Enjoy a spacious lakefront lot and charming architecture at 13890 Cherry Beach Road in Lakeside
The sweet name, coined and trademarked in the ’80s, denotes eight Michigan towns a mere 90 minutes from Chicago: Michiana, Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Union Pier, Lakeside, Harbert, Sawyer and Three Oaks.
Anything on the lake: Harbor Country boasts about 15 miles of beach, which means there are a lot of options—but they don’t come up that often and they tend to go fast. Even in last year’s stagnant market, two Lakeside lakefront listings sold for $3.1 million and $3.250 million with 232 feet and 159 feet of beach, respectively. Right now, New Buffalo boasts the area’s priciest lakefront property on the market, an 11,000-square-foot Country French mansion with 200 feet of beach for $7.9 million. (Contact Will Schauble, 312-860-4192)
|The Round Barn Winery|
Lakeside: “The beachfront homes have the largest lots here, which means there are less of them,” points out broker Karen Strohl. It also means they cost more. Three are currently on the market, including the town’s largest estate, with 16 acres and a 467-foot-long beach for $8.6 million. (Contact Strohl, 312-368-5347) Perks
Reservations required: The area’s standouts are the Bentwood Tavern in New Buffalo’s Marina Grand Resort (877-945-8600); Timothy’s at Union Pier’s Gordon Beach Inn (269-469-0900); and Soe Cafe in Sawyer (269-426-4878).
Dine as you are: Check out the Whistle Stop Grocery in Union Pier for gourmet takeout. For comfort food, try the Harbert Swedish Bakery in Harbert; Sweet William in Lakeside; Red Arrow Roadhouse in Union Pier; and Redamak’s Tavern, Brewster’s Italian Cafe and The Stray Dog Bar & Grill, all in New Buffalo.
Go local: Locavores will adore the Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant in Buchanan and The Round Barn Winery in Baroda. In Three Oaks, don’t miss Dinges’ Farm’s fresh produce, Journeyman Distillery’s spirits and Drier’s Meat Market’s homemade sausages, bologna and bacon.
Antiques buffs have rich hunting grounds that include highly touted new kid on the block Trilogy Antiques & Design in Three Oaks; The Plum Tree in Union Pier; It’s a Breeze, Charm Cottage and Lakeside Antiques in Lakeside; and Marco Polo and Harbert Antique Mall in Harbert. For home furnishings, hit Lovell & Whyte in Lakeside and Mix & Mingle in New Buffalo; and for edgy womenswear, head to French Twist in Three Oaks.
|Trilogy Antiques & Design|
Sun and Surf
Many beaches are private, except for New Buffalo Public Beach and the road-end beaches in Union Pier, Lakeside, Harbert and Sawyer. So pick a B&B with beach rights, like Gordon Beach Inn or The Inn at Union Pier (both near the water), Pine Garth Inn or Sandpiper Inn (both directly on the beach), or rent a cottage.
With 3,000 state-of-the-art slot machines, including highlimit versions with million-dollar jackpots, Four Winds Casino Resort (866-494-6371; fourwindscasino.com) in New Buffalo rivals the big boys in Las Vegas. But the lodgelike resort, tucked away on a long, tree-laden drive, reminds us more of a spacious log cabin, which makes it a lot easier on the nerves and far more fitting for laid-back vacationers.
New Buffalo: Near the Amtrak station and a block off the beach, the one approximately 5,000-square-foot luxury townhome left in Light Harbor Moorings is a deal at $1.15 million, down from around $1.6 million. (Contact Debbie Jacobson, 305-790-9876) And at Summerhill on Red Arrow Highway by Route 12, the charming classic four-bedroom cottage that’s on the market for $329,000 is a precursor of what’s to come—a community of 50 to 60 single-family homes with a pool and nature center; lots start at $59,000. (Contact Will Schauble, 312-860-4192)
Three Oaks: In a sweet little burg dotted with gingerbread Victorians, the six light-filled luxury lofts above the Featherbone Factory building (205 Generations Dr.) are a surprise. Options range from 1,800–2,400 square feet and $295,000–$399,000. (Contact Ron Zarantenello, 312-835-4433)
Riviera Homeowners Association: This section of New Buffalo is known for its pristine beach and huge, lake-hugging homes. For the past five years, broker-turned-developer Teri Maki has been building quintessential Cape Cods and furnishing them if buyers desire. They’re all about 3,200 square feet, have four bedrooms and three baths and range from $1.2 –$1.4 million. She’s just finishing number four in this area and starting number five with Chicago firm Hancock + Hancock Inc. (Contact Maki, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Big Ticket Brokers
Nora Duffy, Sotheby’s International Realty, 269-469-3729; sothebys
Will Schauble, Prudential Rubloff Properties, 312-860-4192; rubloff.com
Karen Strohl, Prudential Rubloff Properties, 312-368-5347; rubloff.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JASON MERRIT/GETTY IMAGES (CUSACK); TAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES (AXELROD)