Category Archives: Kids

Everything You Need to Know About the Pure Ludington NYE Ball Drop

Did you know what every December 31st in Downtown Ludington we hoist a six foot ball covered in 6,000 LED lights up into the air, let you dance under it for a few hours then lower it to the ground at the stroke of midnight followed by an awesome display of fireworks?

It’s an amazing, FREE, family-friendly way to ring in the New Year. Evening activities begin at 9:00pm when the entertainment area in the North James Street Plaza opens for music, dancing and beer tasting.  Then at midnight, the ball drops down from high above the main intersection in downtown. Once the clock strikes midnight, turn your attention to the night’s sky for an amazing fireworks salute to the New Year!

The event is always very busy, so it is recommended to buy your commemorative beer mugs and drink tokens in advance online.

Family Friendly NYE Parties All ages are welcome at the NYE Ball Drop and in the entertainment area in the North James Street Plaza, but for those of you looking to celebrate with young kids, we have you covered.

Sandcastles Children’s Museum opens up for a special NYE balloon drop featuring more than 500 balloons! The party also will feature live music, food, favors, ice cream sundaes, crafts, photo booth and more. $10 per person or $35 per family. The party is from 5-8pm.

The Ludington Library is also hosting an evening of great family activities including FREE crafts, games and activities for partygoers of all ages. At 11:30 p.m., the party closes so everyone can stroll downtown to enjoy the ball drop. Children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

New Year’s Day The party is not over after the ball drop. Wake up and get a great breakfast (or lunch depending on what time you wake up!) in to kick-off the day. Here are some of our favorites that will be open New Year’s Day:

For those of you with “get healthy” as part of your new year resolutions, you can get a jump-start by taking part in the Resolution Run 5K at 11am on January 1. $25 entry fee includes a custom die-cast finishers medal.

Register online or on race day at Ludington Pub from 10 to 11 a.m.

As always, please share your photos and videos with us by tagging them:

7 Things to Do this 4th of July Holiday Weekend in Ludington

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Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

If you are looking to celebrate the 4th of July, Pure Ludington must be on your list. This small town does 4th of July big!  To make your trip easier, we have put together a list of things to be sure to check out if you are in the Ludington Area this holiday weekend: 

1. Kick off the holiday weekend in Downtown Ludington. These is always something new to see and do in Downtown Ludington, which is why if you are in town this weekend, you must take stroll along Ludington Avenue and South James Street to see what is new. Stop by the North James Street Plaza on Thursday evening (June 30) for live music! There are great outdoor dining options and quaint shops for you to find something to take home to remember your trip to Ludington.

2. Spend a day at one of Michigan’s top beaches. Summer is finally here and a trip to Ludington isn’t complete without a day at the beach. Known for our award winning sugar-sand beaches, there are plenty of places along the shoreline for you to enjoy the sun, sand and fresh water of Lake Michigan.

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Photo courtesy of Ludington Area Center for the Arts

3. Enjoy the West Shore Art Fair. July 2 & 3, the Ludington Area Center for the Arts will be hosting the West Shore Art Fair at Rotary Park (formerly City Park), an annual tradition in Ludington for 48 years. This open-air, juried fine art and fine crafts show features 100-plus fine artists in a variety of media, including clay, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, painting and photography. The show features live music, food stations and a children’s activity area.

4. Catch the Hamlin Lake fireworks on Saturday evening. If you are all about the fireworks, you can catch 2 nights of fireworks in Ludington this weekend starting with the show over Hamlin Lake on Saturday, July 2. An annual fireworks tradition at Hamlin Lake since the 1970s, this fireworks display is best viewed by boat in the Upper Lake from Indian Pete Bayou west to Victory Park, or on the south shore of the Upper Lake. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent a boat from places like Hamlin Lake Boat Rentals for you and the family to enjoy a spectacular view of the fireworks. If you would rather stay on land, Wilson Hill Park is a great place to watch from and there is an ice cream social prior to the display. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

5. Take part in the Freedom Festival Children & Pet Parade. Get the kids and your four legged friends dressed in their best patriotic garb and celebrate the holiday weekend in style. This family-friendly event takes place on Sunday, July 3 and begins at the corner of Loomis and Ferry Streets and proceeds to the Waterfront Park Pavilion, where prizes will be awarded.

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Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

6. Take part in the tradition by attending the Freedom Festival Grand Parade. The Freedom Festival Grand Parade is one for your weekend list of must-do’s while here for the 4th of July. This small town knows how to put on a big parade. You will want to find your seat along Ludington Avenue between Madison Street and Lakeshore Drive early, but the parade doesn’t begin until 2pm. The kids will be able to see firetrucks, classic cars, animals and of course the Scottville Clown Band! You can follow the parade to the beach and enjoy an afternoon picnic on the beach until the fireworks later in the evening.

7. Take in the amazing Fireworks over Lake Michigan. This 20 minute display brings 20,000 people to the Lake Michigan shoreline in Ludington. Before dusk, make your way to Stearns Park Beach and dig yourself a cozy spot in the sand to lay back and take in the amazing colors and sounds of the show. It is the perfect ending to a 4th of July done right in Ludington!

Come explore the Americana traditions and celebrations of Independence Day here in Pure Ludington

Grab A Spoon, Take Part in World Record Attempt for Longest Ice Cream Dessert

12697018_10153728277280804_2787719327708035679_oHouse of Flavors of Ludington invites any and all ice cream lovers to belly up to a half-mile long ice cream sundae on Ludington Avenue between Park and Harrison Streets in downtown Ludington and eat House of Flavors ice cream to help win the Guinness World Record for the Longest Ice Cream Dessert. The attempt will take place at 6pm on June 11, and is one of the many family-friendly events happening as part of ‘Love Ludington’ Weekend.

Fun Facts About the Longest Ice Cream Dessert Guinness World Record Attempt:

  • Length of dessert: Half mile – 2,640 feet; 31,680 inches; more than eight city blocks
  • Amount of ice cream: 855 gallons from 285 three-gallon containers served into 12,825+ scoops
  • Toppings and amounts: 800 pounds of chocolate syrup, 600 cans of whipped cream and 2,000 maraschino cherries from Michigan Cherryworks (aka CherryMan) in Hart, Mich.
  • Container: A continuous metal trough constructed from seamless house gutter by Superior Seamless Gutter and Square Deal Building Supply in Ludington, Mich.
  • Number of people involved: 7,500+: 6,400+ to eat ice cream, 550 scoopers and 550 volunteers
  • World Record qualifications: Dessert must be one continuous food item, entirely edible (and consumed), and have at least one extra topping in addition to ice cream.

More than 6,000 people are needed to consume two scoops of ice cream each, and eaters should arrive by 5 p.m. at any point along the eight-block stretch to watch construction of the ice cream trough and building of the dessert before they eat at 6 p.m. The trough will be a serving dish from which ice cream will be scooped into individual bowls for consumption. No registration is necessary to eat at the event, but participants can RSVP at the event Facebook page where they can also follow event details.

Those wishing to volunteer as a ‘scooper’ can register at DowntownLudington.org/icecreamrecord.

 

St. Patrick’s Day In Downtown Ludington Offers A Day o’ Fun

 

12565381_10153861433688794_9014343406146470413_nThis weekend is shaping up to be a continuation of the warm weather we are having here in Pure Ludington, which is a great setting for the weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities happening in Downtown Ludington. Here is the run down of all of the fun!

Kegs & Eggs Breakfast & Bloody Mary Bar I 9AM I Barley & Rye                                                         Kick off the day with a hearty breakfast and bloody mary bar at Barley & Rye! It is the perfect spot to start your day downtown. You will need the fuel for all of the fun you are going to have in downtown!

Shamrock 5K + 1 Mile Fun Run I Race 9AM & 9:15AM I Registration 8AM
Route: CLICK HERE
Start/Finish: Rath Ave/Loomis St (Parking Lot behind Sportsman’s Irish Pub)
Cost: $25.00 I Fun Run is free.
Includes T-shirt and finisher medal. All race proceeds benefit the Love Ludington Fund.

IRISH I WAS SHOPPING I 10AM – 6PM                                                                                                        If you haven’t been shopping downtown in a while, you will find many new businesses! Take a stroll through downtown to check out the new selection and great deals.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade I 12PM I South James Street & Ludington Avenue                                      The celebration of green fun and crazy shenanigans will make its way from South James Street to Ludington Avenue. Come see the fun and collect some candy too!

Starving Artist Hub Bub Pub Crawl I 12PM – 12AM                                                                              Adults 21 years of age are inviting to take in the Hub Bub Pub Crawl brought to you by Ludington’s newest nano-brewery, Starving Artist Brewing Company. Sound like fun? Anyone wanting to take part in the shenanigans should register and reserve your spot for $5 online. There are only 200 pub crawl entries available this year, so get your’s fast. Any remaining wristbands n the day-of will be available at Sportsman’s Irish Pub and PM Steamers. What do you get for your $5 entry? A commemorative Starving Artist St. Patrick’s Day Pint Glass and a wristband that gets you $1 off drafts at 12 different Downtown Ludington bars, a map of the participating bars and a stamp sheet.

Obviously with a jam-packed day like Saturday, you are going to need to refuel. Stop by Sportsman’s Irish Pub or any of the other downtown restaurants for green beer, Irish Car Bomb cocktails and corned beef & cabbage!

For more information on St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Ludington, check out the Downtown Ludington Facebook page or website.

 

4 Ways to Kick-off the New Year in Pure Ludington

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Ludington’s biggest annual celebration takes place each winter on New Year’s Eve. Billed as “West Michigan’s largest New Year’s Eve Ball,” Ludington’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop offers the quintessential, small-town New Year’s Eve celebration – complete with an outdoor beer garden and music, a ball drop with 6,000 LED lights in the heart of downtown, plus fireworks. Here are 5 ways to ring in 2016 here in Pure Ludington!

Todd Reed_8524_New Years Ball Drop_2010_square crop_watermarked1. Countdown Party & New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

Evening activities begin with a countdown party at 9:30 p.m. when the entertainment tent opens for music, dancing and beer tasting. Then at midnight, the ball will drop from high above the intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue at the core of downtown, which is open only to pedestrians that night. Once the clock strikes midnight, spectacular fireworks launch over the rooftops of downtown.

The New Year’s Eve event is free, though beer is available for purchase. Commemorative glasses will be sold for $8 in advance or $10 that evening.

 

2. Free Family Parties to Enjoy with Small Kids

The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop is a family-friendly event, but there are also some great pre-parties for families to enjoy before heading outside or for little ones who can’t stay awake until midnight. The Ludington Library hosts a pre-ball drop party beginning at 7pm for families and children of all ages. There are plenty of crafts and games to enjoy before walking over to the Ball Drop at 11:30pm. Sandcastle’s Children’s Museum, also located downtown, hosts a NYE Balloon Drop & Stomp for the kids! Both places offer a great place to stay warm and celebrate the New Year with your family.

3. New Year Resolution Run 5K

Looking to get a head start on your healthy New Year’s Resolution’s?  New Year’s Day kicks off with a Resolution Run 5K at 11:00a.m. on 1/1/2016. The race route takes runners through downtown Ludington, along Lake Michigan and the waterfront. Online registration is open and includes a t-shirt.

4. “Shoe Years” Lantern-lit Skiing/Snowshoeing and Guided Snowshoe Hikes at Ludington State Park 

Lantern Lit_LSPA variety of nature trails in the Ludington area become excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails in the winter – and one of the most popular places for a winter sojourn is at 5,300-acre Ludington State ParkOn January 2, the Ludington State Park hosts their Guided Snowshoe Hike at 2pm. The 1.5-hour guided snowshoe hike highlights the park’s nature and history through the park’s snow-covered sand dunes. Then at 6pm, bring cross-country skis and/or snowshoes to ski or walk an easy, one-mile groomed trail lit by oil lanterns that begins at the Warming Shelter inside the park.  Enjoy a campfire at either end to warm up and sip a hot beverage.

We hope you make a weekend of it and enjoy the beginnings of 2016 here in Pure Ludington!

 

 

Haunted Fun Done 8 Ways In Pure Ludington

Halloween fanatics will find more than tricks and treats in Pure Ludington this Halloween weekend. Grab your brooms, masks and costumes and head to Pure Ludington for a thrilling weekend of fun and fright. Here are 8 of our haunted favorites happening this weekend:image1

1. Self-guided Cemetery Walk along the Lumber Heritage Trail 

The Mason County Lumber Heritage Trail includes stops at 2 cemeteries in Ludington. Your cell phone leads the way and will bring the stories of Ludington’s lumbermen to life. Who knows, you may even stumble upon ghosts of Justus Stearns or Warren Cartier along the way!

2. Haunted Eclectic Marketplace

Can you make it out alive? Test your fright level at downtown’s Eclectic Marketplace, located at 307 S. James Street. Stop by on Friday night from 6-11pm and Saturday night from 5-11:30pm for your thrills.

10582992_10152817488123189_7538366221224000376_o3. Rocktober: LudRock’s Night of Fright @ Ludington Area Center for the Arts

Friday evening from 6pm-12am, you do not want to miss the Night of Fright that will be rocking the Center for the Arts. Costumes, Starving Artists brews and food- what more could you ask for to kick-off your haunted fun?

4. Crane Wives @ The Mitten Bar

The Mitten Bar welcomes to their live music stage The Crane Wives. Kick-off the weekend of fright and fun with brews and beats at The Mitten Bar starting at 9pm. Costumes are encouraged!

5. Run For Your Lives 5K + 1 Mile Kids Run 

Grab your costumes and your running shoes and kick-off Halloween by taking part in the Run For Your Lives 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run on Saturday, October 31. Race steps-off at 10:30am.

10433214_10152779497368794_3520567816217206391_n6 . Downtown Ludington Trick-or-Treating & Costume Parade 

Parade your costume through downtown Ludington beginning at 1:30pm before downtown Trick-or-Treating begins. From 2-4pm downtown Ludington businesses invite families to come trick-or-treating and shop along the way.

7. Halloween Crafts and Trick-or-Treating @ Sandcastles Children’s Museum 

Sandcastles Children’s Museum will be open from 9:30am-3pm to children to play and let their imaginations run wild. Kid’s can take part in Halloween crafts before and during Downtown Ludington trick-or-treating.

10350538_10153225753854918_2910463310768582449_n9. Pumpkin Destruction @ Lewis Farm Market

When the Halloween fun is over, bring your pumpkins to Lewis Farm Market on November 1 from 10am-5pm for the ultimate pumpkin destruction! Watch as your pumpkins are dropped from a crane and crushed underneath the tires of monster trucks!

We wish you luck making it out of Pure Ludington alive this haunted weekend! Don’t forget to share your haunted fun with us on Instagram using the hashtag #pureludington or post them to our Facebook page

4 Reasons Not to Miss Octoberfest in Ludington this Weekend

In partnership with Bell’s Brewery, Downtown Ludington hosts their 3rd Annual Octoberfest Music & Craft Beer festival this weekend, October 9 & 10 in downtown Ludington. Here are 4 reasons you don’t want to miss out on this fall favorite: 

1. VIP Beer School hosted by Bell’s Brewery. Kicking off the weekend is an exclusive Bell’s Beer School offered to VIP ticket holders on Friday evening at 7pm. VIP ticket holders will get schooled by Bell’s on the brews being offered at the next day at the festival, all the while enjoying samples!

2. The Music. While the beer is great, the music will definitely take the main stage at the event. Headlining the music festival is national touring band, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The rest of the lineup includes heavy hitters like Levi Britton, Afro Zuma, K Jones & The Benzie Playboys and Awesome Distraction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=6&v=bro2ajJbDWQ

3. The Beer. Octoberfest is brought to you in partnership by Bell’s Brewery from Kalamazoo, which means you will have access to not only some of your favorite Bell’s beer, but also a few brews you can’t find in stores.  If you are a Bell’s Brewery fan, be sure to check out the tap takeover happening at The Mitten Bar on Friday and Saturday. 

4. Food, food and more food. Saturday you can kick-off the day at Barley & Rye’s Boozy Breakfast and Bloody Mary bar. The official Octoberfest activities begin with the downtown chili walk at 12pm, where downtown Ludington businesses will be facing-off against each other and offering festival goers samples of their best chili. There will be stations throughout downtown for you to vote for your favorites. And if that wasn’t enough there will be BBQ, hot dogs and more at the entertainment for eating enjoyment!

5. Fun for the whole family. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the kids. From 12-3pm on Saturday, families can stop by the North James Street Plaza in downtown and enjoy kids art activities, pumpkin decorating and baby badger rides! Don’t forget to snap a photo on the harvest wagon in the plaza and tag us on Instagram using #pureludington.

Be sure to check out PureLudington.com for great places to stay while in town for the festival and some ideas to enjoy the fall colors and activities while visiting the area.

For more information on the Octoberfest Music & Craft Beer Festival, you can check out their Facebook Page or their website. Tickets are available online and at the door. General admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $40.

Five Rainy Day Destinations to Brighten Your Day

If the rainy weather is keeping you and the family from being outside, don’t worry, there are many other activities you can dive into that will occupy your interests. Here are a few suggestions to get your rainy day plans started.

Sandcastle Children’s Museum

For those of you waiting around for that must-see marathon of your favorite show; get away from the TV. Instead, bring your kids and come join us at the Sandcastles Children’s Museum. Here you can discover what it’s like to explore the world’s offerings with the whole family. Make a day out of it and come experience a one of a kind learning environment. At Sandcastles Children’s Museum there is a plethora of wonderful hands on activity that will stimulate creativity, curiosity, and of course the love of learning.

West Shore Community College Recreational Center

You may not be able to enjoy the beach, but rainy days don’t have to stop you from enjoying some swim time. The Recreation Center at West Shore Community College as a go-to option for your rainy day schedules. This recreational pool is conveniently close to the Ludington area, and will exceed all expectations as a rainy day activity.

The Historic White Pine Village

17From school field trip’s, to weekend adventures, Historic White Pine Village is a must-see historical experience. You can tour 30 buildings that represent and display a glimpse of Mason County’s past. This is a self-guided tour that will be remembered as a great educational experience for the whole family. Make it a rainy day tradition and visit Historic White Pine Village!

The Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA)

11013014_10153315052358189_1849658384086004731_nIf you are looking for something to brighten up a rainy day, we suggest checking out the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. When the weather is less than desirable for the beach, LACA is a great place to explore the center and take in some fantastic art. Their gallery space hosts many exhibits and events throughout the year and if you catch the right day you may even be able to take a class or watch a theater performance.

AJ’s Family Fun Center

If you are looking for some fast paced fun during that gloomy rainy day, AJ’s Family Fun Center is the place for you. AJ’s is the perfect setting for all members of the family to do something that they enjoy, while spending the day together. AJ’s features multiple attractions such as, mini golf, bumper boats, laser tag, arcade games, and so much more.

For more rainy day activities and suggestions, download the Pure Ludington mobile app.

12 Things for Your Pure Ludington Vacation Bucket List

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1. Catch one of the Sunset Beach Bonfires planned this summer at Stearns Park Beach. Mark your calendars for June 25, July 23 and August 27 and join us for a celebration of our beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets! The best part is, they are free to attend. Just remember to bring your beach chairs and blankets!

2. Try SUP Boarding. With Lake Michigan close by and several inland lakes, there are plenty of places to try this new trendy paddle sport.

3. Watch the 4th of July Fireworks from aboard the SS BadgerTaking a trip on the historic SS Badger is always a treat, but the 4th of July Shoreline Cruise is pretty special. It’s a great celebration on the ship capped off with a spectacular view of the fireworks over Lake Michigan!

4. Kayak the Pere Marquette River. This national scenic river is perfect for paddlers looking for a fun, easy paddle. There are several points of access and rentals along the river. Grab some friends and hit the river!

IMG_19125. Get your Picture in front of the #LoveLudington logo. Located on the SE corner of the intersection of Ludington Avenue and Robert Street, this new artwork added last summer is the perfect backdrop for your vacation pictures! Be sure to tag your photo on social media #loveludington.

6.Explore the area’s history along the Mason County Lumber Heritage TrailThis self-guided, interactive tour of Ludington’s lumber baron homes and historic places is a great way to explore new places and learn about our rich history. Download the Pure Ludington mobile app for more self-guided tours with directions (Apple & Android keyword: Pure Ludington).

7. Take Charterboat fishing trip on Lake Michigan. Known as the #1 Salmon Fishing Port in Michigan, fishing in Ludington is a great experience for groups and families looking for some adventure. Fishing on the “big lake” is a memorable experience and our fleet of charterboat captains are all about hospitality and sending you home with a big catch. Once you get your fish cleaned up, take it to one of our Catch-n-Cook restaurants where they will prepare a meal with your catch.

8. Hike to Big Sable Lighthouse at Ludington State Park. If you love lighthouses, this is definitely one to visit. Plus its a great excuse to check out one of Michigan’s top state parks, Ludington State Park. Open daily through October, you can climb to the top and take a memento home from the gift shop. If the 2 mile hike to the lighthouse isn’t your thing, mark your calendars for one of the Bus Days, where for a small fee you can get a lift out the lighthouse and back.

9. Try a flight of Michigan’s craft beers IMG_1913at The Mitten Bar. Recognized as one of the Top 50 Beer Bars in the US three years in a row by DRAFT Magazine, this craft beer destination is a must see and do when visiting Ludington. They have 13 drafts of Michigan’s finest craft beers on tap at any given time. This is also a great place for food and live music too!

10. Grab an ice cream cone and watch the kids play at Waterfront Playground. Located just blocks from Waterfront Park, you must stop at House of Flavors for an ice cream cone. It is the perfect sweet treat before heading to park for some time at the playground.

11. Grab some grub on the deck at one of our many outdoor dining options. Summer is all about outdoor dining and our restaurants have some great views to enjoy. Take your pick from rooftop decks to decks overlooking the harbor.

12. Relax with your toes in the sand at any one of our beautiful beaches. Vacation in Ludington wouldn’t be complete without some relaxation and rejuvenation at the beach. With many beaches to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect place to park your chair and stick your toes in the sand.

SS Badger Sets Sail

The SS Badger is setting sail on her maiden voyage of the 2015 season on the 15th of May. There are some new and exciting things on the majestic 7-story Badger this year, one of them being a new ash conveyor system which will allow for a more environmentally friendly approach to dispose of the coal ash produced.

LighhouseSince getting her belly wet in Lake Michigan on September 6th of 1952, and setting sail in March of 1953 she has had many jobs; starting out as a ferry for rail cars she earned the name of “Queen of the Lakes” during the golden era of ferry boats in the late 1950s. The SS Badger has been working diligently since the 1970s to extend travel adventures for families and provide cross-lake access for anything from bicycles to wind turbines.

 After what was thought to be the end of her reign as the “Queen of the Lakes” in 1990 when she tied up at the dock in Ludington at the end of the sailing season in November; the belief and financial support from Charles Conrad helped what can now be considered the SS Badger reinvention with about 490 crossings per season; the 4 hour, 60 mile cruise from mid-May through mid-October has been a staple of regularity for the Ludington and Manitowoc areas now since 1992.

Notable accomplishments for the SS Badger have been awarded since 1996 when the Badgerpropulsion system aboard the ship was elected as a “mechanical engineering landmark” by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She has been recognized since 1997 for her historical acclaims as a “Registered Historic Site” by both Michigan and Wisconsin; and also designated as a “Michigan Centennial Business” by the Historical Society of Michigan. In 2002 the Steamship Historical Society named her “Ship of the Year” and most recently, in 2009 the Badger was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.

With great contribution from the current owners; Bob Manglitz, Don Clingan, and Jim Anderson as well as the amazing people that work proudly on the front lines as well as behind the scenes to make the Badger shine brightly against that beautiful blue Lake Michigan. Whether you are on the break wall waving to those heading out on the horizon or greeting those coming home, we are lucky to have her stately presence sitting proudly every time she docks here in Ludington. Have a smooth sail and wonderful season in 2015.


 

Maddison DeBaarWritten by: Maddison Tongue

Maddison recently move to Ludington with her husband after years of vacationing in the area year-round. As avid outdoors people they enjoy hiking, camping, fishing and finding any excuse to be near the water.