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Five easy steps to plan now for your post-COVID-19 celebration vacation

Related Member: Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council

view from the bluffThis new housebound lifestyle we are living WILL end and we can’t wait to welcome you to Southwest Michigan. So, please use this hang-out-at-home time to plan your celebration getaway once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

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Beer-illiant Brewery Tour

Visiting breweries is a reason to travel, and Michigan harbors more than 150 craft breweries and counting. Nestled among Southwest Michigan's wineries, sand dunes, and hoppin' towns are this Lake Michigan-hugging region's contributions to the Great Beer State. Arm yourself with this itinerary and find your perfect pint.

While you can certainly do this tour a day-at-a-time, it's a lot more fun to pitch camp at one of these locally owned or national chain lodgings in Benton Harbor, St. Joseph or Stevensville. Most offer a complimentary breakfast and a solid launching pad to hit up some nearby breweries over an extended stay.

Want a designated driver? No problem! Check out Southwest Michigan's transportation services to ensure you can have your beer and drink it too before safely turning in for the night.

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Heritage Wine/Beer/Spirits Tour

This two-day trip highlights the Makers Trail pioneers of wine, beer and spirits. These makers were among the first in their area of expertise in Southwest Michigan and blazed the trail for dozens of others to follow. While delighting in their handcrafted, award-winning beverages, engage with the history of Berrien County and experience some of the area’s best restaurants along the way.

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Girls’ Getaway

Are you already wondering how you’ll make it through the week? Sounds like you could use a little getaway. Every once in a while, we all need to break away from our daily routines and responsibilities and just have a little fun! What better way to do that than to enjoy a day out with your girls? Relax at the spa; go wine tasting, catch up over dinner and dessert, or even splurge on some retail therapy. Sounds like fun, right? But who has the time to plan it?

Lucky for you, all you have to do is follow this itinerary to have a great girls’ day out in Southwest Michigan. And if you aren’t in a hurry to get back to your routine, carve out more catch-up time by staying over in our lodgings. There are more good times to enjoy tomorrow!

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North Berrien Historical MuseumI have a nostalgia for the past that seems to peak in the Fall and Winter, and as a result, I find myself drawn to the North Berrien Historical Museum in Coloma.

The simple and unpretentious displays of artifacts tell the story of North Berrien Country in a direct and easy to understand way.  Exhibits located in the main building cover thousands of years of history, and focus on Native Americans, rural life, schools, community business and resorts.   I delight in visual searching through display cases full of artifacts and day dreaming about the unique history that every object has, and this museum has enough artifacts on display for me to spend the whole day lost in thought. 

North Berrien Historical MuseumSeveral other buildings located on the museum's four-acre campus help to tell the story of the history of the area, including an agricultural barn, historic home, and a one-room print shop.   Artifacts on display in these buildings include: farm equipment, lumbering tools, 1934 Parrett Tractor, 1929 Ford Model A Pickup, and the original newspaper print equipment from the Watervliet Record.

Later this month, I am looking forward to attending one of the museums Halloween Cemetery Tours at Watervliet Cemetery or Coloma Cemetery.  These are a great way to celebrate the holiday while learning more about the history and founders of the communities.

North Berrien Historical MuseumChristmas programs at the North Berrien Historical Museum are a delight.  Family-friendly crafts, programs, and music taking place in December entertain and raise the level of anticipation and excitement for the coming holiday.  Over 20 unique and gorgeous Christmas trees decorated by various businesses and groups are on display for most of December, and visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite.  The trees and decorations are so charming; in fact I have used them as the subjects of my Christmas cards for the last two years, and I will certainly be there as soon as they are up this year to take more photos for this year's cards. 

No trip to Northern Berrien County would be complete without a few stops to pick up some wine, chocolate and apple cider.   There are some great places to get these including:  Contessa Wine Cellars, Karma Vista Vineyards, Grandpa's Cider Mill, Jollay Orchards, The Chocolate Garden, and Vineyards Gourmet.


Joshua Nowicki is a resident of Saint Joseph, Michigan, and is a photographer and member of the board of directors of the New Territory Arts Association in Benton Harbor, Michigan. You can see more of Joshua's photography at www.facebook.com/JoshuaNowickiPhotography.

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