I begin this post as I’m sitting on the rooftop deck of the Marina Grand Hotel in New Buffalo, Michigan. I’m in a place of total peace and relaxation, and I’m grateful. Coming off of an especially hectic prior week, I was looking forward to my escape to New Buffalo. Although a short 2-day trip, I’m leaving refreshed and happy.
I could spend a whole day in the breeze on this rooftop. Watching the owners in the Marina tend to their boats, I imagine their plans for the day. I wonder what would happen if I asked for a boat ride? Hmmm, lol.
My son, my friend Carol, and I arrived in New Buffalo the day before.
New Buffalo, Michigan
New Buffalo, Michigan is a Midwest resort community located on the shores of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Galien River. The town has a population of around 2,000. Although a popular destination for many, especially Chicagoans (the town is an hour and a half drive from Chicago), a great number of those I’ve spoken to state that they’ve never heard of the town or have only passed the city while on the highway, never stopping in.
They’re missing out on this gem!
New Buffalo checks the boxes of what I look for whenever I plan a vacation or a quick getaway;
- A Variety of Good Restaurants
The place is intimate, so it was easy to catch a glimpse of Chef Shen in the kitchen. Not long after I caught a glimpse, Jackie comes hustling out of the kitchen to greet tables of customers. She’s obviously very personable.
We ordered the Belgium waffle, Quiche, Eggs Benedict Benito, and Buffalo Bill. My eggs Benedict was on top of a jalapeno cornbread that had an evenly distributed heat that made for a tasty dish.
At one point after the meal, Chef Jackie came to our table to chat us up and see how we enjoyed our breakfast; very friendly and full of energy. It was a pleasure meeting her.
Lining the walls of the hallway leading to the restrooms are awards and newspaper clippings highlighting her career and achievements. I learned that Chef Jackie Shen is one of Chicago’s original celebrity chefs and was regarded as the Queen of Fusion.
Following breakfast, we headed to the Marina Grand Resort hotel for check-in.
Marina Grand Resort Hotel
The first impression upon entering the lobby of the Marina Grand Resort Hotel was “this place is gorgeous!!!
The two-room suite that was reserved for us was awesome! It had a nice-sized living and dining room, fully stocked kitchen, and a patio off each of the bedrooms.
You can easily sleep up to 8 people between the two rooms.
The resort’s location is ideal for exploring. It’s within a short walk to the beach, restaurants, and shops and Complimentary bicycles are provided for guests.
If you appreciate learning the history of the towns you visit, you may want to stop and take a look at the walking tour map located on the beach. It gives the history of the town and directs you to points of interest. The beach is the starting point of the tour.
Song Sushi: New Buffalo
We headed out for a light lunch at SONG sushi after our bike ride. I’d heard many good things and recommendations for SONG, but it was my first time here. The sushi was yummy and worth the visit.
Galien River County Park
Taking advantage of the beautiful day, we headed to Galien River County Park for a walk. The park consists of 86 acres of mostly wetland with tons of wildlife. It’s an ideal spot to find a bit of tranquility. There are elevated walkways for the visitor to check out the marsh.
Wine Tasting at Promeny Olive & Wine
Wine tasting is always a good idea so we stopped in at Promeny Olive & Wine. They offer unique wines from all over the world and gourmet olive oil. Also located in the shop was Black Dragon Meadery.
My favorite was the Dragon’s Blood made with Michigan cherries. We were the only tasters in the place, so we got the star treatment and a wealth of information about Mead wine. We made several purchases, including Yakut, a dry red from Turkey.
Bentwood Tavern: New Buffalo
Bentwood Tavern, located in the Marina Grand Resort offers artisan comfort American cuisine from Chef Jenny Drilon. I get excited over wood-fired pizza. We started off with a few appetizers and let me just say they were amazing! The soft rosemary sea salt pretzels stood out to me because I’m not crazy about soft pretzels (too heavy). However, I couldn’t get enough of these. They weren’t too heavy or overly salty, and the mustard and aged white cheddar jalapeno dip that came with it was delicious! I highly recommend the soft pretzel! We also enjoyed the fig and prosciutto pizza (Have Mercy!!!!) I’ve often thought about how good that pizza was! The sweet and savory combinations were on point and that crunchy thin crust, ahh!
I also had the Bankok Chicken. The skin was seasoned well and crispy while the inside was moist. The sauce was light and sweet with the heat on the end. The pickled cucumbers were ooooh good too! Let’s just say that I ate myself into a food coma. Crab cakes, goat cheese dip, pizza, pretzels, etc…… No regrets!
After dinner, we headed to the resort’s rooftop to hang out and watch the sunset. This place has it all! High top tables, comfortable furniture. We took our own wine to the rooftop but on Fridays and Saturdays, from 5-10 p.m. there is bar service available there.
Our first day was quite enjoyable!
As stated at the beginning of this post, I started the next morning off early on the fabulous rooftop of the Marina Grand. I’m a bit obsessed with this rooftop!
On my way up I stopped at the hotel’s café to pick up fresh pastries that were prepared the night before. The resort has an on-site pastry chef that makes all kinds of goodies nightly. You can taste the difference when everything is fresh!
Rosie’s Restaurant: New Buffalo
I’d planned on breakfast at Nannis Café but discovered that they were only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…boooo….will have to make a return trip for that. I’ve heard the food is great.
We decided to head to Luisa’s for breakfast instead. I don’t know how but I walked into Rosie’s thinking it was Luisa’s….I was so confused. I didn’t realize it until we were seated and given menus. No worries, it was a Happy Accident, as service was friendly, and our food was good. It was about 90 degrees out, and I ordered chili, lol. It tasted homemade. My Greek salad was very fresh and tasty too. Everyone liked their meal.
New Buffalo Shopping
Lining Whittaker St. are many shops offering unique finds.
We first popped into the T-Shirt Factory. If you’re looking for customized t-shirts, this is your spot. Pick out your shirt and d-cal, and Amir, the owner, will have it applied in minutes.
We next stopped by The Hidden Gem.
Owned by cousins Jessica and Lisa, the eclectic shop showcases many items from local artists.
Warner Vineyard’s Tasting Room
We took a break from shopping to do another round of wine tasting, this time at Warner’s tasting room. We received five tastes for $7; it was money well spent!
Warner Vineyard is the 2nd oldest winery in Michigan, and it’s one of only three wineries that uses all Michigan grapes. Patty greeted us as we entered…I took to her right away because she had Stevie Ray Vaughn blasting overhead.
She’s quite the people person and knows her wine.
Great customer service in this place in addition to many excellent wines. It’s hard for me to pick one favorite as there were several wines that I favored. I loved the 2Cab/Merlot, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. I always have trouble pronouncing Gewurztraminer; Patty teaches her customers to say girls are meaner in order to remember the correct pronunciation, lol, it works!
After leaving our wine tasting, we walked a bit more around town before heading home.
You can’t head out of town before stopping at OINK’S for ice cream. In business for 30 years, OINK’S is a favorite spot. Make sure you take the time the check out the nostalgia explosion inside. So many neat things to bring back recollections of year’s past. There’s also a candy store attached.
OINK’s serves Sherman’s Dairy ice cream. Sherman’s is dear to me because it’s located in the resort town of South Haven, Michigan where I grew up. I spent a lot of time in that place!
In business since 1916, Sherman’s Dairy still makes ice cream the old-fashioned way. I have friends who drive from Chicago to South Haven just for Sherman’s ice cream. It’s that good!
Our visit to OINKS was the perfect way to top off our 2-day getaway.
New Buffalo is a charming, beautiful, laid-back town. This girl was able to slow down, decompress, and enjoy many good moments. Can’t wait to return!
I hope that you create the opportunity to experience this lovely town for yourself. Make sure you share your memories in the comments.
*Although the Marina Grand Resort hosted me, all thoughts and expressions are genuine and my own.