Five Items to Cross Off Your Ludington Beach Day Checklist

The beaches of Ludington are no stranger to summer fun! Today, guest blogger Brandy Henderson reminds us to cross these five items off your beach day checklist to make your Pure Ludington getaway complete. 

Photo by Todd Reed

Photo by Todd Reed

1. Find the perfect beach for the occasion

With 28 miles of sandy shoreline, you are sure to find the perfect place to drop your beach towel in Pure Ludington. Known for beautiful, sugar-sand beaches along Lake Michigan, Ludington is home to award winning beaches with lots of amenities, dog friendly beaches where your furry friends can take a dip and secluded natural shoreline for a more private setting. Ludington’s beaches have something for everyone.

Most notably, the public beach at Stearns Park has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years. Recently, USA Today named Stearns Park Beach one of the Top 51 Great American Beaches, representing the #1 beach in Michigan. With well-maintained facilities, groomed sugar-sands, beautiful views of the North Breakwater Lighthouse overlooking Lake Michigan and close proximity to the quaint downtown, this is truly a beach to be experienced.

2. Watch or ride the SS Badger

Photo by Todd Reed

Photo by Todd Reed

Stearns Park Beach is also a great place to catch the historic carferry, SS Badger, setting sail across Lake Michigan. This historic ship is the last coal-powered steam ship operating in North America. The 4 hour trip across Lake Michigan aboard the SS Badger can be filled by enjoying the movie theater, enjoying a drink on the bow, watching the kids play in the arcade or just relaxing in the lounge playing games. The Badger operates between Ludington and Manitowoc, WI daily between May and October. Reconnect and relax on the SS Badger!

3. Enjoy A Michigan Craft Brew

Jamesport Brewing Company and The Mitten Bar in downtown Ludington both serve up some great craft beers, as well as some great food. Jamesport Brewing Company is a micro-brewery and at any time you can try any one of their dozen brews. Jamesport is also a great place to catch the sunset or SS Badger making its way home on their outdoor deck.

The Mitten Bar is quickly becoming a “must stop” destination for Michigan beer lovers. The Mitten Bar has created a destination and culture that celebrates craft beer as well as artisan wine and fine spirits from all around Michigan, right here in downtown Ludington. This quaint little bar serves up 13 taps of Michigan craft beer in addition to Michigan-made wine and liquor.

4. Cool off with an ice cream cone at House of Flavors

Photo by Todd Reed

Photo by Todd Reed

It isn’t a stop to Ludington, without a stop at House of Flavors. This 50’s style diner serves up breakfast all day long and have more than 30 flavors of ice cream to fit your fancy. A popular tradition for locals and visitors is to grab an ice cream cone from House of Flavors and walk to the beach or Waterfront Sculpture Park to enjoy one of Ludington’s breathtaking sunsets.

5. Reconnect with Nature at the Ludington State Park

One of Michigan’s most popular state parks, the Ludington State Park, is comprised of nearly 5,300 acres of scenic sand dunes, marshlands and forests.  This beautiful retreat is one of the best places to camp. It is situated between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan with several miles of shoreline and beaches on both bodies of water. In addition to several miles of hiking and biking trails you can enjoy, visitors can also take a short hike to the Big Sable Lighthouse. Your stay at the Ludintgton State Park will be filled with lots of adventures!

IMG_0057Brandy Henderson is the Executive Director of the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is a lifelong resident of Ludington and a Michigan enthusiast. 

Beat The Heat in the Mitten State with These Summer Activities

After our record-breaking winter, we’re not complaining about warmer temperatures! But when the long mid-summer days get muggy and humid, here are five ways to beat the heat in the Mitten State courtesy of The Awesome Mitten.

Ray's ice Cream - Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Ray’s ice Cream – Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Michigan summers are many things. Predictable, however, does not make the list. One day may be a beautiful 75 and sunny, and the next a sweltering 95 and muggy. Though the former is obviously preferable, there are plenty of awesome activities in Michigan to get you through the latter. Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat the heat in the mitten:

In light of the fact that it’s National Ice Cream Month, and since (inarguably) one of the best ways to beat the heat is with a cold, tasty treat, first on the list is ice cream.

Without a doubt, my first choice for ice cream in Michigan is the MSU Dairy Store. Though I worked at Coldstone Creamery for more than a year while living in East Lansing, I still made near weekly stops at the Dairy Store for a cone or a shake. If you haven’t been, make your way to East Lansing and stop in for a scoop of Michigan State Sesquicentennial Swirl post-haste. (Though I’m actually a fan of the more traditional Mint Chocolate Chip, myself.)

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Now that I’ve left East Lansing for metro-Detroit, I’ve had to find new locales to get my ice cream fix. Luckily, a short one mile walk from my apartment in Royal Oak is the delicious Ray’s Ice Cream. A staple in the area for more than 50 years, Ray’s consistently tops lists of best ice cream parlors in metro-Detroit. Before I wrap up the ice cream shout out’s, I also have to mention Treat Dreams in Ferndale, whose unique and creative flavors I first had and became enamored of at BRU Fest 2013 and have been enjoying ever since.

Possibly the most popular way to beat the heat in Michigan is to head to any number of the gorgeous lakes in the mitten state. Oft-overlooked, however, is the Detroit waterfront. Beautiful Belle Isle Beach is always a great option for just laying out and working on your tan, but you can also take a ride down the waterslide, walk the trails, or (if the weather takes a turn for the worse) check out the wildlife at the Belle Isle Aquarium.

And Belle Isle Beach isn’t the only place to enjoy Detroit’s riverside; Chene Park Amphitheater is another great way to experience the waterfront in the Motor City. With the ever-popular Jazz Series, as well as many other awesome summer performances, Chene Park is a great way to enjoy some tunes while basking in the breeze from the river.

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Speaking of the river, Riverside Kayak Connection has events such as the Detroit Eastside Canal Tour that offer a unique and adventurous way to explore the Motor City. (Don’t worry, novice kayakers, Riverside Kayak Connection has classes and events for all skill levels!)

And when the weather is just too unbearably scorching to enjoy the great outdoors, my personal favorite way to beat the heat indoors is with a few delicious Michigan craft beers. Obviously, everyone clamors for Oberon long before summer (“Oberon Day” was way back in March this year), but there are plenty of other delicious brews that have my mouth watering come summer. On my list are Atwater Brewery’s Dirty Blonde, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co’s Simcoe Silly, and Short’s Brewing Company’s Soft Parade (admittedly a year-round favorite of mine).

Since this list obviously doesn’t cover all of the ways to get through the hot days of a Michigan summer (and, as you may have noticed, it is somewhat biased to the metro-Detroit area), I would love to know: what are some of your favorite ways to beat the heat in Michigan?

HS PhotoHayley Serr writes for The Awesome Mitten and works for Vectorform, a Royal Oak-based interactive design company. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, this Spartan alumna relishes any opportunity to share all of the wonderful things there are to do in Michigan. Hayley loves spending time with her family, cooking, and, of course, any opportunity to explore all the fun there is to be had in the mitten!

 

 

Seven Tips for Capturing a Perfect Pure Michigan Sunset

We consider ourselves quite lucky to have the opportunity experience breathtaking, colorful sunsets all year round in Pure Michigan! Today, nature photographer Joshua Nowicki shares some of his best tips for capturing the memory of a perfect Pure Michigan sunset forever. 

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography - St. Joseph

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography – St. Joseph

I am out almost every night taking photos of the sunset.  Recently, I decided to look back on my photos from the last several years and I could see a noticeable change in the style and quality of the images that I have created.  This led me to think about the way I now approach sunset photography.  As a result, here are a few tips on creating beautiful photos of the sunsets in Pure Michigan.

Research your location: Do an image-search to get an idea of the popular features of a particular location.  Also, find out where the sun will set; there are a variety of apps and websites that will allow you to determine the position of the sun on the date and time that you will be in a particular location.  Knowing the position of the sun relative to the features of the landscape will allow you to better plan the composition of your photos.  For instance, there are several locations in Saint Joseph where I know that I can take a photo of the sun and the lighthouse at a distance, but this is only possible on a limited number of days during the year due to the changing position of the setting sun.

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography - Ludington State Park

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography – Ludington State Park

Get to your location early and observe others: When I arrive at a location, I first look at where other people are.  Sometimes it is a great spot, but often I move away from the group.  I do this because then I am not competing with others for space to take photos.  Also, I like to find a less common perspective, and I enjoy taking photos from a quiet spot in order to better enjoy the moment.

Look around: Because I arrive early, I usually have time before the sun is in the location that I want to photograph.  I use part of this time to enjoy taking photos during the ‘golden hour’ when the landscape is bathed in the soft warm light of the sun.  Further, this is a good opportunity to look for any objects that may unintentionally end up in your photos; power lines, cars, buoys etc. if not placed purposefully in the composition of your photo can be very distracting.

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography - St. Joseph

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography – St. Joseph

Try a different perspective: I like to crouch down low or even lay on the ground to take photos.  It makes waves look larger and lets you uniquely catch the light on the water or through grass.  It is a wonderful way to capture details that are often overlooked.

Be patient: Wait for the position of the sun, sailboat, lighthouse etc. to align as planned.  When I started taking photos, I often ran from place to place trying to get as many different angles as possible without thinking about exactly what I wanted to capture.  Now, I will choose a place and wait patiently; if necessary, I move location only slightly to get the photo composed as planned.  As a result, I take fewer photos, but I am happier with the ones that I take.

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography - After sunset in St. Joseph

Photo by Joshua Nowicki Photography – After sunset in St. Joseph

Stay late: It is amazing how quickly people leave after the sun sets. The color of the sky, especially if there are clouds, is amazing after sunset.

More than just the sunset: Photos of the sunset and water or clouds can be beautiful, but adding in an element that tells a story about the location is wonderful. Trees, lighthouses, animals, and buildings etc. add to the story that the photo tells and offer valuable data about the experience of being there.  A photo of the beach could be almost anywhere; but with a lighthouse in the background, the photo is instantly given a definable location.

With amazing sunsets almost every night, there are endless opportunities to take beautiful sunset photos in Pure Michigan.

For more photos of Pure Michigan sunsets, check out our Pure Michigan Flickr page or follow us on Instagram.

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography.   His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website.