The experienced mechanics at Zolman Tire keep cars road-ready with diligent care that has earned their shop the title of Reader's Choice Favorite for auto repair in the South Bend Tribune every year since 2003. During the oil-change service, auto experts swap out dirty filters while cars slurp down up to six quarts of conventional or synthetic-blend oil, resolving internal-combustion conflicts and keeping the engine cool enough to be the lead singer in a Boston cover band. Then, Zolman's motorcar magicians inspect other fluid levels and perform a 22-point vehicle inspection to ensure various systems are performing at their optimal levels.
To begin the 2- to 2.5-hour process, licensed technician Andrea Hoese neatly trims nails in a private room according to each client's personal needs, whether they are shaping nail tips into arches or nail beds into futons. A soothing steam-towel wrap shrouds skin in warm comfort, working to open pores and provide deep moisture. Andrea kneads feet, legs, hands, and arms during a relaxing massage before slicking on a finishing coat of China Glaze polish that contains china clay, which not only renders nails shiny, but also hard enough to claw the bark off a redwood.
The floor-to-ceiling windows that frame Sentiments Bridal & Special Occasion display fashionable formal attire for men and women. Owner Marie Brown stays abreast of the trends, updating the displays regularly so the colors, textiles, and styles suit the season. Brown coordinates dresses for bridal parties, rents tuxes to groomsmen, and designs custom fashions for mothers. Accessories, including hats, shoes, and jewels, complete outfits. Brown's shop also outfits children with miniature garments for special occasions, such as christenings or space-camp graduations.
Rockie Rick left behind the apples, peaches, and cherries of the farm he grew up on to pursue a business degree. But as he worked at different jobs, he realized that he missed working outside and yearned to be his own boss. Seeing southwest Michigan’s wine industry flourish, he bought land and began growing grapes to sell to a winery. Next, he organized bus tours of area wineries, the success of which enabled Rockie to buy more land for a total of 30 acres. In 2011, he and his staff began making wine from their own grapes, crafting the small batches in oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks.
Rockie’s independent streak flourishes at Gravity Winery, from the modern indoor seating area with deep blues, crisp whites, and an industrial steel bar to a wine named after Rockie’s dog, Oliver, who’s known for greeting guests. “We tried to break the mold of what people think of when they go to a winery,” he says. “We figured … let’s be really different.”
Rockie’s favorite wine is an “awesome peppery cabernet France” called The Theory, which sports an image of Sir Isaac Newton on the bottle. During wine flights—Gravity Vineyard’s version of a tasting and the best way for guests to sample a variety of glasses—he pairs it with dark chocolate laden with almonds and sea salt that is made locally by Vineyards Gourmet. The flights feature four wines paired with cheese or chocolate, and guests can savor their chosen flavors inside or on the patios for hilltop views of the nearby lake or vineyard.
Though the knowledgeable staff can expertly pair each wine and easily converse with the staunchest of wine-lovers, Rockie and his staff eschew snobbery. “If you want to drink a big bowl of red cabernet with your fish, great. If that’s what you enjoy, that’s what you should do,” he says. “We don’t want anyone to be intimidated because they like a certain wine over another, or they don’t know the right word to describe it.”:m]]
The Stop In Family Restaurant serves up hearty portions of classic American comfort fare. Early risers can indulge creative impulses by building towers of fluffy pancakes ($3.59 for three) and using the waffles to make crispy castles with gooey syrup moats ($3.89). Meanwhile, the farmer's omelette yields tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, an edible edition of Poor Richard's Almanack, and a choice of meat ($6.29). At lunch, the three-alarm pizza cranks up the heat with a medley of jalapeños, peppercinis, and banana peppers ($12.95 for 14 in.).