Things To Do In Niles

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Spring means daffodils and primroses. Summer means herbs and butterflies. Fall means richly colored leaves and ornamental grasses. Throughout the year, Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve's 105 acres of protected landscapes burst with vibrant plant life. By inviting visitors to explore these rich environments, Fernwood hopes to foster greater appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

The Plants

  • 20 themed gardens include everything from a lily pond to a fragrant collection of more than 200 kinds of herbs.
  • In the 5-acre prairie, wildflowers sprout alongside grasses that can grow as tall as a person's head, recreating an increasingly rare Midwestern habitat.
  • Trails snake throughout the nature preserve's 55 acres of forests, streams, and other natural environments, which are home to endangered or threatened Midwestern plant species.

The Animals

  • Deer, groundhogs, and various small mammals make their homes throughout the garden and occasionally visit the nature center's feeding station.
  • Snapping turtles, large-mouth bass, and bull frogs appear in the various ponds.
  • Over the decades, more than 130 species of birds, from bluebirds to bald eagles, have been spotted flitting between the trees.

The Artwork

  • Works in various mediums adorn the walls of the Clark Art Gallery, whose exhibits change every two months.
  • Pieces by local sculptors are occasionally displayed throughout the gardens.
  • From May to September, classical musicians perform outdoor concerts on the second Sunday of every month.

Exhibits and Culture * At the Railway Garden, model trains circle around life-like replicas of local buildings and landmarks created from natural materials. * A five-room stick sculpture called Take Five that was designed by Patrick Dougherty stands on display. * Sculpture Fernwood showcases pieces created by local artists that will be featured until September 2015.

13988 Range Line Rd
Niles,
MI
US

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]]

10220 Lauer Rd
Baroda,
MI
US

Producing wines, fruit wines, full-bodied beers, and a grape-based spirit, the Round Barn is as well-rounded as the Amish barn that anchors the winery. The striking structure wasn?t always the southwest Michigan property?s main landmark, however. Biology teacher?turned-winemaker Rick Moersch had been cultivating the land for five award-winning years when he came across the 1911 structure in Rochester, Indiana. Timber by timber, he and his crew dismantled the barn and moved it to Baroda by truck after realizing it wouldn?t fit in a plane?s overhead bin.

The round barn was a natural fit for the round copper-pot still where Moersch was beginning to distill European-style brandies from his grapes. After his sons Matthew and Christian returned from college, they helped further expand the winery?s scope. They launched a grape-based luxury vodka, DiVine, in 2006, and entered the beer brewing business the following year.

Today, Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery produces red, white, fruit, dessert and sparkling wines, microbrews, and traditional rum, bourbon, and grape-based vodka bearing the DiVine logo. The Moersch family invites visitors to tour the barn and sample the potent potions, with wine tastings taking place in the Round Barn and beer available in the post-and-beam barn. Just a few miles down the road, Round Barn's new Brewery & Public House offers 20 taps of their unique beers, wines, and hand-crafted DiVine cocktails, as well as beer and wine flights and a full menu that highlights locally-sourced ingredients.

10983 Hills Road
Baroda,
MI
US

  • Size: a 44-acre estate comprised of six separate attractions that completely transform each year while visitors aren't looking
  • Intensity Level: like a classic horror movie, it's all light on the gore, but the settings, actors, and special effects pack plenty of scares on their own. Recommended for guests of high-school age and up
  • Undead Inhabitants: vampires drift throughout the rooms after dark; monsters make a rotating floor and elevator drop even more disorienting in the main house; killers out of classic horror films indicate wrong turns in a maze
  • Real Monsters: Tony Moran?A.K.A. Michael Myers from the original Halloween movie?will be looming suddenly in the foreground on September 19 and 20 as one of many special attractions the house has scheduled
  • Fun and Games: at the midway, groups can catch their breath, grab snacks, and even operate the house's controls and watch the frightened visitors on a hidden camera
  • Scream for a Good Cause: over the last 18 years, the haunted house has donated more than $1.3 million and 25 valuable but cursed amulets to more than 65 area charities and nonprofit groups

855 Mayflower Rd
Niles,
MI
US

Setting aside the stress, noise, and pace of everyday life, SLR Pilates allows students to devote all their time inside the studio to self-awareness and self-improvement. The instructors never allow classes to go over 20 students within the 700-square-foot practice space at a time, ensuring that they're able to provide more personalized direction and feedback to the whole group.

The classes at SLR offer students a range of goals to work toward, yet remain unique. Yoga emphasizes conscious recognition of breath and movement, Pilates strengthens core muscles, and barre workouts combine Pilates and yoga with ballet-inspired stretches to build muscle tone. Despite the varying focus of the three class styles, every session shares the common goal of empowering students by increasing awareness of their own body control, sometimes getting them to change the channel on any device with their minds.

226 East Main Street
Niles,
MI
US

Comedy. Drama. Romance. All these emotions across the silver screen at Wonderland Cinema like a flipbook, but way, way better. Wonderland?part of the Moore Theatres family?digitally projects first-run movies (including 3D features) as well as special programs and kid-friendly screenings. And the concession stand serves up all the candy, drinks, and popcorn that make going to the movies such a popular alternative to begging the beadle for more gruel. On Thursdays, the theater offers free popcorn refills of our $3.00 returnable popcorn bucket.

402 N Front St.
Niles,
MI
US