Dwight and I don't get away very often, so when we do–no matter what we do or where we go–it feels slightly indulgent and even a tiny bit exotic.
Like going to Michigan. That's exotic, right?
Well, it's not exotic, but it certainly is lovely. We live just south of the Indiana-Michigan border so leaving our state means only having to drive a mile north... and then we just keep going from there. On July 3 we hopped in the car with just the slightest idea of where were going and what we were doing and just decided to wing it.
We're wild and crazy like that.
We headed west on US 12 on our way to Three Oaks. It's a teeny tiny little town, but manages to draw quite a few tourists. They have a few cute restaurants, some really lovely galleries and shops as well as an honest to goodness old fashioned butcher shop that provided the meat for the hamburgers we ate at the Elm Street Bistro.
It's a really cute town and I've only ever driven through it on the way to somewhere else. It was nice to stop and spend some time there.
From Three Oaks, we headed north to intersect with Red Arrow Highway which runs along the Lake Michigan coast. We passed the INSANELY long line to get into Warren Dunes (uh, no thanks. It had to have been a madhouse) and kept heading north along the coast to St. Joseph.
We found a parking spot just a little bit out of the way and made our way through town. St. Joe is larger than Three Oaks by quite a lot, but still has that same small town feel. There's an old five and dime type of drugstore (NOT a CVS or Walgreens) along with ice cream and chocolate shops, boutiques and galleries.
St. Joe is also home to Silver Beach, a lovely beach on Lake Michigan. Clean sandy beaches, lots of places to picnic and a crazy-awesome water park. No slides or pools but tons of water jets to splash around in.
We weren't in "beach attire" so we stuck to the sidewalk at the edge of the beach.
We saw the lighthouse pier and headed in that direction. (You can see it off in the distance in that first beach photo.)
We didn't realize that the lighthouse was actually on the other side of the river. So... we walked down the other pier running parallel to it. They flank the St. Joe river which feeds into the lake. Boats were going in and out the whole time.
Tugboats (at least that's the style of this boat - I don't think it's *actually* a tug boat, but it's super cute)
And then there were the luxury boats. Oh, the life.
From there we decided to head back home with a stop at a winery. We went to a number of wineries just a few weeks prior for Father's Day (post to come) but didn't go to one that I really wanted to visit. Lemon Creek Winery has some really wonderful wines, all estate grown varietals with a long history of wine making and fruit growing. It's a fruit farm as well as a winery. Which brings us to our next unexpected adventure.
When we pulled up, there were lots of cars so we wondered what the heck was going on. Turns out they have U-Pick cherries—both sweet and sour—so we decided "What the heck. Let's pick some cherries."
It must have been one of the first days they opened because the fruit was loaded on the trees. The trees didn't look like they'd been touched, and that made for some quick and easy picking.
We went back to the farm stand to weigh and pay for our cherries, then headed into the packed tasting room to pick up the wine we originally stopped for. No need to taste, I knew exactly what I wanted: 6 bottles of their Compass Rosé – a French-style dry rosé that is, to use the vernacular, da BOMB.
We completed the trip home by getting lost and I loved it. It seemed the perfect end to a wonderful day. I knew we were heading in the right directions—south and east—and we'd eventually hit something we knew. And we did. And it was great!