Weekend Getaway: Saugatuck, Michigan

This past weekend my mom, sister, and took a mini weekend getaway to Saugatuck, Michigan. The goal was to experience the changing of the seasons among the beauty itself. Our last adventure to Michigan was almost 6 months ago (!!!) for Memorial Day. We couldn’t help but fall in love with the quiet little town with its wooded and winding roads and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

I took a half day on Friday and the three ladies of the family (dad decided to skip out) headed out to make the 2.5 hour drive to Michigan. The time passed quickly as I spent the majority of it making my way through Anna Karenina. As we approached the town, it was clear that fall was on its way out and the trees had shed their red/orange/yellow coats for the year.

Soon enough, we turned into the familiar gravel driveway. I can’t praise this location enough! The six cabins are owned by two men who do an exceptional job at maintaining Timber Bluff.

Every cabin has a fully stocked kitchen (i.e. dishes, pots, pans, utensils, and even some basic food items) and is well-furnished.

The cabins vary in size, number of bedrooms, and price. This time around we stayed at the Garden Cottage, a cabin with one master bedroom and a beautiful living room connected to an open kitchen.

There was also a working fireplace and heating/cooling system – perfect for the chilly November temps.

Everyone was starving so we immediately set out to work on prepping lunch. Of course we brought food with us…cooking in the woods is all part of the experience!

Lunch included a fresh salad with mustard-yogurt dressing with a side of baked salmon (unpictured):

After the hearty lunch we headed out for a short walk before nightfall. While much of the leaves had already fallen, the scenery was still incredibly beautiful.

 We walked for about a quarter mile before heading back to the warmth and comfort of our cozy log home.

The remainder of the night was spent hanging out on the couch reading, watching episodes of Modern Family, and drinking tea.

Sounds like a perfect night to me!

We crashed early in the evening with the hopes of getting an early start the following day. I made buckwheat pumpkin spice waffles for breakfast:


After breakfast, we decided to head out and explore the town by car. My mom was on a mission for freshly-baked pie. We stopped by a restaurant that sat on the outskirts of a beautiful vineyard:

The restaurant was rocking a serious old-school vibe.

We scouted out the pies, jams, freshly-baked breads, and nut butters but ended up walking out with a loaf of apple butter bread to bring back for my dad as a small gift.

On the drive home we stopped by an antique store. No purchases were made.

After we returned, it was time for my scheduled run. Hooray for cooler weather and the ability to run at any time in the day without fear of melting in the heat.

I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to run, but I knew I had to at least aim to knock out four miles given the upcoming Perfect 10K race this weekend. I dragged my sister with me as well so that my mom wouldn’t have to drive alongside as she did last time!

We ran a slow-ish two miles out, turned around and headed back home. The entire run felt fantastic. The hills were perfectly challenging, the weather was chilly but not freezing, and our pace hovered around a comfortable 10:30 min/mile.

At the four mile mark I felt like I still had more fuel in me, so I decided to run another mile to raise my final distance to five miles. Of course, my mom refused to let me run solo (my sis was done for the day) so she ended up driving alongside me again.

Yes, I said this plenty of times before but my mom is basically amazing.

I ran the last mile in under 9 minutes and returned home on an endorphin high. I stretched, foam rolled, did some quick strength exercises and then it was time to eat again!

We bought some high-quality steaks from Whole Foods and grilled them up along with sweet potatoes and Portobello mushrooms on the side. My mom also oven-baked fingerling potatoes.

But dinner wasn’t just plain steak and potatoes. We had an entire taco bar lined up! We used Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas to make steak tacos:

(In the taco: Portobello mushroom, steak, greens, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, avocado, and mustard)

This was my favorite meal of the entire weekend!

After our late lunch we plopped down on the couch and proceeded to watch four episodes of The Big Bang Theory with a side of tea and crackers.

(You guys, these crackers are so good! I came across them at Whole Foods and couldn’t resist.)

Dinnertime rolled around and I was still full from our hearty lunch, but I the baking bug bit me. I had my new donut pan and all the ingredients needed to make pumpkin buckwheat donuts. I loosely followed this recipe but made a lot of replacements for the flour used (I used only buckwheat flour…my favorite!), milk (we had none so we improvised with Greek yogurt mixed with water), and sweetener (I used molasses and brown sugar).

The final result was amazing! In order to get our chocolate fix for the day, we decided to dip the tops of the donuts into a chocolate-honey mixture.

Yes, these were as delicious as they looked!

Our second day in Michigan quickly came to a close as we set out for bed. I had a hard time falling asleep (I blame all the chocolate!) but once I dozed off I slept straight through the morning and woke up at 10am! With the added hour of sleep, I must admit that I slept for over 10 hours. Crazy! But I guess my body needed it.

We ate donuts and eggs with coffee for our final breakfast in the cottage, and then headed out for a long walk before officially heading back home.

The three of us walked for a mile along the winding road just enjoying the fleeing beauty of fall all around us.

We spent the majority of the time discussing what house we wish we could own and dreaming about purchasing some of the real estate along the lake. By the way, most of these houses are valued at around 1 million…dream big right?

Our final goodbye took place on the shores of Lake Michigan:

We returned back to our cabin, ate a quick lunch consisting of soup and potatoes, and hit the road. Our short trip was officially over.

I will not hesitate to recommend visiting Saugatuck, Michigan to anyone, especially to fellow Chicagoans. The location is beautiful, the cabins are well-managed, the prices are good, and the drive is reasonable (~2 hours). Michigan feels like another world with its hilly landscape and wooded forests – it’s truly the perfect quick getaway!

♥ Irina


  1. November 9, 2012 / 11:03 am

    Looks like an awesome weekend away! My parents have a cabin in Michigan, but we don’t get to it very often.

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:04 pm

      I’m jealous! It’s my dream to have a cabin up in Michigan..you’re lucky!

      • November 11, 2012 / 7:30 pm

        Yes, but this cabin is really rustic. It suits my parents, though.

  2. November 9, 2012 / 11:15 am

    I love the fall colors! So pretty! My boyfriend’s brother has a home on the west side of Michigan and he goes every weekend during the summer and fall. We usually try to make it out a handful of times but it’s hard when you have obligations in the city.

    I’m glad you had a great trip!

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:05 pm

      I’m envious that you have a great place to stay in Michigan! If I had a home there I would probably go there every weekend when it’s warm.

  3. November 9, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    Wow that seems like so much fun and I’m glad you had a nice getaway! The colors are simply gorgeous!

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:06 pm

      Thanks! It was a perfect quick getaway, and nearby as well.

  4. November 9, 2012 / 1:37 pm

    This looks like such an amazing and quiet place! You’re so lucky that you’re able to read in the car—I always get such a headaches and always end up sleeping and waking up with major neck soreness :P!

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:10 pm

      I heard people mention that they couldn’t read in the car but I never had problems. I DO have problems sleeping in the car though, I can’t fall asleep in a car or in an airplane!

  5. November 9, 2012 / 3:19 pm

    I love Michigan! I have travelled up the “west coast” many times for week-long stays near Pentwater and Traverse City. It’s soooo beautiful and relaxing up there.

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:12 pm

      I need to look into those places – we’re always looking for new towns to visit there!

  6. November 9, 2012 / 7:04 pm

    gosh that looks like a freaking blast, just the scenery is breathtaking

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:13 pm

      Thanks! It was a good way to say goodbye to Fall 🙂

  7. November 9, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    Oh wow what an amazing looking weekend! And with your mom and sister? Sounds perfect 😀 The inclusion of donuts doesn’t hurt either 😉 I’ve stayed in cabins that are similar to the ones you were in, and it really makes things so much more cozy and enjoyable, doesn’t it? Really sets the mood 🙂

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:15 pm

      Agreed! There is something so special about staying in a cabin, especially during the colder months. I want to return there in the winter!

  8. November 11, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    Seriously? I am in love with your life and I now need a doughnut pan! those look amazing! I just fell in love with buckwheat and now I want it in everything! 😉 It looks like an amazing weekend for you girls!

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:16 pm

      Aww thanks! Buckwheat is THE BEST. Seriously, I prefer buckwheat flour to all other flours and always use it in baked goods.

  9. November 11, 2012 / 4:13 pm

    Looks like the three of you had an amazing mother-daughters-weekend! Isn’t that the best way of spending the weekend? I’m jealous 🙂 …

    Timber Bluff and its surroundings must be such a great place to visit. If only it was closer to here.

    Do you take a huge DSLR with you when running? This might be a stupid question but I was wondering it :).

    • November 11, 2012 / 7:18 pm

      I’m sure you have some wonderful little cabin-in-the-woods locations near you! You should look into it, it’s such a wonderful experience.

      Haha no I definitely don’t take my DSLR with me while running. My iPhone is heavy enough as it is! I just use my iPhone to snap photos, and they surprisingly come out pretty well.

  10. November 12, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    OMG I LOVED IT THERE!! I went when I was much younger and fell in love with that town.

    • November 12, 2012 / 8:56 pm

      That’s so awesome that you’ve been there! You understand why I love it so much 🙂

  11. November 14, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    Sounds like a PERFECT weekend!!! I absolutely love Saugatuck and the entire SW Michigan coastline (my husband and I got married in St. Joseph). It’s such a hidden gem, so peaceful and so diverse, yet so close to Chicago. GORGEOUS pictures!

    • November 14, 2012 / 10:00 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! It’s definitely a hidden gem but I’m noticing more and more Chicagoans starting to make their way over there. It’s really the perfect getaway in any season.