Family, Life in Holland Michigan

A walk in the woods

A few Saturdays ago, the little girls and I headed out to Sanctuary Woods nature preserve for a short hike. It’s a beautiful spot just off the edge of Lakes Macatawa and Michigan, with a few parking spots, but I’ve never seen the lot full. After parking, there’s a short loop around the lower area, with a few bridges crossing a tiny creek.

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Travel

Edgar Tennis Preserve

About a ten-minute drive from downtown Stonington, the Edgar Tennis Preserve is another beautiful shore area maintained by the Island Heritage Trust. Rachel and I hiked there on a sunny Sunday afternoon, doing both the loops that travel along the water (about 3 miles total of easy hiking, with a few rock scrambles along the way). Similar to the quarry hike, there are few parking spots available, perhaps 7 total. The views throughout the walks are stunning – ocean views, tidal bay views, and mossy forests dotted with ferns.

This hike wouldn’t have been a good one for the girls, as the footing was strewn with roots and rocks. The spongy forest floor made for cushioned walking, and also entertained Rachel as she watched the ground squish beneath my footfalls. We spotted few people along this trail, but among the dozen or so we did see, one was yapping loudly into her cell phone as her family marched along with hanging heads. The forests were mixed evergreen and birch, but we saw no living birch trees through the hike – all the birch was on the ground and looked as if some pest had destroyed them all from the inside out. We highly recommend this series of trails and will certainly visit again.

 

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Travel

Settlement Quarry

Worth a second look

On Sunday morning, we took Leah to Settlement Quarry, which is just a short drive from downtown Stonington. We’ve been by the quarry before on our way to various nautical experiences with Bill Baker at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures, but had not hiked through it previously. Part of the Island Heritage Trust, there are scant few parking places at the trailhead. It takes about ten minutes of uphill walking along a two-track trail to reach the top of the quarry, but the scenery while hiking along the trail is gorgeous forest. We also encountered an abandoned furnace near the summit.

 

The payoff

Upon reaching the summit, we were immediately rewarded with spectacular views across the entire range of vision. The blasted remains of granite sheets stretched downhill all the way to the water, though the slope is not too treacherous for easy footing. We enjoyed this so much that we came back on Monday with Aly for another fun hike.

 

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