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History & Architecture Tour (2 days)

Heritage Museum

Southwestern Michigan has proudly preserved many of its Victorian-era homes, downtown buildings and colorful past. This two-day tour will introduce you to the people and events that shaped what we are today.

Historic Turf & Surf in Van Buren County (Day 1)

Michigan Flywheelers Museum, 06285 68th Street, South Haven
(1 1/2 hours on site)

flywheelers-logoA fascinating stop if you’re traveling on Wednesdays or weekends, Memorial Day-Labor Day. This museum houses antique gas and steam machinery. It also hosts one of Michigan’s largest steam engine and tractor shows in September. 

Then go seven minutes west to:

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, 903 Bailey Ave., South Haven
(1 hour on site)

liberty-logoThis museum is located in one of earliest houses in this lakeside resort town. It is the birthplace of Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, America’s Father of Modern Horticulture. Its collection includes items common to farmsteads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sorry, the house is not handicap accessible, but all can enjoy the outdoor gardens. Admission: free.

Then go north five minutes to:

Michigan Maritime Museum, 260 Dyckman Avenue, South Haven
(1 to 3 hours on site)

maritime-logoBefore exploring the rich maritime history of the Great Lakes, enjoy a picnic on the grounds or walk to nearby restaurants for lunch. This museum houses permanent and changing exhibits, a center for teaching boatbuilding and related maritime skills and waterfront festivals throughout the summer. But you can also cruise the river on the Lindy Lou, sail Lake Michigan on the replica tall ship Friends Good Will or the recently refurbished Bernida, or participate in the Pirate Chaser Adventure Sail.

Finish your day just two minutes down the road with dinner at:

221 Main, 221 Main, St. Joseph
(1 to 2 hours on site)

221mainThis great dinner destination south of the St. Joseph River is a favorite place for seafood pasta, chicken piccata and boneless short ribs. Their Reubens and Southwest wraps get great reviews, too. Be sure to save room for a hot cookie sundae – you can walk it off along the nearby bluff park or several Lake Michigan beaches. Hope you can spend the night at one of our resort town lodgings – there’s more fun planned tomorrow.


Ancient to Modern Times in Berrien County (Day 2)

This is a good tour to do on Saturdays. Begin your day with a morning visit to:

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main St., St. Joseph.
(1 hour on site)

heritage-logoThis museum shares the stories of a history-rich region with special and permanent exhibits. Its research library is open to anyone interested in the history of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor and the Great Lakes region. Admission fee.

Next, walk or take a quick, three-minute drive down the bluff to:

Silver Beach Carousel and Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum, 333 Broad St., St. Joseph
(45 min to 1 hour on site)

silverbeach-logoNo place can top how much fun you’ll have learning history here! This magnificent hand-carved and hand-painted carousel features 18 rounding boards that tell the area’s story from its native tribal people to current industries and events (it’s the first known carousel to use historic art and photos on its rounding boards). An adjacent museum takes you back to the days before televisions and computers and shows how families had fun at the amusement park that once stood on the nearby beach. The museum is free and there’s a nominal cost to ride the carousel.

Next, head up the bluff and go east on Broad St. to enjoy lunch along the historic St. Joseph River. Within five minutes you’ll be at:

Clementine’s Too, 1235 Broad St., St. Joseph
(1 hour on site)

clementines-logoThis is a local favorite and don’t be surprised to see a stack of onion rings on every table. Everyone orders them! Also well-known for its perch, wide variety of appetizers and sandwiches.

Next, head south 20 minutes to Berrien Springs by taking Niles Ave. to M-139 to US-31. Enjoy your afternoon at:

The History Center at Courthouse Square, 313 N. Cass St., Berrien Springs
(1 to 2 hours on site)

historycenter-logoThis is the site of Berrien County’s original county seat and is the Midwest’s oldest surviving county government complex. A free walking tour includes an 1830 log house, 1839 courthouse, 1870 sheriff’s house and 1860/1873 county records and office building. Open all year, it also hosts several special events and programs to enlighten all ages. Free.

Then go north five minutes to:

Andrews University Architecture Resource Center, Old U.S. 31, Berrien Springs
(1/2 hour)

andrews-logoIn addition to housing several important and valuable collections of architectural research materials, this site includes the Environmental Design and Research Association Collection, the most comprehensive in the discipline of environmental behavior as it relates to architecture and design. Free.

Andrews University Siegfried H. Horn Museum, Old U.S. 31, Berrien Springs
(1 to 2 hours)

andrews-logoThis is a treasure trove of more than 8,500 artifacts and objects from Bible lands. Seven exhibit halls in all, one includes a life-sized Bedouin tent filled with Jordanian Bedouin antiques. Another exhibit room houses artifacts and models from the days of Jesus. The Egyptian Hall lets you walk into a replica of an Egyptian tomb with a mummified Egyptian Ibis. And another hall houses the largest cuneiform collection in North America. Museum is open 3-5 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment other days. Free.

Finally, head north 10 minutes to St. Joseph for modern fare at:

The Mark III Grille & Bar, 4179 M-139, St. Joseph
(1 hour on site)

mark-logoLocals will tell you that you can get some of the best, hand-carved steaks here. It’s also a favorite destination for seafood and Mexican.

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