Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas Re-Cap #2

One of our favorite things to do in Michigan is to wander around St. Joseph. St. Joseph is an old town located right on the shores of Lake Michigan, and has many lovely old victorian-style homes and a nicely restored downtown area. It has actually become quite popular with Chicagoan's looking for a weekend getaway. They always have some type of artist-decorated figures on the street corners. In past years we've seen merri-go-round horses and cars, but for Christmas they had snowmen. Kieran especially seemed to like the Elvis snowman.

We had to stop in the South Bend Chocolate Co. for some coffee and to gaze longingly at the sweets. This is a branch of their main store/restaurant located in South Bend, and while they don't have a full lunch menu, it's worth a stop.

You don't see these types of stores very often any more, but a trip to a 5 & 10 store is always fun. Packed full of all kinds of goodies (all costing more than either a nickle or a dime--I think that's why they added the $), there is something for everyone at G & M Variety, an old-fashioned five and dime store that has been in business for over a century!

We had just eaten a late bruch, but if we hadn't, Chan's Garden would have been tempting, if only for bright colors on the exterior. Lovely!

Of course we had to stop in the Toy Company. Not a huge Toys-R-Us, but a small, carefully curated toy shop with lots of wooden toys, Playmobile, puzzles, and trains. Kieran found himself a little Playmobile kit with a cowboy and horse and lots of little weapons.

Everything has either been restored or preserved so nicely. A couple of ice-cream shops, a 50's era department store, a small bookstore, and several nice restaurants in addition to all the other shops. And beautiful wreaths on all the lamp posts.

Our last stop of the day was down the road a couple blocks, to the old Box Factory that has been restored and turned into artist's galleries and studios. You can wander through the old factory and watch artists working and purchase pieces of their work directly from them. There is also a little cafe and a train set up in the basement.

Welcome to St. Joe!

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