Chicago weekend escapes
Door County, Wisconsin, or Harbor Country, Michigan. Which getaway is more your speed?
WHERE IT IS “Harbor Country” was trademarked in 1981, encompassing eight southwest Michigan towns 75 minutes from Chicago.
SCENERY The Midwest’s answer to Martha’s Vineyard, this heavily wooded, occasionally swampy area boasts serene beaches and verdant farms.
VACATIONERS Upper-crust Chicagoans buy summer cottages and slightly less-well-to-do city folk stay overnight at hotels and rental houses.
BEACH Warren Dunes State Park, featuring 250-foot-high sandy hills, includes nearly 2,000 acres along Lake Michigan and six miles of wooded hiking trails. (269-426-4013).
BUY Opt for a nautical wall hanging at Alan Robandt, a well-priced vintage-furniture store featuring delicate, odd objects. It’s 30 minutes east of Harbor Country, but we won’t tell. 114 E Front St, Buchanan (312-560-7482).
WHAT’S UNIQUE Harbor Country’s swimmable shoreline boasts Lake Michigan’s warmest waters. The shallower lake and eastward winds often leave summer water temps hovering around 70 degrees.
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT… sinking your teeth into a juicy cheeseburger at Redamak’s, a 34-year-old institution. 616 E Buffalo St, New Buffalo (269-469-4522).
KIDS Unleash the rug rats at a U-pick farm during the summer months—they’ll have a blast gathering delicious fruit without realizing you’re using them as free labor. Only the Blueberry Patch (Holloway Dr, Sawyer; 269-426-4521; call ahead for hours) is located in Harbor Country, but several produce farms can be found in the surrounding areas at harborcountry.org/upick.
WHERE TO STAY For reasonable prices on a nightly room, check out the popular Inn at Union Pier (9708 Berrien St, Union Pier, 269-469-4700; rooms start at $155). Or hatch a plan for a more luxurious stay: Gather up some friends and reserve a rental house. Try rsvp-rentals.com for a list of homes.