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Showing posts from 2011

Small Business Saturday, The Christmas Tree

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Pretty much everyone has heard of Black Friday. And many people have heard of Cyber Monday. But "Small Business Saturday" is a new retail campaign that's just getting started. I'm a big fan of Small Business Saturday because I believe in buying local and supporting the Michigan economy. So yesterday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went shopping. Locally.

I'd been meaning to get out to see The Christmas Tree shop in Benton Harbor for some time now but I just never made time to do it. Until yesterday. Yesterday I made a point of driving out to The Christmas Tree shop to see what the store had to offer. I already have my Christmas tree up and decorated. The theme is "St Joseph". I have lots of nautical and carousel ornaments, a few Chicago, St Joseph, and Saugatuck ornaments, a handful of beachy ornaments, and a nice collection of glass balls to add to the mix. I'm always on the lookout for more ornaments in keeping with my theme and that's wha…

RyeBelles of St Joseph

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Last evening D and I had the pleasure of dining at St Joseph's newest restaurant, RyeBelles. It opened last week and this is the first opportunity we had to check it out. RyeBelles is located at 518 Broad Street, on the 2nd level just above Bloomies and Cabanas.

You enter here and can take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor. RyeBelles is on the right and the Cassava Restaurant is on the left.

As soon we entered the restaurant we were greeted by the hostess and seated immediately. The first thing we noticed about RyeBelles was that it's a "bring your date" restaurant not a "bring your kids" spot.

The place is tastefully decorated in a subtle, dark, intimate way. With its black ceiling, dark wood walls, and dim lighting (we arrived just at 5pm as they were dimming the lights), it sets the mood for a relaxed dining experience. And in the middle of the room, making a statement by taking up most of the room, is the bar.

We were seated near the promin…

We Have a Candlestick Maker in St Joe

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St Joseph has a butcher, a baker, and as of April 2011 they have a Candlestick Maker too. We have none other than owner and operator, Judi Benninghoff to thank for that.
The Candlestick Maker shop is located at 408 State Street in downtown St Joseph, across the street from St Joseph Today. There is street parking available in front of the store or you can park in a free parking lot just a few doors south of the store.

The first thing you'll notice when you enter the shop is a wonderful scent. That comes from the wide array of fragrances available for sale. There are many scented oils and scented candles... and holders and diffusers to display them.

In addition to the scented items, The Candlestick Maker features a great selection of nautical decor items at very reasonable prices. What better place to grab a souvenir while you're visiting a Lake Michigan harbor town?

It goes without saying that the shop also has "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" as well.…

The Butterfly House

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The Sarett Nature Center has a butterfly house on their grounds. It's open late summer and into the fall.
I have only been to one other butterfly house (and that a long time ago in a shopping mall) so I didn't know what to expect.

It turns out, this butterfly house is much larger than the one I was to previously.

And it has lots more types of butterflies too! We weren't able to see all of these types of butterflies but we did see 10 of them, only missing out on the Viceroy, and Common Buckeye.

The butterfly house consists of a large screened in area with flowers, bushes, small trees, and a water pond.

The water pond had a few fish in it.

But let's face it, the main attraction is the butterflies. There were A LOT of them and they were easy to see and photograph. Sort of like shooting fish in a barrel, lol!

Photographers who enjoy shooting butterflies will have a field day here. The butterflies are numerous and they land on lovely flora making for beautiful pictures. I t…

Sarett Nature Center

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There is a fall color show going on all throughout southwest Michigan these days. I'm always on the lookout for great pics of fall colors so D and I headed over to the Sarett Nature Center with that goal in mind.

This was our first trip to Sarett so we began with a stop at the main building to pay our admission fee ($6/person including admission to the butterfly house) and get a map.

There are some interesting exhibits inside the main building including a few live animals and few stuffed ones. You can also gaze out the big windows at birds, chipmunks, and squirrels feeding and playing.

I'm fascinated with owls so this figure really appealed to me.

But enough with the inside displays. We were looking for fall color! The docent recommended two trails to us. One trail went to "the overlook" which gives you a treetop view of the surrounding forest, the other trail went down into the marshy area where there are wildflowers to be found.

The trail to the overlook was very e…

Goodbye Venetian Festival

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I'm sad to think that I've attended the last of St Joseph's Venetian Festivals. The festival organizers have decided to call it quits after a survey of St Joseph residents and shop owners indicated they were not in favor of the city continuing financial support of the event.

I wish I understood what this was about. All the comments I've read (in local newspapers and online) were rather vague about what the problems were. I guess it doesn't matter now. What's done is done. It seems a real shame that the issues/differences couldn't be worked out.

For me, the Venetian Festival marked the middle of summer. With it came the longest days, the hottest weather... the very best that summer in Southwest Michigan had to offer. It was the climax of summer in St Joseph. I will miss the festival. I have fond memories and lots of great pictures and for that I'm grateful.

Quite Possibly the Best Bowl of Soup in Town

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I really enjoy being surprised by how good a restaurant is. Sadly, it doesn't happen all that often. But it happened to me today!

It was cloudy and rainy much of this day and D and I were in search of a good bowl of homemade soup. I've tried the soups at various restaurants around town and honestly, I've mostly been disappointed. I'm not a big fan of reconstituted soups and that seems to be what most restaurants are serving these days. I especially appreciate a good bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. But where can you get one?

It's important to know where to go for a good bowl of chicken noodle soup, you know what I mean? Like when you feel like you're coming down with a cold or the flu or when you've been out in the damp cold for too long and you've got a chill you just can't shake. There's nothing like a good bowl of chicken noodle soup to warm you up from the inside out. A real bonus is when that soup is served with a smile.

I found a grea…