Weekends are never long enough — especially when they involve the beach. We’re back at home after spending a glorious, long weekend in Southwest Michigan with some new and old friends. We headed north with no set plans and spent most of our time lounging in the hot tub, chatting around the fire and taking in a couple of beautiful sunsets. It was absolutely perfect.
Our friends Molly and Angelo organized the trip and did an amazing job. We stayed at Newton Place in Lakeside, which is the perfect home base for a few days at the lake. There were plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone who came, as well as a well-equipped kitchen, gas grill, hot tub and trampoline. The property also allowed us access to a private beach that was only three blocks away. I would highly recommend Blue Fish Vacation Rentals!
We kept joking all weekend that all we did was eat and drink. We all brought snacks and drinks to stock the place for the weekend, which resulted in nonstop nibbling on delicious cheeses, dips and desserts. It was certainly an indulgent weekend! We even found some time to visit some of our favorite places from when we lived nearby in South Bend. We stopped by our all-time favorite brewery, Greenbush, for lunch on Saturday. The meal started with flights of beers (because who can choose just one?!) and most of us indulged in their amazing barbecue. We left feeling stuffed and happy.
We also ate lunch at the famous Stray Dog in New Buffalo. I hadn’t been back to the restaurant since it burned down. The new building looks beautiful and the food and drinks are top-notch. I highly recommend ordering a cocktail on the rooftop bar, which fills up quickly when the restaurant opens at noon. Go early!
There is also plenty of great shopping to keep you busy if the weather doesn’t cooperate while you’re visiting the lake. I love popping into the antique and home decor shops along Red Arrow Highway and in Three Oaks. We did a little window shopping after grabbing craft cocktails at Journeyman Distillery. The owners recently opened a restaurant next door and a beautiful event space upstairs. We all kept talking about what a beautiful setting it would be for a wedding.
Although it was too cold to go swimming in the lake, but we didn’t let that stop us from throwing on some swimsuits and soaking up some sun. The private beach was nearly empty, which made it the perfect place for us all to take a quick afternoon nap on Sunday. There’s something about being by the water that makes me feel more relaxed than anywhere else. Nothing beats falling asleep to the sound of waves.
I hope we make this trip to the lake an annual tradition because it was an absolute blast — and the perfect way to kick off summer!
If you find yourself in Southwest Michigan this summer, here are a few more of my favorite places to stop:
Silver Beach Pizza: Order the Garlic Greek, James’ all-time favorite pizza. They also have some of the strongest and best margaritas I’ve ever had!
Silver Beach: This beach is a zoo on hot summer days, but for good reason — it’s absolutely beautiful. Get there early to snag a good spot close to the water. Be sure to bring an umbrella and a cooler full of drinks and snacks.
Round Barn Winery: This place gets very busy on summer weekends, so make a reservation for a tasting ahead of time to make sure you can get in without a long wait. My mother-in-law loves their cranberry wine.
Galien River County Park: This park is the perfect place to stretch your legs if you’ve been driving for a while. The park features a stunning canopy walk that allows you to look down over the river. It also has a few paths closer to the water you can ventured onto.
Redamak’s: This legendary burger joint is only open seasonally and features some of the most amazing cheeseburgers I’ve ever had. It’s a summer staple in Southwest Michigan and extremely affordable, making it a great place to take big groups.
Getaway Cubby Bar: You have to stop by if you’re a fellow Cubs fan! The bar is an homage to the Cubs and their beloved Wrigley Field, complete with ivy on the outside of the building. It has pretty standard, but good, bar fare and a decent list of local brews on tap.
The Livery: This Benton Harbor brewery has a great, long list of drafts and often features live music. They also have a small menu of simple, but delicious food if you’re looking for a bite to eat.