A Visit to Saugatuck, Michigan

March 20, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051 A few months ago I connected with a lovely woman who owns an Airbnb in Douglas, Michigan. Douglas is a quaint little town just outside Saugatuck which was voted one of the “The 25 Coolest Town in America to Visit in 2021” by Matador Network.

It always amazes me how relationships can be formed via social media! Some days I want to swear off “the social” but I’ve been able to make some really great connections especially via Instagram! The conversation started around headshots when I was talking about that on my own account and turned into a discussion about photography to capture the Airbnb she owns and available activities in the area. 

Moonlight Villa January 2021--3Moonlight Villa January 2021--3 My husband, Josh, and I visited Saugatuck mid-January of this year and stayed at Moonlight Villa Airbnb. I think it’s only the second time we’ve visited the little tourist town and we constantly wondered why we had never spent more time there! We both went to school in southwest Michigan but didn’t venture to Saugatuck until after we had moved away to Oklahoma post-college. 

As parents of young children, we were just happy to get away for the weekend without kids! As part of my agreement with Louisiana to capture photographs of any activities we did while we were there, we had to make sure we left the house and explored the area. 

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9913Moonlight Villa January 2021-9913

When we arrived, Josh stated “Man, this makes me want to have a house like this!” I was a bit confused and maybe even a little offended! What do you mean? Tastefully decorated and free from clutter? He replied with “A vacation home that we just visit.” Nice save buddy!

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940 The house was cozy and had plenty of space with two bedrooms upstairs and another one downstairs. The open concept living room, dining and kitchen would be great for larger groups or extended families. The two of us just enjoyed being able to sprawl out on the couch and relax! 

We arrived Friday evening and picked up takeout from Everyday People Cafe in downtown Douglas. Saturday morning we headed to the Blue Star Cafe and picked up biscuits and gravy and fried eggs. This was super exciting for us, because our son has an egg allergy and we never get to eat eggs! The biscuits were great too!

IMG_4263IMG_4263 After breakfast and a couple of hours photographing the interior of the house, we got ready and headed to Mount Baldhead Park to climb the famous stairway up to the top of the dune that looks over Saugatuck on one side and out to Lake Michigan on the other side.

It was surely the largest wooden staircase I have ever climbed. I was surprised at the number of people making the climb up the stairs in the middle of winter. We had to stop at each little rest bench to breathe! Being the dead of winter, I wasn’t quite in shape for that kind of climb. 



Moonlight Villa January 2021-0006Moonlight Villa January 2021-0006

Moonlight Villa January 2021-0020Moonlight Villa January 2021-0020
Following the hike around the dunes, we headed into Saugatuck. I photographed the downtown shops as we popped in and out of a few of them. Things were quiet with it being winter and with COVID keeping people from traveling as much as usual.

After a little exploring, we started to look for a place for lunch. Most places were only doing takeout, as restaurants were not able to be open with COVID restrictions. We decided to try Wicks Park Bar and Grille because they had a patio with heaters available for seating. They even supplied blankets to keep warm! It felt so good to be dining out as we hadn’t in a very long time. We had probably only visited one or two other restaurants in the past year due to the pandemic!

After lunch we headed to Saugatuck Dunes State park on Lake Michigan for a hike through the woods that leads out to the beach. I was surprised at how many people were out hiking in January but with the pandemic it’s one of the only things you could do! Plus, seeing the water is such great therapy during the winter and the sun was out! Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035

We spent the late afternoon relaxing and decided to order pizza for dinner and stay in. We settled on Back Alley Pizza Joint after reading their reviews online and it did not disappoint. We ordered the Caprese Bread which was even better than the pizza - highly recommend - and the Goat Cheese and Spinach Pizza. The wait for that pizza was a little long but a testament to how good it was!

In the morning we packed up to go home! We are excited for an opportunity to visit Moonlight Villa in the Spring or Summer and explore the outdoor activities more and the shops and restaurants that were closed for the off-season. To learn more about Moonlight Villa click here. You can also follow them on Instagram @moonlightvillami.

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9966Moonlight Villa January 2021-9966
Moonlight Villa January 2021-9952Moonlight Villa January 2021-9952
Moonlight Villa January 2021-9901Moonlight Villa January 2021-9901


Moonlight Villa January 2021-0062Moonlight Villa January 2021-0062


No comments posted.

Welcome to the blog of Crackerjack Photography Studio and photographer, Jamie Kirschner.  I'm a portrait photographer based in Traverse City, Michigan who loves learning and retelling the stories of others. I practice this through birth photography, family portraits, headshots and event photography.



January February March (1) April (1) May June (1) July (1) August September (1) October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January (1) February March (1) April May (1) June July August September October November (1) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December