Blog

Get to know the Benton Harbor Farmer's Market, a weekly event in City Center Park in downtown Benton Harbor! 

7.19BHFM1 7.19BHFM3

HeaderImage

We’ve got your lineup for four whole days of fun, celebrating the Fourth of July! From downtown markets and treasure hunts to lakefront fun, check out what's happening this weekend.  

 

Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! We're excited for the unofficial start of summer. Here's your guide to fun for the weekend, from the annual parade to fun on the water!

 MemorialDayCollage

Mother's Day is just around the corner! If you'll be in our corner of the state on May 14th, here's a list of how to celebrate the special women in your life. 

HeaderImage

Spring has bloomed in Southwest Michigan! In celebration, I ventured to Fernwood Botanical Garden with Clementine for our first exploration of the season. Sunday, April 23rd was perfect; we had weather in the mid sixties, and I had a 3 year old that was ready to be outside.   

4.24FernwoodHeader

 

We’ve hopped on in to Easter time in Southwest Michigan! Here’s where you can find egg hunts (even geocaching ones!), basket fillers, and brunch on the big day.  

4.7EasterCollage

With spring officially sprung, and warmer weather right around the corner, you’ll want to be trail ready when that first short-sleeves day comes goading you to play hooky.  Sarett Nature Center and its extensive trail system has some great events slated this month that can help you ease in to the outdoors and knock any hibernation hangover clean out of your system. Wanderlust Outfitters, 120 State St. in downtown St. Joseph, has the outdoor apparel and outdoor gear you’ll need to be trail ready this season.

3.30HeaderImage

St. Patrick’s Day means corned beef and soda bread…and more! We’ve got your list of where to get your fill of Irish-style fare this weekend in Michigan’s Great Southwest. From familiar boiled dinners to seasonal twists on pizza, here’s your leprechaun flavor finder! 

St.Patty.Food.Collage
L to R
Pastrami Reuben at the Public House
Reuben Pizza at the Livery
Corned Beef & Cabbage at bread+bar

StPatty1

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ve got lots of ways for you to celebrate shamrocks Southwest Michigan! Whether you're chasing the gold at the end of the rainbow or just enjoy wearing some green, here's a lineup of fun.   

Dr. Dave Miller from White Pine Winery shares how the somewhat unusual winter of 2016-2017 may impact vines in southwest Michigan wine country. Read on for what's happening beneath the snow and ice at your favorite vineyards!

1.19DavesBlog
Dave Miller PhD, author, Owner / Winemaker at White Pine Winery and Vineyards, LLC

I am often asked how grapevines respond to winter weather. Especially given the crazy weather we’ve had the last couple of winters. In summer, it’s obvious if vines are stressed from drought or nutrient deficiencies. But in winter it’s not so obvious. So how do perennial plants like trees and grapevines respond to winter weather?

For the last night of 2016, here is your guide to fun! Whether you're looking for a classic NYE party with champagne toasts and dancing or laid-back fun at a brewery, we've got you covered. 

NYEHEader

It’s the season for gatherings and celebration, and nothing improves that like wine! Here’s some recommendations from our local wineries for vino sure to please at a party, as a gift, or just enjoying this season!

 WinterWine

We love shopping local this season, and there’s nothing like the gift of beer! Check out some wintery recommendations from our local brewers, offering an awesome paring for your holiday gathering, or unique gift for the microbrewery aficionado in your life.  

UglySweaterBeerImage 

And, if a tasty Southwest Michigan brew just isn’t enough, we’ve got a great recipe from Round Barn for a beer-y dessert sure to float your boat!

 With just a few days of shopping left, here’s some ideas for sharing our lakeside best!

 HolidayTreatsHeader

Visions of Southwest Michigan sugarplums are dancing in our head! Check out these local treats for the holiday season, perfect for your gathering, gift-giving, or just enjoying a taste of the season. 

With just 9 days of shopping left until Christmas, we're looking to get creative! Check out some of these gift ideas for those who like to stay active all year round. 

12.16newestheader

If you’re gifting to the active elf, why not help them explore more fitness fun in Southwest Michigan? Here’s a few ideas for the elf that’s more into cardio than candy!

With just 10 days of shopping left until Christmas, it's time to start checking off your list!

12.14Revised

We love gift certificates! It's an awesome way to give a gift you know they'll enjoy. We've rounded up lots of awesome specials for gift certificates in Southwest Michigan, so you can give a little more, or keep a little too (we won't tell!). 

With just 11 days of shopping left until Christmas, it's time to see what some of our awesome local retailers have in store! 

12.14HeaderforErik

Whether you're a resident of the Great Lakes State or just a fan, PurelyMichigan has the perfect gifts for the person who wants to wear their Michigan pride. From mittens (of course) to shirts to jewelry, here's some ways for you to wear your Michigan love year-round. 

With just 12 days left of shopping until Christmas, it's time to see what some of our awesome local retailers have for those last-minute or hard to find gifts. 

PurrfectCollage

For the cat lady (or man) in your life, head over to State Street Stuff. The downtown St. Joseph store is filled to the brim with funky, whimsical, awesome and yummy stuff year-round. We found great gifts celebrating felines, "puurfect" for the cat lovers in your life. There's some creative ideas here...

 

SantaIsHuuur

Ho ho ho! Santa has arrived in Michigan’s Great Southwest! Interested in visiting the man in red? Here’s a list of where he can be found until Christmas Day; you can even visit a few times if those wish lists change.

It’s holiday time, which means you have parties to attend! Jamie from DK Boutique in downtown St. Joseph shared some of their hottest holiday looks to keep you sparkling into 2017. 

 DKOrnamentsCrop

 Read on for glitter, velvet, and some of the best party attire you can find in Michigan's Great Southwest.  

It’s a weekend of family fun in Michigan’s Great Southwest! The first weekend of December brings lights on bluffs and lights on trains, Santa in many, many places, mannequins, and music. Check out all the family holiday happenings, starting Friday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 4th!

 11.30BestHeader

There’s a pull to Southwest Michigan that residents can’t deny. It’s the lake, the family, the community. For Jay Fettig, a St. Joseph native, it was also the perfect place to shape North Pier Brewing Company

11.23NorthPierBlog1
photography by Austin Ho

Happy Collie-days! For us, the upcoming season means celebrating family (including Fido). Michigan’s Great Southwest has awesome holiday happenings coming soon, for two and four legs. As we near the Christmas season, here’s a few ways to celebrate with and for your furry friends!

It's a warm November, and we're excited to extend the fall season! Check out what Wendy Hoffman from Grins of St. Joseph has for fall fashion tips, and style guides for cool weather!

 11.7GrinsHeader

Are you looking for a mid priced, one of a kind outfit? Great jewelry? Men’s and Women’s shoes? Stop into Grins Boutique and Sign Gallery at 218 State Street across from Kilwins. The street for downtown St. Joe shopping.

Here is a look at Grins Fall Styles!

11.7Jaxiest
Superman Jax (Clementine Carragher) outside the OutCenter

I first visited the Arts District in Benton Harbor on a vacation to find a brewery in a barn. Turns out it was the Livery, and my description was a little off, but the beer was tasty! I was instantly intrigued by the area, taken in by the creative energy. The buildings are sparse, and the spaces between teem with a gritty originality that can only be fostered by such an environment. I loved the vibe, and took that impression back to Maine with me each time I left. 

Julie Smiy is a wedding and party coordinator based in Southwest Michigan, pulling in her past creative experiences to facilitate unique celebrations. In today’s blog post, she shares some awesome Halloween party game ideas…for kids and grownups! 

10.24DKBoutiqueStJosephMichigan1

This fall, DK Boutique turns 15! The destination for brands like Alex & Ani, Pandora, and more has been in the St. Joseph community since 2001. Located on State Street, DK Boutique is a year-round hotspot for women’s fashion. For fall this year, Manager Jamie Schultz shared some awesome autumn looks!

When Jen and Vicki Kerr founded Blue Moon Vintage Market in Three Oaks, Michigan, they came armed with an eye for picks and an ear for history. There’s an inherit storytelling that comes with picking, as items from history become relevant again. From salvaged windmills to produce tables, the pieces at Blue Moon Vintage Market arrive with a story. 

10.21MovieWheels1
Jen and Vicki Kerr with one of Danielle Colby's picks; these are film reels from a drive-in theater!

What is a “picker”? 

Looking through an old barn of rusty equipment and faded furniture, a “picker” is the one who climbs in, investigates, and leaves with the treasure. It’s the archaeologist before the antique store; it’s someone who rolls up their sleeves and jumps in get to the find. 

Mom and daughter duo Vicki and Jen Kerr chase these finds together, going all-in to this modern day treasure hunt. 

10.20JenandVicki2
Vicki and Jen Kerr, founders, owners, and pickers of Blue Moon Vintage Market

Fall is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is the crown jewel of the season. Throughout October, orange and black begin cloak, the sun hangs low in the sky, and pumpkin faces celebrate the darkening of the year. As the nights get longer and the wind howls a little louder, it’s easy to embrace the weird that comes with the season.   

HalloweenCollage

Blue Moon Vintage Market in Three Oaks, Michigan, is an awesome destination for some vintage and one-of-a-kind Halloween. This once-a-month shopping destination is curated by mother/daughter duo Vicki and Jen Kerr (you can find their story here), and offers their own picks as well as outside vendors’. Danielle Colby (of “American Pickers” fame) sells some of her collection here, and her eye for oddities and darker fun furnished some serious Halloween inspiration. 

Blue Moon Vintage Market will be open Friday, October 21st through Sunday, October 23rd…and I don’t think any of these items will last! Here's just a few of the picks I found, from animal purses to oversized heads. 

Revive Spa hosts a wide variety of services, including some unique to the area (and rare throughout the country!). Today, Nancy Maryniak, owner of Revive, shares more about the Float Pod at her establishment in downtown St. Joseph. 

10.13FloatPodHeader

So what is a "float pod"? 

Float Pod (aka floatation tank, sensory deprivation tank or isolation tank): A tank with 14” of water at 95 degrees with 1000 lbs of Medical Grade Epson Salt dissolved in it to make a person effortlessly float.  The skin-temperature water makes it imperceptible; the tank is soundproof and pitch black, creating a place for our bodies to be free from gravity and all stimulation from the outside world.

"Mama! It’s an enchanted garden!" 

10.12DownLow

My three year old hasn’t been around many fruit trees before moving to the Fruit Belt, so when we rolled up to Nye’s U-Pick, her thoughts were with her favorite Daniel Tiger story. 

It’s sweater weather! As fall sweeps through southwest Michigan, we’re ready for a wardrobe overhaul, whether it's back-to-school or apple picking. Lana’s Boutique picked some of their fall favorites to share with us; check out what this local shopping destination has in store for the chilly days and nights ahead! 

10.4LanasCollage

Interested in seeing more looks like this in person? Lana's Boutique will be modeling at the St. Joseph Papa Vino's Fall Fashion Show on October 5th! You can find more details here

 

October is upon us, leaves are in the air, and we’re ready for Halloween fun! Check out our guide for all things Halloween, with trick-or-treating, family festivals, fun for kids, theater and tours, and somethings for the grownup ghouls, too!

10.3UprightCollage


TRICK-OR-TREATING
(and Trunk-or-Treat)

We’re ready for a spooktacular trick-or-treat in the Benton Harbor Arts District on Halloween! On Monday, October 31st, little goblins and ghouls can visit galleries, studios, restaurants and shops for treats. The event, generously sponsored by Holt Bosse, runs from 4:30-6:00pm. You can find more information here; get there early to claim your bag! 

Downtown St. Joseph offers trick-or-treating on Halloween, too. From 4:30-6:00 (just before the city trick or treat!) downtown merchants will be ready to hand out treats…and maybe a few tricks! 

9.19PlayingLakeside

Lake Michigan beaches are popular destinations for summer travelers; Silver Beach, Tiscornia and Rocky Gap are packed as soon as school gets out in June straight through Labor Day. Days spent splashing in the lake and relaxing in the soft sand are hallmark of summer, but we don’t think the beach fun should end there. We’re big fans of this shoulder season on the shores of Lake Michigan; here’s three reasons we love the beach in the fall!  

 

‘Tis the season for hop harvest! Fall means harvest season for brewers, and a whole new flavor palate to explore. We asked Round Barn BrewerySilver Harbor Brewing, and Cultivate Brewing about their fall choices. 

…and before you ask, there’s no pumpkin beer here. 

9.13Cultivate
Cultivate Brewing in Berrien Springs

9.9MacCloseUp
photography by Joshua Nowicki

Pastry Chef Mandy Krause describes macarons as “diva cookies”. 

PhotoCollageInst

We're back to school, and the air feels like fall is nearby. From beach days to wineries to music to Pokemon, the summer of 2016 was the best one yet! Here's some of our favorite snapshots of summer from our friends on Instagram (thanks for the tag!).

 

Labor Day Weekend is almost here! The close of summer is upon us, and we're celebrating the awesome summer that was, and the fall ahead! Here's what's happening for the long weekend in Michigan's Great Southwest!

 8.30Watermark 8.30CraftFair 8.30RoundBarnParty
(L to R) Watermark Brewing in Stevensville; Lake Bluff Craft Fair; music in the vineyard at Round Barn Winery

 

Silver Beach is an awesome destination for kids in the summer, but what about when it starts to cool? Just in time for Labor Day, we've got a list of 10 things to do with kids in Michigan's Great Southwest. All activities are under $5, so you won't break the bank for fun! 

8.29AvaClementine
Ava and Clementine at the Silver Beach Carousel; lots of fun and games off the carousel, too! 

 

For the 20th Annual Chalk the Block, a chalk workshop was offered by Nate Baranowski to inspire the next generation of chalk artists. Offering in the Box Factory for the Arts on Friday night, this workshop was filled, and created more eager chalk artists for our growing festival (hopefully!). Even beyond the workshop, young artists were more engaged than ever in Chalk the Block. Here's a look at a family piece, and more! 

8.11Workshop2
Beth Mandarino (center) has participated in Chalk the Block for a few years. This year, her grandsons came to the Chalk Workshop on Friday alongside her, and used their skills to help Beth create her piece! 


Read on to see Beth's final piece, and more students in action!

Not all chalk pieces are created to be seen from high above and remain untouched. For the 20th anniversary of Chalk the Block in downtown St. Joseph, Nate Baranowski created a piece to be viewed from a very particular angle, and he invited viewers to lie, sit, and interact with the piece. Sponsored by Southwestern Michigan College, Nate spent hours between Saturday, August 6th and Sunday, August 7th filling the corner of Broad Street with chalk. If you wanted to get an awesome picture of yourself at Chalk the Block, this was the place to be…

 

Chalk festivals have a fleeting nature; the pieces are created, viewed and swept away in short window of time. The community comes together in that brief interlude, celebrating the art, the people, and the place. This past weekend was the 20th annual festival in downtown St. Joseph, and chalk enthusiasts flocked to a piece of road above the bluff to experience just that. 

8.11Arial
chalking in progress at the 20th Annual Chalk The Block
photo by Joshua Nowicki


 

It’s August! The last month of summer needs to be celebrated…and we wanted to set some goals. Specifically, what to eat before summer ends! 

 8.3Macaroons
Photo by Joshua Nowicki

The Bistro on the Boulevard offers macarons in a rainbow of colors. Pastry chef Mandy Krouse's packs of 6 are a must-try!

 

The Mike Yore Memorial Car Show was Friday, July 15th. Awesome cars from the early days of automobiles lined up on Lake Boulevard for a stroll down memory lane...as well as creating some pretty serious car envy! Take a look at some of the best finds of the night, with photos by St. Joseph Today Intern Emily Schrock. 

The Mike Yore Memorial Car Show is an annual event; hope to see you in 2017, too!

7.30111yellow

Lana’s Boutique is a shopping destination for Michigan’s Great Southwest. For this Wednesday’s Round Up, staff at the St. Joseph boutique shared some of their favorite summer looks, perfect for a day right off Silver Beach. 

7.14LanaTrio

 

Friends by Design
318 State St.   |   St. Joseph, MI 49085

The name “Friends by Design” has stuck with Susan Mason for 20 years. Strong friendships between women bloom with shared appreciation of clothes, accessories, and other expressions of personal style, so when Susan entered the retail world in early 2014 she aimed to create a place where these bonds could be cultivated and flourish. Friends by Design opened in March 2015, true to Susan’s long-term vision. 

 

Dr. Dave Miller of White Pine Winery shares an introduction of grape varietals, and where the Michigan climate fits in to the wine world. 

7.10Reisling

Standing at the corner of Broad and State St., the Hot Dog Kart is a destination for residents and visitors, with a hotly anticipated arrival each season. They are famous for their Chicago-style hot dogs, loaded with the traditional toppings.  For this Wednesday’s Round-Up, let’s talk Chicago-style hot dog toppings (as well as a great family business!). 

So what is a Chicago-style hot dog? It's a combination of tangy, sour, sweet, and seems strange at first glance. Here’s the building blocks:

7.6PoppyseedBun7.6TheFrank     7.6YellowMustard

poppyseed bun + all-beef franks + yellow mustard

7.6WhiteOnion7.6Tomatoes7.6DillPickleSpears

chopped white onions + tomato wedges + dill pickle spears

7.6SportPeppers7.6CelerySalt  7.6SweetPickleRelish

sport peppers + celery salt + sweet green relish



'Tis the season for red, white and blue! This Monday, we're featuring Moxie's Boutique...a local family business dedicated to stocking lots of American-made products. 

7.4MuricaHutch
Seasonal window at Moxie's Boutique in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan

Moxie’s Boutique is celebrating 10 years on State Street in St. Joseph! Founded by Monica Bolin after a corporate career, the red and black striped boutique stands at the corner of State and Pleasant, offering residents and locals a unique, full-service shopping experience.

 

The Fourth of July is almost here, and we are ready for a long weekend! Here’s a list of happenings to help you celebrate America’s birthday in Michigan’s Great Southwest. 

6.28BoatsOnTheBeach

6.27LazyBallerina

Lazy Ballerina Winery sits on State St. in downtown St. Joseph. The huge windows in the front give a clear view to a pink bar with tutu barstools, a leather couch and sleek chairs. It’s pretty, but packs a punch with their wine, food, and extremely popular events.    In March, I spent the afternoon with Melanie and Lauren, the co-owners of and the creative genius behind Lazy Ballerina Winery. On June 25th, they celebrated their first anniversary in downtown St. Joseph!  

In the height of summer, it's easy to forget about the cold winds and snow that inhabit Michigan's Great Southwest. However, the winter greatly impacts the wine we are able to enjoy year round!

Dr. Dave Miller from White Pine Winery shares how the winters of the last few years have shaped our region's wines.

 

6.20SnowInOctober 6.20DaveMiller
(L) White Pine Winery Vineyards in fall of 2013
(R) Dave Miller PhD, author, Owner / Winemaker at White Pine Winery and Vineyards, LLC


I read a blog I wrote about this time in 2014 just after some of the coldest weather we’ve had in decades. I knew we were in for little to no crop on Vitis vinifera grapevines that year and I was right.  I had no idea that we would have similar weather again in 2015 with a similar result – little to no crop on Vitis vinifera varieties (e.g. Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet franc, Merlot).  Having two years in a row with little to no crop on those vines is unprecedented in Michigan.  

 

Michigan’s Great Southwest is known for beaches, rolling vineyards, fragrant orchards, and some of the best fruit in the country.  

   6.15OnePeachTree 
Ripe and ready peach from the 2015 season at Nye's Apple Barn

“The Fruit Belt” hugs the shoreline, offering the perfect soil and delayed frost for a wide variety of fruit. One of our favorite summer activities is picking the local produce ourselves; here’s our u-pick plan for the first part of summer! 

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19th. We found some awesome options to celebrate all weekend long. Here’s our plan...not just for Dads!

6.13ThirdCoast
Third Coast Paddling offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals on the banks of the Paw Paw River. They are open every day from 10:00-6:00!

Michigan's Great Southwest has a varied and awesome history, as well as incredible learning opportunities. This week, we're rounding up some of our favorite museums in the area!

6.8Chihuly  6.8MiniCars 6.8IntheLighthouse 
Dale Chihuly installation at the Krasl; racecars being restored at Eden Springs at House of David; inside the lighthouse with the Heritage

Outdoor music in St. Joseph is a hallmark of summer! At the John E.N. Howard Bandshell, Wednesday noon and Friday night concerts are tradition. This year, we welcomed some young musicians to kick off the summer season!

6.6.Clarinet
On May 23rd, Lake Michigan Catholic Schools presented their annual spring concert in a new venue- the John E.N. Howard Bandshell! The Monday night concert packed the bandshell with excited students, proud families, and community members. It was a perfect early summer night, and offered a chance for the community to support the young musicians in the area.  

On Wednesdays, we "round up" some of our favorite things. This week, we've rounded up some national and local links for you to read all about Michigan's Great Southwest!

6.1BooksonBeach 6.1Livery 6.1SPGA
Read on for summer reading recommendations, local beer (photo from a firkin tapping at the Livery), and the Senior PGA!

On Wednesdays, we "round up" some of our favorite things in Michigan's Great Southwest. This week, we're making plans for Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! This is the official summer start date for a lot of businesses in Michigan’s Great Southwest, and we’re excited about what’s happening. Read on for some suggestions about how you can kick off summer, day-by-day!

5.25MemorialDayParade
2015 Memorial Day parade- photo by Joshua Nowicki

On Friday, the Memorial Day Parade goes down Lake Boulevard, starting at 12:00pm. Line up on either side of the street to celebrate local veterans, as well as hear the bands.

Saturday, May 21st was the 4th Annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival hosted by St. Joseph Today. It was a perfect early summer day, with lots of great music and awesome bbq. Families and fans poured into Whirlpool Centennial Park below the bluff from 12:00pm-8:00pm, unofficially kicking off the summer season in St. Joseph. We can keep writing, but figured pictures would better show you the incredible day in Michigan's Great Southwest! 

5.21BBQFromTheBluff 
4th Annual BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass on May 21st, 2016

On Wednesdays, we "round up" some of our favorite things in Michigan's Great Southwest. This week, let's talk summer camp!

3rdCoastGroupShotThird Coast Surf Camp on the shores of Lake Michigan

 

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

LakeHouse Restaurant and Bar
3029 Lakeshore Dr. St. Joseph, MI 49085
Website   |   Facebook

5.11LakehouseCover
Photo Cred: Joshua Nowicki

The Lakehouse Restaurant sits high on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Just a few minutes outside of downtown St. Joseph, the restaurant’s patio stretches towards the sunset. Chicago can even be spotted on a good night!

On Wednesdays, we "round up" some of our favorite things in Michigan's Great Southwest. This week, we're sharing where you can find some creative KitchenAid! 

5.11StandMixers

The Senior PGA Tournament is coming to Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor! This is an internationally recognized golf tournament that brings a lot of traffic to our area. It’s sponsored by KitchenAid, so to get the community involved, KitchenAid hosts “Stand Mixers on Parade”!

Stand Mixers on Parade brings the famous KitchenAid Mixers to storefronts, schools and businesses in Michigan’s Great Southwest, donating them to charity at the end of the tournament. In early March, 30 of our members claimed the mixers. They got creative with paint, fillings, shellac, and more.

Click to see them in action!

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

Blossomtime Festival
First Weekend in May
Website  |   Facebook

Driving into our corner of Southwest Michigan, you’ll find apple orchards, grape vineyards, and fields of strawberries. Come spring, the blossoms begin to show, and the landscape is filled with tiny dots of white and pink. It’s a beautiful sight for residents, and marks the beginning of a season that the area’s economy depends on. It’s also a sight that has attracted tourists for years, as they visited the “Fruit Belt”. While the blooms may come slowly at first, there is a definite start to the season. That’s the first weekend of May, when the Blossomtime Festival and Parade happens!

 

On Wednesdays, we "round up" some fun things to share with you. Today, we're rounding up some of our favorite Instagram accounts from Michigan's Great Southwest!

InstagramStJoeTodaySt. Joe Today : @stjoetoday 

Instagram has been taking off all over the world, and Michigan's Great Soutwest is no exception! We've rounded up a few of our favorite accounts for you to follow, and see what's happening through local eyes.

 

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today. 

Chocolate Cafe
300 State Street St. Joseph, MI 49085
Website   |   Facebook

ChocolateCafe

The South Bend Chocolate Company is 25 years old this year! The company started making chocolate in 1991, and have expanded all over Indiana, Ohio, and finding another home in St. Joseph, MI.

 

April is Michigan Wine Month! Local wineries recommended spring wines to us; we shared the flavor profiles the first week, then learned more about the winemakers and names last week. This week, we’re pairing food with the wine!

DablonWineandCheese RoundBarnWineFlight LemonCreekPairing
Dablon Winery, Round Barn Winery, and Lemon Creek Winery pairings; photos from their Instagram accounts. Click to follow!

We asked wineries to give us 3 words to describe their spring wine, as well as recommended food pairings. Check out what the local wineries had to say!

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

Sarett Nature Center
2300 Benton Center Rd. Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Website   |   Facebook

The landscape in Michigan’s Great Southwest is more than just beautiful beaches. Heading north on Red Arrow Highway, you’ll find the Sarett Nature Center. Here in the Paw Paw River valley, there’s trails to discover, incredible birdwatching, and lots of programs about forest and river life.

FrontofSarettNatureCenter  Entrance to the Sarett Nature Center; photo from their Facebook page. 

 

Michigan's Great Southwest is rapidly transforming into a culinary destination. We've got some unique stores, and the Olive Cart is one of the anchors! 

Olive Cart TitleOlive Cart BottlesOlive Cart 1 
From left to right: 
Olive Cart staff (St. Joseph Location) / Bottled options at the Olive Cart /Inside the St. Joseph tasting room

As spring turns into summer, and the temperatures warm, Olive Cart starts looking for fresh and exciting ways to delight your taste buds. CeCe Woodward, an Olive Cart store manager, knows her way around the store's products! She shared some of their favorite summertime recipes. They are:


Pineapple Grapefruit Balsamic Sorbet
Summertime Strawberry Balsamic Mojitos
Huckleberry Rice Krispie Bars

Read on for these recipes! 

 

April is Michigan Wine Month! Last week, we learned about the flavor profiles of spring wines that local wineries recommended (read it here). This week, we’ll hear about the winemakers that created those, as well as some background on the names. 

WineTrailThe Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail has 19 wineries, each with something different to offer. 

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

RoundBarn TheBuck b4f2ed
Round Barn Winery, The Buck Burgers and Brew, Bound For Freedom

 

DablonHeader

Michigan's Great Southwest is known for fruit, but also for great wine. April is the official "Michigan Wine Month", so in celebration, we're asking wineries what they recommend we drink this spring. Here's what they suggest! 

12 Corners: Blue Creek Semi-Dry Rose
Baroda Founders: Luce Del Sole
Dablon Winery: 2015 Rose
Free Run Cellars: Mezzo
Gravity Winery: Blueberry
Lazy Ballerina Winery: Sweet Nita’s Red
Lemon Creek Winery: 2013 Pinot Noir
Round Barn Winery: Sauvignon Blanc
White Pine Winery: Pinot Grigio

This week, we’ll learn about the flavor profiles of these Michigan wines.

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

Curious Kids Museum
415 Lake Boulevard St. Joseph, MI 49085
Website  |   Facebook

Exterior

Spring Break was not necessarily a beach week…in fact, it wasn’t even an “outside” week! By the time Sunday rolled around, I was feeling the walls close in, and my nearly 3 year old was close behind.

 

A few weeks ago, we “rounded up” some of the great group exercise classes in the area to share. As it turns out, there’s a lot of ways to build community through healthy living in Michigan’s Great Southwest! Here’s Part 2 of Getting Fit In SW Michigan. 

We've got three more class recommendations for Southwest Michigan: 

Spinning- South Shore Health and Racquet Club
FireBarre- Maddog 5/1
Tabata Boot Camp- Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA

ss logo     Maddog         ymca

Tara, a spinning teacher from South Shore Health and Racquet Club, Marydawn, the founder of Maddog 5/1, and Nancy, who teaches at the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA, all told us a little more about their favorite classes, and why they teach in SW Michigan.

 

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

Kilwin's of St. Joseph
217 State Street St. Joseph, MI 49085
Website   |    Facebook

KilwinsCover

Every Wednesday, we do a "round-up" post of some of our favorite things in Southwest Michigan. Our Wednesday posts will feature things to do, see, eat, and more in Michigan's Great Southwest!

Read local? Absolutely! We asked Lorraine, Kat, and Stephanie to give us some recommendations for books with a local connection. They had some great suggestions for supporting our Michigan authors.

Kat Boyer, the Interim Director at the Benton Harbor Public Library, Stephanie Masin, the Library Director at the St. Joseph/Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library, and Lorraine Valk, the Managing Member of Parable Christian Store of St. Joseph all shared their recommended reads with us. Here’s what they suggest!

Detroit Anthology, edited by Anna Clark
Dani’s Last Dance, by Glenda Head
The Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

PurelyMichigan
406 State Street St. Joseph, MI 49085
Website   |    Facebook     |    Instagram

 MICHIGAN

Michigan   Water Wonderland Vacation

PurelyMichigan is a staple of State Street in St. Joseph; the store dedicated to the mitten has been at it’s current storefront since 2012. It’s evolving; the owners are new, and the merchandise is paying homage to Michigan vintage in an awesome way.

Every Wednesday, we do a "round-up" post of some of our favorite things in Southwest Michigan. Our Wednesday posts will feature things to do, see, eat, and more in Michigan's Great Southwest!

Michigan’s Great Southwest has a vibrant community, built in many ways. Here’s a round up of some our favorite group exercises classes in the area, building that community through healthy living. We asked YogaLife, Renaissance Athletic Club, and the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA for their suggestions. 

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

Eden Springs Park at House of David
793 M 139 Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Website     |     Facebook

12751071 1772637106291591 811031086 n1

Every Wednesday, we do a "round-up" post of some of our favorite things in Southwest Michigan. Our Wednesday posts will feature things to do, see, eat, and more in Michigan's Great Southwest!

Ready to leave winter behind? Here's some of our favorite spring beers, recommended by the brewers of The Livery, Cultivate, and Silver Harbor Brewing!

Each Monday, we'll blog about our members! Our Member Monday posts will feature stories, pictures and ideas from the members that make up St. Joe Today.  

FuzzyButz Pet Bakery
306 State St. St. Joseph, MI  49085
Website   |    Facebook

FuzzyButz

Put the phone down. Step away from the screen. Enjoy the moment you are in. That mantra resonates with me lately.

Flashback to the Magical Ice Festival, my dad and brother had come downtown for two reasons: 1. See the incredible ice sculptures and 2. Celebrate my brother’s birthday. The timing worked out to where I could join them at The Buck Burgers and Brew for lunch.

Starting a new job is a lot like being the new kid in school.   No one wants to be the new kid! The whole experience is nerve-wracking. Aside from the transition of organizational leadership, there was a staff to get acquainted with, unfamiliar office space to learn, and serious first impressions to make. The entire time, I was hoping I wasn’t sweating profusely, or that I wouldn’t accidentally drop an f bomb and I really just wanted people to like me.       

Who doesn’t love a good trick or treat? I know that I do and it looks like many of our area attractions and businesses do too! Everything from chunking pumpkins to trekking dark trails to dressing as zombies is going on right here. To help make sure you don’t miss out on any of the scary details – I’ve compiled a list of more than a dozen of the hottest (and spookiest!) Halloween events going on in our communities! So check it out… I promise… having all this fun will not give you nightmares.

Happy Halloween! - Jill Stone, Blogger/Fun-Seeker/St. Joseph Today Director

Did you know that Michigan’s Great Southwest is home to almost 30 wineries and tasting rooms as well as acres upon acres of vineyards? In fact, 45% of Michigan’s grapes are grown here in the southwest region of the Mitten State.  Although many of us hate to say it, fall is just around the corner, which means the grape harvest season is upon us!

With so many wine tasting opportunities right in our backyard, visiting wineries and tasting rooms in southwest Michigan is a must this fall season. To guide you during your upcoming wine adventures, I’ve put together a list of tips that will help you make the most of your trip.