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Beautiful Spring Drive to Saugatuck, MI
By Larry Palguta
(Photos by Chuck Lee, Larry Palguta, Mary Petersen)

The Brits started off the 2015 LBC driving season with an enjoyable and rain-free drive to Saugatuck, MI. The appointed meeting place was the Hilltop Café on the east side of downtown Buchanan, MI. At about 8:30 AM, LBCs were parking in the driveway of the Hilltop Café inside of which tables were being set up with “Reserved” signs for our club. Although it was explained that a reservation had not been requested (the restaurant does not take reservations!), the restaurant owner did so anyway.
Eighteen club members showed up for the breakfast: drive leaders Randy & Bev Glanders (Spitfire), Jerry & Nancy Hoback (Jaguar Saloon), Chuck & Marilyn Lee (Jaguar XKE), Paul Noeth & grandson Vinny (MG Midget), Larry & Deb Palguta (MGB), Bob & Mary Petersen (MGB), David Piser & Dayle Brown (Detroit iron), Kai & Michele Shepherd (TR6), and Tom & Debbie Shumaker (TR7). The restaurant personnel hustled, good breakfast food was served promptly, and prices were reasonable. For being a first time rallying and breakfast spot for a club drive, the Hilltop Café lived up to its online reviews. Even if the restaurant at JD’s Truck Stop (Bypass and US 12) reopens, we’ll certainly want to revisit the Hilltop Cafe.
After breakfast the eight LBC’s pulled out onto the road to Saugatuck – north on Red Bud Trail to west on Lemon Creek Road, then north on Hollywood Road to Route 63 through downtown St. Joseph, and up along the lake to Saugatuck. Although the day started out with overcast skies, the overcast seemed to lighten more as we got farther north. Not a drop of rain fell on our LBCs, some which were top down, and once or twice only a little road spray from the car ahead hit the windshield.

Caravan to Saugatuck

By the time we got to Saugatuck (11:20 AM), the skies were beginning to clear and the chance of a predicted afternoon storm had greatly diminished. We found parking for all of our LBC’s at the south end of Butler Street, next to the Butler Hotel & Restaurant. A departure time of 3:30 PM was set for those wishing to drive back together, and then everyone was off on their own or with friends to visit the small downtown and dock areas.

Brits head out to explore Saugatuck

Those who have been to Saugatuck know the downtown area is about four blocks north to south and one block west to east. But in those four square blocks are many stores: antique, curios, wine, unique art items, and clothing. Add to that the waterfront, numerous restaurants and some bars and hotels, and there is a lot to see in a few hours.
The weather turned sunny with slight cool breezes off the harbor, a beautiful day to be in Saugatuck. There was a small number of tourists in town compared to the summertime, and that made navigating the streets, shops and dining establishments much easier. The ladies particularly enjoyed shopping and browsing in the shops, and everyone quickly geared down to a relaxed mood and pace.

Seven pristine Model A Fords

The Brits were not the only car club in town. Seven cars from a club of antique Ford Model A’s were parked next to the city park. Each car windshield paper listing the style (Tudor etc.) and model year of the car. Beautiful cars all as nice (or nicer) than when new.

There are numerous good restaurants in town, and we surfaced at the Mermaid on Water Street, at a table on the deck overlooking the channel. We enjoyed delicious offerings from a big burger to mussels to coconut pie. A really nice location to dine outside, visit with friends, and enjoy the beautiful weather.




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