Go with the Flow

Catch fall color along the intriguing Kalamazoo River on a coffee cruise or sunset outing
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The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.
Photos courtesy of The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.

A unique way to take in the gorgeous fall color in Michigan is aboard a boat. And this year, The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.  is pleased to again offer its popular Fall Color Tours, with co-owner and Captain Nic Beaudreault at the helm. Offered the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October, this limited-run tour has become one of Beaudreault’s favorite times to be on the water. “It’s serene, quiet, and relaxing after a busy summer,” he says. “It’s magical to watch the leaves change as the trees prepare for the winter ahead. We are excited to give people an opportunity to experience the effects of seasonal change from a different perspective.”

The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.

The Fall Tour is an individually ticketed cruise offered to the public, which Beaudreault says is “a great way to experience Saugatuck’s waterways if you’re visiting with a smaller group.”

The company’s Wake N’ Lake Coffee Cruise is another public option that is perfectly suited for the season. Launched this year, Beaudreault has been “excited to finally get this cruise started.” Offered every Friday at 10 a.m., the cruise features locally roasted coffee from Uncommon Coffee Roasters, a Saugatuck-based coffee shop and roasting facility. “I can’t think of a better way to start the day than relaxing on a boat with a good cup of coffee in hand.” Other popular public cruises include the Sunset and Full Moon cruises.

The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.

Since 2019, Beaudreault has offered the Saugatuck and Douglas communities a unique way to explore the Kalamazoo River, which is near where the boat docks, in Douglas. The Flying Dutchman is a fully custom, Coast Guard-certified, catamaran pontoon boat — complete with mahogany bar-style tables, lounge seating, Bose speakers, and a restroom.  Up to 25 passengers can enjoy public tours and private charters. The cruises follow the river to the end of the pier head, providing guests with a stunning view of Lake Michigan and its shoreline.

Looking for a customizable experience? You’ll want to book a private charter, “which reserves the entire boat for your group,” says Beaudreault. “A private charter allows you to customize your charter experience in a multitude of ways. Some of these options include the departure time and duration, the route, music selection, swimming options, catered food/drinks, and more. These are perfect for special events including family gatherings, work events, birthdays, wedding parties, and more.”

The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.

The company was started by Beaudreault and his father, co-owner and Captain Rich Beaudreault. They are lifetime boaters who grew up in Holland. “Every weekend of the summer was spent on the water,” says Nic Beaudreault. “Whether we were staying at the dock, having cookouts, going to the beach, or exploring different harbor towns, boating was our way of spending time together. My father became a charter boat captain when I was young. I quickly became exposed to the industry by working at multiple marinas in town, washing boats, and working for local captains including my dad.”

After graduating from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Business Management and Marketing, Beaudreault soon realized he “didn’t want to pursue a standard career,” he says. In 2017, the father-son duo began discussing the community’s existing charter companies and how they could create something new and different to offer. Two years later, their company was born.

Next season, look for the duo’s new Scenic River Tour. “The route for this cruise will take you up the Kalamazoo River into the wetlands. It’s beautiful back there with a ton of wildlife and a calmer atmosphere than our other public cruises. These will be offered mid-day during the week and will provide yet another unique option for people to see an often overlooked but important part of our area and its ecosystem,” says Beaudreault. “There are some more changes happening over the winter, but you will have to wait and see!”

MORE INFORMATION: tfdadventureco.com.

The Flying Dutchman Adventure Co.

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