Friday, October 24, 2014

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Buchanan & Niles

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Buchanan & Niles

In this very UNTOURISTY section of Berrien County sits two quiet and relaxing small towns.  Niles may be best known to Amtrak travelers for its amazing train station and surrounding gardens.  Niles’ “Fort St Joseph Museum”, while fairly basic, does a good job enlightening a visitor on the area’s rich history.  In nearby Buchanan, the Buchanan Art Center’s community focus will insure it will never be confused with area galleries specializing in professionally-trained artists.  But, if you have the time, drop by for one-of-a-kind objects and jewelry.  If you are planning an extended stay the center offers plenty of programs.





Attractions include:
-Four Flags Area Council on Tourism (http://www.fourflagsarea.org)

-Buchanan Art Center (117 W Front St, Buchanan, MI 49107, www.buchananartcenter.org)

-Tin Shop Theatre (Roe St, Buchanan, MI 49107, www.tinshoptheatre.org)

-Chapin Mansion Museum (508 E Main St., Niles, MI 49120, http://www.nileshistorycenter.org/historic-chapin-mansion-homepage.html)

-Fort St Joseph Museum (508 E Main St., Niles, MI 49120, http://www.nileshistorycenter.org/fort-st-joseph-museum-home-page.html)




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Berrien Springs

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Berrien Springs

Time to select a designated driver (or get one of the many driving companies).  You are now in southwest Michigan wine country.  Nearly all of the wineries in this part of the county are located right in the home vineyard.  If you are traveling on a Saturday, be prepared for packed tasting bars and busy checkout lines.  Hungry?  Tabor Hill’s Buchanan vineyard has a very nice restaurant overlooking its vineyard.  If history is more your thing, Andrews University has two on-campus museums (check hours in advance!) and include about an hour to visit The History Center at Courthouse Square.



Attractions include:
-The History Center at Courthouse Square (313 North Cass St., Berrien Springs, MI 49103, www.berrienhistory.org)

-Andrews University Howard Performing Arts Center (4160 E Campus Circle Dr, Berrien Springs, MI 49104, www.howard.andrews.edu)

-Andrews University Museum of Natural History/Price Hall (http://www.andrews.edu/services/research/research_highlights/museums/natural_history/)

-Andrews University Horn Archaeological Institute & Museum (9047 US 31, Berrien Springs, MI, http://www.andrews.edu/ARCHAEOLOGY/museum/)

-Gravity Winery (10220 Lauer Rd, Baroda, MI 49101, www.gravitywine.com)

-Round Bar Winery (10983 Hills Road, Baroda, MI 49101, www.roundbarnwinery.com)

-Free Run Cellars (10062 Burgoyne Rd, Berrien Springs, MI 49103, www.freeruncellars.com)

-Lemon Creek Fruit Farm & Vineyards Winery (533 East Lemon Creek Rd, Berrien Springs, MI 49103, www.lemoncreekwinery.com)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Coloma & Watervliet

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Coloma & Watervliet

Agritourism is alive and well in Coloma.  “The Emerald Avenue” (centered on Friday Road, south of Coloma off of I-94) has a number of agricultural businesses open to the public, including wineries, fruit stands, orchards, and (my favorite) Grandpa’s Cider Mill.  A small local history museum provides a glimpse into the area’s long history as a vacation destination.




Attractions include:
-The Emerald Avenue (3401 Friday Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.theemeraldavenue.com)

-North Berrien Historical Society Museum (300 Coloma Ave, Coloma, MI 49038, www.northberrienhistory.org)


-Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery (6991 Ryno Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.karmavista.com)

-Jollay Market (3401 Friday Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.jollayorchards.com)

-Vineyards Gourmet (3251 Friday Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.vineyardsgourmet.com)

-Contessa Wine Cellars Winery (3235 Friday Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.contessawinecellars.com)

-Grandpa's Cider Mill and Bainbridge Beverage Co (2941 Friday Rd, Coloma, MI 49038, www.grandpascidermill.com)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Saint Joseph & Benton Harbor

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-Saint Joseph & Benton Harbor

Two small twin cities could not be more different than Saint Joseph and Benton Harbor.  Saint Joseph’s beach access, busy downtown shopping district, attractions, and perceived safety easily overshadows Benton Harbor.  Fortunately community, business, and state leaders are helping Benton Harbor slowly improve.  The twin cities offer the widest range of hotels in the county.




Attractions include:
-Krasl Art Center (707 Lake Blvd, St Joseph, MI 49085, www.krasl.org)

-Box Factory for the Arts (1101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085, www.boxfactoryforthearts.org)

-Heritage Museum & Cultural Center (601 Main St, St. Joseph, MI 49085, www.theheritagemcc.org)

-Silver Beach Center (333 Broad St, St. Joseph, MI 49085, www.silverbeachcarousel.com)

-The Livery (190 5th St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, www.liverybrew.com)

-Harbor Shores Golf Course (201 Graham Ave, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, www.harborshoresgolf.com)

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-New Buffalo

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI-New Buffalo

For many New Buffalo IS Berrien County. This tiny little town has a lot to offer – great casual restaurants, boutiques, boating, beaches, and one major casino resort.


Attractions include:
-New Buffalo Railroad Museum/Harbor County Visitors Center (www.harborcountry.org)

-Four Winds Casino Resort (www.fourwindscasino.com)

-Round Barn Winery Tasting Room (www.roundbarnwinery.com/)


-St Julian Tasting Room (www.stjulian.com)


-Warner Vineyards Tasting Room (www.warnerwines.com)


-Redamak's Tavern (closed for the season, www.redamaks.com)



Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI

Destination of the Week: Berrien County, MI

Summary: 
Southwest Michigan’s Berrien County has matured to a great little day trip or weekend getaway destination.  While no Traverse City or Door County, Berrien County has plenty to offer – sandy beaches, wineries, casinos (including one in nearby Michigan City, IN), and very quiet small towns.  The inland parts of the county (Niles, Berrien Springs) are not as tourist friendly, but still worth the drive.



Principle Cities:
-St. Joseph/Benton Harbor
-New Buffalo
-Niles

Go if you like:
-Wineries
-Beaches
-Orchards

Distance (Driving):
-Chicago: 96.5 miles/1h 38m
-Indianapolis: 183 miles/3h 10m
-Fort Wayne:  150 miles/2h 27m
-Detroit: 192 miles/2h 52m
-Grand Rapids: 80.7 miles/1h 19m

Also serviced by:
-Amtrak (Niles, New Buffalo, St. Joseph)
-Air (South Bend Airport)

Link:
http://www.berriencounty.org/