We were advised by some Loopers & friends that St Joseph was a boring/sleepy town, they said “don’t waste your time”.
Our plan was to use St Joseph as a stop-over from South Haven to Michigan City, In.
We planned to go to Michigan City because it would shorten the ride to Chicago, and because we wanted to visit with my cousin, Tony Chesney.
What we found in St Joe was ; a wonderfully quiet marina, a charming city with lots of street art, a beautiful downtown, a nice beach, nice restaurants, a historical area of an old amusement park from the 1950’s with indoor carousel, a huge water fountain park for kids.
The biggest drawback to St Joe was a pretty long bike ride (20min) from the marina on the north side of the St Joseph river, to the downtown & waterfront park on the south side.
We started our St Joe adventure with the 20min bike ride across the St Joseph River. On the ride we saw some very nice homes in the residential area. St Joseph is home to Whirlpool Corp.
We also got a good view of the river & railroad swing bridge from the main highway 63 which crosses the river.
Once across the river, we first went to the Lake Michigan waterfront. We discovered the following ;
1. A large waterpark fountain for kids, sponsored by Whirlpool
2. A nice beach
3. A Railroad (functional Amtrak RR with touristy gift shops & pizza station).
4. An area honoring a former waterfront amusement park from the 1950’s (Silver Beach)
The historic amusement park area had an indoor carousel, historic movies of days long passed, and many things for kids to do
Carousel Video = https://youtu.be/BqkGbcbKJRg
Historic Silver Beach Amusement Park Video = https://youtu.be/Rmoo-xx6jhI
The park originally opened in 1893, saw its hey day in the 60’s, and closed in the 1973. Do you think the kids in the video look like Brenda, Kenny, and Paula ?
After touring the Silver Beach waterfront area, we went to the downtown.
What we noticed initially was all the street art work shaped like Fish, similar to the Tigers street artwork located in Detroit. It was charity based, but we are not sure what the fundraiser was for.
We also saw the Clark Griswald mobile. If you are taking the family cross country, this ole family truckster is the vehicle for you !
We then strolled the downtown shops & looked for restaurants for dinner later that night
We noticed a nice rooftop area, so we went to the top and found an awesome bar combined with a relatively high class restaurant one floor lower. The restaurant/bar was named “RyeBelles”. It was about 3pm at that time so we went back to the boat to clean up for our fancy dinner, and tried to find an Uber or Cab with no success. The marina guys go home at 5pm so we could not pester them for a ride. So we took our second 20min ride into town (+ 20min back). Nellie’s (and my) legs/butts were very sore but it was worth it. RyeBelles was an awesome place. We had a nice rooftop drink, then went downstairs to the main restaurant and had an awesome dinner (NY Strip w/ mushrooms and apple pieces for Mike & Shrimp pasta for Jonell). Both meals were very very good, and the bill was only $58 bucks with two beers (I love a bargain).
We ended the night watching the Tigers on the marina TV in the courtesy room.
Tigers lost again, but it was a fun day in St Joseph.