A stop on the tour: Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant in Fennville, Michigan
Beer and Pie, Great Together
The Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year—is this Friday, so why not celebrate with an epicurean tour and a visit to a brewery where can bottle your own suds? You can do both in Saugatuck, Michigan. Start Saturday with a brewery tour at the Saugatuck Brewing Company (2948 Blue Star Hwy., Douglas, 269-857-7222, saugatuckbrewing.com), where $5 will get you a tour with tastings and a pint or growler glass to commemorate the occasion. If you really want to get hands on, you can make your own beer, complete with personalized labels; call ahead for a reservation (brewing sessions last about four hours) and then plan on using the brewery’s equipment while a professional brewmaster guides you. The fee—$275 on weekdays and $300 on Saturday and Sunday—includes the ingredients to make roughly 11 gallons of your own ale.
Also on Saturday, you can take a culinary walking tour of the gourmet shops and restaurants of Saugatuck and Douglas. The three-hour walk ($30) kicks off at 9 a.m. and makes tasting stops to sample locally made charcuterie, wines, bakery goodies, and jams. If you want to go further afield and prefer driving to walking, consider the “Delicious Drive” outing, a scheduled bus tour to niche farms throughout Allegan County; $75 per person. The drive will take you to the source of organic fruits and vegetables (such as Crane Orchards and Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant in Fennville), artisan cheeses, and wineries, with a stop for lunch at Salt of the Earth restaurant. For more information, go to hungryvillagetours.com; to reserve a spot on either tour, call 269-857-1700.
Where to stay: The Kirby House (294 W. Center St., Saugatuck, 800-521-6473, kirbyhouse.com), a century-old Queen Anne Victorian within walking distance of downtown Saugatuck, has eight guest rooms and an outdoor Jacuzzi that operates year-round; rates start at $110 a night. Evanston native Catherine Simon runs the century-and-a-half-old Maplewood Hotel (428 Butler St., Saugatuck, 800-650-9790, maplewoodhotel.com), where you’ll find five guest rooms in the heart of downtown Saugatuck; rates range from $150 to $285 a night.
Where to eat: For more than 50 years, Coral Gables Restaurant (220 Water St., Saugatuck, 269-857-2162, coralgablessaugatuck.com) offers waterfront dining and a full menu of Italian dishes and steaks. Salt of the Earth (114 E. Main St., Fennville, 269-561-7258, saltoftheearthfennville.com) specializes in house-made breads and a seasonal menu that features many vegetarian options.
Photograph: Courtesy of Felicia Fairchild