It’s been close to 30 years since New Buffalo, Michigan’s Ship and Shore Festival got its start as an arts-and-crafts fair. Now it’s a three-day event that showcases an array of Midwestern artists and musicians. It also features one of the region’s most unique parades: a procession along the shore of Lake Michigan of boats, yachts, and other floating vehicles decked out in lights.
This year’s fest runs Friday, August 12 through Sunday, August 14, when New Buffalo’s downtown will be closed to traffic to make way for artisans—as well as plenty of food, wine, and micro-brew beer vendors.
Live music performances are scheduled from 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The main event, however, happens after sundown Saturday evening when locals make illuminated spectacles of their watercrafts during the Lighted Boat Parade.
Looking to venture away from the fest? Hop on the Red Arrow or Pulaski highways for afternoon antiquing or sightseeing—Red Arrow runs north along Lake Michigan’s scenic coast, while Pulaski heads east through farmland toward Detroit.
GO Ship and Shore Festival, New Buffalo, Michigan, newbuffalo.org. Daily admission is a suggested donation of $5.
Where to stay: Sans Souci Euro Inn & Cottages (19265 S. Lakeside Rd.; 269-756-3141, sans-souci.com) has two cottages and two luxury suites, a private lake for swimming and fishing, and 50-acres of land that includes a vineyard. Rates start at $180 a night. The Lake Country Inn (18 W. Merchant St.; 269-612-0606, lakecountryinn.com) has nine spacious rooms (some with private porches and refrigerators) within walking distance of downtown New Buffalo. Rates range from $170 to $250 a night.
Where to eat: At the Bentwood Tavern (600 W. Water St.; 877-945-8600, marinagrandresort.com/bentwood), chef Jenny Drilon specializes in sushi and contemporary cuisine. Executive chef and owner Timothy Sizer offers an extensive seafood menu with locally sourced sides at Timothy’s Restaurant at Gordon Beach Inn (16220 Lake Shore Rd., Union Pier; 269-469-0900, timothysrestaurant.com).