A Great Spot on a Great Lake: South Haven, MI

One of the fun things about being an author is exploring new places and then bringing those places to life on a page. People who live there or visited get a little thrill recognizing the places they came to cherish. People new to the places get to explore and make a new entry to their bucket list. In the 3rd book of the Diamond series, Diamond tracks a witness to the lake town of South Haven, Michigan. South Haven is located at the mouth of the Black River and Lake Michigan. Her +/- 4,400 residents love everything water, beach, and fishing. According to the LindyLou captain, South Haven has been a vacation spot for Midwesterners since the 1800s. The LindyLou is a river launch, one of the boats operated by the Michigan Maritime museum, and replicates the type of boat that carried vacationers from the large ships of the Great Lakes up the Black River to one of the many resorts.

South Haven is a town people live in as well as visit. Walking the neighborhoods along the lake, the architecture ranged from Victorian homes dating to the late 1800s to small cabins to high end homes. An excellent example of the Victorian style is the Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast. From the detailing around the doors and windows to the arrangement of the rooms, it was easy to appreciate the art and craftsmanship from the days gone by. Many of the residents take extreme pride in their landscaping. An August walk bloomed with vibrant flowers and feathery grasses. The lakefront from Dyckman Beach to North Beach is made for playing with soft and thick sand. The public beaches made access easy and welcoming to every age group. We tended to go to the lake in the evening, watching the display of colors over the open water, then ending with ice cream at North Beach.

Everything about water fascinates me and that includes our human engineering of it. The Dyckman Street Bascule Gate opens twice an hour to allow taller boats to cross between the upstream of the Black River and the lake side. I could have watched the bridge go up and down for hours! The sidewalks on either side are narrow and are intended to be one way to manage foot traffic. That was not adhered to in our stay. The scene reminded us of the swing bridge over the River Ness in Fort Augustus, Scotland. It was odd how we could place buildings in South Haven in nearly the same positions as in Scotland. Of course, the buildings didn’t match. A restaurant in one place was a grocery store in the other. The parallels were unexpected.

A favorite thing of mine when traveling is when things don’t go quite right. That is where the stories are! Unfortunately, there was little that didn’t go well with our South Haven adventure. A small problem was my husband forgot the book he was reading at home. Easy to solve as Yelton Manor claims 33 years of books for the borrowing. Exploration of two building and about 12 rooms with books tucked everywhere revealed…NO FICTION! Not a mystery, thriller, or romance to be found. Now, if we wanted to learn magic or explore “pausitivity” we would have been good. Instead, we found a book store – Black River Books. As he finished the book, we left the book in the room, contributing the 1st fiction book to Yelton’s extensive collection.

So what will fit into Diamond’s 3rd book? Yelton Manor is the model for my fictional Spring Rose Manor. The suite we stayed in will be Diamond’s. The public marina behind the Michigan Maritime Museum is the launching point for a boat chase. And the bascule gate will be privotal (punny!), I’m just not sure how I’m going to use that yet. Check back in February 2023 when Pyscho Therapy releases.

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