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Adventuring in St. Joseph: Silver Harbor Brewing Company, Lake Michigan & North Pier Lighthouses

By June 17, 2018Adventures

My birthday was this last Wednesday and I wanted to do something fun even though it fell mid-week. I asked Garrin to take a vacation day so we could plan a day trip and see the beach. St. Joseph is a beach town southwest of Williamston, nestled on the southern tip of what has been termed “The Riviera of the Midwest.”  As we had not yet visited, we decided to make this our destination for the day.

We had minor rain for a just a few minutes during the two hour drive and then the sun started shining and skies cleared. The temps were in the low 70’s and the sky was blue so I was fortunate to have perfect weather to celebrate my birthday.

I read about the local Silver Harbor Brewing Company and decided this should be our first stop for food and refreshments. The brewery is located between Benton Harbor and Silver Beach so the name is a representation of bringing people together across these places. Silver Harbor is celebrating the 2nd year of creation by Michigan residents, Christian Cook, Mike Gross and CJ Pawlowski and recently expanded to have an 80 seat outdoor beer garden area with light snacks and refreshments.

We were dining inside the restaurant which featured a unique wood bar and tables that were both rustic and charming. The ceilings were rather industrial looking that added to the character of the building. The brewery offers a unique smoked beer, Kumbaya Brown Ale, that I am curious to go back and try. Apparently, they inject hickory smoke into a glass chamber and bring it table side. The smoke flavor infuses itself into the beer during the process creating the first known Live Smoked Beer! 

Garrin ordered the Party Barge while I sampled Ginger, The Blond Ale. It was light and refreshing so I decided to ordered a glass. The beer menu offered the ABV percentage along with helpful icons for bitterness and body.

We were ready for food and started with the Cheese Curd appetizer. We were so hungry that we forgot to take a picture before diving in. For my meal, I tried the Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with smoked gouda and white cheddar cheeses melted between toasted sourdough with basil pesto and tomato chutney along with waffle fries. It was delicious!

Garrin had the BBQ Brisket Burger featuring a grilled custom blend steak burger topped with locally smoked beef brisket smothered in our cherry chipotle bbq sauce, finished with house pickled onions and served on an artisan bun. He also enjoyed the truffle waffle fries and second beer, the Hops, Sweat and Tears.

The meal and beer were tasty with friendly fast service and we enjoyed our time before heading out to explore downtown.

This was our first adventure since I received my mirror-less camera as my birthday present this year so I was excited to experiment with pictures for the blog.  St. Joseph offers some unique architecture and I had to snap a few photos.

Quaint downtown shops decorated the cobblestone streets.

I loved the look of the brick and it reminded me of streets in Mexico.

The local surf shop sported this shopping list sign which appears as a good bucket list of things to own and do.

We visited Fuzzy Butz, the local pet boutique, and bought treats and squeaker drumstick toys for the furkids since they stayed at home this trip.

Next, we decided to stroll to the beach. We passed this statue on the way with a nice look-out point to stop and admire the kayaks in the water.

We headed towards Silver Beach and passed the carousel. I wish I could have taken a good photo looking inside but the sun was shining too brightly. This reminded me of riding the carousel at Golden Gate Park as a kid.

This deepwater port town is a growing resort community, part of a “small town” chain stretching from the state line in a spectacular arc along Lake Michigan. From the steps you could see the fountain and beach in the distance.

Lots of kids were playing in the fountain and having a blast.

The beach was not overcrowded since mid week and Lake Michigan was breathtakingly beautiful, as always.

Unique metal artwork was also to be admired while cruising the beach.

I wanted to check out the St. Joseph Outer & Inner North Pier Lighthouses so we walked along the beach in this direction. It was a pretty sight in the distance over the dunes.

People were fishing over the pier and we saw a big catch on our way.

The lighthouses are located at the entrance to the St. Joseph River on Lake Michigan. It was interesting to see the two waters meet and the difference in color and texture.

The view was quite scenic looking back at the beach too.

We headed back to the streets of downtown.

I had a strawberry cupcake in celebration of my birthday and Garrin a waffle ice cream cone.

Soon it was time to head home as the day had quickly passed. I really enjoyed visiting St. Joseph and will be back again.

Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.