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Six Ways to Say, “I Love You” in Southwest Michigan

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Michigan’s Most Romantic City

With a reputation for being "Michigan's Most Romantic City" (thanks to the Detroit Free Press), St. Joseph is the perfect place for a weekend with your sweetie. Here are six of our favorite things to do with the one you love:

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Heritage Wine Tour (1 Day)

Southwestern Michigan is one of the premier wine regions in the U.S. Lake Michigan tempers our climate, so it replicates the grape-growing areas of France and Germany. As a result we attract winemakers, who are gaining national attention for their award-winning vintages. This day trip tells how it all started.

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Chocolate & Wine Tour (1 Day)

There are multiple ways in Southwestern Michigan to pair these two foodie pleasures, so check back here in the coming months for different destinations. Let’s get started.

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All Itineraries

In and Around St. Joseph
Close To Home

CitiesMilesDrive Time (hrs)
Chicago 99 2
Detroit 183
Flint 170
Ft. Wayne 121
Grand Rapids 83
Indianapolis 163 3
Kalamazoo 50 1
Lansing 120
South Bend 36 ½
Toledo 200 4


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Saint Joseph, MichiganThere is something special about lighthouses that make them the irresistible superstars of the Great Lakes.    

Designed to emit light through a system of lamps and lenses, lighthouses have long been used as an aid to navigation.  Over the years, the number of operational lighthouses has declined yet they remain powerful symbols in our lives.  Embodying strength, hope and guidance, they preserver and shine strong even during a storm. 

New Buffalo, MichiganFor me lighthouses were a familiar backdrop for photos during family vacations and fishing trips.  They add to the narrative of the memories and offer valuable data about the experience.  A photo on the beach could be almost anywhere, but with a lighthouse in the background the photo is instantly given the key to contextualizing a memory.  Moreover, in looking at photos over time, we grow up and change in height, fashion, etc. and for the most part, the lighthouses remain the same.  They stand as nostalgic reminders of times gone by and are a reassurance of continuity between past and future.

Living in Saint Joseph, and being within a short walk of the lighthouse, I have now also witnessed a very dynamic side to these static structures.  Wind, rain, fog, clouds, snow, ice, and sunshine all paint, disguise and embellish.  They transform the structure right before our eyes, every day and every hour is different and offers a new opportunity to enjoy nature's interaction with these man-made icons.

South Haven, MichiganFurther they add scale, especially to storms.  Seeing the waves pound against the pier and lighthouse offers a very visceral and relatable understanding of the severity of a storm.  When out watching the waves crash against the pier, I find myself often thinking, "Wow . . . yesterday I was standing out there . . ."  

I am drawn to lighthouses every time the weather changes, because I know I am guaranteed a new and captivating experience.

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

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