Experience Saugatuck off season

From Halloween happenings and haunted mansions to lakeshore luxury accommodations, the town has it all
A couple enjoys the sunset from the shelter of a "tee pee" at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Oct. 24, 2023.

Attention city dwellers looking for a nearby getaway: Saugatuck has a lot to offer! Less crowded, and with cooler weather than in the height of tourist season, the area boasts incredible natural beauty blazing with color and lots to do; an idyllic and quick fall road trip.

Leaves are fiery red on a tree outside the Saugatuck Village Hall.

An abundance of experiences that capture the essence of the season await. Picturesque bike rides offering views of nature’s vibrant transformation are the perfect way to take in the serene surroundings. Equally inspiring, dune hikes provide more adventurous travelers an opportunity to explore the fusion of fall colors and stunning vistas all to help one savor the magic of this enchanting season.

For a truly breathtaking hike, try Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Follow the Beach Trail path and “hoof it” up and down a wooded path to the coast. Once at the shore, (and if you’re up for a longer hike), hang a left and make your way south along the beach until you get to the Livingston Trailhead marker. This sandy path back into the woods will lead you back to the State Park parking lot as long as you follow the markers. Find a map here. People without a State of Michigan recreation passport may park along the side of the road and walk into the park. There is also a parking lot with access to a really cool disc golf course at The Felt Estate, , 6597 138th Ave., that joins up with the Beach Trail.

Activities on the docket:

October 27, 28, & 29
7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Dare to venture into the realm of the unknown at Unveil the Secrets: Hauntings & History at The Felt Estate.

A pond on the grounds of the Felt Mansion.

For years, rumors of the ghostly sightings have enveloped this stately mansion. This extraordinary opportunity gives attendees the chance to uncover the truth behind those chilling legends as those who have personally confronted “spectral mysteries” at the mansion share their spine-tingling tales. Guests at the event can partake in their very own ghostly quest exploring the estate’s hidden corners by candle light during a 60-minute self-guided expedition. A selection of non-alcoholic elixirs will be available for purchase, along with a glow-in-the-dark souvenir cup.

No tickets will be available at the door. Advance purchase admission tickets are $30 and available  at www.feltmansion.org/hauntings.

October 28

Boo’s Cruise on the Star of Saugatuck, 5 p.m., 716 Water St. Drink specials, a costume contest and a few tricks and treats. This 90-minute cruise is for 21 and older only. saugatuckboatcruises.com

Sunset boat cruises take place earlier in the autumn.

October 29

Kids’ Halloween Cruise on the Star of Saugatuck, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. sailings from 716 Water St. Costumes are welcomed (and treats for kids will be available) on this final cruise of the Star’s 2023 season. saugatuckboatcruises.com

November 5

Scary Supper at Ox Bow: The Best in West Dinner Series – Celebrate Halloween with locally-prepared cuisine! Back by popular demand, the Best in the West series showcases multi-course meals in an intimate atmosphere. Hosted by Ox-bow, guests will enjoy a localized twist on classic dishes like ramen, tacos, and more. The Scary Supper at Ox-Bow event will celebrate spooky season with festive takes on culinary classics, offering visitors a new perspective of Ox-Box. Tickets can be found here.

1920’s critique at Ox-Bow
After a century in operation, Ox-Bow’s mission remains consistent in Saugatuck, serving as a haven for the creative process through instruction, immersion, and community.

November 4

Saugatuck Film Festival – This Fall, visitors can attend the 2nd Annual Saugatuck Film Fest in downtown Saugatuck. Hosted at the historic Saugatuck Women’s Club, attendees will enjoy specially curated films celebrating the art of independent filmmaking and offering patrons of the arts a dynamic showcase of the year’s creativity! This year, the SFF is proudly supporting Ox-Bow School of Art, with all proceeds going to support the renowned Saugatuck institution. Founded in 1910, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency is a separately incorporated nonprofit organization offering year-round programs that cater to degree-seeking students, professional artists, and those new to the field. Students from schools across the country visit Ox-Bow to study and make art on the school’s 115-acre campus. The festival takes place on Saturday, November 4th, 2023. More information can be found here.

Our recommendation for accommodations goes to the newly renovated Wickwood Inn, centrally located just minutes away from the charming restaurants, shops, galleries, of downtown Saugatuck and Douglas. The 86-year-old property is an undiscovered historic gem that was recently renovated by Shea Soucie and Martin Horner, partners of internationally renowned Chicago-based luxury design firm Soucie Horner Interiors.

Luxurious designs and furnishings fill each of the 11 rooms at Wickwood Inn.

Guests of the 11-room inn will enjoy luxurious accommodations, one-of-a-kind furnishings, working fireplaces and art. In addition, the property promises a tranquil and meticulously landscaped garden, outdoor gazebo and gently lit arbor sanctuary, gracious hospitality, as well as a delectable farm-to-table breakfast experience, afternoon sweets, a daily social hour with local bites and beverages allowing them to enjoy the fall foliage while savoring a warming cup of coffee on the patio.

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