David Geen founded Villas and Vines about a decade ago, helping connect world travelers to villa lodging in European culinary hot spots like Provence and Tuscany. Now he's expanded his roster of tasty trips to include his southwest Michigan home base with this fun Culinary Walk. Participants meet David at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (once the home of Chef Pierre frozen pies), then it's off on foot to an array of local restaurants and food shops. Tours last three hours, but cover no more than half a mile.
Food stops vary from one tour to the next with destinations that might include Uncommon Grounds coffee roaster; American Spoon (jams, jellies, salsas and mustards made with Michigan fruit); Fenn Valley winery; the Hickory Pit, a finger-lickin'-good BBQ joint operated by Kentuckians; and gourmet Cookies on Call. Samples are plentiful throughout the journey. Our adventure concluded in the back of the Saugatuck Drugstore, where customers still frequent a 1950s soda fountain for ice cream treats, hand-creamed sodas and phosphates.
We enjoyed tasting our way through Saugatuck. Though the tour fee seems a little high at $30 per person, the many samples render lunch unnecessary. Walks begin at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, May through December. Reservations required; groups are limited to10.