Explore: Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron

Explore: Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 29, 2018)

Port Huron, MI – I spent a drizzly Sunday morning in one of my favorite writing spots – Port Huron. This has all one needs for a beautiful day away, just an hour from SE Oakland County.

The Great Lakes Maritime Center at 51 Water St is an amazing place.  It sits where the Black River runs into the St. Clair River.  With giant windows and a large deck, it’s a great place to relax and watch boats pass.  Not only are there sail boats, yachts, and Coast Guard vessels – there are enormous ships carrying stone, iron, grain and other items from all around the Great Lakes.

Inside the Maritime Center are walls covered with shipping images and memorabilia. The Waterfront Cafe inside the Center has inexpensive munchies and daily soups, sandwiches andspecials.  And a team of “Boat Nerds” announce when a big ship comes through, sharing information about the vessel’s history.  On this particular Sunday I watched the Kaministiquia heading inland from Lake Huron.  The 730 ft long ship can carry up to 33,828 lbs of grain and is named after a river near Thunder Bay Ontario.

Grownups and kids get excited when the ships come in.  In between the ships people visit at the many tables, or use the high speed wireless.  The Center has recently added a walk-through exhibit of pictures featuring history of the shipping industry, including the growth of Port Huron and information on ship wrecks.  On Saturdays and Tuesdays the Vantage Point Farmers Market offers up fresh produce and crafts. And on Sunday the Maritime Center shows a free movie or documentary related to the Great Lakes.

After getting some writing done, I took a walk along the ever-evolving Blue Water River Walk.  This pathway goes along the St. Clair River and meanders through a protected wetland area full of flowers and tiny creatures. Young catfish swam through the stream under a bridge, and ducks bopped their heads under water in a pair ponds.

The land for the River Walk, which is nearly a mile long, was donated by Port Huron philanthropist James Acheson, is now maintained by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. Along the walk are public art, a fishing pier and an old railroad ferry dock that is open to the public to explore.

Up the road from this beautiful path is the Blue Water Bridge which connected Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario.  The bridge has two spans, the second of which was constructed in 1996.  The first bridge connecting the countries was opened in 1938.  For some history and information about the crossing, click here.  Public art fills the grassy area near the bridge, and visitors can walk along the St. Clair River and  underneath the bridge.

Learn more about ways to enjoy Port Huron:

Blue Water Visitor’s Bureau

Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce

Looking for your next adventure? Check out The Oakland County Time’s Explore Section.

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