One of the newer offerings in Pentwater this year was the Pentwater Water Taxi. The water taxi was created a couple years ago when flooding caused the Long Bridge Road to be closed for an extended period of time. Long Bridge Road is what connects the north and south sides of Pentwater, and without it, travel from one side of Pentwater to the other takes about an extra 30 minutes. Thus, the water taxi was started to provide an easier access to all the businesses in the main part of the town.
The waters have since receded, but the water taxi remains and offers some additional activities for those visiting the area. One of the activities is a history tour. Dan and I, along with our friends Bill and Barb, took the history tour on a beautiful, but windy, afternoon.
The water taxi holds 16 passengers, so we did make reservations in advance. Our tour was led by Captain Lee, who drove the boat, along with a volunteer docent, Ray, from the Pentwater History Museum. Ray provided the commentary while Captain Lee focused on driving the boat.
The tour started by going down the channel from Pentwater Lake to Lake Michigan. Since it was a windy day, the waters were rough,and we did not go out into Lake Michigan at all. Dan tends to get seasick, so he was fine with this decision. Going down the channel, Ray told us about the swing bridge and later the ferry, and showed us where these were located years ago.
As the water taxi circled the lake, Ray told us about the history of Pentwater. We learned how business people, such as Charles Mears, were drawn to the area because of the abundance of white pine trees. These trees provided much of the lumber for nearby Chicago. A lumber company, a furniture making company and a brick making company were also located in the town. Later, the railroad brought tourists to the town. Eventually, with the introduction of cars, the railroad no longer came to Pentwater, but the tourists still did.
We learned about the exclusive Pentwater Yacht Club which still exists today. Our tour lasted about an hour, and we were encouraged to visit the Pentwater History Museum, which is free of charge, to learn more about the history of this charming town.
During our tour, Captain Lee talked passionately about a program offered in Pentwater called West Michigan Sail. WMS is a non profit organization whose mission is to provide a sailing program to veterans experiencing health and other life challenges. During our excursion, Captain Lee had mentioned his goal was to be on the water more than on land. He also pointed out, with great pride, some sailboats which are part of the program, including one that had been recently donated. This is a wonderful example of taking one’s passion and using it to serve others.
The Pentwater Taxi also offers sunset cruises. Later in the week, nine members of our family took this cruise. The taxi will take walk up passengers if there is room in the boat, but with nine of us, we did reserve in advance. It was a beautiful night, and this time the boat did venture out into Lake Michigan quite a bit. A really fun part was waving to other family members who stood on the pier and watched us head out to the lake.
In the back half of our boat was another small group of four. While cruising, we chatted with them about where we were all from. Our group’s response was that we were from St. Louis, and Dan and I added St. Charles. A member of the other group said he had lived in St. Louis and had been a pastor there for 19 years. When we asked what church, and the man said its name, and that it was just off “46.” None of us knew what he was talking about.
I just let it go because what the man was saying didn’t make any sense to me. Eventually, after further conversation, it turns out there is a St. Louis, Michigan (rather than Missouri) and nearby is a St. Charles, Michigan (rather than Missouri.) So, if you meet anybody from Michigan, just be careful when you say where you are from because they think every city is in their own state. We know better. It’s in our state. Missouri.
After sunset, Captain Lee circled around Pentwater Lake. The cruise is supposed to last about an hour, and I probably shouldn’t say this, but our cruise lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes! Maybe because we had an almost full boat or maybe because it was such a beautiful night or maybe because Captain Lee could see we all were enjoying it so much. Who knows why? But it was lovely.
Danny made the comment that we should do this every year, and we all agreed.
And just in case you are wondering, the Pentwater Water Taxi is located in Pentwater. And this time, it would be Michigan, not Missouri.