The Riviera of the Midwest (St. Joseph, MI)

December 7, 2018 – One month after completing an escape room in Idaho and finishing my 50 state goal, I was feeling stir crazy.  Between holidays, illnesses, and buying a new car, I’ve been stuck in the suburbs of Chicago every week, with only a quick trip over the border to the Milwaukee area to break things up a little.  This weekend was no different, with a Christmas party and a Blackhawks game to go to.  Still, no snow on the roads and an open Saturday left me feeling ok with getting out of town.

About 15 minutes before hitting the road, I picked a direction: east.  East of Chicago we’ve got plenty of options, like Grand Rapids, Valparaiso, and even Detroit a little bit further.  Christina and I jumped in the car at about 6 PM and started heading southeast.  As I drove, Christina scanned a map for potential destinations, and that’s when we settled on St. Joseph.

On a map, St. Joseph stands out by being right on Lake Michigan, just far enough away from Chicago to feel like a getaway.  It also didn’t hurt that we noticed St. Joseph had two escape rooms in it.  The route from Chicago to St. Joseph also passes through enough moderate-sized towns to give plenty of options for pit stops along the way.

Our trip to St. Joseph had us visit three different escape rooms.  Xscape Quest in Michigan City, IN, Puzzlemental in St. Joseph, and Zoya Escape in St. Joseph.  I’ll be writing about each of those visits separately, but as a quick overview, I was impressed with all three rooms, and I’m glad each business has additional rooms we can revisit.

St. Joseph’s website refers to the town as the riviera of the midwest.  Despite appearing to be built as a summer resort town, St. Joseph was quite active in chilly weather, too.  The beaches were mostly empty aside from a few adventurous fishermen, but the downtown area with its small shops in brick edifices was bustling midday Saturday.  Lots of unique stores give visitors plenty to explore even when the natural sights are less accessible.

The town was well-decorated for Christmas and had some nice promenade areas which would have been fun to walk along when the temperature is above freezing.  We still made a point to get some exploration in around the beach areas.

We wished we had more time to explore the town, but given St. Joseph’s ideal location, it’s likely we’ll be back sooner rather than later, and next time we’ll stay the full weekend.


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