Harbor Country Michigan
By Robert Glaze
The Inn at Union Pier.
Union Pier is a charming town along Lake Michigan. This is a great spot to make your base from which to explore the area.
I have stayed at The Inn at Union Pier in the past and have always enjoyed this property. It is a short walk to the lake and has 16 guest rooms (9708 Berrien St.).
Goldberry Wood is a newer property that looks excellent. Garden Grove Bed & Breakfast, at 9549 Union Pier Road, is another lodging option.
Izzy’s Bean & Gelato Shoppe is a fun spot for a coffee and a sorbet or gelato at 16090 Red Arrow Hwy. There is also Blue Plate Cafe at 15288 Red Arrow Hwy. and Red Arrow Roadhouse for casual dining at 15710 Red Arrow Hwy.
Baroda is a small village in Berrien County with a population of under 1,000, near the center of the wine country.
Baroda Tap and Grille, at 8906 First St., is a casual spot on the main street in Baroda. It has a full assortment of burgers, sandwiches and salads. The turkey reuben was excellent! They often have music on weekends.
Round Barn Brewery & Public House, at 9151 First St., is a hip, new spot for tasting beer and having a casual meal. They have close to 30 brews including ales, wheat beer, stouts and IPAs, many with creative flavors. Their menu features appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and pizzas.
Other places to try are the Hometown Deli & Catering, at 8972 First St., and the Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, at 8963 Hills Road, which offers tastings of their red and white wine offerings.
Sawyer is a town just east of Red Arrow Highway that is seeing some rapid growth of new businesses. Our recent finds include:
Catherine Doll Fashion for Green Living, located in the old Sawyer Fire Station at 5844 Sawyer Road, features unique clothing designs by artist Catherine Doll, who creates creative tops, jackets and skirts for women.
Infusco Coffee Roasters, just off of Sawyer Road, is a coffee roaster, featuring single-source coffee, which is a good spot for caffeine before hitting the nearby wine trail.
Go Fish is an attractive store carrying furniture, art and home accessories. It is in the former Schlipp’s Pharmacy storefront at 5857 Sawyer Road. They recently moved from their New Buffalo location near the harbor.
Sawyer Garden Center is a great farmers market and specialty food store with craft beers and wine. They also feature plants and flowers, garden products, seasonal décor, paper products, gifts and apparel.
Greenbush Brewing Company.
Greenbush Brewing Company is the hot spot in town. Located at 5885 Sawyer Road, this microbrewery features 14 artisanal ales and stouts and a number of seasonal offerings. Be prepared for large crowds. There is a large tap room for tasting and eating one of their soups or sandwiches. Across the street is a large outdoor patio with a small cafe offering beers, cheeses and charcuterie.
Hindley Fine Art, if open, is the studio and gallery of artist Joe Hindley for paintings, drawings, sculpture and furniture. It is immediately across from the Sawyer Garden Center and behind Go Fish. I have bought several pieces from them in the past.
Sojourn at 12908 Red Arrow Hwy. in Sawyer, is a great store, featuring vintage finds and designer home accessories.
Hello Donuts is located in a small house at 13057 Red Arrow Hwy. in Sawyer. They only make a limited selection of cake doughnuts each day, so when they sell out, they close. So go early!
Friends also love Mesa Luna, at 12868 Red Arrow Hwy., for fine dining in the area.
Fritz Olsen Fine Art, at 6914 Holloway Drive in Sawyer, is a lovely gallery, sculpture garden and studio, featuring fine art and the sculptures of Fritz Olsen.
To stay, there is the Rabbit Run Inn, a newer boutique inn at 6227 Elm Drive.
With a similar climate to parts of France and Germany, my original opinion of Michigan wines years ago was that they were very sweet and not my favorites. Since then, the number of wineries has grown tremendously, and they have started producing many drier wines. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality.
Free Run Cellars can be found at 10062 Burgoyne Road in Berrien Springs. This winery produces a variety of whites and reds, plus an apple brandy, a cognac-style brandy, a cherry wine and a grappa. I tried the Pinot Meunier or French rosé; the Cabernet Franc; the Union blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Chambourcin and the Syrah. My favorites were the Cab Franc and the Syrah which were the driest and smoothest. They do have a Zinfandel for Zin fans.
Gravity, at 10220 Lauer Road in Baroda, had some of my favorite wines that I tasted on my recent tour. I tasted four wines. The white was paired with cheese and the reds with chocolates. The flight included a Pinot Gris, a Merlot, a Shiraz and a Cab Franc. My favorite was the Cab Franc. The tasting room was attractive with a lovely outdoor space overlooking the property and nearby pond. Perfect on a beautiful fall day with changing leaves! They offer six dry whites and reds, six semi-sweet whites and reds, and six sweeter whites and reds.
Hickory Creek Winery is located at 750 Browntown Road in Buchanan. I enjoyed tasting their Melange, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and the Cab Franc. The Cab Franc was my favorite.
Lemon Creek Farm Market.
Lemon Creek Winery, at 533 E. Lemon Creek Road, Berrien Springs, has a farm stand where you can buy their red raspberries, peaches, plums nectarines, blueberries, cherries, apricots, grapes and apples. You can also pick your own peaches, grapes and apples in season, which can be a fun family outing.
The tasting room offers tastings of their dry whites, sweet white, dry red, dry rose, semi-dry reds, semi-sweet reds, cherry wine and ice wine. I liked the Meritage blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and their Cab Franc.
Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery.
Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery, 10983 Hills Road in Baroda, is a popular winery and tasting room which can be very busy on weekends. There is food available at the Round Barn Grille along with entertainment on weekends. Here, you can taste their sparkling whites, dry whites, semi-dry whites, fruit wines, dry reds, semi-dry reds and dessert wines. You can tour Divine Spirits on the property which is a distillery that makes a bourbon, a silver rum, a hand-crafted vodka and their Black Walnut Crème, which is their version of an Irish Cream.
Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant, located at 185 Mt. Tabor Road in Buchanan, was one of the first wineries I visited in the area several years ago. You can taste one of their sparkling wines, dessert cherry wine, dry reds, dry whites or semi-sweet whites and reds, plus tour the winery. One of the highlights is the attractive restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, featuring seasonal ingredients and overlooking the vineyards with both indoor and outdoor seating. You can also buy their line of artisanal chocolates.
Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, located at 8963 Hills Road in downtown Baroda, offers tastings of their red and white wine offerings.
I didn’t stop, but Domaine Berrien Cellars is known for its Syrah and Rhone varietals, such as Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. It is located at E. 398 Lemon Creek in Berrien near Lemon Creek Winery.
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