Today began with a trip to a local farmer's market (back in Holland) which everyone had far less patience for than Jen and I. There were tons of fantastic strawberries and even some early hothouse tomatoes that all looked great. I picked up some more Buffalo Bob's Specialty Meat Snacks this time in alligator, wild boar, and kangaroo variety.
After we were done at the market 4/5 of the Ernst family posed for this picture where they pretended that they weren't thoroughly done with this market and ready to go home.
We also passed by the Holland Peanut Store in Holland.
The mascot for the Holland Peanut Store frightens me. I would be leery of allowing him near children.
On the way back we stopped by the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. We thought that we'd drive up and have a beautiful view of some classic sand dunes -- the type that would make Frank Herbert smile. Instead we walked up to what appeared to be a regular looking forest. Hopeful we entered the forest where we were greeted with a series of steep climbs. Slowly the the leaf-covered ground turned to beach sand covered ground. After about ten more minutes of hiking we were pretty sure we'd been tricked by the State of Michigan and either there'd be a group of people ahead who would laugh at us or who would mug us and steal our cameras.
Eventually the arbor receded and gave way to fabulous Tatooine-esque sand dunes, the likes of which I have never seen. Eagerly I left the group, and ran to the shore of Lake Michigan where I plunged my hand into a cool wave and drank from the lake. Satisfied with tasting fresh water on a beach I turned around to look back at the giant sand dunes I needed to scale to return home.
After a quick lunch we headed back to downtown Saugatuck where we got some ice cream, checked out a few more shops, and made two mixed six-packs of local Michigan beer. We now officially have far too much beer to be able to drink it before we leave. At my maximum speed of two beers a day I'm going to need quite a bit of help.
Lauren was kind enough to pick up all of our artwork from the art barn. I was quite happy with the way my cookie jar ended up turning out.
While I wasn't able to realize my initial vision of having a stereotypical mustachioed Italian man on the other side I was able to capture his catchphrase of "Don't a-touch a-my cookies!"
The inside of the jar features a poorly crafted Italian flag along with a handy gauge to determine whether or not you need more cookies.
I think it's safe to say that this is the greatest thing that I've ever created in life.
For dinner we started with an all-Michigan hors d'oeuvre which consisted largely of items that had been crafted within 30 miles of where are staying. The cracker bread was from The Great Bread Company; the venison sausage was from Buffalo Bob's Wild Game Jerky and Meat Snacks; the manchego cheese was from Old Europe Cheese, Inc.; the hot and spicy mustard was from Mrs. Dog's; and the turnip greens were from the salad turnips we purchased at the farmer's market this morning.
Finding the locally crafted cracker was the most difficult element to find. Who knew that there was another local cracker company we could have used as a backup . . .
Keebler FliPSideS are made in Battle Creek, Michigan!
For the main course we had a delicious marinated steak, taco salad made with many ingredients from the farmer's market, and some locally grown peas with herbs we clipped from outside.
Thanks again to Lauren's plans we had another full and action-packed day. I'm a little more nervous for tomorrow. Lauren has left us to ourselves to do that planning and that can't bode well. One thing is for sure, we'll still be enjoying vast quantities of fruitcake and lemon meringue pie.