice the chill any longer. I had become acclimated to the cold weather and found contentment in the natural beauty God provided. Oh yes, I’ll be back.
P.S. If you’re looking to try something different, head over to Mia & Grace for excellent food. By no means are they an afterthought, I just remembered how much I liked the atmosphere and delicious food.
Though the picture looks like summer, it really is winter, the kite surfers are taking advantage of the weather while they can.