Rachael Ray's pumpkin whoopie pies.
They look like poop. Giggle giggle.
|They look much less like poop afterward.|
As soon as the pies were done, Lisa S. and Digby arrived. After a quick trip to the dog park to tire out the troops, we collected Brad and headed to Benton Harbor to try out a "top secret local favorite" -- the North Shore Inn. It's near the border of town, tucked back into the middle of nowhere, and is hardly recognizable as a business, let alone a restaurant/bar. It's "famous" for its burgers, and apparently Jack Nicklaus is even a fan (perhaps that is why he chose to build his new golf course mere steps away). We were worried we'd stick out as outsiders, but we were warmly greeted as we walked in. Phew! It's also a bar, so the food is mostly burgers and such, but they do serve Mexican on the weekends. I really wanted onion rings, which seemed an odd match for Mexican, so I got a grilled cheese. Which I ate while having major burger envy.
Brad still thinks a place in Dearborn is the best burger ever, but they both seemed pleased enough and we'll definitely go back.
Sunday morning, Lisa and I headed downtown for the final Antiques on the Bluff of the season (basically an outdoor antiques fair that happens every first Sunday during the summer). There were a ton of vendors and lots of super interesting items (minus the scary table of machetes and grenades and Nazi paraphernalia!), including an entire table of vintage cameras.
|If only I knew how to use a real camera....|
After a greasy diner breakfast, we popped into a few shops, then headed back to the White Pine tasting room. Still five free tastes, so you can't really beat that. I finally gave in and picked up a bottle of ice wine. Yum.
And, of course, you can't visit the beach without, you know, going down to the water. So we headed to the north side of town to take a walk out to the lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was a little windy and splashy so we weren't able to make it all the way out there. But the view was still pretty.
Birgit arrived shortly after Lisa left, and we decided to walk to Silver Beach Pizza, where Brad met us. This is still one of our favorite places in town, and it's nice to have it back from the summer tourists. Then, after finally falling asleep after spooking ourselves silly with Emily Rose, we woke up ready to roll Monday morning. First on the agenda, the House of David Museum (take a second to read about the House of David -- it's craziness). Well, of course, the museum is only open on Friday and Saturday. Sheesh. But they did have a bunch of the old signs just laying around, so that was cool.
We also tried to check out the House of David trailer park, which boasts of "train rides," but it was basically, well, a campground, with one "resident." You could see some old buildings around the perimeter, but the scary camper deterred any tresspassy spirit we may have had. So we went to lunch, ending up in neighboring Sawyer at Fitzgerald's, and discovering Rachel's sister manning the place. And both of us fell in love. It's a super cute little bar, all decked out in 1920s French gear -- they even have old black and white movies playing on the tv. With some help from sis, we both decided on croques -- the marine croque for me, the croque madame for Birgit.
|This croque comes with a mini croque.|
My sandwich was so delicious. I can't even tell you how excited I am to find food like this nearby. It was essentially a shrimp salad sandwich topped with bechamel, and even the little side salad was delicious. And, to top it off, sister brought us complimentary sticky toffee pudding, which was also to die for. Cannot wait to go back. Especially because directly behind is the most amazing garden + home + everything shop, where I, of course, picked up a few pumpkins.
After popping into a recycled clothing store (seriously, this town has like 2000 residents, but still has a bunch of cool storefronts?), we headed over to Warren Dunes to have a little climb now that the sand isn't 100 degrees.
|I told you to comb the desert!|
After dune-ing, we still had more adventure in us, so we followed a sign out to the Round Barn Winery and Brewery. We headed to the winery first (actually in a round barn) and decided to do the tasting, which comes with 7 tastes, including 1 spirit (they also make vodka, rum, and bourbon from grapes). Feeling brave, we also decided to do a brandy tasting, or rather, a brandy shot.
|Brandy is gross, even when it is in a cool bottle.|
It was a great atmosphere, great wine, just lots of fun. And we even got a token for a free beer tasting. So off we headed to the brewery, where I tried the summer wheat and Birgit tried the autumn ale. Feeling guilty Brad missed out on all the fun, I got him a six pack of the wheat (as well as a bottle of the Edel Doux wine [he he he]).
All the adventure got us hungry, so we collected Brad and headed down to New Buffalo to grab dinner at Redamak's, Rachel's hometown favorite. The meat eaters had to get the burgers, of course (and they looked ooey gooey delicious), and I was so excited to get fried clams. I LOVE fried clams, and you rarely see them on menus. So score one for Redamak's! I also got the cheese fries, just for Rachel!
Eventually, Birgit had to head back to Ann Arbor, and visitors' weekend came to a close. But I so loved every second of having the ladies here and it was such a thrill to get to share my new town with friends. I can't even express how wonderful it was to see familiar faces from home. I'm happy here, but I still miss everyone so much. So hugs to Lisa and Birgit, and hugs to all of you I hope will get to visit sometime soon, too. Come have an adventure with me. You know you wanna.