Hot off the minds of Midwest travel writers: a fresh look at where to eat, drink, play and stay around the region as the weather warms.
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Edina Minnesota Mr.Paul's Supper Club
Credit: Chris Emeott for Edina Magazine

Eat & Drink

Get Jazzed, Edina, Minnesota

Strike up the band! Executive Chef Tommy Begnaud opened the doors to Mr. Paul's Supper Club in December. The restaurant in Edina's swinging 50th and France district features several dining areas and two bars, plus a "side-door emporium" called Mr. Paul's Po' Boys and Jams for takeaway fare. The restaurant's playful-yet- sophisticated style is a reflection of Begnaud's grandfather, Mr. Paul. The menu nods to Begnaud's Louisiana roots with a medley of elevated Midwest supper club dishes and New Orleans-inspired fare. Think duck and andouille gumbo, mussels, crawfish étouffée, and a selection of steaks and chops. Wash it all down with the specialty house cocktail, Mr. Paul's Supper Club Sazerac.

Local Roots, Kohler, Wisconsin

After a four-year development process, The Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery has released its first Brut 2019 Sparkling Wine—one of only a few Midwest bubblies that's made using the laborious French méthode ancestrale. "Wisconsin-grown grapes naturally have desirable attributes to create a sparkling wine rivaling any great French Champagne or California sparkling wine," says Tom Nye, master winemaker and general manager. "The chemistry just made sense to start exploring, researching and testing the production of a world-class wine from locally grown grapes." Sip the fruits of their labor at The Blind Horse in Kohler or order a bottle online.

One-Stop Shop, Indianapolis

Sullivan Hardware and Garden may be the only place that gives you the option to have your eggs Big and Green or sunny-side up. The long-standing Indianapolis business has transformed one of its greenhouse spaces into Sully's Grill. Pop in for a weekday lunch sandwich elevated with toppings like oven-dried tomato mayo and bacon jam. Or start the weekend to-do list with eggs in salsa verde served alongside pinto beans and chorizo. Add a mimosa or seasonal sangria, and a run to the hardware store becomes the most coveted household chore. 

Art of the Cocktail, Chicago

An art gallery that serves drinks or a cocktail lounge with an incredible art collection? You decide the angle at Dusk Chicago. Northworks Architects and Planners commissioned their favorite artists and designers to create a rotating gallery of works best admired with a drink in hand. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a 25-foot–long bar maximize the space. Velvet settees and leather armchairs arranged around low tables break it into cozy gathering spaces for small groups. The drink list is an ode to the Northworks team's favorite places and projects, like the Jackson Hole—Merlot and apricot brandy mulled with blood orange, apples and spices.

union pier michigan artisan bed
Credit: Jennifer Silverberg

Stay

Natural Remedy, Union Pier, Michigan

Embrace a slower pace with a weekend getaway to Goldberry Woods. Artisan-built beds made from tree limbs and trunks serve as sculptural centerpieces in each of the eight guest suites. A stay at the B&B includes a daily two-course breakfast. Dishes like oatmeal-buttermilk pancakes feature ingredients sourced from the owners' 30-acre organic farm. Relax in the 45-foot greenhouse-enclosed heated pool or stargaze from a hot tub. Goldberry Woods' secluded location near Lake Michigan encourages guests to explore the natural setting of farm, woods and river—without having to rough it. 

Back to School, Chicago

Get into college the easy way with a stay at The Study at the University of Chicago. A short walk from campus, the new hotel overlooks the long green space known as the Midway Plaisance. Rooms are stocked with everything you lacked in the dorms: luxury linens, top-shelf toiletries and tufted-leather reading chairs. The hotel's lobby, dubbed the Living Room, stocks literature from New York's famed Strand Books and publications by University of Chicago authors and scholars. Stop by the postcard desk to write home before Mom starts to worry—The Study even has the postage covered. 

Welcome to the Neighborhood, Grand Beach, Michigan

The Neighborhood Grand Beach recently opened on the site of the historic Golfmore and Pinewood lodges, which famously hosted champion golfers as well as heavyweight boxer "Cinderella Man" James Braddock. Today you'll find a camp-chic vibe in the lodge's 12 suites (each with stocked kitchens and Moccamaster coffee makers) and two private cottages. Located in New Buffalo Township, a quick hop over the Indiana line, the hotel serves as home base for exploring Grand Beach Marsh Preserve, wineries, beaches, golf courses and Warren Dunes State Park. Start your day with on-site yoga near the ravine—and end it with a barbecue and s'mores under the stars. 

south haven michigan chic tent resort
Credit: Angela Treimer

Play

Haven Awaits, South Haven, Michigan

Live the glamping lifestyle wherever you call home. The Fields, a chic tent resort on a working blueberry farm, has opened a shop in downtown South Haven. The aptly named Haven carries a curated selection of home goods in the same "grounded luxury" style as the resort. Shop for one-of-a-kind pedestal bowls, jars of small-batch honey, textiles imported from Africa, preppy pet beds and photogenic greenery.

Tress, Please, Lisle, Illinois

As part of its centennial celebration, The Morton Arboretum will plant 1,000 trees throughout Chicagoland's seven counties in 2022. The city's motto, Urbs in Horto, means City in a Garden, and that's the project's vision—to expertly select the right trees for each location and provide training for their care, so the transplants have a good shot at developing into a mature canopy. Other happenings at Morton this year include the addition of two sculptures to artist Daniel Popper's Human+Nature exhibit. The pieces in this popular collection range from 15- to 26-feet tall and are placed throughout the grounds, leading guests to explore corners unknown. Work is also underway on The Grand Garden—a colorful reincarnation of the original Hedge Garden from 1934. Human+Nature will be on display through March 2023. The Grand Garden is scheduled to open this September. 

Party at the Zoo, Indianapolis

If you've run out of ways to entertain the kids indoors (is that even a question?), the Indianapolis Zoo is hosting xZOOberance—a 16-day spring festival designed to coax humans out of hibernation. Shake off the winter blues with live music at the Bicentennial Pavilion. Stretch your body with animal-inspired yoga. Elephant-size flowers and pinwheels offer great photo ops. Unwind afterward in the Cheer Garden with kid-friendly soft pretzels and adult-friendly wine and beer.

Bold Moves, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Some of the country's best in modern, post-modern and contemporary dance will show off their moves March 4-6 at Midwest RAD Fest. Hosted by Kalamazoo's oldest professional dance company, Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers, RAD stands for "regional alternative dance." The event, now in its 13th year, provides emerging and professional artists the opportunity to present their work to a juried panel—for free. The public can purchase tickets to four adult and youth stage performances, or stream the shows live. For real dance enthusiasts, other in-person and virtual opportunities include the Screendance film series, masterclasses, workshops and Q&A sessions.