The tiny crossroads town of Bristol (population: 1,600) offers a day’s worth of fun activities.
At Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard, owners Michelle and David Muir grow fruit, traminette grapes and other regional varietals on their 1852 family farm. Sip free samples in the hilltop tasting room; the award-winning Noiret red, Merlot and apple-cherry wines are standouts (bottles cost $10.99 to $16.99). In warm weather, the balcony provides seating overlooking the scenic vineyards.
Inside Stone Soups Emporium, Paul Guzman scoops ice cream by hand at the 1930s-era Bonnie and Clyde’s Soda Fountain counter, while Bonnie Barrett delights customers with homemade brownies and Hawaiian chicken salad sandwiches. The businesses share an 1841 building that once served as a general store. A few doors down is the 129-year-old Bristol Opera House, where visitors can catch performances by the Elkhart Civic Theatre troupe and maybe even meet the resident ghost. Nearby, the historic 1832 Bonneyville Mill anchors a surrounding park and still produces stone-ground flour.
Fluid Fun rents canoes and kayaks for paddling on the St. Joseph River, and during Amish Country’s annual summer Quilt Garden Tour, the front lawn of the Elkhart County Historical Museum blooms with Bristol’s only living tapestry.