Three Oaks

A Whole Different Kind of Fun – Southwest Michigan for the Winter

Embrace the enchantment of winter in Southwest Michigan along with Northwest & Central Indiana! As the chill of the season sets in, the region from New Buffalo, MI, to South Bend, IN, transforms into a winter wonderland, where the crisp air beckons you to a unique and exhilarating day of fun. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as our towns get decorated in festive cheer, becoming a patch work of vibrant festivals and captivating events. Through this blog, we warmly invite you to explore the diverse and rich array of winter festivities that span from November to February. Whether you find yourself in the picturesque Charlevoix, the artsy Saugatuck, or any of our quaint, charming towns, a tapestry of winter magic awaits. While the thought of winter might sound chilly, we assure you, it’s one of the most mesmerizing and rewarding times to visit our beautiful region!

Lake Michigan and Indiana Lighthouse in Snow

For your winter 2023 getaway to Southwest Michigan or Indiana, here’s a curated list of events, festivals, and fairs to explore:

Autumn Artisan Market

Autumn Artisan Market Flyer

Set for November 18 and 19, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM the Autumn Artisan Market at Journeyman Distillery is an annual event that showcases artists and makers of all kinds. Hosted at the historic Featherbone Factory in Three Oaks, Michigan, this market invites visitors to explore and support local creative talents. Attendees can enjoy a variety of offerings, including locally sourced gourmet and personal care items, handcrafted decor, and jewelry. Additionally, food and beverages are available for purchase, making it an ideal event for a full day of exploration and enjoyment. The Journeyman shop will also feature cocktail kits, hats, shirts, flags, flasks, and other unique items.

LIGHTS at Fernwood

The LIGHTS at Fernwood is set to take place this year from November 24, 2023, to January 6, 2024. This professionally designed light show that promises to magically illuminate evenings at Fernwood Botanical Garden. Featuring two extraordinary light tunnels, three warm fire pits, a fun winter craft station, nature-inspired light sculptures, festive music, and sounds, offering a truly enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. More information here.

Christmas In The Village

Stevensville Christmas Flyer

Scheduled this year for December 2, 2023, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, and offers a plethora of festive activities suitable for the entire family. This year’s event includes a free photo opportunity with Santa, face painting, and a chance for children to write letters to Santa. Additional attractions include a S’More’s Station hosted by the Lakeshore Rotary, cookie decorating, sleigh rides, a popcorn cart, various crafts, donut decorating, games, and a goodie bag scavenger hunt, among other enjoyable activities.

Saugatuck Christmas Parade

Ginger Bread Cookie Inflatable Floating Thru City Streets

The Saugatuck Christmas Parade, a much-anticipated annual event, will take place this year on December 2, 2023. The parade lineup begins at 10:15 AM in front of Wicks Park, with the parade officially starting at 11:00 AM. Organized by Operation Hope For Allegan Youth, this festive annual event always brings the holiday spirit to Downtown Saugatuck. The parade route kicks off in front of Wicks Park, proceeds down Water Street, turns left onto Mason Street, and then left again onto Butler Street, concluding at the corner of Butler and Mary Streets​.

Holiday Artisan Fair

Toys at Holiday Fair

The 2023 Holiday Artisan Fair, hosted by St. Joe Today, is set to take place on Sunday, December 3, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Located at 216 Court St. in St. Joseph, MI, this indoor market is an ideal destination for holiday shopping. Visitors can explore a diverse range of artisanal products from various vendors, whose details are yet to be announced. The event offers free admission, making it a perfect opportunity for community members and visitors to engage in the festive spirit and find unique gifts for the holiday season

A New Year’s Eve Celebration With Shemekia Copeland

Mess After New Year Party

The “Shemekia Copeland with Nathan Graham: A New Year’s Eve Celebration” event at The Acorn is scheduled for Sunday, December 31, at 9:00 PM ET (8:00 PM CT). This special holiday jazz celebration features the award-winning blues, soul, and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland, renowned for her powerful and soulful performances. The event will also feature Nathan Graham, known for his soulful music, who will open the show with his full band, setting the stage for a memorable New Year’s Eve filled with exceptional music and celebration.

St. Joe Winter Beer Fest

A Flight Of Different Beers

The 2024 This years St. Joe Winter Beer Fest is scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM in downtown St. Joseph, MI. This annual outdoor event invites both craft beer novices and enthusiasts to sample a wide range of beers from local and regional Michigan breweries. It’s a perfect occasion for those looking to experience the rich and diverse craft beer culture of Michigan while enjoying the winter atmosphere of St. Joseph​

St. Joseph Ice Fest

Train Ice Sculpture

an exciting winter event set for February 2-4, 2024. Located at 301 State St., this festival brings a weekend of frosty fun to downtown St. Joe. Highlights include professional Ice Carving Competitions, a Scavenger Hunt, and a variety of Ice Interactives. The event begins with a Professional Individual Carving Competition on Friday evening, followed by a Fire & Ice Tower. Saturday features a Professional Team Competition and interactive ice activities like Tic-Tac-Toe, Frozen Fish Toss, Ice Bowling, Ice Skee Ball, and Ice Putt Putt Golf. The event concludes on Sunday with a chance to view the completed ice sculptures. Admission to this magical winter celebration is free.

Winter Local Events Home Base

As we conclude our journey through the festive and exciting winter events across Southwest Michigan and Northwest & Central Indiana, remember that these experiences are made even more special with a comfortable stay. Juniper Holiday and Homes offers the perfect accommodations to complement your winter adventures. Whether you’re seeking a cozy retreat after a day of holiday festivities or a convenient base to explore the myriad of events, our properties provide warmth, comfort, and convenience. Book your stay with Juniper Holiday and Homes and immerse yourself in the winter wonders of these vibrant communities, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Aerial View Of A Charlevoix Vacation Rental

Paws and Play: Plan A Pet-Friendly Vacation in Southwest Michigan

The picturesque shores along Lake Michigan—particularly in Southwest Michigan—offer a serene escape for both vacationers and their furry companions. But it’s not just beautiful and fun here, Southwest Michigan is super pet-friendly~

How do we know that’s true?

Because at Juniper Holiday + Home, we understand pets are part of the family and we design our pet-friendly vacation rental services around the idea! We also, just love animals, and so our team is connected to the local area services and activities available for pets. We’re excited to share our ultimate pet-friendly guide for our Lake Michigan destinations. Come experience a Lake Michigan pet-friendly vacation!

When you’re planning a pet-friendly vacation, finding the right place to stay is crucial. At Juniper Holiday + Home, we offer a selection of charming, comfy, elegantly designed vacation rentals that welcome pets with open arms and wagging tails. From cozy cottages to spacious lakefront homes, our properties provide the ideal backdrop for your vacation getaway. Our pet-friendly accommodations include:

  • Dog-friendly beaches nearby for endless adventures
  • Fenced-in yards for off-leash fun
  • Pet-friendly amenities, such as food and water bowls, dog beds, and treats galore
  • Access to nearby trails and parks for exciting walks
  • Friendly neighborhoods who adore pets almost as much as we do
  • Have pet-planning questions? Contact Us for the skinny on nearly everything pet related.

2. Exploring Nature with Your Furry Friend

Southwest Michigan is a treasure trove of natural beauty, and your pet will love exploring the great outdoors. Here are some pet-friendly activities you can enjoy together:

  • Beach Adventures — The sandy beaches of Lake Michigan are perfect for a game of fetch or a leisurely stroll with your pup. Some local beaches even have designated dog-friendly areas where your furry friend can play in the waves.
  • Hiking Trails — Explore the area’s lush forests and scenic trails. For example, Warren Dunes State Park offers pet-friendly hiking trails that wind through diverse landscapes, from sand dunes to woodlands. (And there are many other similar places in the region for you & your dog to roam together!)
  • Pet-Friendly Wineries – Yep, believe it or not, some wineries in Southwest Michigan are super pet-friendly! You can sip on local wines, while your pet lounges in the sunshine. (Be sure to check ahead for pet policies and outdoor seating.)
A Long Coated Australian Shepherd Outdoors

3. Pet-Friendly Dining

After a day of exploring, it’s time to refuel, right? It turns out Southwest Michigan has a growing number of pet-friendly dining options where you and your dog can dine together on outdoor patios.

Cavapoo Dog Sitting on a Dining Chair

Here are links to 20 more pet-friendly restaurants & bars in the region to check out!!

4. Pet Safety and Etiquette

Cute Pug Pet Dog

While enjoying your vacation with your pet, it’s important to be a responsible pet owner. Here are some tips for ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone:

  • Keep your pet on a leash in areas where it’s required.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
  • Be respectful of other guests and their pets.
  • Familiarize yourself with local pet regulations and restrictions.

A little online research can go a long way to ensure a smooth and safe time out with your pup.

5. Relax and Unwind

After a day of adventure, return to your cozy Juniper Holiday + Home vacation rental for some well deserved R&R. Our pet-friendly properties are designed to make you and your pet feel totally at home while out on vacation. Whether you choose to snuggle up by the fireplace or enjoy a glass of wine on the porch, your pet will be right there with you, making memories together.

Yorkshire Terrier Relaxing at the Dog Grooming Spa

Bringing your pet to Southwest Michigan for a vacation, with pet-friendly accommodations, stunning natural beauty, and a warm welcome from the local community, your pet will enjoy the trip as much as you do!

Book your pet-friendly getaway with us today and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Southwest Michigan. We can’t wait to welcome you and your beloved pet to our slice of paradise by the lake!

Happy travels, y’all!

The Wineries of Southwest Michigan: A Guide for Wine Lovers

Enjoying summer at a vacation rental in Southwest Michigan has some perks many out-of-state visitors may not be aware of… not the least of which is the wide variety of amazing, award-winning wines being grown locally at vineyards and wineries both new and old! In fact, this part of the country has not only become recognized and celebrated in the wine world—with Lake Michigan “blessing” the region with longer, warmer, more temperate growing seasons, allowing vineyards to flourish—a collection of 21 distinct wineries and vineyards have been sanctioned the Lake Michigan Shore AVA/American Viticultural Area, or more commonly known as The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.

Wine Barrels stacked

So besides the truly charming beach towns running up and down Lake Michigan’s magnificent stretch of sandy shores, there are also fabulous opportunities to be had for those who savor the thought of a fine glass of wine, some excellent food to accompany it, and the joys to be had from live music, trail walks, or simply reclining in the serenity which a summer day or night affords you.

We’ve gathered here a number of the most popular local Southwest Michigan wineries and vineyards in the vicinity of many of Juniper’s vacation rentals—FYI: some provide winery or vineyard tours, events and tastings—in the hope you’ll take advantage of what they have to offer… since where you’re staying isn’t the only “Piece of Paradise” in the area you can enjoy!

And BTW: Even if you’re new to the world of wine, consider planning a trip to a winery for a tasting tour, not just for exposure to the wide variety of different wine styles each is known for, but also to get out and have some fun! (Mingling at one of the wineries listed below has become one of the favorite summertime experiences Southwest Michigan has to offer, according to many vacationing Juniper guests.)

One last note: Fruitful Vine Winery Tours provides a safe, relaxing and informative
way to visit some of the wineries in Southwest Michigan. You can travel in their luxury 14-passenger coach for a 3-stop tour with lunch or opt for a private party. For details, check out their website: Vino Coach Tour Options – Fruitful Vine Tours

Sampler tray of red and white wines in glasses at winery

Some of Our Favorite Southwest Michigan Wineries

Lemon Creek Winery

Lemon Creek Winery – Tasting Rooms, Vineyard, U-Pick Fruit
533 East Lemon Creek Rd.
Berrien Springs, MI
Tel.: 269-471-1321

Wine Cork From a Lemon Creek Berrien Springs, MI Bottle

Comprising 170 acres of wine grapes and another 60 acres of a variety of fruits, Lemon Creek Winery in Berrien Springs is built on 160 years of grape and fruit growing experience. Set upon rolling clay loam hills and enjoying the moderating effect of Lake Michigan, this winery grows some of the best grapes in Michigan. In fact, the Lemon family established the first commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in the state of Michigan. Their most recent addition is a Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine, which complements their rich and diverse wine selection. Also, their farm-fresh produce is available seasonally — whether you pick your own or shop at their farm market, they’re open daily during fruit season. And yes, both the farm market and Lemon Creek Winery are open seven days a week (see website for times). One more feature: They have live music every Friday night!

Tabor Hill Winery

Winery & Vineyard | Tabor Hill Winery
185 Mt. Tabor Road, Buchanan, MI
Tel.: 269-422-1161

Taborhill Logo

Offering pre-selected flights of wine, an extensive Lake Michigan Shore wine list and cocktail menu, and tasty snack foods (charcuterie boards, chips & dips, etc.) and reserved vineyard seating on Friday – Sunday, Tabor Hill Winery in Buchanan is an excellent choice for your summer “escape from the crowd”! They also feature regular live music events, free trail and vineyard walks, and Vineyard Picnics and Couples Packages. (See website for details.)

White Pine Winery

White Pine Winery
Tasting Room: 317 State Street, St. Joseph, Michigan
Tel.: 269-281-0098

White Pine Winery Logo

Sourcing their award-winning wines from vineyard grapes grown locally in Van Buren and Berrien Counties, White Pine Winery in St. Joseph features some of southwest Michigan’s finest wines and warmest hospitality. Besides their delicious range of reds and whites, which grow particularly well given the lake effect, White Pine recently released a new “summer sipping” wine, a dry rosé called Ladyslipper Blush. BTW, membership is free to join their Wine Club, which provides you with first access to new releases, limited releases and other special wines. Members also get 10% off all club wines and any bottled wine purchases, plus complimentary tastings for themselves and up to 2 friends.

Vineyard 2121

Vineyard 2121 – Winery, Restaurant, Tasting
4110 Red Arrow Highway, Benton Harbor, MI
Tel.: 269-849-0109

Vineyard 2121 Logo

Having established Vineyard 2121 in Benton Harbor in 2015, Jeffrey and Deborah Pallas are proud of the swift success of their “destination getaway,” which invites wine lovers to relax and enjoy a delicious wine tasting experience nestled in a quiet and serene natural environment surrounded by hardwoods and pines. Besides the vineyard, there’s a raspberry farm and three duck ponds (perfect for hosting an outdoor wedding or event). Check out their weekly calendar that includes live music, karaoke and regular Happy Hours, as well as a selective menu of superb wines, as well as tasty ciders and sangria!

An anonymous server pouring a glass of wine to be served to a guest at a restaurant.

Luxury Homes Close to the Wineries

Rolling the Dice: The Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of New Buffalo, Michigan and looking for a bit of fabulous entertainment, head over to the luxurious Four Winds Casino Resort.

Located less than 2 miles from downtown New Buffalo and just off of 1-94, the Four Winds Casino is packed full of fun and entertainment.

First of all, when you stride in through the front doors, you’ll immediately recognize you’re in a classy casino with an upscale resort vibe. And since there’s lots to do and see, it’s highly recommended you take a grand tour of Four Winds – that is, walk around and scope out all they have available. Believe me, you’ll inevitably conclude they’ve fulfilled their mission of “providing something for everyone!“

Slot Machines of Every Kind

When it comes to gaming, they’ve gotcha’ covered, in spades. (Pun intended.) Whether you like to play nickels or $100 machines or anything in between, Four Winds Casino New Buffalo offers a full complement of the latest and greatest progressive slot machines, including some of the area’s biggest jackpots. 

Popular Table Games

If you’re looking for a little more exhilaration and social connection with others, take a seat at one of the many table games they offer. Try your hand at classics like Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat and more. Are you new (or a little rusty) to gaming? Don’t fret! The entire staff of Four Winds dealers are friendly and will be glad to assist you on any game. 

Fine dining desserts at Four Winds Casino New Buffalo

Fine Dining

Now, when you get tired of gaming, stroll on over to Copper Creek, their award-winning restaurant, for some excellent cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood (did anyone say Colossal King Crab legs?), one of the classic cuts from their Premier Steak Collection (how about a Himalayan Tenderloin appetizer or a Kagoshima A5 Wagyu Filet?) or you fancy trying their House Specialty Mediterranean char-grilled pork chop, it’s certain you’ll be going away as satisfied as a King or a Queen! (And yes, they have superbly tasty meal offerings for vegetarians, as well!)

Exceptional Wine Selection

By the way, you may want to consider savoring a glass of wine with your expertly prepared meal. Because the fact is, the Copper Rock wine list is so extensive—over 275 wines by the glass or the bottle—they have received The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 13 years in a row! Plus, be sure to save some room for one of their mouth-watering gourmet desserts! 

Copper Creek also features an excellent bar, where you can sip a pre-dinner specialty martini or an after-dinner cognac.

Three Different Glasses of Wine on A Wood Board
A Person Playing the Guitar on Stage at Four Winds Casino New Buffalo

Live Entertainment

And if you’ve wisely taken time to check out their events calendar in advance, you can then make your way over to the Silver Creek Events Center (also part of the Four Winds Casino New Buffalo), where you’re sure to find some high-quality entertainment in an intimate, acoustically superior venue. They regularly present live concerts from nationally recognized and world-renowned music artists, as well as stand-up comedy from some of the best acts in show business. (Upcoming performers include Melissa Etheridge, The Beach Boys, and Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band).

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: Whether you’re vacationing or visiting in the New Buffalo area, there’s more to enjoy than just the magnificent sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. Just a short drive from most of Lake Michigan’s favorite towns lies a fantastic opportunity to lavish yourself in the beauty, richness and energetic atmosphere of Four Winds New Buffalo Casino. 

Oh, and one last perk: all parking—including valet—is free of charge

So come out to Four Winds for some summertime fun… and don’t forget to bring your lucky charms!

Casino Sign - Four Winds Casino New Buffalo, Michigan

Four Winds Casino Resort

11111 Wilson Road, New Buffalo, MI 49117
Tel: 866-494-6371
Four Winds Casinos | Indiana & Michigan Casinos

Luxury Accommodations Close to the Four Winds Casino

5 Reasons to Book a Lake Michigan Vacation Rental This Summer

Looking ahead to the swiftly approaching days of summer–and what fun-filler times, planned adventures or simple R&R might be beckoning you—here are five excellent reasons to consider booking your summer vacation at any of a number of Juniper’s Lake Michigan beach house rentals.

1) Miles and miles of magnificent beaches

View of Lake Michigan Beach and shoreline

For decades, countless vacationers have known about (and flocked to!) the pristine beaches gracing Lake Michigan, one of North America’s five Great Lakes, with 1600 miles of incredible shoreline. And while “a picture is worth a thousand words” (see the accompanying photos), you should know the Southwest Michigan beaches—particularly where a number of our Juniper vacation rentals are located—are held in especially high regard for their white sand beaches, miles of blue water and, quite often wind-sculpted sand dunes. In fact, Conde Naste Traveler magazine named Oval Beach in Saugatuck one of the top 25 beaches in the world… and in the top 2 freshwater beaches!

2) An amazing range of other outdoor activities (i.e., besides the beach!)

Golf Clubs and Golf Balls

Let’s see, where do we start? How about the region’s largest recreational harbor, with boating, jet-ski and fishing charter rentals available, even yacht cruises? Then there’s woodland, lake and riverside parks with hiking and biking trails galore, plus great opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and plenty of birdwatching. And did you know Michigan has the most public golf courses than any other state in the U.S.? Taking in a round of golf at a superb local course is easy-peasy while you vacation along Lake Michigan’s shores. Then again, there’s always that other optional summertime “activity”: Simply stretching out and relaxing in the peaceful outdoors.

3) Plenty of local & nationally-recognized festivals & cultural events to choose from

Couple Listening To Music In Park

While enjoying your stay at a Lake Michigan beach rental, there are also all sorts of fun and enriching events you can revel in. From renowned summertime art festivals and acclaimed musical artist performances to local weekend farmers markets and Friday Night Concert series, good times abound with wonderful ways to get out and experience the rich culture available in Southwest Michigan. For example, the Lake Bluff Artisan Fair in St. Joseph is a widely popular eclectic array of award-winning artists and craftspeople offering art, décor, jewelry, handcrafted furniture and various crafts, with fair dates in June, July, August and September. And in Saugatuck, you’ll quickly find out why it’s heralded as one of the Midwest’s top art-lover’s destinations and haven for artists. Throughout the summer, art gallery openings and exhibitions there flourish. Oh, you want great live music? Top national and international recording artists regularly play at the historic Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. So get out & have some fun!

4) Wine and craft beer tours through award-winning vineyards and breweries

Grapes on the Vine at a Vineyard

Southwest Michigan includes a wine region (the Lake Michigan Shore AVA/American Viticultural Area) that produces some of the most diverse and flavorful wines you’ve ever tasted, thanks to the “lake effect” weather along the Lake Michigan coastal area. Together, these award-winning wineries make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, a cluster of superb Michigan vineyards, farms and orchards. marked by the gently rolling hills of Michigan’s “Fruit Ridge.” For wine enthusiasts staying at Lake Michigan beach house rentals, there are several wine tours available in the area. Also, for craft beer lovers, the Waypost Brewery in Fennville is a hugely popular local brewery that not only makes a wide variety of craft beers from produce drawn from its 58-acre farm, but they’ve also won a gold medal at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival!

5) The widely acknowledged “chill vibe” of the Midwest

Two Men In Sunglasses Chilling Near Lake

So many of Juniper’s guests who live on either the East Coast or West Coast of the United States remark to us how kind, friendly and accommodating Midwesterners are. Even Insider has written about it: “The Midwest has a rep for friendly people, a relaxed pace of life and a stress-free lifestyle… Indeed, the Midwest is different than the rest of the country. People are genuinely nice and willing to help others.”1

And though there’s less traffic jams, more wide-open space and room to breathe, it’s the slower tempo and more openhearted nature of Midwesterners that add to the chill vibe of vacationing along Lake Michigan.

1Young, Olivia. “Here are 6 Things All Midwesterners Know to Be True” Insider. 10/12/18

Your Guide to Lake Michigan Vacation Rentals

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