So excited to share this New Buffalo trip with you all. I’ve never planned a day trip from Chicago before and we didn’t plan it out a ton so seeing as how well this went, for the most part, was a relief!
HOW WE GOT THERE:
My friend Katie and I had been meaning to explore more of Michigan since it’s not super far and she’s from the state originally so we thought why not start with a day trip to New Buffalo! Turns out there is an Amtrak train that drops you off right in the heart of the downtown area. It was so easy getting there – only a few hours away and no having to switch lines or anything. As some of you may have seen on Instagram Stories, traveling back the way we came wasn’t an option due to unforeseen circumstances. Turns out it was a rare event according to one of my friends who uses that exact train to get to Chicago from Michigan. So we Uber’d back since it was our only option late at night which ended up being a little pricey but split between people is not super far off from a train ticket. Definitely get on an early morning train just in case so you can leave earlier in the day to come back.
WHERE WE DRANK:
Since we were car-less and arrived in the late afternoon we didn’t go to any wineries/vineyards but we did go to tasting rooms who also have vineyards in other parts of Michigan. We visited two wine tasting rooms while in New Buffalo: Promény and Warner. Promény had wine, olive oil, and even mead (sweet honey wine)! I’ve never had mead before and I actually really liked some of the options I tried, like the Peach one…which is saying something since I don’t normally like peach-flavored items. Warner was nice enough to take us in even though we came in right at the end of the day. Definitely worth it, the woman working was so knowledgeable and sweet! Their wines were also pretty good too, even touting a champagne that is served in the White House thanks to President Gerald Ford’s influence.
This next spot was definitely a highlight of the trip, a newer spot in town too. Beer Church Brewery, a brewery housed in a — you guessed it — old church. It’s so funky inside and the patio is the reason to stay a bit. They have unique offerings too like Chocolate Oreo stouts and one of my top two drinks of the day: Old Fashioned flavored seltzer. Sounds weird but trust me I wish I could buy it in Chicago. They even top it with Luxardo cherry juice! The brewery also makes for a good photo op too 😉
WHERE WE ATE:
Along with the tasting rooms, we also visited a couple eateries too! First stop was Oink’s Dutch Treat – a famous ice cream shop in New Buffalo. They have tons of unique flavors…plus the shop is adorable, filled with pig figurines everywhere! It was the last day they’d be open for the season before closing for winter so we knew we had to get there before a line formed. I tried the OOO-Peppermint one with Oreos. SO GOOD! I want to find a similar version for the holiday season, feel like it would be delicious on top of a chocolate pie or something. Definitely a good place for a pic too – many choices, inside and out!
The big highlight of the trip was The Stray Dog though. I LOVE this place – the atmosphere, the food, drinks, apparel…everything! A family friend has a place a little outside New Buffalo on the Indiana side and whenever we’d go up there I’d beg to make the trek out to come here (Oink’s too). It has such an East Coast vibe, preppy, and they have a rooftop that’s open in the warmer months. We tried a bunch of food and drinks there this time and there were definitely a few standouts. As for drinks, the favorites were the Hugo Spritz with elderflower, orange, lemon, lime, and rosemary, the Cucumber Martini with elderflower and lemon, and the Zucchini Bread Martini with vanilla Stoli, spiced zucchini syrup, and topped with heavy whipping cream. Guys. The Zucchini Bread Martini is CRAZY good! It’s the favorite of the staff’s and it was 100% our favorite too. Tastes like Christmas! I wanna attempt to recreate this at some point.
As for food, everything was delicious! We had the caprese flatbread with pesto, tomatoes, balsamic, and fresh mozzarella, cheese curds, their famous mahi mahi tacos, and the smokehouse burger with bacon, gouda and an onion ring. Favorite for me was the flatbread!
The Stray Dog also has a gear shop right across from the restaurant filled with shirts, glassware, and even scrunchies! I got a shirt here a while ago but this time I snagged a comfy sweatshirt (which you’ll see in my next Michigan travel post where I go to the wineries around the area) and a glass similar to the water glasses in the restaurant with their mascot, Jack, on it.
Hope you enjoyed this recap and if you have any questions, leave them below or let me know on social. Stay tuned for part 2 of the New Buffalo adventure, next time in wine country.
See you in the next post!