West Michigan… rockin’

16 Jan

With my current flexible schedule and penchant for extreme organization, cleaning, and cooking, I find myself in Saint Joseph, Michigan. (I say this without shame or worry that my feminism shall be questioned, though I must admit that I did set and clear the table for my Uncle John without nudging for his assistance, which perhaps I would have done if I was more assertive about behavior change, even for senior citizens…)

I’m here as an emissary from Ann Arbor. Sent by my mother, after I offered. (Because who can’t offer to relocate their home ec plans when they’re a free bird with a bit of compassion for  family?) I’m staying with my Aunt Linda, who has not been well. Really I’m just hoping to be more of a help than a hindrance and realizing that as different as Saint Joseph may be from A2, I kind of like it.

CON: The suburbs of St Joe are pretty boring to run around. Large one-mile square tracts of cul-de-sacs and dead end drives, row in and row out, with a train track to break up the story. An older gentleman (average age for these parts, in my brief survey of drivers at 10am) almost killed me turning right on a red. (Okay, exaggeration, but his reaction time didn’t even come into play before I dodged his car and crossed the street.) The landscape is grassy and cold because it’s January in Michigan. This is just not ideal running.

PRO: The town has a quaint main drive with brick restaurants and small shops. I love small towns and quaint shops where everything is walkable. Points for urban planning commission!

PRO: St Joe’s downtown has 3 beaches on the grand ol’ Lake Michigan! Three! Not bad for a  3.2 sq. mile town. The beaches have nice paths and park benches and were surprisingly inviting despite the windy day. My cousin Phil gave me quite the driving tour with Lynn and Reagan along for the ride, and it worked. Golf course (I don’t golf!), running paths, Whirlpool’s latest company building, all impressive and exciting. The man should be a salesman. He’d give missionaries Fred and Carrie a run for their money on the Portland recruitment initiative.

The new background on my phone, thanks Phil.







PRO: Water Street GelatoWorks. (Technically in Benton Harbor, but since you can pretty much throw a stone from one town to the other I shall include it.) This awesome gelato shop is a non-profit affiliated with a glass blowing studio and school (Water Street Glass Works). I stopped in because I’d heard of it through an old YMCA friend who worked their once. I was blown away by the art and delicious low-fat* dessert. (*Well, technically it has a lower percent of dairy fat than regular ice cream, but I’m not sure if that really qualifies it as low-fat.) Whoever decided to teach kids the art of glass blowing AND how to be little entrepreneurs is pretty clever. Kudos to GlassWorks.

3 to 1. Good job St Joe. Well played.


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