This weekend my husband and I decided to set out on a short road trip into South Haven, Michigan to celebrate our Valentines Day weekend. If it hadn’t been for the amazing food, great hotel and cool sights, this trip would have turned out to be a total disaster.
When we woke up the morning of our trip, I went to let the dog outside like I do every other morning, however when I opened up the door I was hit by a rush of cold air and a face full of snow. SNOW. . Nooooo! The weather man had called for only 1-3 inches all day, but from the looks of it, we were already blowing past three inches and it was only 7 am. I ran over to my phone and quickly opened up my weather app.
Seriously? I went into the bedroom to tell my husband. “Should we cancel our trip?” I asked him. “We can make it” he said “we’ve already paid for the hotel room.”. So we continued with our plans and waited for our babysitter to arrive. Truly, if I had known how bad the snow was actually going to get, I would have stayed home. Nothing is worth putting your life in danger for, but we both thought that the storm would pass and decided that we would just take it slow on the drive. After all, we were in no hurry.
As we headed down the highway on our road trip towards South Haven everything started out great. I love the feeling of driving along the open road. I sat staring out the window as we passed by tree after tree and a few old farm houses, it was peaceful and regenerating. However, after about an hour on the road, the weather took a turn for the worse. The snow began blowing so hard that we could no longer see where we were going. There were moments of complete white out’s when we weren’t even sure if we were still on the road anymore. We both started to panic. Heed my warning, lake effect snow is NOTHING TO MESS WITH.
As we finally reached the exit for South Haven (in double the amount of travel time we were expecting, but thankfully alive and without any damage to our car) we headed to our first stop, a winery just outside of town. By this time, I was looking forward to something to curb my nerves and relax my white knuckles. This did the trick and allowed us a moment to re-collect ourselves. After turning past the sign and driving down a long snow covered road, we found ourselves peering through the blizzard at a beautiful newly built building surrounded by white covered vineyards.
The setting was lovely and I could only imagine how even more lovely this place would be in the summer (I know I’ve got to come back!) As we walked in the door we were greeted by the smiling faces of the two owners, quite a few other patrons who were just as friendly and the most adorable little pup who came running over wagging his tail. In the fireplace a warm fire was burning and surrounding it were several comfortable looking chairs. We decided that we would try and wait out the storm here. Plus, if for any reason the storm didn’t pass, we at least knew we were in a good place.
After taste testing a few of the vineyards wines, I settled down with a glass of my favorite dry white and watched the fire burn in the fireplace. Outside the window I could see nothing but white as the blizzard continued to dump snow all around us. The owners were kind enough to help us pass the time by showing us around the bottling room and telling us about how the wine here is made. I was pleased to find that they make their own wine and grow all their own grapes (when it’s not snowing outside, of course). It was fun to hear their story and learn that this winery is a labor of love between the two owners (husband and wife) and a lifelong dream of theirs. This winery reflects their love and appreciation for what they do.
When the snow finally took a breath, we took our chance to drive downtown and find our hotel. The Old Harbor Inn was luckily situated perfectly in the middle of the downtown businesses. This was handy because after parking the car we had no intention of driving anywhere again until the snow had completely ended. The weather man again predicted that the snow should stop around 3PM. Ok, we thought, we will just wait it out in our hotel room and then we will go exploring the city. At least it was a beautiful room, newly redesigned and decorated.
As 3 PM came and passed, the snow only intensified. Looking out the hotel room window I was heartbroken. We were getting snowed in on Valentines Day. I know that most of you wouldn’t see this as a bad thing, but I had a full list of things I wanted to see and do while I was in the area. Plus, after the stressful drive, my only company was fast asleep on the bed. As 5 PM rolled around I finally woke my husband and talked him into bundling up and heading out on foot to find dinner. I had heard about a really great restaurant called TASTE that I couldn’t wait to try out.
The weather outside was still blustery and frigid (well into the negative digits), but luckily we had come prepared with our winter gear of snow pants, hats, gloves and boots. We both bundled up to the point of barely being able to move and headed out the door. By the time we made it over to TASTE my legs were completely frozen and I didn’t look as pretty as I would have liked for my Valentines Day dinner. I had hat hair, a runny red nose and snow crystals stuck in my eyelashes. Luckily, my husband never really pays attention to the way I look anyways (in a good way).
After a long day of travel and having not eaten all day because of the storm I was hungry. I ordered more than my fair share of food, but at least this way I could taste test more of the menu, right? Plus, ordering several different small plates is what TASTE is all about. They purposefully created their menu to give people a chance to taste smaller portions of more meals, or to share a plate among friends by offering appetizer style meals. I ordered the BBQ pulled pork and Mac n Cheese. My husband ordered the fish tacos. When the food arrived, we decided to share everything and put all three plates in the middle. Each meal was fantastic! We almost ordered more to take back to the hotel with us in case we couldn’t get back out later.
After arriving back to the hotel at 6PM, we decided to call it a night. The weather was getting so bad and COLD that we couldn’t stand to be outside for more than a few minutes at a time and driving in the car anywhere was completely out of the question. My husband once again decided to take this opportunity to catch up on rest and within minutes was back asleep. I sat up watching the food channel and the window, waiting for a break in the storm. Around 3am the storm finally broke and the winds slowed. From outside my window the roads looked peaceful and the slow glistened in the street lights. My husband, who had been sleeping for HOURS, finally woke up and we decided to head out into the street to explore by moonlight.
As you can see, travel doesn’t always go as planned. Even though the snow tried to ruin our plans, we still had a great time because the businesses and people in South Haven are exceptional. They are the ones who make this an awesome place to visit. I would come back to South Haven any time of the year, but next time I want it to be in the summer (this place looks like it would be AMAZING in the summer).
Tomorrow is another day in South Haven and the weather is calling for NO SNOW! I simply cannot wait to explore the things I came to see like the lighthouses, lake Michigan and a few other stops.
To be continued. . . . 🙂