Taste The Season With A Holiday Mulled Wine Recipe

Taste The Season With A Holiday Mulled Wine Recipe

Whether you are hosting a holiday dinner or spending a quiet night in, try making your own mulled wine at home this winter season. Warm your soul and taste buds with the perfect blend of spices, citrus, and rich red wine. Let the aromas of cinnamon and orange peel fill your home, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Sip on this delightful beverage and embrace the holiday spirit with every sip. Cheers to the most wonderful time of the year!



  • 4-8 cloves 
  • 2-3 star anise 
  • 1 large orange 
  • 1/4 cup brandy 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (Merlot or Zinfandel are best) 
  • 2-4 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or sugar 
  • Extra garnishes: cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, orange or citrus slices (optional)



  • Cut the orange in half and then cut one half into slices and place them into the saucepan. Squeeze the juice of other half into the saucepan. 
  • Pour the bottle of wine and brandy into the saucepan. Add in your sweetener of choice, the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves. 
  • Start heating up the wine on a medium-high heat just before it starts to simmer (if it boils, the alcohol will cook out).
  • After it begins to simmer, turn down the heat and keep it on low for at least 10 minutes or up to 3 hours (the longer you cook it, the stronger the flavor and spice). 
  • Once you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat, taste the wine and add extra sweetener or spices if desired. 
  • Straining is up to you. Keeping the spices and fruits in your mugs will further enhance and spice the wine. If you strain the mulled wine, use a fine mesh strainer to remove the orange slices and spices. 
  • Once the wine has reached your desired flavor, serve it in your favorite mugs and top it with extra garnishes if you wish. Enjoy! 


Special Notes

  • Instead of the spices, you can use a chai bag to simmer in the pan for a similar or added flavor. Or try adding extra spices such as ginger, nutmeg, or cardamom. 

A West Michigan Christmas: Your New Favorite Holiday Festivities In The Area​

A West Michigan Christmas: Your New Favorite Holiday Festivities In The Area

Celebrate this holiday season with enchanting festivities.  Embark on a relaxing trip to West Michigan to bond with family and friends during the holiday season. Indulge in the sounds of jingle bells, the smells of roasted chestnuts, the local shops, and see all the Christmas lights all across the lakeshore for a magical holiday vacation. Discover your next holiday memories and traditions in the heart of West Michigan’s lakeshore. Below you’ll find the best festive activities across the quaint Michigan beach towns of West Michigan.

Date: 11/25/23

Location: 8 Center St 

Gather around the charming Michigan beachtown of Douglas to watch the annual tree lighting ceremony. The Light Night starts at 6:00 pm with holiday festivities to follow. Delight in Christmas carols, hot chocolate and cookies and more with your family and friends!

Crane's Drive Thru Holiday Light Show

Date: 11/29/23 – 12/31/23

Location: Crane’s Orchard 

See schedule for varying times and dates


Crane’s holiday light show is a nostalgic event for friends and family to delight in the holiday magic! The orchard is decorated in a mile long trail of lights and wonder for you to enjoy in the comfort and warmth of your car. It is $20 for vehicles with 8 passengers and under. With vehicles with 9 or more it will be $25. 

Fennville's Holiday Celebration

When: 12/2/23

Where: Downtown Fennville

The city of Fennville is hosting a holiday celebration with events starting at 9:00 am. There is fun for everyone with live reindeer, visits with Santa, a holiday market, crafts, caroling, tree-lighting and a parade and much more! Check out their webpage for more info. 

Holiday In The Park

When: 11/24/23

Where: Dyckman Park 

Enjoy the holidays in the park in South Haven. A full Christmas event from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm  featuring visits with Santa, ornament rafting, a pet parade, tree lighting, food trucks, ice-skating, s’mores and more! It’s perfect for all ages, families and friends. For more information please click here


When: 11/18/23 – 12/16/23 

Where: 8th Street Market Place 

See schedule for varying times and dates

The city of Holland is hosting it’s very own european-inspired Christmas Market! “Kerstmarkt” in the Dutch language means “Christmas market”. Nestled among the busy commerce district of Downtown Holland, the Christmas Market is a lively event full of artisan goods, fresh food, Dutch delicacies, and much more. 


Magic At The Mill

When: 12/1/23-12/16/23 (Fridays and Saturdays)

Where: Windmill Island Gardens 

The picturesque and iconic Windmill Gardens come to life with magic throughout  December from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. The hundreds-year-old windmill is surrounded by LED tulips accompanied by a spectacular light show during Magic at the Mill. The park and shops will be open, goodies will be available for purchase, and there will even be an opportunity for children to greet Sinterklaas!

Saugatuck Christmas Parade

When: 12/2/23

Where: Wicks Park

Gather your family and friends together and celebrate with the community at the Saugatuck Christmas Parade filled with festive cheer. Get caught up in the joyous atmosphere of this annual event that captures the essence of the Michigan beachtown holiday spirit.

Parade of Lights

When: November 28 

Where: 8th Street, downtown Holland 

Time: 6:30pm 

Admire the decorated streets of downtown Holland as you sit to watch a parade of trucks, floats, marching bands, and more escort Santa across the town. Enjoy the atmosphere with your family and children, sharing in community’s joyous traditions. For more information visit the city’s event page

Mistletoe Market

When: November 18 – December 15, Thursday to Sunday

Where: South Haven Center For The Arts

Time: See schedule for varying times and dates 

This holiday art market is perfect for finding unique Christmas gifts for your loved ones this season. It’s perfect for all ages, and families and couples alike. There will be family art activities and holiday card making booths as well!

Explore the Christmas Markets of West Michigan

Explore the Christmas Markets of
West Michigan

Experience the magic of the holidays along the picturesque lakeshore of West Michigan. Immerse yourself in a wonderland of festive cheer as the local community comes alive with exciting holiday events. From enchanting light displays to charming Christmas markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With lights, music, food and gift shopping, start your own holiday tradition at a Christmas market near you. Whether you’re a visitor or local, the markets are a unique experience in the area. Below are some of the local Christmas Markets in West Michigan. 

Crane's Handmade Holiday Market

Crane’s is hosting their own holiday market Sunday, November 26 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. With cookie decorating , artisan shopping and restaurant specials this is perfect for the family to stay for lunch and have some holiday fun! At the Handmade Holiday Market there will be something for everyone on your list. From jewelry, fine woodworking, artisan jams, paintings, handmade soaps, ceramics and much more.

Douglas Winter Artists' Market ​

Get all your holiday shopping done at Douglas’ Winter Artist Market! This starts from Saturday, November 25 through Feburary 25th. The market will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. You will find all types of locally made artisan creations at Ox-Bow House. Head to their website for more information,. 

Holland Kerstmarkt​

Starting on Saturday, November 18 through December 16th is Holland’s annual Kerstmarkt. This event transforms the Downtown Holland’s outdoor space into a European Christmas market. The wooden booths reflect the stalls of old-world European markets selling holly bushes, pine wreaths, jewelry, pottery, wooden toys, boxes and spoons. The market also offers a flavorful and festive atmosphere with traditional food stands and artisan booths.

Mistletoe Market

Starting on Saturday, November 18 through December 15th is South Haven’s annual Mistletoe MarketFind unique and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and works of art in the Mistletoe Market at South Haven Center for the Arts! Both the downstairs and upstairs of the center is transformed into a holiday art and gift market. 

Saugatuck Outdoor Holiday Market

On Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, enjoy a perfect day of artisan craft cocktails, Michigan made gifts, and festive tunes under the lights at the Saugatuck Center For The Arts.  Don’t miss out on a very Saugatuck Christmas Market! The outdoor plaza and pavilion will feature high end crafts, home decor, wearables, jewelry, paper goods, artisan baked goods and much more.

A Home For The Holidays​

A Home For The Holidays

Home is wherever the holidays take you! The holiday season is a time to create memories to cherish for a lifetime with your loved ones. Nestled in the heart of West Michigan is a winter wonderland awaiting your stay. Enjoy the comforts of a fully equipped kitchen, cozy living spaces, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re snuggled up by the fireplace or gathering around the dinner table, our vacation rentals offer the perfect setting for your festive celebrations. Whether you are planning a large family gathering or small get together for friends, our properties have been thoughtfully curated to offer you the best vacation experiences. Book your stay now and embrace the joy of togetherness. Create your own holiday magic this season and discover your family’s new favorite gathering place with Upscale Lakeshore. 

Discover the Nature of West Michigan: Best Hiking Trails in Saugatuck ​

Discover the Nature of West Michigan: Best Hiking Trails in Saugatuck

From easy to  moderate trails, the rolling dunes of the Saugatuck State Park and the surrounding areas create an atmosphere to bond with nature and your friends and family. Bask in the calming landscapes of Saugatuck and breathtaking views of the lake from sunrise to sunset. 

Mount Baldhead

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Length: 1 mile loop


This 1 mile loop trail is perfect for a fun for hike. There are also steps that bring you up to the summit where you can see breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. There are 15 flights, with seats for resting at the end of every other flight. After catching your breath, you can simply hike back down the steps or you can choose one of the three trails down to Oval Beach.

Livingston Loop

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Length: 0.9 mile loop


This loop is full of wooded area and takes you along part of the lake. It’s a mix of easy and moderate trail and a wonderful way to see the lake and natural areas of Saugatuck. Enter the trail, take the immediate right, and follow the red signs. You can walk to the shore on this trail and follow to the beach.

North Trail

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Length: 2 mile loop


A beautiful and short hike to the lake. You’ll walk through a wooded area by passing a small pond and then there are two loop options. The inner loop consists of mostly packed sand in beautiful, wooded areas with tall pine trees. The outer loop offers wide open vistas, rolling dunes, and soft sand. 

South Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult

Length: 5.2 mile loop


This trail is an adventurous one to explore the state park with a beach access point and view of the lake. Enjoy a rigorous hike involving a good deal of hiking up and down small hills with lots of soft sand. South Trail is a less crowded option due to length and degree of difficulty.

Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area​

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Length: 3 mile loop



This nature filled trail begins at Oval Beach. The area encompasses 173 acres of dunes, forest, and wetlands. It’s bordered by Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, and a woodland area. There are beautiful views looking east to the Crow’s Nest, south to the lagoon, and west to the lake. 

Discover the Best Bike Trails of West Michigan​

Discover the Best Bike Trails of West Michigan

Natural beauty and outdoor adventure collide in West Michigan. When it comes to biking trails, there’s no place like along the lakeshore of West Michigan. Home to miles of trails and pathways, bikers of all experience levels can head out for a leisurely ride, an exhilarating adventure, or a scenic tour any time of year. Some of our vacation rentals here at Upscale Lakeshore are equipped with bikes, and you will also find numerous bike rental companies throughout Michigan beachtowns. Discover below some of our favorite scenic and captivating trails across the lakeshore community.  

Beach To Bayou Trail

Located in Saugatuck/Douglas this short and sweet 2 mile trail starts at Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park. Before heading out for your adventure, Wades Bayou is known for being the perfect fishing spot and is also a beautiful location to watch the sunrise. The paved trail brings you from Kalamazoo Lake through Downtown Douglas. This is perfect for those looking for a relaxing and casual stroll through the community. 

Kal-Haven Trail

Beginning in South Haven, the Kal-Haven trail is beloved by locals and tourists alike. This 34 mile linear trail connects Kalamazoo with South Haven featuring multi-use trails for all levels. The trail is mapped out from a former railroad with beautiful scenery of woodlands and water views along the path. The trail is biking, hiking, and running friendly and a great way to get out and explore the beautiful West Michigan landscapes. 

Lakeshore Trail

Lakeshore Trail is a paved 20 mile trail connecting Holland State Park to Grand Haven State Park that locals often take advantage of to get a good workout in. The trail offers numerous stops along the way to get off your bike and enjoy Lake Michigan views. The Ottawa County parks and beaches along the route are the perfect way to stop and take a rest  while refueling with a snack. 

Shore Acres Bike Trail ​

Situated between Saugatuck Dunes State Park and The Felt Mansion, the Shore Acres Trail offers  a three-mile mountain bike loop trail which is a great getaway for those who want more of an adventure. There is opportunities for more experienced bikers to try some technical paths with elevation in the area with plenty of sharp turns. 

Riley Trails

Riley Trails is a wooded nature area that is 300 acres with views of rolling terrain, beech-maple forest, pine plantations and even a small lake. Many locals use the trails for biking, hiking and even cross-country skiing. Riley Trails is easily accessible from the surrounding community with bike paths and lanes on many of the roads in Holland. Dogs are welcomed as long as they are on leashes. 

Eating Your Way Through Saugatuck In The Summer

Eating Your Way Through Saugatuck In The Summer

Like many other Michigan Beachtowns, there are some special places that are only open in the warm summer months. Sauagtuck isn’t the exception, but that just makes those places all that more special. Below is a list of seasonal operating restaurants in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Douglas Root Beer Barrel ​

Yes, it’s an actual root beer barrel! This was built in the 1950s and has been newly restored and is right on the way to Oval Beach. The Douglas Root Beer Barrel offers specialty hot dogs and of course root beer and root beer floats. Their last day of operation is in October, so you have all summer to try it out! 

Boardwalk Deli & Ice Cream ​

A downtown seasonal stop, Boardwalk Deli offers gourmet sandwiches, paninis, smoothie bowls, smoothies, ice cream, and just recently added bubble tea! Their diverse menu has something for everyone. Open from May to October, check out this spot when exploring Downtown Saugatuck.

Round The Corner Ice Cream​

Round The Corner Ice Cream is open all year, but we believe it deserves an honorable mention. It’s the best place to stop and get ice cream in Sauagtuck. Their large variety of flavors from classics to cotton candy twist are quality and delicious. And don’t forget to check out their unique donuts!

The Grilled Cheese Shack ​

This small shack sits in Downtown Saugatuck, next to the water. Their menu offers a wide range of gourmet grilled cheeses. You are also able to make your own with their list of toppings. There’s plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy your grilled cheese after a fun day at the pool or beach. 

A Foodie’s Guide To Saugatuck, Michigan​

A Foodie's Guide To Saugatuck, Michigan

Some of the most important memories are imprinted on your tongue, especially during vacation. We want to ensure your luxury and satisfactory vacation, so check out this guide to our top rated eateries in the Michigan Beachtowns of Saugatuck/Douglas. 

Coffee Shops

Grow Cafe 

A prime spot for brunch, GROW is a an iconic staple for locals and visitors alike. Their menu is full of vibrant and fresh flavors that will have you coming back for more. Their goal is to demonetize their hospitality and get rid of wage disparity. Truly a unique restaurant. Try out the carrot cake pancakes or the blueberry lemon french toast for a mouthwatering brunch!


Uncommon Coffee Roasters 

A local coffeeshop and roasting facility that Upscale Lakeshore has partnered with. We recently released a special Upscale Lakeshore blend that is available in all of our vacation rentals. Uncommon Coffee Roasters is a tasty café to visit when you’re on the go and want fresh lattes and baked goods. 


Pennyroyal Cafe & Provisions

A mix between a cafe, provisions shop, and a restaurant, Pennyroyal Cafe & Provisions is a local favorite, featuring refined and creative twists on classic plates with artisan cocktails, coffee, and pastries. In the summer, you may find a line to get seated. It’s just that good. Make sure to get there a little early!


Outside Coffee Co 

Outside Coffee Co has all of the bases covered for lounging outside in almost any weather condition. You can enjoy this outdoor space with a furry friend, as long as they’re on a leash. The shop is very accommodating to guests with dairy and gluten allergies or food intolerances or people who are simply looking for some plant-based options. Customers can find vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food options, as well as almond, soy, and coconut milk.

Bars and Breweries

Coastal Society 

Coastal Society is a coastal inspired cocktail bar where you can come, relax, and sip on quality and homemade cocktails. They also have shareables like pizza and charcuterie boards. Also check out their live music on Saturdays! 


Guardian Brewing Company 

A women owned business, Guardian Brewing Company is all about inclusivity, especially with quality ingredients and tasty meals. They operate on a seasonal menu with local fresh ingredients and offering meat, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free options. The Guardian also likes to keep it fun and fresh with open mic nights, trivia nights, beer classes, and more. 


New Holland Brewing

New Holland Brewing has multiple locations across West Michigan, and all for good reason. They have been mastering the craft of brewing since 1997, and their beers and spirits are sold nationwide. Their menu features American bar food, but they don’t sacrifice flavor or quality. They put just as much attention into their food as they do their craft beers and spirits.


The Mitten Brewing Co

The Saugatuck pub boasts some dynamite outdoor seating. Enjoy the breeze from the lakeshore with a cold craft beer in hand while at The Mitten Brewing Co and you don’t even need to leave your seat for a refill! We have people that will bring you food if only you ask. 


Bowdie’s Chophouse

Here at Upscale Lakeshore we’ll never stop expressing our love for Bowdie’s Chophouse. It’s a high quality steakhouse house in a Sinatra style building bringing high class lower Manhattan eating to Sauagtuck. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, as well as private dining. Bowdie’s has truly mastered the  art of bringing refined dining to a small coastal town setting.


Borrowed Time

A shared plate experience restaurant that promotes bonding and sharing with your friends and family. Borrowed Time offers tasteful and gourmet dishes bound to fill your hearts. They curate their menu with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients and offer indoor and outdoor seating. 



Offering every meal of the day and specialty cocktails, Pumpernickels is a gathering place for good conversation and great food. Whether Brunch or Dinner, Pumpernickels offers only fresh and quality ingredients from local Michigan farmers. 


The Southerner

Bringing Appalachia and quality southern cooking to the north, The Southerner has the best fried chicken in town. Available for lunch and dinner, you can order for takeout or sit at their restaurant on the water. 

Well Wishes from Upscale Lakeshore

At Upscale Lakeshore we believe a memorable and exciting vacation is marked not by just where you stay, but also where you eat. We want to share our favorite spots and flavors with you to give you the best vacation you can have. We wish you a wonderful time full of satisfied stomachs and relaxed minds! 

Welcome to Crescent Cottage

Welcome to Crescent Cottage

A cozy and vibrant water front cottage nestled between a secluded in land lake and wandering forest brings to life an intimate vacation to be! Upscale Lakeshore’s newest vacation rental is Crescent Cottage. This 3 bedroom and 2 bathroom home has the capacity to sleep up to 6 guests and is perfect for a couple or small group of friends wanting an intimate space to have fun and relax. The private escape of Crescent Cottage allows plenty of opportunities for entertainment. Follow a winding timber-filled path to a hidden lake where you can get into the water to take a swim or go out for a ride in the kayaks. Nature surrounds you in the cozy cocoon of Crescent Cottage, where you and your friends can sit under the stars in the spacious backyard while enjoying a crackling fire and dinner and drinks al fresco. 

Upscale Lakeshore’s Crescent Cottage is an opportunity for you to experience West Michigan and our lovely Michigan beachtowns while also not feeling the pressure of a city and tourist activities. Here you can relax and take your much needed vacation at your own pace. It can be your next memorable vacation all due to the peace and serenity you feel among the lake, the stars, and a cozy and chic furnished home. Embrace the privacy of being tucked away in the woods that border the lake or head into the downtowns of Saugatuck/Douglas to experience a plethora of eateries and boutiques. This is the perfect location to disconnect all while still being under a short drive into town and to the beaches of Lake Michigan. Check out our website for your next unforgettable vacation! 

Welcome to Blue Cedar

Welcome to Blue Cedar

We just welcomed a new member into our Upscale Lakeshore family with Blue Cedar. With the ability to sleep up to 16 guests in a luxurious and aesthetic space, it’s the perfection destination for your next vacation. Encompassed in a woodland setting and just a short drive away from Lake Michigan, Blue Cedar is a picturesque and luxury home fit to be your next home away from home. The house becomes apart of its surroundings with its contemporary design that brings the outside in through large windows spread all throughout the house. From the moment you enter the home, you’ll be impressed at the care to detail and high class finishes in the home. This high class comfort comes with a plethora of amenities including a bonfire pit, recreation room, wet bar, grand piano, laundry room, industrial refrigerator, and much more! The numerous  fireplaces creates a relaxing and cozy atmosphere no mater the time of year. 


Whether you’re a couple or a large group of family or friends, Blue Cedar welcomes you with large dining and living areas that are perfect for get togethers. The large bedrooms and bathrooms allow plenty of space for guests. And don’t forget about the hot tub either, this is perfect for a group of gals gossiping with wine or for a couple to break away from their busy lives and focus on themselves while  relaxing in a warm space. The hot tub sits in a three season porch that keeps you outside with nature while also protection you from the wind and bugs that accompany the outdoors. It’s our utmost pleasure to share Blue Cedar with our guests as well as the beauty of Lake Michigan and our lakeshore community. Check out our website for the next available dates at Blue Cedar and let it become a part of your wonderful vacation memories!