A Day Trip Adventure with our Small Weekender

Hey everyone!

To say that Summer 2020 has been a different kind of summer would be a massive understatement.  At the beginning of the pandemic in March, I felt like I was confined inside my four walls, and as a woman always on adventure, I was going a bit stir crazy. Earlier this summer, I found a brilliant solution for my cabin fever and it did not break the bank. 

DAY  TRIPS:  Going on day or overnight adventures close to home was the solution to keep my family safe and sane while still feeding my itinerant nature as a globe trotting  travel bug.  

I yearned to fit in just one more trip before the school year was in full swing.  I put together an agenda and was determined to stick to it. My day started with
an early morning wake up call. The evening before I made sure I had a full tank of gas, tires filled and a clean car (this is so important and over looked too often).  I packed a few snacks, my trusty ole camera, tripod and my well loved journal into my small MAYTA weekender bag.  I headed out, by myself for a change, WELL DESERVED AND MUCH NEEDED for a day of exploring and discovering while catching up on listening to some of my favorite podcasts.  podcasts.  It was invigorating and I found myself happier as I was doing what I do best, networking and meeting new people. It was AWESOME!

My final destination of the day was the 4411 Inn & Suites, a newly renovated landmark motel on the Michigan/Indiana border.  If you're local to the Midwest, you might know that this area of Southwestern Michigan just north of the Indiana state line is popular for weekend getaways.   Visitors can enjoy the region's sandy beaches, breweries and wineries. 

If you're anything like me, a day of road tripping starts with a latte, and I knew exactly where I was headed. Sip Coffee House in Highland, Indiana, a town known for its vibrant colored outdoor wall murals is just a quick 30 minutes from Beverly, and the perfect locally owned place to kick off the adventure. After enjoying my Hornet latte,  the fun continued with taking photos of the wall murals next to the coffee shop.  Click here to learn more about the wall murals in Highland, IN.

*A photo of our small and large MAYTA Collection Moroccan Weekender bags

Next on the agenda, I headed to Munster Donut to pick up a few delicious donuts.  They are using safe measures during COVID-19, I called ahead and ordered a classic chocolate cake doughnut and a sour cream doughnut. If you know me, you know I am a HUGE fan of donuts.  When I go on trips, I always try to find a donut shop to visit (maybe I need to start a donut blog haha).  True to the menu, the sour cream donut tasted just like funnel cake, with just enough crisp and powdered sugar! Fueled by caffeine and sugar, I was ready to start exploring and shopping.

*photo of the delicious sour cream donut with a dusting of powder sugar.

Stop #3:  Blue Pear Mercantile, an independently owned boutique in Crown Point, Indiana. The shop could have doubled as a museum, vintage pieces, textiles, jewelry and prints were carefully laid out. Besides the shop itself being gorgeous, it's a perfect place to buy a housewarming gift, or better yet a gift for yourself.  

*Blue Pear Mercantile - Crown Point, IN

Next up was Aster + Gray, in Valparaiso Indiana. In general, Valparaiso is a great place for families who want a change from the fast paced city for a little while. There is a plethora of places to eat and shop.  In keeping with the current social distancing, you will find that the area provides a quaint and nice place for outdoor picnics or concerts. Aster + Gray is a must-stop for anyone who appreciates women-owned and fair-trade businesses. Nearly every product in the shop is either crafted by a women-owned business or is fair trade.

*Aster + Gray - Valparaiso, IN is a big supporter of Fair-Trade brands

With a newly purchased headband from Aster + Gray in my weekender bag, I headed out of Valparaiso and onward to Michigan City.  But I couldn't leave Valpo without ordering a hot pretzel from Ben’s Soft Pretzels.  These warm pretzels are made from an Amish-inspired recipe and baked-fresh in the bakery every day. 

Finally, arriving to Michigan City. I was slightly disappointed that most of the shops and places I wanted to visit were closed.  Quick Tip:  next time call ahead and see the hours of operation, some businesses have adjusted hours because of Covid-19.  I do encourage you to go and check out a few of my favorites:  Patina Vintage Goods and Line Mullins Group Interior.   They are both women-owned shops in the Art District of Michigan City along Franklin Avenue. 

Last but not least, I arrived right  in time for the 4 PM check in time at 4411 Inn & Suites.  The motel is the perfect location, just minutes from Lake Michigan Beaches, downtown Michigan City, and New Buffalo, MI.  

The landmark motel went through a complete transformation and re-branding to open its doors this summer.   The boutique motel, surrounded by a protected forest preserve has just under 30 rooms, some of which are pet friendly.  The minimalist, midcentury style vibe with splashes of color in each room were comfortably designed by Nadia Gordon Designs

*Accommodations have all modern comforts you would need when staying

Additionally, the outdoor fire pit and sitting area with the bright orange Adirondack chairs makes small gatherings easy and safe.   

*Our small Moroccan Weekender is the perfect size to pack light

It was a successful trip. I hope you enjoyed the ride along and some ideas for new adventures! The best part? No long stretches in the car, everywhere was approximately under an hour away from my previous destination. I am going to be doing more of these, "trip diaries," in the future, so "see you" back out on the road soon!


  • Do you have a special journal or place you keep travel notes or recommendations?
  • Do you listen to podcasts? If so what are some of your favorites?
  • Do you map out your destinations beforehand?
  • What are some of your favorite travel snacks you pack with you?
  • Do you give yourself a certain spend amount on your day trips?
  • Do you have any Fall trips planned that allow you to keep social distancing guidelines?

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