A few weekends ago, Eric had a gig in downtown Saugatuck… so I knew I wanted to go and see the Kalamazoo Replica Lighthouse! I’m surprised I’ve never seen this one before, because it’s so close to home, but I actually didn’t really know about it until just a couple years ago! So there’s a little bit of history here with this lighthouse… the first one was built in 1839, but was quickly moved/replaced due to erosion. So a new one was erected in 1859 on a sand dune, but unfortunately was destroyed in a tornado in 1956. So this is actually a replica of the 1859 lighthouse. While the original lighthouse was a buff color with white trimmings, this lighthouse is red and white! I always love a red and white lighthouse; they make for the prettiest photos! It was fun to be able to see this one. I always love the feeling of walking up to a new lighthouse for the first time. ❤️
One of my favorite cities in Michigan is St. Joseph. I remember the first time I ever visited years ago, I immediately thought I'd want to move there. It reminds me so much of Grand Haven, and it's only an hour and a half from Chicago (my favorite big city). Silver Beach is one of my favorite spots, and obviously, I just love the St. Joseph Lighthouse. Near the park, there is an old train depot turned pizza parlor called Silver Beach Pizza. There is also a carousel, the whirlpool compass fountain (a giant splash pad pretty much), a playground for kids, a food/beverages shack with everything under the sun you could want, including sno cones! It's the perfect place to hang out in the summertime.
We finished our wine tasting in Paw Paw and drove 30 minutes to St. Joseph to hang out for a bit before Eric's Saturday show. We laid out on the beach for a while, got sno cones, and walked the pier to the St. Joseph Lighthouse. We were here last summer, but we could only view it from far away due to construction. It was nice to be able to walk and see the light up close! Plus it was the perfect day for a stroll along the pier. So many people were out and enjoying the start of summer!
I recently teamed up with Le Tote to try out their service! I had heard of them before through a friend, so I was excited to try it for myself. The basic concept is you get to borrow clothes, wear them as many times as you want, and either purchase the items you love or send them back. With each tote, you get 3 garments and 2 accessories. You can choose the items yourself, or you can have one of their stylists put together your tote for you based on a style profile you fill out. Once you send everything back, they will send you a new tote to style! It's a monthly subscription, not a tote-based subscription, so the sooner you send them back, the sooner you'll get a new tote. Fun, right?! I picked out this amazing dress (that I love), a black crochet-trimmed top (that I wore here), a pair of vintage Levi jeans, and a clutch/ring. If you're interested in trying it out, you can get 20% off your first month with code "SELECTIVEPOTENTIAL". It expires on July 23, so make sure to sign up soon!
I'm so excited right now because I have a half day tomorrow of work, and then I'm off on vacation until after the fourth of July! We are heading up to the Keweenaw Peninsula in the upper peninsula for a few days, and I'm so excited. There are so many lighthouses up there. I actually had to cut my list down, because the amount of lighthouses was just too unrealistic for the amount of time we'll be up there. So that just means we'll have to go again later! But yeah, I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks of blog posts! Desolate lighthouses, beautiful waterfalls, crazy views of Lake Superior, dorky tourist traps, you name it, we'll be there. If you have any tips or recommendations of what to see in Copper Harbor/Eagle River/Houghton areas, let us know! And as always, you can follow along in real time on Instagram, or now Snapchat! My username is selectpotential. I'm pretty new at it, so bare with me. ;)
Paw Paw, about 25 minutes west of Kalamazoo, is such a hidden gem for wine lovers (like me)! Eric's band booked shows here at a local country venue for two nights, so I decided to make a weekend out of it and explore the area. I really had no idea that Paw Paw is in the heart of Michigan's grape country! Wine is 100% my beverage of choice. I'm typically a sweet drinker, and I was pleasantly surprised at the vast sweet options offered at all of the wineries we visited! But wine tasting is so much fun, and you're able to have a little sample of each of the wines you're curious about. We visited St. Julian Winery, Warner Vineyards, Lawton Ridge Winery and Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery.
ST. JULIAN WINERY
Our first stop was to St. Julian Winery! This is Michigan's oldest winery and has been family-owned since the beginning. They offer over 50 varieties of wine! This winery is located right in the "hustle and bustle" of Paw Paw. It was a quick mile from our hotel, and they were open until 7pm, which I loved! We got there, explored the grounds for a bit, snapped a few pictures, and headed inside for tasting! Eric prefers beer/cider over wine, so it's nice when there are some cider options for him to try too! But we both ended up loving their Sweet Nancie Peach and Sholom, which is a sweet concord wine, and brought a couple of bottles home with us. Plus, if you can get Jennifer, she was amazing! So sweet, knowledgeable and gave us a few extra tastes of wine. Definitely a favorite winery in Michigan.
Our next stop was right next door at Warner Vineyards. Warner Vineyards is the second oldest winery in Michigan. One of my favorite things about this winery was the grounds. Beautifully landscaped, with a creek running through the property. Built in 1898, their building was originally built as a waterworks station for the village of Paw Paw. Warner purchased the structure in 1967, and restored it to what it is today. They have outdoor seating, a beautiful stage with live music, and so much beautiful greenery and flowers to enjoy! Our favorite wine we brought home was the Peach and Honey. So tasty!
Lawton Ridge Winery
Lawton Ridge Winery was our third stop on the Paw Paw winery tour. It's about a 15-minute drive from Warner Vineyards, closer east toward Kalamazoo. Lawton Ridge was a bit smaller than the first two wineries, and had a smaller selection of wines, but they were incredibly delicious nonetheless. They've been growing grapes and operating since 1974 and opened their tasting room in 2008. Our favorite wine here was their Sweetheart Red. Typically I'm a Moscato gal (sweet white) but after this trip, I think I'm more of a sweet red gal! I ended up buying three bottles of sweet reds from each of the wineries!
CODY KRESTA VINEYARD AND WINERY
Cody Kresta was our fourth and final stop on our Paw Paw wine tour. It was about a 10-minute drive from Lawton Ridge. Cody Kresta is a small, family-owned winery focused on hand-crafted wines at their 1882 homestead (which is absolutely beautiful). The landscaping, the grounds, and the outdoor patio are worth the trip alone, let alone, the tasty wine! Their inside tasting room is very tuscan-inspired. Eric and I opted to sit on their outdoor patio because it was such a beautiful day. My favorite wine ended up being a sweet red again, and I think this was my favorite sweet red of them all - 2014 Rudy's Red Semi-Sweet Red Wine. SO yum! I even had a glass after our tasting because I loved it so much.
I hope you enjoyed the little southwest Michigan wine tour, and hopefully if you're local, you can take the adventure for yourself! I know Traverse City and St. Joseph area are more well-known, but I'd honestly have to say, the wines here are tastier! I've never brought home so many bottles of wine. Our rack is going to be full for quite some time! Plus, we're headed off to Traverse City this summer as well! I love that Michigan is the best for so many of my favorite things. Wines, lighthouses, beautiful beaches, fun cities, incredible views, and all four very distinct seasons. I'm a happy Michigander, that's for sure.
I’ve seen the St. Joseph North Pier light before, but it was before I started blogging, and I never took pictures… so here we are! After visiting a few wineries in the southwest part of Michigan, we headed into the (adorable) town of St. Joseph. It reminds me a lot of Grand Haven in a way. It’s very much a summer beach-town, with a lot of cute shops, restaurants and places to get ice-cream. I would definitely recommend, especially if you’re from the Chicago area, because it’s only a 90-minute drive!
When we arrived downtown, we stopped for burgers at The Buck Burgers & Brew… and it was maybe my favorite burger I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. So good! We split the buffalo bleu cheese chicken dip for an appetizer, and I made my own burger for dinner. A good friend recommended it to us, and I’d 100% recommend it to you. YUM.
After eating dinner, we headed to Tiscornia Park to head out to see the lighthouse. Unfortunately the pier was closed, so we couldn’t walk to the end. But, we walked out on the beach, and got to see it from a distance! I’m sure I’ll go back someday since it’s so close. This lighthouse reminds me a bit of Grand Haven too, because of the catwalk. Catwalks were built so that lighthouse keepers could access the lights when the lake was rough and the waves were crashing over the pier, making it dangerous to walk out there.
Even though it’s July, it was so chilly and windy on this day! Michigan is crazy sometimes. I wasn’t planning on wearing my denim jacket the entire time, but there was no way I was taking it off. Brrr! The last time I wore this lighthouse-print dress was at the Manistee Pierhead Light a couple of years ago. I can’t resist a lighthouse print! ;)
During staycation, Eric and I headed south to Bear Cave located in Buchanan, Michigan. Bear Cave is the only cavern in the lower peninsula. It was formed in “tufa rock” which is a secondary limestone. It’s at least 25,000 years old and it’s resting on a glacial drift deposited during the last ice age, approximately 50,000 years ago. Isn’t that crazy?! There is a 40-foot winding stairway that leads you through the cave. You get to see stalactites, petrified leaves, and a lot of interesting shapes.
This cave also has a ton of history to it (which I love). It was a significant part of the Underground Railroad during the slavery period. In 1875, the “loot” from an Ohio bank robbery was stored here in the cave. This was also the inspiration behind The Great Train Robbery, a 1903 silent film, which is considered a classic. The film was considered a milestone in filmmaking back then, at ten minutes long! So fun. I love quirky history, especially in Michigan.
You drive into the resort, through a gate, and you can park near the “Bear Cave” entrance. You walk down the stairs, into the gift shop, pay your $3 admission, and walk through a door in the gift shop that leads you down into the cave. It’s so cheesy that it’s awesome. This was a super short drive from Lavender Hill Farm, so if you’re looking for a fun day trip… there you go! We also went to several southwest wineries on this day too, which are really closeby. I’d recommend Round Barn Winery (my favorite), Gravity and Lemon Creek Winery. You could also head into St. Joseph afterwards! I’ll blog more on that this week. xo
I’ve been wanting to visit a local lavender farm for years, so we finally made the trip out! There were two farms I wanted to see in Michigan – Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City, and Lavender Hill Farm of Niles. I believe this one is a bit smaller, but super cute and quaint! We hopped on a back country road to get there, and pulled up to an adorable little house with a front yard of lavender. As soon as you entered the driveway, the air smelled so good.
We went inside to ask “How do we cut our own lavender?” and a super nice lady gave us a pair of scissors and said, “Head on out!”. There were several different kinds to choose from, but honestly, I just loved them all. I ended up making the smallest little batch, not realizing that I could have cut enough to fill up a twist-tie. So I ended up buying some lavender water too – it smells so heavenly!
The last time I wore this lavender dress on the blog was in 2010… so 5 years ago. Isn’t that crazy?! I’m baffled I’ve been blogging for that long. It will be six years in September. Eep! Time sure does fly. I love that blogging inspires me to visit new places, this lavender farm included. I seriously love adventures, and I’m not sure if I would have truly known that if I hadn’t started Selective Potential.
So, life is good! Today, Eric and I are celebrating 3 months until our wedding by going to a movie in the park, and grabbing tacos from the local food trucks. I’ll be back with more adventures next weekend from staycation – a new lighthouse, and the only cave in the lower peninsula of Michigan. See you guys then! Have a super fun weekend. xo