An Afternoon Jaunt to Lake Michigan

How fortunate as aviators,we are to live in Michigan, with it’s wide array of scenic offerings.  The same landscapes seen from above can take on many different appearances, depending the season of the year, or even the time of day you fly over.  Whether Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall – anytime is a beautiful time to explore our Great Lakes state.

It is so easy to take for granted that while sipping our morning coffee, we can make a spontaneous decision to head to 9D9, hop in the plane and head to the shores of Lake Michigan  for a leisurely “sunday drive” and be soaring over the likes of Grand Haven, Holland or Saugatuck in roughly the time it would take to drive to the local mall.  This particular day, we lingered over Holland long enough to capture the photos below. Yes, we are very fortunate indeed!

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Holland inlet
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Brisk day for a sail

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Homebound sailboat
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Lots of empty slips this time of year! Lake Macatawa.
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Lake Macatawa.
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Holland lighthouse – “Big Red”.
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Coast of Lake Macatawa.
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Exploring The “Thumb” – Lexington, MI

Saturday, October 8, Randy and I decided to head to the eastern side of Michigan to explore an area neither of us knew much about.  On the shores of Lake Huron, right in the middle of Michigan’s “thumb”, lies the quaint little harbor town of Lexington.

Being from the southwestern side of the state, we are very fortunate to have an abundance of lakeshore towns to enjoy.  Saugatuck, South Haven, Holland and Grand Haven, just to name a few, dot the coastline of Lake Michigan. These bustling harbor towns are full of tourists year around, particularly during the summer months.  However, we were unfamiliar with the “other side” and what it had to offer.  We spotted Lexington on the Fun Places to Fly website. It sounded like an interesting destination and we had heard that Lexington rivaled our Lake Michigan jewels, so we thought we’d check it out.

The nearest airport to Lexington is about 5 miles north of town, and hugs the shore of Lake Huron.  Flugplatz (7MI) is a small airport with a 3,870′ east/west well maintained grass runway. Although it is a public use airport, it is privately owned.  Owners Bill and Gail Schutzler’s house sits at the east end of the runway.  Randy called Bill Schutzler prior to our departure and asked him about transportation to town.  There is a cab service that will pick you up, however Bill told Randy if he were at home when we arrived, he would give us a ride to town.

The landing pattern for Runway 27 took us out over Lake Huron.  The view was spectacular.  Upon landing,  we back-taxied to the east side of the field and Bill Schutzler met us outside and marshaled us to the ramp in front of his house.  What a nice set-up they have!   Bill’s wife Gail came out to greet us as well.  After a tour of their hanger and some nice conversation, they offered us the use of their pickup truck for the day.  What a nice gesture.  I’m telling you – aviation folks are a special breed!  Our thanks to Bill and Gail for their wonderful hospitality.

It only took us a few minutes to reach the downtown area.  We weren’t disappointed.  Lexington is a charming, picturesque town full of little shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and cottages. The Lexington Village Theatre hosts live big name acts.  The town was established in 1835,  so there were an abundance of historical buildings and homes to see and photograph as well.  The town is situated right on the lake and you can stroll out on the breakwater and enjoy the view of freighters slowly passing on the horizon.

We browsed through some of the shops and found the typical tourist wares.  However my favorite was not typical in the least.  We visited an antique/resale shop that was reminiscent of walking in to a Stephen King novel.  Weirdness at it’s best!  I couldn’t resist snapping some shots to share. Unfortunately I neglected to catch the name, but you cannot miss it.  It is on the main drag and many of the items pictured are displayed on the sidewalk staring creepily at you as you pass by.  An interesting find.

We had lunch at the Windjammer, a nice restaurant with a great view of the harbor.  Although it was all but void of boats this time of year, it was still very pretty.  The menu was extensive and the food was very good.  If you go, try the Blue Cheese Nachos.  They are wickedly good!

Lexington does rival our Lake Michigan Harbor towns, however it is a bit more laid back and not quite as commercial as many of the towns on Lake Michigan.  Granted, we didn’t visit in the peak summer season, but we found it to be quiet and relaxing. Even though it was Saturday, there were no crowds to be found.

If you do fly  in to Flugplatz, it would be wise to call ahead to make sure you can arrange transportation.  It is a destination worth traveling to and we have officially added Lexington to our “must visit again” list!

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Glimpse of Lake Huron
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Lake Huron splendor

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Turning base for Runway 27
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On Final

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Our hosts Bill and Gail

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Windjammer Restaurant
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View from the breakwater
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Silently passing by

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A Night to Remember B&B

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Made ourselves right at home!
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Lexington from above

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