Know Your Coast - That’s ‘Bridgman’ — No ‘e’
But There’s Nothing Else Missing Here
Julie Dean Kessler
We know – the “e” is missing in Bridgman. You’d have had to take up the issue with long-ago lumberman George Bridgman (see?), who with two other fellows co-founded the area’s biggest sawmill back in the day, meaning 1856.
Bridgman platted the town and forward-looking folks won a petition to become a city, small and pretty. We love it when we can rhyme!
With Lake Michigan only a mile away, it was silly to worry about low water in the town wells. Somebody realized a whole lot of sand makes a good filtering medium, so a deep-sunk lake water system was devised so that today, those pesky zebra mussels have to go elsewhere.
Anyway. Weko Beach became an award-winning beach and campground. Plus the town is committed to keeping its creeks and lakes clean – they’ve put all kinds of ways for us to be environment-friendly, too, at www.bridgman.org.
All of which is very well, but does it get any shopping done? Gad!
The shopping surprise is Sandpiper Flowers & Gifts. You can order and take home flowers, sure, but its gift shop isn’t your ordinary collection of garden faeries and bird houses. There are lots of locally crafted items, which we adore bringing home and bragging that it can be found only at this fabulous little place. The items? Everything from sweaters (!) to salad bowls -- and those are made from recycled woods. Makes us feel good.
Nearby, the charming little Rideout Antiques has “a little bit of everything,” a rushed saleswoman hastily told us. Next door is a new shop, Lake Street Antiques and Collectibles, as proper-looking as its name. There’s even a real Ben Franklin Five and Dime store.
If you’re up and about early, Eric’s Bridgman Café is known for its breakfasts, as is Sammies – omelets, pancakes …yum! Brunch-lovers, Olympus Restaurant serves up traditional American fare. No TV, and it’s downright peaceful, even with kids, who are welcome.
Diehard Chicago Cubs fans, take note: The Getaway Grille and Cubbie Bar staunchly hopes for a joyous October. Good food and a fun atmosphere have made this a top sports bar in the area. While waiting for a Ryne Sandburger or Chicago-style hot dog, you can quiz the help with Cubs trivia for a chance to win a free meal. Put on your Cubs hat and go hang out with other believers.
Hungry for nostalgia? At Mikey’s Drive-In, the servers take your order while you crank up “Born to Be Wild” and wait for the food to be delivered to your car window.
You can cool your Cubs fever at Youn’s Yogurt Shoppe, offering regular and frozen yogurt seven days a week. And they have hand-dipped ice cream from Schwan’s.
But for an all-out dine-out on the town, it’s D’Agostino’s Italian Restaurant and Navaho Bar. With 11 p.m. and midnight weekend closing times, you can meet over appetizers and be in love by the last call. Hey! It happens!
D’Agostino’s is known for its chicken piccata, lasagna, and hand-tossed pizza. We love the white tablecloths and Thursday-night $1 drafts in cold mugs – not sure they’ve even heard of red Solo cups.
Back at Weko Beach, mark your calendar for the Sept. 29 “Toast the Coast,” a beer-tasting festival celebrating award-winning Michigan beers. Under a big tent you can sip samples or hoist mugs of great brews, enjoy chefs’ cuisines and gaze out over the bluff at Lake Michigan while live music plays. Check
www.wekobeachbrewersfest.com for details.
“The beach is one of the big draws,” says John Pappas, a water operator for the city and a big fan.
“It’s a beautiful little town, a quaint little city that’s upgraded as much as possible. Everybody seems to enjoy themselves.
“We even have a street dance in July to raise money for the fire department helmets and equipment.”
“Everybody’s welcome here, too.”
That’s it. We’re there next weekend!
4205 Lake St,
City of Bridgman
Restaurant & Navajo Lounge
8970 Red Arrow Hwy
Getaway Cubbie Bar
9478 Red Arrow Hwy.
9096 Red Arrow Hwy.
9735 Red Arrow Hwy.
4369 Lake St.
9713 Red Arrow Hwy.
Sammie’s Family Restaurant
9804 Red Arrow Hwy
Flowers & Gifts
4217 Lake St.
Weko Beach Campground
5239 Lake St.
Youn’s Yogurt Shoppe
4514 Lake St.
Julie Dean Kessler is a freelance writer who has received 35 awards in journalism including the Mark Twain Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing from the Associated Press. She also holds a master’s degree in social work, writes poetry, and tends an extensive deck garden.