Antiques and Fun in Lakeside and Sawyer Michigan


by Jane

One of the very best things about living in South Bend is the ability to run away to Lake Michigan on the weekend. With relatively simple planning and a quick drive, you’re suddenly dancing in a windstorm on the beach with your sister, or trying to get your husband to buy you a NO POOPING sign for your front yard at an awesome antique shop. It doesn’t get better than that! (By the way, the NO POOPING sign isn’t for sale. That was the saddest part of my whole day.)

I recently spent a weekend at the Lakeside Inn with my husband Sam, my sister Julia, and her husband, Antonio. The Inn is nestled in the woods, right on the shore of Lake Michigan. If you leave your windows open at night, you can hear the waves crashing onto the beach. I’m going to leave the real details about it to McK, because she has a special connection to the Lakeside Inn…so look for that post in the future!

Now for all the fun we had at this place!


Lakeside Antiques is just down Red Arrow Highway from the Inn. It’s a fantastic place to spend a morning. There is a main building (shown above), and a large secondary barn building, so you can explore here for hours.


They have amazing quality antiques from all over the world. This is the kind of place where you can find everything from elaborately crafted stag-horn chandeliers to fine art and fabrics.



Julia and I tried to get our husbands to chip in and buy us this floor length white fur coat, so that we could play Narnia when we got back to the Inn. They said no, because they’re terrible husbands, and don’t understand the value of priceless antiques.


They do, however, think that it’s important to scare small children with giant evil-eye paperweights. I tell you, the priorities of these two men are totally screwy!


We stopped at Fitzgerald’s (also known as Fitz’s Bar & Grill) in Sawyer, Michigan for lunch. This restaurant and lounge has a beautiful old bar in their quirky cute dining room, and a darling patio area. They have amazing food, and their appetizers are big enough to share.


Julia got an amazing beer, and I tried a really interesting pear cider. Sam and Antonio ordered the ever-reliably delicious Zombie Dust by 3 Floyds Brewing Company.
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Crab cakes and calamari!
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The crab cakes were giant, and amazing. The fries were so good, we promised to share them with Antonio, but then we forgot. Sorry, Antonio!
Lakeside Antiques
14876 Red Arrow Hwy
Lakeside, MI 49116
Fitzgerald’s OR Fitz’s Bar & Grill
5875 Sawyer Rd
Sawyer, MI 49126

A Day in Chicago

By McK

The Bean

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

One of the largest and most diverse cities in the United States is only an hour and 40 minutes from South Bend via car and two and a half hours away via the South Shore Line Train. You can’t say there’s nothing to do in the area, when one of the greatest cities in the world is less than two hours from home. So, get in the car or train, and go to Chicago! Chicago is close enough that you can take a day trip, yet far enough you can turn it into a weekend getaway. I’m sure we’ll write many posts about Chicago during the life of this blog, but we’ll start with a simple day trip to downtown.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Chicago from South Bend is the South Shore Line train, which costs $26 round trip from the South Bend Airport to Millennium Park Station; You’ll exit the station at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, right in the heart of downtown. While the train takes about 45 minutes longer than driving, you won’t have to worry about navigating Chicago traffic or finding parking. If you are comfortable driving (it’s really not that bad!), jump on on I-90 W to I-55 N/Lake Shore Drive (north). There’s a great parking lot under Millennium Park – the Millennium Park Garage, which costs $29 for 12 hours. If you’re traveling with multiple people, it’s cheaper to drive. You also won’t have to plan your day based on the train schedule.


Walk from Millennium Park over to the Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 S. Michigan Ave) and sign up for one of their many tours (your can also check the schedule and book online). I’m a big fan of the two hour HIstoric Treasures of Culture and Commerce walking tour ($20 per person), which provides information about some of the most beautiful exteriors and interiors in the Loop as well as the architects who designed them. This tour departs from the CAF Office. If you’d prefer a tour by boat, check out their famous Chicago River cruise (departs from the dock at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue bridge – $39.74 per person).


Giordano's Pizza

Giordano’s Pizza

Once your tour is over, walk to Giordano’s Pizza (130 E Randolph Street) and order a Chicago-style deep dish pizza. My personal favorites are the spinach or sausage and onion. Mmmm!


Take a stroll through Millennium Park on your way to the Art Institute. Be sure to stop at the Cloud Gate (aka “the Bean”), consider having a cocktail at the Park Cafe (or go ice skating in the winter), and jump in the splash pad.

American Gothic

American Gothic at the Art Institute

Exploring the world’s masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago (111 South Michigan Avenue) is a fabulous way to spend the afternoon. Some of the most famous paintings on permanent display are Picasso’s Old Guitarist, Hopper’s Nighthawks, Wood’s American Gothic, Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, and Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. For those of you who aren’t art enthusiasts, you may recognize these works, as well as the museum, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Other Things to Do

If you’re not into architecture or art, consider shopping along north Michigan Avenue, walking over to the Field Museum of Natural History, exploring Grant Park, seeing a theatre production (reduced price tickets are often available the day of a show at Hot Tix) or going to Navy Pier.

Seoul Garden

It is Monday night. After a long first day of the work week, you and your family/friends have that kind of hunger that only a full on Korean feast will satisfy.  Seoul Garden’s got you covered.

Me and five local friends ventured out there after work last week, and loved our meal so much we declared it a semi-regular Monday tradition.  Seoul Garden looks somewhat modest from McKinley, though the pioneer statue out front should be your first indication that it is anything but ordinary.

Grilled Short Ribs Seoul GardenThe hostess/chef ushered us to a table with a built-in grill.  We ordered a round of Kirins and then several of the in-table barbecue options, including the short ribs.  These were a universal favorite in our group.

We also ordered spicy chicken, seafood pancake, and the full slew of side dishes. I tried to get a picture of the bulgogi, but we inhaled it before I could get my camera out…

Seoul Garden is certainly now in rotation for one of my go-to weeknight dinner spots on the Bend-Mishawaka border.

I leave you with the bulgogi, about five minutes after it arrive at our table.

Finished Bulgogi



A Tree-Mendus Day of Apple Picking

by McK

Farm Market

The Farm Market

There are few activities that embody fall as much as apple picking. Luckily, those of us who live in Michiana have a variety of options for going to U-Pick farms to pick apples, drink cider, and purchase an apple pie.

My friend, husband, and I spent today at Tree-Mendus Fruit in Eau Claire, MI, which is about 45 minutes north of South Bend. The day couldn’t have been much better – blue skies, a perfect 78 degrees, and a nice breeze. We wanted to visit a new farm in the area, and we had heard that Tree-Mendus has more than 200 varieties of apples, which is pretty impressive.

Tree-Mendus Apples

Sampling the apple varieties at Tree-Mendus

When you pull into Tree-Mendus’s parking lot, there’s a farm market that sells and samples apples and a snack bar that makes their famous waffle boats – litterally, a waffle shaped like a canoe that’s filled with apple or cherry goo and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. They also sell tons of jam, local Michiana honey, and other fruit, including plums.

Near the farm market, there’s a playground for children and a pen with two extremely friendly goats. Of course, we had to say hi to the goats and give them a good scratch on the head before we hopped on the wagon to head out to the orchards.

Apple Picking

Picking Apples at Tree-Mendus

Once you get out to the orchards, you’re handed a bucket and a plastic bag – either a half bushel ($24) or a peck ($14). You then head out into the fields and pick the apples that you like. When we went, there were about ten varieties that were in season, including Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Holiday, Cortlands, and Empires.

Over the years, we’ve been to several orchards in the area. Tree-Mendus is by far the largest. The Farm Market also gives it the traditional apple orchard feel. We also enjoy picking apples, peaches and concord grapes (and sampling wine) at Lemon Creek Winery and Orchards, about 40 minutes north of South Bend in Berrien Springs, MI. Lemon Creek is quite a bit cheaper than Tree-Mendus; Like Tree-Mendus, it’s also very beautiful. A half bushel of apples is only $15 at Lemon Creek, $9 cheaper than at Tree-Mendus.

If you live closer to La Porte, Garwood Orchard also has an option to pick your own apples and there’s a Farm Market/grocery on premises. In my opinion, Garwood is not nearly as pretty as Tree-Mendus or Lemon Creek, but, if you’re just looking to pick apples, it gets the job done.

Apples in the farm market

Apples in the Tree-Mendus farm market

Tree-Mendus Fruit
9351 East Eureka Rd.
Eau Claire, MI 49111

Lemon Creek Winery and Orchards
533 E Lemon Creek Rd.
Berrien Springs, MI 49103

Garwood Orchard
5911 W 50 S
La Porte, IN 46350

Four Winds Field

Four Winds Field & the South Bend Cubs

At the end of the 2014 baseball season, the City of South Bend announced that it would welcome a new minor league baseball team to the community for the 2015 season – the South Bend Cubs, an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. While minor league baseball games were already a popular summer pastime in South Bend, the new team brought even more life to Four Winds Field. In fact, the decision to switch from the Silverhawks to the Cubs was a home run (pun intended). The 2015 baseball season surpassed the stadium’s previous attendance record by nearly 100,000 fans.

Four Winds Field

South Bend Cubs game

Under the Sun Tour

Under the Sun Tour at Four Winds

What makes a South Bend Cubs game at Four Winds Field so great?

  1. It’s a great place to get outside, drink a beer, and simply enjoy summer.
  2. It’s cheap! Game tickets are $9-$11 and there are promotions and discounts throughout the summer.
  3. You can drink local – Round Barn (including their awesome keg sangria) and Evil Czech are on tap!
  4. The food is really good. There’s plenty of standard ballpark food options, but there’s also a variety of smaller, specialty food vendors (try the gourmet burger or pulled pork nacho stands).
  5. There’s a tiki bar – complete with margaritas and summery cocktails.
  6. For those who have kids – there’s plenty of entertainment, including several bounce houses, batting cages, and a splash pad.
  7. The gift shop is in an awesome old synagogue, which was featured in the New York Times.

Four winds field also hosts other cool events throughout the year. This summer, they hosted the Under the Sun music tour, featuring Sugar Ray, Better than Ezra, Eve 6 and Uncle Cracker, which only cost $20.

South Bend Cubs/Four Winds Field
501 W. South Street
South Bend, IN 46601

The Overlook Cafe

When Quincy’s finally closed its doors last year I went into a period of mourning for my ability to get decent coffee and have a cool study spot in the Bend.  The season of mourning is officially declared over after discovering the Cafe at the Overlook.  Across Twyckenham from Notre Dame, the Overlook is a quirky cafe with endless cups of coffee, outdoor seating, and a warm atmosphere.  Nothing like its spooky Stephen King namesake…

The creepy Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's The Shining

The creepy Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining

I like to sit on the patio on a sunny, breezy fall day.  I fire up the MacBook Air, order a bottomless coffee, and get to writing.  The Americanos are also very respectable.  And I have it n good authority from my students that the breakfasts are great.  They serve wine and beer so it’s also a great bet for a happy hour stop off.



Summer at St. Pat’s Park

One of my favorite places to spend the afternoon is St. Patrick’s Park on the north side of South Bend. St. Pat’s is home to a wide array of activities – hiking, snow tubing, cross country skiing (more on that in the winter), educational programming, canoeing and kayaking.  The park borders the St. Joseph River on the west and Michigan’s Madeline Bertrand Park to the north.

McK getting ready to canoe

McK getting ready to canoe

In the summer, St. Pat’s is one of the few places in town that rents canoes and kayaks. The park is a full service rental facility – they provide the boats, paddles, life vests, and they’ll also either pick you up at the end of your journey or drive you to the starting point, depending on which of the two routes you choose to take – Keller Park or Niles Dam. For both options, you meet at St. Pat’s Park to rent your equipment.

The Keller Park route is a 4.5 mile journey, which starts at the Keller Park boat launch and ends at the St. Pat’s boat launch. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and the views are mostly urban. The Niles Dam Route begins at St. Patrick’s County Park and ends just before Niles Dam (don’t worry – there are plenty of buoys and signs to warn you where to get out of the water). This journey takes about two hours to go the five miles.

I’ve done both routes and I definitely prefer the Niles Dam option – it’s much more scenic. While you’ll see homes along the river, you’ll also see a lot of forested areas and wetlands. Once you arrive in Niles, you call the Park office and they’ll send a van to pick you up. I would highly recommend packing a cooler of water and snacks for the journey, especially on a warm summer day.

In addition to canoeing and kayaking, St. Pat’s is a great place for an afternoon hike. I frequently bring my dog to the park to work out some of her energy. There are many trail options to choose from, and you can easily combine trails or walk into Madeline Bertrand Park for a longer hike.

On weekends from April 1 through October 31, there is a $4 gate fee to enter the park for in-county residents and a $5 fee for out-of-county residents. Fees also apply for the canoe and kayak rental – call the park for the current prices.

St. Patrick’s County Park
50651 Laurel Road
South Bend, Indiana 46637-1004

The Farmer’s Market (Meg’s Take)

Not gonna lie, there are going to multiple posts about the South Bend Farmer’s Market on this blog.  I guarantee it.  Everyone has their own favorite stalls.  The Market changes with the season.  And a Farmer’s Market post is also a great excuse to brag about the cool recipes you’ve made.

A camel outside the Farmer's Market entrance. Yeah I don't get it either...

A camel outside the Farmer’s Market entrance. Yeah I don’t get it either…

As for me, I’m a huge fan of riding my bike down there on Saturday mornings.  Not only do you avoid the hectic parking lot… your bike helmet can double as a handy shopping basket.

A bike helmet doubles as a good basket for shopping in the market.

A bike helmet easily fits six honey crisp apples.

This time around besides buying apples and leeks, I bought a duck from Hiatt’s stand.  They carved it up for me, so I could use the legs, breasts, wings, and other parts in different recipes.  The subsequent week I made a fantastic duck leg and rhubarb curry.  And I used the random bits to make duck pho.  The breasts are still in my freezer waiting for inspiration to strike.

I can vouch for their birds!

I can vouch for their birds!

Duck pho, made with a bird from the market.

Duck pho, made with a bird from the market.

You are never quite sure what you’ll find down in the Market.  Play your cards right and you can come home with a jar of pickled turnips, a set of new sharp kitchen knives, a pretzel the size of your torso and an adorable kitten.  This time around there were also some goats hanging out front.

Hey there!

Hey there!

What’s for sure—the Market is always worth the trip.

Postscript: One hazard of commuting to the Market by bike… sometimes you get stuck waiting for really long freight trains on your weigh home.

Argh, got stuck on my bike waiting for this train to pass. Waited on my bike for ten minutes!

Argh, got stuck on my bike waiting for this train to pass. Waited on my bike for ten minutes!

Greenbush Brewery and Sawyer

I had friends from Kansas up for Labor Day weekend.  Ruth, Jake and Otis love BBQ and beer, and I knew exactly where we should go on Sunday afternoon… Sawyer!

Sawyer is a great town to explore.

Sawyer is a great town to explore.

Sawyer is about a 45 minute drive from South Bend, up near Lake Michigan.  It is home to a massive garden center, an adorable coffee shop, and most importantly, Greenbush Brewery.  Greenbush brews their own huge selection of fantastic beers and makes the best brisket north of Texas.  The joique wings are delicious, especially if you like to bring the heat.  And I am particularly obsessed with their cornbread.

My all-time favorite weekend lunch.

My all-time favorite weekend lunch.

There is always a long wait to get a spot in the main restaurant—everyone this side of Chicago knows how good the food is.  If you are in a rush, you can get beer and sausages at the annex across the street.  But if you have the afternoon to spare, get your name in for a table at the main restaurant, enjoy a beer, buy some Michigan swag at the garden center and wait for the brisket.  It is worth it.

Greenbush is kid friendly (except for the long waits) and even has a dish or two that’ll satisfy the vegetarians in your family.  On the way home, stop off for some shopping in Three Oaks, which merits its own post (or…er… three…)

Brisket close up!

Brisket close up!


The Tour de Bend (aka East Bank Trail West Side!)

On a crisp Saturday morning, there is nothing better than a long leisurely bike ride.  As I said in my last post, I am a huge fan of the East Bank trail.  If you are looking for a beautiful (fun!) ride for your weekend, I strongly recommend heading northwest on the trail.  It is a bit hillier, longer, and more complicated than the IUSB to Mishawaka ride, but totally worth it.

The environment changes nearly every mile of this ride, so I like to think of it as my equivalent of riding the Tour de France.  I recommend starting off around IUSB and heading west.  The trail will run your through downtown and gets a little bit technical when you hit the East Race area.  If you stay north, you’ll be treated to a beautiful hilly overlook of the river.  Turn off on North Shore and take the bike path up to Angela and the western side of the river.  (Watch out for a bit of construction on North Shore right now.)  You pick up the trail at Angela and then it is a smooth and beautiful 3-4 mile ride up to Cleveland Rd.  If you are *really ambitious, you can even take it all the way up to St Pat’s Park and the Michigan border.

The ride is about 13 miles roundtrip as I do it, and takes a little over an hour.  There are always lots of bikers, joggers, and walkers out on the northwest part of the trail, so it is also a fantastic way to meet your neighbors.  Some pics of the ride to get you even more excited!

The Riverside Rd part of the East Bank Trail

The Riverside Rd part of the East Bank Trail

Pinhook Park

Pinhook Park

View of downtown from Seitz Park on the EB Trail.

View of downtown from Seitz Park on the EB Trail.

Biking on the East Race.

Biking on the East Race portion of the trail.

The East Race

The East Race

Biking the East Bank Trail

The IUSB Bridge