Meet the Staff

Team Third Coast Vacations

Third Coast Vacations is a small team of property managers and business associates. We work alongside reliable sources, all of whom are passionate about the area, our homes, and our guests. 

Once you arrive here in Harbor Country, we look forward to meeting and getting to know you!  Until then, here are some quick introductions to our team, our backgrounds and some local businesses that we can’t stop recommending.
Dan Saunders:  Owner

Hometown:  I was born in Libertyville, IL and spent the first 12 years of my life there. We then moved to Elkhart, IN where I actually got my first experience with Harbor Country.  We used to come to the lake and Warren Dunes as teenagers  and enjoyed burgers at Redamak’s.  After finishing college at Indiana University, I lived in Wrigleyville for 15 years before settling in New Bufallo where I've lived with my family since 2007.

Life Prior to Third Coast:  I have prior experience running a sales call center for a cable company in Chicago, and also co-owned a Audio Visual company which supported Pharmaceutical companies. Most recently I was the owner of another vacation rental company here in Harbor Country.

Why Harbor Country:  My wife and I got married in New Buffalo, found our first investment property here, created a business here, and finally made the move to raise our 3 kids and multiple dogs (Rhodesian Ridgebacks) here for the past 12 years.  We love being close enough to see Chicago from the shore but far enough away to feel the slower pace of life.

Favorite Places to Eat?  Of course everyone will say the Stray Dog and truly it’s great for the whole family.  However, you should also check out Bridges in Michigan city where you can sit on the channel and enjoy a huge outdoor seating area- try the Sunny day, fish wrap and a cold beer, it's fantastic!  We also enjoy the Terrace Room which features outstanding food and marina seating.  In fact, you can find my wife and I there most Thursdays for date night. For a more out of the way feel, try Heston’s Supper Club tucked just over the border in the country in Indiana, the prime rib melts in your mouth.

Favorite Activity:  Kayaking with the kids along the Galien River.

What’s the one hidden gem in the area?  Did you know the Marina Grand has a rooftop deck? Grab some food and a drink at Bentwood Tavern, and ask how to get to the roof.  It overlooks the marina and has beautiful views of the lake and amazing sunsets.  Not many people know of it, you'll feel like a genius.
Mary Lambert:  A Concierge like no other….

Hometown:  Born and raised in the Boston area, moved to FL and then finally to Chicago.  My husband and I bought a second home in Harbor Country 26 years ago and decided to make it our permanent home 5 years ago.

Life prior to concierge: I was a representative for several high end Tabletop companies calling on major retailers in the midwest.  I eventually added Housewares products to my repertoire and still keep my hand in the business.

Why Harbor Country:  Why not?  It is the most desirable location for a vacation feel.  You have the beaches, the breweries and wineries, the orchards and of course, THE Lake Michigan.

Top 3-4 eats?  Luisa's in Harbert for a fabulous breakfast, Brewster's Italian Cafe for lunch or dinner and of course, the incomparable Stray Dog for incredible lake views from their rooftop. 

Favorite Activity: Going out on the lake for a sunset cruise with great friends

What's the one hidden gem in the area?  Warren Dunes State Park:  best for hiking, x-country skiing, sledding and communing with nature.
Talia Edwards - Escape the Ordinary Cleaning Services
Hometown: New Buffalo, MI

Prior Life: I was born and raised in New Buffalo, MI. I ventured to South Bend to attend St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, where I graduated with a B.A. in Humanistic Studies and History.  After getting married and having children we came back to New Buffalo to raise our family and to give our kids the experience to grow up in Harbor Country!

Why Harbor Country:  Living in Harbor Country is honestly like living a vacation 24/7.  The beaches, the quiet, and the quaintness of small town living are all why we chose to raise our family here.

Top 3-4 eats:  1.  Brewster's Italian Cafe--amazing made fresh everyday italian foods with a relaxing outdoor garden patio. 2.  Rio's Mexican Grill-- A walk-up mexican food restaurant featuring fresh authentic mexican options.  It's seriously one of the best around.  Order the shelless burrito (not on the menu) to get a burrito bowl that I tout as better than Chipotle.  

Favorite Activity:  I absolutely love walking the trails at Warren Dunes State Park.  Incredible views of Lake Michigan you will be wowed.  Make sure though to choose the right path for your comfort level.  Some are long and some are short distances all are worth it!

What's the one hidden gem in the area:  Twisted Frozen Yogurt shop located on Whittaker St in downtown New Buffalo.  With daily frozen yogurt flavorsand endless toppings you will not regret grabbing a cup for yourself and the kids!

Leanne Penny - Marketing 
Hometown: Hudsonville, MI

Prior Life: I was born in the Holland, MI area and graduated from Hudsonville High School before completing a degree in communications and Theology from Kuyper College. After marrying my husband, Kel we lived in Kentucky for a few years while he completed his Master's and then in Oklahoma for 5 years where our two oldest kids were born. We have been living here in New Buffalo (Grand Beach area) for 4 years with our 3 kids, dog, cat, and two rabbits! 

Why Harbor Country:  When we made the decision to move to New Buffalo, I had no idea that this wonderful area existed and what it would hold for us. I drove by the exits so many times, not knowing that my true heart would find its home here. I love the people, the natural beauty, the schools and more. I never want to leave. 

Top 3-4 eats:  If you want quick and easy, delicious food - grab takeout from Song Asian or Rios - to be honest these are the two restaurants we eat at the most. For date night, I love to go to Brewster's Italian in downtown New Buffalo, the soup never disappoints and whatever you order it will be delicious and memorable! If you want a unique experience, check out Bridges in Michigan city! You can bring the kids and the dog and everyone will have a great meal on the river. For coffee and breakfast, you want to check out David's Deli for a breakfast sandwich and pastries and for amazing Donuts Black Current in Union Pier is a family favorite! 

Favorite Activity:  I love to walk to beach and search for beach glass as well as hike in the area looking for Geocaches with my kids. 

What's the one hidden gem in the area:  Not to put too fine a point on "Hidden Gem" but I always get my gifts from the Hidden Gem in downtown New Buffalo! You can't go wrong in finding a unique piece that tells your loved ones- "I care so much I didn't buy this on Amazon."
Adam Forker - Maintenance Manager

Jon Darbyshire - TBD

Hometown: Exeter, NH and now Galien, MI

Prior Life: I grew up in New Hampshire, went to high school in Arizona and college at UC Santa Cruz in California. I moved here to Michigan in 2003 to be closer to my parents that lived here as my father worked at the Cook Nuclear Plant for years. I thought it was a short term move but I love the people here so much I have no desire to be anywhere else!

Top 3-4 places to eat:  I think we would all probably list the same great options in New Buffalo so I am going to go further afield. My go-to restaurant is Lake Street Eats in Bridgman, they have great food and you can usually get a table when all the NB places are too busy. Ray and Al's Lunchroom in Galien is open from 9:00 to 3:00 for late breakfast and lunch and is just awesome! Greenbush Brewery in Sawyer is also can't miss when you are here, awesome food and brew.

Favorite Activity:  I am a music junky and I have a radio show called Rare Grooves on WRHC 106.7 FM Harbor Country Radio Monday nights at 9:00 PM. You can listen to our station at or by downloading the terrific free Radio Garden app (I can't recommend this highly enough). 

What's the one hidden gem in the area:  Ha, nice try!