This series by guest contributor Blagica Bottigliero covers the gorgeous area of Southwest Michigan known as Harbor Country. Eight towns along Red Arrow Highway come together to create a magical world of food, nature, serenity and history.
When I first began visiting Harbor Country, I noticed the sign to Sawyer, but only associated it with Warren Dunes State Park. After becoming a frequent visitor and, now, a local, I’ve learned that Sawyer has succeeded in carving its own fun niche in Harbor Country.
When you look at a Google map of Sawyer, you’ll notice quite a bit of green:
That’s because Sawyer is home to one of not only Southwest Michigan’s, but also the entire state’s treasures: Warren Dunes State Park. At over 1900 acres, Warren Dunes State Park combines the dunes, the beach and the woods in one breathtaking setting. Starting in Memorial Day, BBQs, campsites and hikers begin piling into the park.
To be honest, it’s hard to decide which way to go when you visit Warren Dunes. You can spend your day lounging at the beach and taking in the waves. Or, you can race your friends up the dunes, stand back and gaze across Lake Michigan. Then again, you can take advantage of the campsite areas at The Dunes and make a day out of it.
Depending on the time of year, would you like to try hunting? How about cross-country skiing?
Warren Dunes has everything your outdoor heart desires. There is also a small ice cream/hot dog stand at The Dunes, Licks Sweet Treats & Eats.
After all of the hiking, swimming and dune scaling, I’m sure you’re hungry. Did you know that Sawyer has a fantastic brewery? Yep, it does.
Down the road from Warren Dunes is Greenbush. Home to not only its own craft beers, but also a seasonal menu that keeps locals and visitors swarming in. Families will love the kid-friendly atmosphere, too. I still dream about the kale salad I devoured last summer.
Depending on the time of year you go (cough cough, summer), you are invited to go across the street to Greenbush’s lovely annex. What’s in the annex? Great question.
First, take in the smartly designed gear featuring the Greensbush logo. I have a favorite t-shirt I’ve wanted to buy, but it’s always sold out. People love the logo that much. Turn right and pick up some cheese and meat, a smart option to enable fans to nosh and sip brew, should the restaurant across the street be too busy.
If craft brews aren’t your thing, how about shopping? Enter the Sawyer Home & Garden Center. The freshest Michigan produce is here year round. And let’s not stop at produce. Sawyer Home & Garden Center has everything you need. From fruits, veggies, groceries, lawn decor, household goods, purses, clothes, toys and your favorite Big 10 souvenir, Sawyer Home & Garden Center goes on forever. You’ll find yourself turning a corner and thinking, ‘There’s more?’ Oh yes, much more. One of our favorite places to visit and be surprised by finds.
Other fun shopping includes Go Fish, Sawyer Market, Catherine Doll Clothing and Marmalade Boutique.
And we’re still not done. I tired you out. You need a caffeine jolt. Easy. Walk over to Infusco Coffee Roasters for some perfectly brewed java and pastries.
I’m glad you are here, Sawyer. The combination of majestic nature with the Dunes, coupled with the neighborhood camaraderie near Greenbush and the Garden Center keeps us coming back.
Pssst…please don’t ever get rid of that kale salad.
About Blagica Bottigliero
Blagica (blah-gee-tsa) Bottigliero
After 20 years in Chicago, I moved back to my home state of Michigan, specifically Harbor Country. We love sharing the finds and treasures from this little corner of the Midwest. Find out more: @HarborCountryLife