We are in a world of anticipation here on the southeastern side of Lake Michigan.
Becoming familiar with the sights --- sometimes even spectacles, especially in wintertime --- the near silence, the stillness of the off-season along the shore has been an unusual experience. The visual beauty is never far from your mind but it is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the warmth of the people who build communities and businesses around old-fashioned hospitality, outdoor recreation, artistic innovation, agricultural renewal, endeavors of discovery and pursuit of everything sustainable. Of course, I have already begun compiling a personal list of those familiar tableaus that take different forms with the season including Michigan’s famous golf courses, Berrien County vineyards, some of the best beaches in the Midwest and terraces circling the harbors up and down the coast.
This is the year the Senior PGA tournament will be back and Harbor Shores will open a new world class hotel in Benton Harbor. Of the dozens of small specialty retailers and restaurants in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana that have opened in the last year, many are sprouts of businesses that have succeeded elsewhere. The Olive Cart in South Haven seeded a second store on State St. in St. Joe, for instance. Other businesses like Indian Summer with stores in New Buffalo, Michigan and Chesterton, Indiana and Great Lakes Catering in Chicago, Porter and Michigan City, Indiana, realized that their customers---our readers---travel, shop and play all over the Lake Michigan region and the tri-state area.
The winter had bitterness enough to feed the yearning to get our outdoor lives back. I see that pent-up demand pouring out on the first sunny melt-off that swells the crowds visiting the arts districts that dot the coastal cities and towns. Likewise, the wineries, distilleries and breweries are hosting parties by now where people seem to reappear in the moment. Everyone you thought was in Florida or Arizona is suddenly back. And the whole area picks up again where we left off a few months ago. We hit pause, not decline.
If you are like me you were already planning on adding onto the deck, thinking about how good that Michigan Pinot tasted last year and how nice it will be to sit around the outdoor fire pit after golf in a few weeks, even as you’re removing the last of the holiday decorations.
We may live in the moment, but there is no dream to replace the one about going to the beach.
The discoveries we have made in these pages are exciting and inspiring. We offer you the outline of a spring to celebrate in 2014.
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