When I was last out to the lakeshore, I stopped at St. Joseph's Silver Beach. This is the beach that is closest to my home, and I have watched the sun extinguish in Lake Michigan from this stretch of white sand many times.
When I was on the Lake Trek, I stopped in at Forever Books in St. Joseph and picked up Daryl T. Schiender's Silver Sands and Golden Memories. This book traces the history of Silver Beach from the early 1900s to the late 1970s. In it, Schiender explores Silver Beach's amusement park that drew crowds from hundreds of miles away. Silver Beach was a destination for many years, the Cedar Point of the early 19th century.
The amusement park and bandstand were all scrapped in the late 1900s, but the beach has been preserved. Recently, a pavilion was added near the river, along with a sculpture.
When I visited this month, I was delighted to find the new carousel was open, and a fountain had been installed by the Whirlpool corporation.
When I drove through St. Joe's sister city on the other side of the St. Joe river -- Benton Harbor -- there were signs of life returning to that downtown. There was a working artists' center and a new coffee shop. Benton Harbor is also spiffing up their beaches with more parking and picnic shelters.