Summer in Michigan’s Harbor Country is a no-brainer: Al fresco concerts, restaurants, beaches, boats, wineries, and galleries define the Michigan shoreline from Michiana to Sawyer. Here’s a quartet of lakeside events and attractions worth the drive this weekend—plus a suggestion for where to stay that’s only a short, scenic jaunt away from the activities listed below.
In 1997, Rick Moersch decided to dismantle, move and rebuild a century-old, round Amish barn from rural Indiana to Baroda, Michigan—and to convert the building into a distillery to complement his winery. Today, the structure defines the Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery, where Moersch and his sons Christian and Matthew make brandy, vodka made from grapes, microbrews, and award-winning wine. Wine tastings at the Round Barn (usually $15 for two people) are free this weekend for Chicago readers. Tip #1: Bring a picnic. The Round Barn property has lovely picnic facilities. Tip #2: From 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 7th, there will be live music as Don Savoie plays acoustic blues on the patio.
GO The Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery, 10983 Hills Rd., Baroda; 800-716-9463, www.roundbarnwinery.com
The Original Fatal Attraction
Carmen opens at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on October 13th, but those who want to brush up on their Bizet beforehand can head to Harbor Country this month for the Acorn Theater’s lean, mean two-hour staging of the lust-and-death riddled opera, starring Isola Jones as the femme fatale who drives righteous men to murder. She’ll perform Bizet’s blockbuster on Saturday, August 7th. At $25, tickets are a fraction of what you’ll pay at the Lyric.
GO Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks; 269-756-3879, www.acorntheater.com
James in St. Joe
If you prefer movie scores to librettos, head for St. Joseph’s outdoor Shadowland Pavilion at the mouth of the St. Joseph River in Sliver Beach Park. On August 7th, the venue will host the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra in a concert of theme songs from James Bond flicks including Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, and Tomorrow Never Dies. A martini reception (libations will, but of course, be shaken, not stirred) at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores follows the concert. The reception is $20. Concert tickets are $25 for VIP seats (toward the front and including chairs) and $10 for general lawn admission. Prices go up $5 if you buy them the day of the concert.
GO Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra at the Shadowland Pavilion, 101 Broad St., St. Joseph; 269-982-4030, www.smso.org
If you’re a car buff, you’ll want to check out the Sixth Annual Krasl Art Center Concours on the Bluff. The August 7th event at Lake Bluff Park (across from the Krasl Art Center) will feature more than 80 classic automobiles built between 1905 and 1975. Hand-blown glass trophies will go to vehicles voted Best in Show, Most Elegant, and Best Unrestored, among other awards. Tickets to the Concours are $5.
GO Concours on the Bluff at Lake Bluff Park. Across the street from the Krasl Art Center, 707 Lake Blvd., St. Joseph; 269-983-0271; www.krasl.org
Where to Stay
St. Joseph’s Boulevard Inn & Bistro is less than two hours from the Loop by car and within half an hour of all the events listed here. It also has some of the most spectacular views of any lodging in St. Joseph. The 450-square-foot City Suite starts at $189; the 900-square-foot two-bedroom Boardroom Suite with a kitchen is $359. The Bistro offers dining with sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph lighthouse.
GO Boulevard Inn & Bistro, 521 Lake Blvd., St. Joseph; 800-875-6600, www.theboulevardinn.com