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Cabins, Cottages & Homes

Out To Lunch

gunlakedinerThe other day, after spending the better part of the morning investigating  south west Michigan, our stomachs told us it was well past lunch time. We wanted something other than the typical, fast food restaurants, so we stopped at the Gun Lake Diner on M179, just north of Gun Lake, Barry County.

The food was typical of a diner, nothing fancy, but plenty of choices. The blueberry pancakes were good. Light, fluffy. and just the right amount of blueberries. The special of the day was country fried steak with eggs, potatoes and toast for $5.99. The bill came to just over eleven dollars, a small amount for the generous portions.

They seem to promote their Friday night fish fry. Sounds interesting, but it wasn’t Friday night so we can’t comment on that. We may have to check that out later.

One additional note of interest, Gun Lake has an evening trolley that’s free. It leaves the State Park Campground at 5:00, 6:20, 7:40 and 8:52. It makes stops at over ten different restaurants, so you can get some dinner, ice cream or whatever sounds good to you that evening. You don’t have to drive, so you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.

I like that idea. I think I will head out there some night this summer and try it out.

Written by Dave.

Minnie Sophronas

minniasWhat’s that? I know I had never heard of it, but recently on a cold, rainy morning while we were searching for a warm, dry breakfast place, we stumbled on “Minnie Sophronas Restaurant and Bake Shop” . And we were glad we did!

Located at the corner of Trowbridge and Locust Avenue in Allegan Michigan, this restaurant is housed in an interesting triangular shaped Victorian brick building with a turret. Built in 1903, it still proudly displays the name of “M DeWright Block”. I don’t have a clue what the building was originally, but it definitely was one of prominence and it still is today.

Inside, one will find tall tin ceilings, oak trim and a certain amount of nostalgia on the wall. This family restaurant is worthy of mention. From the friendly service of Yvonne our waitress, to the interesting daily specials, this place is certainly worth a visit.

Bypassing the specials for the day, I went for the farmer’s omelet and my wife ordered the French toast. Both were served quickly and exceeded our expectations. The place was filled with friendly, chattering people, making for a warm and homey feeling. We left satisfied and happy!

And, another plus, the bill came only to eleven dollars and some change!

We certainly would recommend Minnie Sophronas to our friends. So, when you are in the Allegan area, be sure to pay them a visit.

Written by Dave.

For some reason, a few weeks ago I began thinking about those famous Fricano’s pizzas and I knew I had to have one. It had been many, many years since I had indulged in one, so one beautiful summer evening, my wife and I traveled to Grand Haven to enjoy the sunset and a Fricano’s pizza. And we were not disappointed  by either one.

Fricano’s has been a Grand Haven landmark for decades and for good reason, the pizza can’t be beat. It’s thin crust and tasty toppings make for an economical and satisfying meal that makes you want to come back for more. The topping choices are limited, but with this pizza, you just don’t need a lot of choices. The simpler the better is the key here.  I know of nothing in West Michigan that can compare to this pizza.

The restaurant has a very large and loyal following, which is evident by the lines of people waiting   by both the front and back entrances. The line moves very quickly though, thanks to the efficient kitchen staff.

The atmosphere at the Grand Haven Fricano’s is also something that makes you want to come back. The building probably has changed very little since opened in 1949 and has a down home, mother’s kitchen feeling. The wait staff are friendly and many have been working there for years.

Along with the original Grand Haven Fricano’s now serves its famous pizza in Comstock Park, Kalamazoo, Holland and Muskegon.


Written by Dave.

Racine Boat Manufacturing

Racine Boat Manufacturing Company was one of the many boat builders in Michigan’s rich history of boat manufacturing. Named after its original location in Racine Wisconsin, it relocated to Muskegon Michigan after experiencing a devastating plant fire in the Racine location.

Much like what is often done today, Muskegon offered several financial incentives to entice the rapidly growing business to their city. This, combined with the fact there was no room to expand in their original location, helped the company make the decision in 1904 to move from their Wisconsin location to 59 E. Western Ave. in Muskegon.

At the turn of the century, Racine Boat company became one of the largest boat and engine manufacturers in the state.   In 1912, Racine Boat Manufacturing Company  merged with several other firms, such as Truscott Boat Manufacturing Co., to form a conglomerate named National Boat & Engine Company.  That firm closed its doors 1915.

This advertised boat was an 86 foot beauty, whose price was marked down to $2,200.00 for a boat show. They had a smaller, 28 foot model for a modest $1,200.00. A Speedabout for $300.00 was also available, as well as several models of rowboats, canoes and sailboats


Written by Dave.

I always enjoy paying a visit to the area of Holland, located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Ottawa County.

Originally settled by a group of Dutch immigrants under the leadership of rev Albertus Van Raalte in the mid1800’s, Holland is located on the shores of Lake Macatawa. After settling into Holland, the industrious Dutch dug a cannel in 1860 connecting Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan. The landmark Big Red lighthouse is located along the south side of the channel, adjacent to the lakeside community of Macatawa.

You can’t help but notice the Dutch culture; beginning with the Victorian Dutch architecture in the historic neighborhoods. The Dutch heritage is celebrated annually in May when hundreds of thousands of visitors invade Holland for Tulip Time. The Windmill Island is another popular tourist spot, as well as the bulb gardens, displaying brilliant the brilliant flowers that make the Netherlands famous.

Along Pine Avenue there are several interesting works of art http://waterlandliving.com/index.php/2009/04/08/1049/made from junkyard scrap by Padnois recycling.

Holland is the home to Holland State Park, a wonderful park on the north side of the channel. A walk on the pier, a swim in Lake Michigan, or climbing the dune is the perfect way to celebrate a warm summer Michigan day.

Just to the north three miles on Lakeshore Drive, one will discover Tunnel Park, a county owned park named for the tunnel you walk through to access the Lake Michigan waterfront. This time I got some great shots of the sun setting reflecting of the walls of the tunnel. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time.



Written by Dave.

Consider Being Our Guest

Do you love Michigan and all of it’s lakes, rivers and streams? Do you appreciate our miles of waterfront?

I find that whenever I bring up the topic of Michigan, people have a story to tell about their favorite place.   Some have childhood stories to tell of carefree summers spent Grandpa’s cottage. Some share wonderful memories of family fun when mom and dad would rent a cottage every year. For others, there is the one and only lake for fishing, or that beautiful lake they drive by to work every morning. And, of course, everyone who owns a piece of lake or water front property thinks it is the best around. And, often people have a story to tell of an interesting place or town.

Do you have a favorite lake? We would love to hear about it. Be our guest. We are open to having you as our guest to write a post about your favorite lake. Tell us what it is about this lake that makes it your favorite lake.

Of course there are some rules. We like our site and we want others to also. We are sure you understand.

  •  A post is not an advertisement for your product or services. The idea of the post is to present information of interest and value to the readers of Waterlandliving.com



Written by Dave.

Rusty and His House

Just outside of Downtown Holland, along Pine Street, is an interesting and whimsical collection of outdoor sculptures all made out of scrap metal from the Padnos Iron and Metal Company.

You will find a little bit of everything from Rusty’s Dog House to a pair of boxing crankshafts, Eskimo sled dogs and many other fun and imaginative things you would not expect on your way to Lake Macatawa.

The self taught artist has work at the Meijer’s Gardens in northeast Grand Rapids, as well as the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids. As I understand it, he does not sell his work, but occasionally donates it, usually in the greater Holland area.


Written by Dave.


troutIt’s that time again. The 52nd annual Troutarama is being held in Baldwin Michigan Wednesday, July 23 through Sunday, July 27.

I checked out the schedule of activities and there is something for everyone. From food booths to crafts, from the fireman’s water battle to live music and everything in between.

The activities begin today @ 4:00 p.m. and conclude Sunday with the Lake County D.A.R.E. Car show at the Baldwin Airport.

Written by Dave.

Free House

tear-down-houseSometimes when purchasing a lakefront property you may to receive a free house. The value can be found in the land rather than the structure especially in the case where the property includes an older mobile home or an antiqued cabin or cottage. Often the property could have more value without the neglected or unwanted structure.

When faced with the question of what to do with an old unwanted lakefront cabin or mobile home do not disappear there are several options. There are many people who are looking for an inexpensive hunting cabin for their land. Sometimes you can place a “free” sign on a mobile home and it can be moved off your property by someone. If the condition of the mobile home is so poor that it cannot be towed to a new home site or the land fill, it should be torn down. One can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $2,500 to have it torn down and removed.

An old cabin is a little different. One option is to contact the local fire department who use structures such as this for firefighting practice. A controlled burn provides invaluable fire fighting experience. This can be messy if damage occurs to trees surrounding the structure. Every township will have different requirements for their service. Many will want the shingles removed first – a concern regarding asbestos. After the burn, the property owner is responsible for cleaning up the charred remains, as well as removing any slab/foundation, fireplaces and chimneys that were part of the structure.

Please remember to check with the local township for any permits needed.

One other important thing that is often over looked. If there is a septic system or well on the property, the septic tank may have to be abandoned, then crushed and filled. The existing well if not able to be brought up to today’s requirements will have to be pulled by a licensed well driller.

Written by Lakeman Jones.

Improvements on the Cheap!

 cottagedockSo you found it, a one in a million view, a place to retire, the weekend getaway. The land is what you were after, but the waterfront cottage is, shall we say not exactly ‘home sweet home’. You have dreams and plans for the site. You may be planning on tearing it down and building something new. You may be considering doing a major remodel or adding a room or two. But, for now, you have to wai

The good news is, you may not have to wait for the budget to catch up to your dreams. You may have purchased it as a retirement home and living there is 5, 10 or 15 years away, but you would also like to use it now. You do not have to spend a lot of money to get a whole different feel for you new lakefront home.

The first thing add a fresh coat of paint inside and out. You can change the mood quickly by changing the color entirely or just paint the trim. New lighter and brighter colors can easily replace those older darker colors.

For some curb appeal, Add some shutters to the cottage, paint them a complementary color. Try adding some flower boxes. Plant some easy to care for perennials around the property as well as a couple of hanging flower baskets.

Written by lakeman Jones.

Thinking of Renting your cottage?

 People looking for a good vacation lakefront cottage to rent would look for the same things you would find appealing.

A lumpy or well worn mattress that is no longer providing you a good nights sleep at your home will not improve by being at the rental cottage. A shower that quickly runs out of hot water will be as disappointing to others as it is to you. A cottage that is not clean or has an “old” odor to it probably will not encourage guests to return.

Make the cottage feel like home. Attractive pictures on the wall, plenty of blankets for chilly evenings and comfortable furniture to relax on make for a very pleasant stay. Make sure you have a TV that works and has a clear picture for those evenings indoors and rainy days.

Guests tend to remember the worst of their vacations. You and your cottage do not want to be part of those memories. People will often return year after year if they had a good experience the first time.

A few basic tips:

If you know of any problems or things not working properly- fix or repair them before hand. Emergency repairs are often very expensive and guest’s vacations are interrupted.

Make sure the cottage is squeaky clean. You do not want guests feeling they have to spend the first half day cleaning the unit prior to using it.

Make sure your cleaning cabinet is well stocked with cleaning supplies and equipment. A guest that cleans up well during the course of their stay makes your job easier.

Use your parental eye on the property. Look around the property and determine if there is anything you should do to “child proof” the property for any children.

Written by Lakeman Jones.