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August 04, 2008 | Time Out NY

Be as active or lazy as you like...



An article about Harbor Country with a mention of our community and the things to do here.

BE AS ACTIVE OR AS LAZY AS YOU LIKE: THIS ACCOMMODATING
RESORT AREA OFFERS LOTS TO DO, AND NO PRESSURE.TO DO ANY OF IT.

Harbor Country is the Midwest's answer to Martha's Vineyard. A string of sleepy beach towns set along Lake Michigan, the area is known for its picturesque sand dunes and slow-paced way of life. Located in southeastern Michigan, a 90 minute drive from Chicago, it offers New Yorkers the opportunity to combine a trip to the Windy City with a relaxing retreat to some of the heartland's best sandy spots. Though grown-ups may gravitate toward antiquing in the many shops that dot Red Arrow Highway or vegging in a quaint cottage rental, kids deserve a trip to Warren Dunes State Park ($8 As a child, I climbed the mountainous dunes with my brother and sisters over and over again just for the thrill of racing back down at breakneck speed.The trip down the 240•foot dunes was just as exciting when I returned last summer with my boys, but the over and over again" part had somehow l lost its appeal. Exhausted after our sandy claawe opted for a more leisurely hike through the adjacent woody trails, then grabbed a quick bite at the park's small sandwich shop and hit the beach. Charming vacation rental homes are the lodging of choice in Harbor Country. A number of websites (harborcoul1try.org availability; bluefishvacations.com; rsvprentals.com) feature photos and online. booking. The privately owned homes vary wildly in size and amenities, and most require a weekly rental ($1,500-$3,500). But many have room for multiple families, so bringing your sister and her screaming brats along could save you cash. All homes come with lully equipped kitchens, making it easy to eat in after a long day at the beach. Stock up on steaks and house-made sausages at Falatic's Meat Market (12236 RedArrow Hwy, Sawyer, MI, 269-426 3224, jototics.com) or grab fresh pastries, salads and made-to-order sandwiches at Whistle Stop (15700 RedArrow Hwy, Union Pier, MI, 269-469-6700). Though technically not part of Harbor Country, nearby Michigan City, Indiana, offers one of the best lodging options for families, Beachwalk Resort (202 Beachwalk Lane, Michigan City,IN; 800-814-7501, beachwalkresort.com). Colorfully painted cottages and white picket fences give the community a mix of renters and permanent residents for a real neighborhood feel. But the extras (tennis court,swimming pool, live music, scavenger hunts) are the big selling point. In addition to Lake Michigan beach access, Beachwalk has its own private lake. We’d planned to rent one of the resort’s paddle boats but couldn’t get the kids to stop diving long enough to go for a cruise. Next time.

Whenever we’re in the area, we always make time for a stop at Redamak’s (616 E Buffalo Street, New Buffalo(MI 269-469-4522, redamaks.com), a no frills joint where the burgers come wrapped in waxed paper and the spicy curly fries are served in a paper bowl. Save room for dessert at Oink’s Dutch Treat (227 W Buffalo St, New Buffalo, MI; a pig centric ice cream place your family will go hog wild (sorry) over. You’ll find tourist at both of those sites, but the Tree House (3103 E US Hwy 12 Long Beach, IN; 219-872-2877, treehouselongbeach.com) remains a relatively well-kept secret. We dined on cleverly named “sand witches’ such as the Hermione (warm pita stuffed with house-made hummus, roasted red peppers, kalmata olives and goat cheese), then sucked down Blue Moon and Red Stripe while the boys roamed around the restaurant’s back yard, playing basketball, waffle ball and cornhole, a popular Midwestern game that’s a lot like beanbag toss…only with bags of corn

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