RV Saga

Charming Small Cities Along the St. Clair River


Freighter Sunda Passing by Jazz Musicians at St. Clair

Small cities shine like pearls along the blue water of the St. Clair River. We walked around the neighborhood of Algonac the other day, today we toured Marine City, St. Clair, and Marysville. In our eyes, the blue water area is charming with its riverfront scenery, small community vibe, fine dining, festivals, outdoor activities, and more.

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At the mouth of St. Clair River is Algonac. Algonac is “the Venice of Michigan,” located at “the largest fresh-water delta in the world.” Houses sit along the canals that wind through the city. Strolling along the board walk by the river on City Park, I noticed the water of St. Clair River was a unique blue color. Maybe that is why this area is called blue water area. Across the river is Walpole Island Indian Reserve of Canada. Small ferries commute between Algonac and Walpole Island. A small border inspection office sits by the dock. Nice old houses line up St. Clair River Road. A few newer houses and condos also find a spot by the river. A network of canals shaped like a comb sit between Mill Street and Locust Point. All kinds of boats parked on the canals. The low and plain bridges lack the elegance of bridges that made Venice famous. But nothing can beat having a boat right behind your house and ready to cruise on the blue water.


Fountain Show on Freighter Equinox

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The morning sun slowly rose from Canada, casting a shiny line across the surface of the river. A freighter named Equinox cruised by with a beautiful fountain show. A dozen fountains were spraying water on the boat, and spouts of water came out from the drainages on the sides of the boat. After two rainy days, we were finally rewarded with a nice sunny day. So we headed north along the East Michigan shoreline.

Marine City is only several minutes away. A structure of lighthouse printed with Marine City stands in the middle of the city park. A guy swam in the river. A flowerbed filled with white hydrangea brighten up the corner of the bank. Sitting on the bench in the shade and watching the world going by was pleasant. A man and a boy were washing their dogs on the bank. He got water from the river using a small bucket and poured it over the dogs again and again. The dogs must have loved it, shaking off and wagging their tails. A guy in a black diver’s suit was preparing for his dive. After a while, the scuba diver dove in the water. I wondered what he could see in the river. We saw the freighter Sagniaw earlier in the morning at Algonac State Park Campground. And it caught up with us at Marine City. It seems like the river is narrower here and freighters are closer to the shore. Our visit of Marine City ended with a seafood lunch at Marine City Fish Company Restaurant. The cedar plank white fish with dill rice was delish. And the panko fried walleye was finger licking good.


Entrance at Palmer Park at St Clair Framing Freighter Sunda


Tugboat Parking at St Clair


Blue Water by A Tugboat

Music came to our ears at the moment we arrived at St. Clair. Crowds gathered on the lawn of riverfront Palmer Park watching live music on a stage.  Four musicians from Atlanta were playing Jazz. It was the Jazz Festival. Wonderful! People were sitting or reclining on the lawn chairs, lying in hammocks, or just sitting by the bank dipping their feet into the river, enjoying the fiesta. A tug boat was parking by the bank waiting for her next adventure.

We continued north heading to Marysville. Stephen told me that when he worked on the freighters on Great Lakes, one of his fellow cadets’ grandma lived in an apartment at Marysville. Whenever the freighter was passing the town, they were on granny watch. Grandma would wave to them on her balcony. We drove on the River Road, and saw an apartment building with balconies. That might be it! 35 years ago, granny was waiting on the balcony and waving to her grandson. That was such a touching moment of love. The blue water of St. Clair River might have lots of stories to tell. The river nourishes the land and makes people happier. Life is good along St. Clair River.


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