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Bridgman, MI and Warren Dunes State Park—6 miles trails

With an open Sunday, my “Sunday afternoon drive” took me to Bridgman, Michigan and the Warren Dunes State Park area. The first stop of the afternoon was The Tapistry Brewing Company. Located on the main street of Bridgman, there was plenty of street parking available. Upon entering the building, I was surprised at how busy it was for an early Sunday afternoon. You seat yourself between a mixture of high pub tables, regular tables, or even couches with board games nearby. The brewery makes their beer next door and also offers a small dining menu. They have a wide variety of 20 rotating beers on tap and they are separated into 3 tiers. Each tier is a different price point ($4/$5/$6 for a pint and $10/$15/$20 for growlers) or a flight of 5 for $10. The bartender quickly brought me a flight and I enjoyed the tastings. As a bonus, I could not decide on just five, so the bartender brought two free samples over as well. With outside seating in the summer season, and two other breweries in town, it would be a fun town to do some beer tasting.

The next stop was for lunch just a few storefronts down at Lake Street Eats. L.S.E. is a small, rustic New American restaurant that offers a full bar service and a decent craft beer selection. Prices were reasonable for the food and drinks. There are only enough spots for approximately 40 people making it nice and cozy. Seated by the front door, it appeared everyone was in a friendly mood and everyone knew each other. The server promptly came over and explained their menu and happy hour details. I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms with herbed sausage and gorgonzola sauce, and also a cup of the soup of the day (crumbled steak and sliced potato soup). Both came out quick and were nicely garnished, almost making me feel bad to eat them….almost. I really enjoyed both of them, making this restaurant also worthy of a return trip.

Photo courtesy of Lake Street Eats

After checking out a brewery and a restaurant, the next part of the adventure was to exercise. To accomplish this, I headed for the Warren Dunes State Park. A Michigan Recreation Passport is needed, or if you are out of state, the daily entrance fee is $9. A campground is located within the park. In the summer, this park is jam packed, but on this day there were only a handful of cars due to the fog and light rain, meaning the park was mine for the taking! And an adventure it was. The fog was thick making it hard to see too far in front of you. Compared with hiking around the Indiana Dunes, I felt the signs for the trails were lacking and on more than a few occasions I had to guess what direction to take as there were several paths that branched off. Luckily, I downloaded the hiking trail map to my phone from the park’s website before starting this adventure. I started by walking the beach/lakefront past the parking lots to Point 1. Due to the fog and light rain, the shorter 2 mile loop was chosen. This route led past Mount Randall (which climbs over 200 feet making it one steep dune to climb), through some woods, and past some dune blowouts. Although only 2 miles, this route was moderately challenging but also offered some picturesque views even on a foggy and rainy day. I like to run, but the knee bending climbs made me quickly realize that hiking dunes is a different animal as I was quickly catching my breath. I’d like to return on a clear day and to finish the entire six mile hike. Even with the fog and the rain, the hike was still enjoyable and it is easy to see why this park is a favorite summertime destination.

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