Display of local artists' work at an outdoor fair

South Bend, Indiana—Off the Grid(iron)

As summer’s last hurrah approaches, consider a quick and easy last-minute excursion to South Bend’s Art Beat, where hundreds of visual, performing, and culinary artists will be plying their wares al fresco throughout the downtown area from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 28th. Where else will you find the likes of the Michiana Monologues (Eve Ensler-inspired true-life storytellers at 4 p.m., Key Bank Plaza); Liquid Rabbit (all-boy punk-metal rockers at 7 p.m., Century Center Island Park); and all manner of painters, ceramists, beaders, weavers, buskers, and top chefs within a three-block radius? New this year, a tented Culinary Arts Village (on Washington Street, just north of the College Football Hall of Fame) will feature edible creations by American Culinary Federation members. Free parking is available at the Main-Colfax and Leighton Garages.
GO Art Beat in downtown South Bend (roughly three blocks of Michigan Street between Colfax and Wayne); 574-282-1110, artbeatsouthbend.org. Free.

Three More Things To Do in South Bend

  1. More art inspiration
    Maria Winston was diagnosed with cancer last summer, an experience that led to a wellspring of creation. Some of her compelling paper-mâché wall reliefs and ceramic sculptures deal with her diagnosis, treatment, and survival. The work is on display at ArtPost, a gallery dedicated to supporting local artists and founded by the South Bend sculptor Jake Webster and the photographer Kay Westhues. You can also see surrealistic paintings by Rodolfo Zárate Guzmán and pieces by Webster and Westhues.
    GO ArtPost, 216 W. Madison St., South Bend; 574-287-6293, artpostblog.com.
  2. Trophy men
    Well, duh: Visit the College Football Hall of Fame. Notre Dame’s first game isn’t until September 4th, but you can get in the spirit by taking in the “Heritage of the Heisman” exhibit, which lets you walk through a replica of the entrance to New York City’s Downtown Athletic Club and take your picture with the trophy.
    GO College Football Hall of Fame, 111 S. St. Joseph St., South Bend; 574-235-999, collegefootball.org. Admission is $12, $8 for students, $5 for children ages 5 to 12.
  3. …and fast women
    Yes, there are exhibits devoted to Knute Rockne at South Bend’s Center for History. But you can also find women playing hardball at this repository of everything from pre-historic arrowheads to photos of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Among the highlights of Indiana history on permanent display: An exhibit devoted to the teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, famously played by Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own.
    GO Center for History, 808 Washington St., South Bend; 574-235-9664, centerforhistory.org. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for youths ages 6 to 17.

Where to Stay

  1. Big
    Should you want to rent a 2-room 1912 Bavarian Tudor-style Carriage House (with modern conveniences such as a double whirlpool tub, living room with entertainment system, and a full kitchen) head for the Oliver Inn. Pets are welcome in the Carriage House and the rest of Queen Anne mansion that Congressman George Ford (1885-87) once called home. Carriage House rates start at  $260; weekend rates for other rooms range from $100 to $200.
    GO Oliver Inn, 630 W. Washington St., South Bend; 888-697-4466, oliverinn.com
  2. Bigger
    The massive Century Center—with more than 17,000 square feet of suites, hosting a quarter million visitors a year—sits on 11 acres of waterfront. Should the place be full with conventioneers, the center can situate you in one of 4,000 or so rooms at nearby, affiliated hotels. The Century Center’s website can be mightily annoying (you have to fill out a lengthy form to get any information about rates and room availability), so call instead.
    GO Century Center, 120 S. Saint Joseph St., South Bend; 574-235-9711, centurycenter.org
  3. Boutique
    Built in 1872, the luxurious, four-diamond-rated Cushing Manor is South Bend’s oldest bed and breakfast. The common areas are spacious, and the lavish bedrooms are named for literary heroines including Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and Louisa May Alcott. Rooms range from $115 to $165 a night. Tip: If you are traveling with your dog, your pet will get a welcome basket upon arrival.
    GO Cushing Manor, 508 W. Washington St., South Bend; 574-288-1990, cushingmanorinn.com