Thursday, September 19, 2019

anniversary weekend

September 15, 1984 was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding.
We were so young...just 22 and 24. And we'd already been together for 2-1/2 years.

In celebration of 35 years of wedded bliss and aggravation, we headed a few hours north to St. Joseph, Michigan.

On the drive up, I saw a converted school bus that at first, freaked me out. Why did it have "Homemade in China" painted on it? And why were curtains in all the windows? I thought it was a cult bus or something. I Googled it and found quite the opposite. This is a family ~ wife, husband and five kids ~ that originally lived in China, and are now on a sabbatical road trip. You can read Christine's blog here: Christine Keegan or follow here on Instagram: Homemade in China. Such a fascinating family!

This was our second time going to St. Joseph; the first being in 2013. St. Joe is a small beach town nestled atop a bluff in southwest Michigan. One of their famous eateries is Silver Beach Pizza, not only known for their amazing pizza, but the building itself is an old train depot. Now being from the Chicago area and unquestionably having the best pizza in the US, we are pizza snobs. So for us to say this place has some of the best pizza we've ever had, is singing mighty high praises.

See how the side of the restaurant has windows that fully open? There's tables inside right by the open windows.

We were lucky enough to snag one of these tables by the open window. Pizza with a view! We decided to be adventurous and try the Harvest pizza and were so glad we did. It was one of the best pizzas we've ever had. The crust was brushed with olive oil and a little bit of brown sugar, then layered with butternut squash, krispy kale and bacon, and topped with mozzarella and gouda cheeses. Confession: we took our leftover pizza back to the hotel with us and put it in the mini fridge. Then we had it for breakfast the next morning. Tim asked later, "You ate that with coffee in the morning?" I told him yes, it was that good. 

After dinner, we walked to Whirlpool Compass Fountain which sprays water 35 feet into the air. How good would that feel to splash around in on a hot summer day?

Or a warm summer night?

We continued our walk down to the beach...

Here's beautiful Lake Michigan with the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse in the background. I took off my shoes and let the water splash up over my feet and lower legs...that water is cold!

Continuing on our walk, we checked out some of the beautiful houses along the lake...

The sun was starting to set so we climbed a long flight of stairs (50 of them...I counted as a diversion to my lungs about to burst and my heart beating out of my chest) to get to the top of the pavillion...

and witnessed the beautiful sunset over the lake.

As the sun was setting, the fountain was turned off and Taps was played over a speaker. It was like the whole town went silent while this was happening. Everyone stopped for just that one minute and stood in reverence while this miracle played out before our eyes. I love that something that happens every single day can still take your breath away, no matter how many times you see it.

We woke to perfect weather the next morning, and off we went. (After consuming leftover pizza in bed while watching Food Network. Don't judge.) St. Joe's has a beautiful farmers market on Saturday mornings. All the vendors were so friendly and happy to tell us about their produce. We packed our cooler with green beans, tomatoes, fennel, and a variety of peppers. We also bought canned pickled beets (Brian ate the entire jar in 24 hours) and pickled zucchini slices. We haven't tried those yet ~ the elderly woman who canned these vegetables told us she just made them, so they're better when they've sat for awhile.

When we were done at the farmers market, we walked around the downtown area, checking out all the stores. This store brought back a lot of memories of the five and dime stores we used to go into as kids. Anyone remember the Ben Franklin stores? It even smelled like a Ben Franklin store inside! No photos, but we also found a record store where Brian bought a couple of albums and I enjoyed a wine tasting from a local winery that had a storefront.

Thought this was rather interesting on the side of a building. I can only imagine how many adventurous young people have tried to get up there. Or drunk people.

We found a wonderful place for lunch (Mason Jar Cafe) where everything is homemade and farm-to-table. This vegetable quiche I had was more like a strata ~ and so dang good that I wish I had the recipe so I could recreate it at home. 

In the back of this restaurant, there's a huge artist space where different artists sell their work...

There was even a small used book nook. Of course, I had to check that out. I didn't find anything though.

Last stop before heading home: the beach. This time we climbed through the sand dunes. The sand felt so good and warm underneath our bare feet. Nature's pedicure for calluses! There were so many monarchs flying around the dunes, which I was happy to see. 

We walked down the pier to the lighthouse, but not on this side where all the water was splashing onto the pier. One would be swept right out into the deep water! We walked on the other side where it was safe to walk.

This seagull just sat on the railing and stared at me, even as I got closer to take a photo. Wasn't afraid of me at all. Hello, pretty bird!

On the way back towards the beach, we saw workers setting up an arbor and chairs for a wedding. What a perfect spot for saying, "I do" with the waves in the background, the dunes in the foreground, and the gorgeous blue sky overhead. I teased Brian and told him it was for a surprise for us; that we were renewing our vows. 💔

This is one of the newer houses right by the entrance to the dunes where we parked. At first I thought it was part of a resort. I always wonder with places like this, how much room do people need to live in? Unless you have like 15 kids or multiple families living under this one roof. 

We had a wonderful time in St. Joseph but I was glad to get back to my humble home and my kitties.

Comfy House.


  1. I love these kinds of much info and so many pictures. These are my favorite kind of blog posts.
    Can you believe we have never been up there? I see so many of my friends go up that way and it always looks so lovely. Need to get my butt up there.

    Also, I LOVE Ben Franklin stores!! There used to be one in Antioch and it's now Lovin' Oven!
    We also had one near my Ohio hometown too. I miss those stores. Need to head up to St. Joseph if only for that. :)

  2. I love that area too in Michigan. I just love all of Michigan along the lake. Happy Anniversary to your and Brian. You are right behind us in years. Time really does fly. I love your dress you two look great.
    Hugs and Happy Thursday.

  3. Steve and I were both 22 when we got married, but we were just short of dating for 1 year when we got married.

    When we go on a road trip through California we can drive all day and still be in California. I love that you can drive easily to other states.

  4. Well it looks like you had a fabulous trip! Thanks for taking us along. What a super charming area and anywhere near a beach is my kind of town. I love your wedding's always fun to peek back. What a lovely couple and a beautiful bride. Thanks for sharing...and pizza for breakfast is the best!

  5. Happy Anniversary, lovely wedding picture.

  6. There is nothing like the shores of Lake Michigan, so glad yo had a beautiful time.

  7. Melanie, this is such a lovely post. Starting with your wedding photo . . . such a sweet memory and a day that you will both hold dear to your hearts forever.
    I love St. Joe, Michigan . . . it has changed a lot from my childhood, but we used to visit there almost every summer when I was a kid. Dad would put his fishing boat in the St. Joe River to spend a day fishing, but before he did he would pull up in the harbor and let us off to spend the day at the Silver Beach Amusement Park. I guess it closed in 1971. I love that they play Taps over a speaker and that the town stops everything for a moment. How wonderful and Norman Rockwell is that. Then of course if there is a used book store anywhere in the area you will find it . . . I think you have "book radar", LOL. That is one of the special qualities that make up the charming lady that you are.
    I have added a link to your blog on my latest post. I do hope that is alright. Check it out and if you do not like it, I will take it off.
    Happy anniversary.
    Connie :)

  8. That pizza looks delicious! I'm glad you had fun and got to visit some interesting places.

  9. Happy Anniversary, Melanie and Brian! What a wonderful place to celebrate. You come up with the coolest little trips. We had a Ben Franklin in our town when I was growing up. I loved going in there with my mom. That pizza looks and sounds delicious. Now, you have me thinking about pizza for lunch, :). Your wedding photo is lovely, and the photos for this post are just beautiful.

  10. What a wonderful anniversary you had. Lake Michigan looks beautiful and you had great weather.

    The steps are so pretty with butterfly images painted on them. Happy to see you made the 50 steps. Many pretty homes and the farmers market looked great.

    Happy Anniversary again! Enjoy your weekend


  11. Now that's my kind of town and a very nice way to celebrate you anniversary! Gorgeous photos. That pizza looks huge! The produce at the farmer's market and all the things you bought look and sound so yummy! Nice that you had such gorgeous weather for the weekend. You captured some great scenes.

  12. Happy Anniversary. It is hard to believe we were ever that young, isn't it sometimes? lol What a gorgeous town! I love the fact they played taps to end the day. That always puts a lump in my throat.
    I hope you have a great upcoming week. xo Diana

  13. Melanie, dear, I just realized that even though I read your anniversary post on my phone, I forgot to go to my laptop later to comment--well back pain troubles have kept me away from it a lot lately too. But I enjoyed reading about your anniversary trip so much. St. Joseph sounds like a delightful place to escape for a weekend and longer. Now I'm wanting some homemade pickled beets! And you even discovered a new blog while traveling. Obviously you are always alert to the day's gifts everywhere.

    I think I wished you and Brian a happy anniversary on FB but again, you were a darling couple and still are. Thinking of you two and wishing you well.

  14. Happy belated anniversary. That looks like a wonderful place to visit. I grew up next to Lake Erie. The great lakes have some beautiful areas. Thanks for visiting with me today. xo Laura


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