Great Lake Trip – Day 5 – Michigan
Using Harbor Grand Hotel, New Buffalo as our home base, we ventured out to see The Warren Woods State Park, and visit St. Joseph, the boyhood hometown of a good friend of mine.
The Warren Woods State Park is home to one of the few remaining stands of Beech trees. Other large trees that populate the park are Sugar Maple, Tulip Poplar, and Red Oak.
The river that runs through the park is the Galien River. The Galien is the same river that flows into Lake Michigan at New Buffalo. The river was very high on this day, and, as you can see, it covered some of the pathways. We chose a path that went beside the river, and wasn’t underwater.
That’s me standing beside a Beech tree. I estimate most of the trees in this forest are between 80 and 120 feet tall.
Below is some the artwork that only nature can produce.
After a good walk in the forest and a refreshing “forest bath“, we head further north to St. Joseph. St. Joe, as the locals call it, is a lovely town on Lake Michigan. The St. Joseph River passes through the city and empties into Lake Michigan. It was once a major route for fur, goods, and transportation until the early 1900’s. There is a long breakwater at the mouth of the river. At the end of the breakwater is a lighthouse that contends, along with a Chicago lighthouse, to be the first in the state.
Many cities on the lake have two levels, and this one in no exception. From the upper level of the city, you can relax on a bench and watch as Amtrak trains go North or South. As you can see, the bridge is quite low to the water. In order for boats to enter the harbor, the bridge was designed to rotate 90º and let the boat through.
We looked at several eateries for our lunch and decided on Schu’s. The Schu’s restaurant was first opened in 1909. It was originally owned by the Schuler family, until 2014 when the fourth generation Schu’s Grill and Bar owner, Larry Shuler, sold the restaurant to Jim Kramer. The food was good as was the service. And if you get a window seat you can see Lake Michigan while you recharge.
A panoramic view of the Silver Beach Carousel house and the Amtrak train station. The carousel features 3 rows of 44 hand-carved life-like horses. It was first opened in 1910 and has been restored since then. The fun-filled facility reportedly is also home to some of the greatest pizza made.
A view of downtown St. Joseph.
As my father always said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.”
We drove down to the beach level of the town and found many smaller homes across the road from the beach. The houses were home to many German immigrants to this country in the early 20th century. The sands on the beaches of Lake Michigan tend to cover any surface near the water. The sidewalks and roads here have to be occasionally cleared of sand. Most of the fences in front of the homes were made of solid materials so that the sand wouldn’t get in their yards.
We enjoyed our visit to St. Joseph, thanks to Mike’s recommendation. It is a lovely town, and well worth a look. This is our final night in New Buffalo. NB has been a wonderful home base, and the Harbor Grand Hotel certainly added to our enjoyment. They are courteous and well informed. Many of the day trips we took were at their recommendation, and we weren’t disappointed. The hotel lobby is trimmed in oak, and very well appointed. If you go, get a Harbor View room. Here’s a view from our room looking down on the fire pit and patio below.
Most of our days here were cold and cloudy. On the last evening, we got a beautiful farewell sunset. Ciao New Buffalo. We are on to Traverse, Michigan tomorrow.