Until Next Time

Riding the waves of fond family memories in Grand Haven
Photo by Lisa Baird

Flurries of beach-goers arrive year-round in Grand Haven to witness the beautiful and glowing sunsets from Grand Haven State Park. My memories of visiting this lakeshore town bring to mind a catchy caption I created that wrapped around what I called The Four Fs: Family, Fricano’s, Fortino’s, and Fun.

We created a tradition of visiting Grand Haven beginning when my daughter was a toddler. We would start with a unique and delicious dining experience at the legendary Fricano’s Pizza Tavern. Dressed in the nostalgic appeal of a boarding house from the late 1800s and highlighted by the charm of red-and-white checkered tablecloths in a quaint dining room, Fricano’s offers one of Michigan’s most popular pizzas.

Every summer, a long line of hungry pizza-lovers wrapped around the front of the building eager to savor the crispy, cheesy goodness the Fricano family always delivers.

After dinner, my family would venture over to Washington Street, where we were drawn to the front windows of Fortino’s general store. Our visit here would include trying to decide between specialty candies like sea-salt caramels, chocolate-covered blueberries, and licorice wheels. The aromas of freshly ground coffee beans and decadent chocolate accompanied us as we strolled through the shop.

The final F in the Four Fs of our lakeshore adventure — fun — included a stop at the Grand Haven Musical Fountains where, at dusk, we’d watch a synchronized water and light show that’s accompanied by music, all while anticipating the mesmerizing beauty of the Lake Michigan sunsets from Grand Haven’s shoreline.

No sunset was ever the same, but each one was a thrilling sight to behold. Throughout the year, whether it’s a chilly October sunset, like the one shown here, or a late-winter stark-sky sun farewell, we (our daughter is now 20) can’t wait to return to what feels like the glowing embers of love.

P.S. Be sure to put the places mentioned in Baird’s “postcard” on your must-see, must-try list.

Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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