18 May 2010

There's no place like soon-to-be home.

Aloha from St. Joseph's Chocolate Cafe, secret password "chocolatecrunch." I am quite pleased with myself right now, especially considering my sleepless night and cranky old-lady-back mood. (I give 50% of the credit to Dr. Bob for telling me to just take a whole handful of ibuprofen for my back!) After giving in to said back/mood situation, I decided I'd at least stick with one of my day's goals: find the yarn store and check that off the list of "must haves" for new city. So after meeting Brad for a quick lunch downtown, I plugged the address into my GPS and headed over toward Benton Harbor. Guess what? No GPS in BH. Hmph. Drove around for a while assuming I'd stumble upon it. I did not. Eventually mapped it, nothing looked familiar on the map. So I did directions. Ok, take this road, then this road. Oh, interesting, this road is one way, going the wrong way. Drive around, turn around, turn around, try again. I must say I'm a little charmed by BH, at least the downtown area. There are a ton of old buildings that have held up over time and I recognized some of them from my new St. Joseph history book. I immediately thought of Sara, who I knew would be so game for getting out and doing an impromptu photo shoot. Alas, I was alone and still a little cranky. But I couldn't resist pulling over and snapping at least one shot...

Eventually I maneuvered my way around the one-way street and lo and behold.... the yarn store! I was tickled pink with my street sleuthing skills. Considering what I was expecting, Ivelise's is quite a find. A very old lady find, but a find nonetheless. Big, lots of options, a big screen tv set up in front of the knitting area, and friendly, well, old ladies. They even have my favorite new yarn, the Michigan-made Shepherd's wool.

Yarn store, check.

What else have on found on my must-have list?

An adorable local bookstore! And... they even let me use the bathroom before they knew I would be a real customer. I knew the bookstore was here, but I was expecting kind of what I found with the yarn store (although in reverse, since the bookstore was yesterday!) -- old lady (and touristy). But I found neither. I mean, the two women working were older (than me at least), but it was a perfectly modern little shop, and they have TONS of stuff for such a small space. After a quick lunch with Brad (downtown has its own falafel/gyro shop, too!), I walked back over and picked up the previously mentioned book on St. Joseph/Benton Harbor's history, also joining the store's frequent flier club. (More research is needed on this House of David business that the book briefly touches on, and Sara also told me more about today. BH has its own crazy cult, and there is even a museum that I WILL be visiting.)

There's also a kitchen store (also a house + gift store), which I can see from my window right now. And while I was walking down the street to check out another home-type store, I stumbled upon a local artist co-op, Chartreuse. Officially my favorite shop in town thus far. Lots of fun quirky art, and I can't wait to pick up a few items for our new house. To stop myself from making any purchases, I walked back over toward my car but was wooed instead by a bench swing atop the hill that overlooks Silver Beach. I sat for a spell.

Eventually I made my way back to the hotel to clean up and head back out for some house hunting with Brad and Old Man Jim, our realtor. First up, a house based solely on location (walking distance to the beach, just over the dune!). Smallish, sucky front yard, sucky back yard... Next! Of course, the next house was the house we knew we'd like, and we LOVED it. On a quiet but homey little street. A waterfall feature out front and tons of beautiful flowers (for us to tear out because we're sucky gardeners! haha). A fully fenced in back yard lined with big mature trees. A huge laundry room with tons of storage. A spacious kitchen. Four bedrooms. A huge master bath. A fireplace. Why oh why can't someone hurry up and buy our house so we can snatch this house away from any other house interlopers?!

To celebrate our bittersweet find, we came back downtown for the Pump House Grille's Monday night perch special. I've actually been here twice before, once years ago with the girls for my birthday and one a few years ago with Chase. I suspect it will be a place we frequent. Good food, friendly people, a bar to sit at if so desired. And... TWO cups of tartar sauce. My kind of place. Yum.

And then back to today... I have some lovely pics of how I spent my afternoon post-Benton Harbor adventure, pre-Chocolate Cafe. But for now, I must run and meet Bradford for more house hunting!

1 comment:

Sara said...

Love this update!! Cannot WAIT to visit! We're definitely going on an old building photoshoot. I want to come stay every weekend, so get a house with guest quarters in the back, okay? hahaha