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Take a food-filled road trip from Chicago to Grand Rapids

Hit the road on a culinary adventure that's rife with options.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
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The Midwest is brimming with epic road trips that offer a change of scenery—no flight required. Though there's plenty to explore in every direction, food-obsessed Chicagoans know that a trip to Michigan is rife with possibilities, including some of the top farms, restaurants and wineries in the Midwest. A trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, will give you a taste of everything—from a kitschy market and a U-pick blueberry farm to one of the country's best cider producers. (Just make sure you have a designated driver!) When it comes time to rest your head, we found the perfect bed and breakfast that will pamper you with heavenly baked goods in the morning. Pack up the car and hit the road on a food-filled adventure to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more secluded getaways from Chicago

Your itinerary

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South Deering
  • price 1 of 4

On your way out of town, it's always wise to stop off for a kickoff snack, a bite that will set the mood for the rest of your journey. When you're heading south from Chicago's city center, Calumet Fisheries is your best bet. This smoke shack was born when the steel industry was thriving and the area was populated by hungry day laborers. Set at the base of the famous Blues Brothers bridge, this little white box brings in customers from all around for smoked shrimp, trout and sable, which are always on offer. Do like the regulars do and use the hood of your car as a picnic table for your crispy shrimp feast.

Before you know it, you'll have crossed the Indiana and Michigan borders and your tummy will be rumbling. The remedy? A quick pit stop at Milda's Corner Market, a quaint and charming Euro-inspired specialty grocery store that's not far from the freeway. Hungry travelers can refuel with stacked deli sandwiches (the Italian Piaggia is a fan favorite), while grazers will be satiated with one of Milda's famous bacon buns.

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After another 50 miles in the car, you might want to pull over and stretch your legs. Why not do it at a scenic U-Pick farm? Family-owned DeGrandchamp Farms offers fresh blueberries from July through August and fresh cranberries from October to November. The detour boasts more than 250 acres of wide open spaces, which means there's plenty of room to roam. Before you hop back in the car, stop by the market for preserves, butters, sauces and dressings. (In the summer months, you can even get your hands on some handmade fudge!)

Another 20 miles up the road in Fennville, Michigan, you'll find a different kind of farm—this one's boozy! Virtue Cider Farm is an idyllic spot to laize away the afternoon so long as you have a designated driver. The taproom is closed at the moment, but guests can reserve a picnic table to enjoy draft pours of cider from the source alongside snacky bites, like cheese and chips. The working farm also grows veggies and is home to pigs, chicken and sheep, so there's plenty to see when you're not staring at the bottom of a glass.

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Anyone else ready for a quick snooze and a shower? Located 50 miles northwest of Virtue is the Leonard at Logan Bed and Breakfast, a historic English-style inn that's brimming with charm and hospitality. The century-old home has eight rooms named after royalty, like the sunshine-filled Princess Cecille and the handsome Sir Charles. The breakfast spread is always impressive, with a bounty of freshly baked pastries and coffee available to all guests. 

Before you turn in for the night, walk or drive the mile and a half to Forty Pearl for an unforgettable dinner with chef Taylor Boeschenstein, who showcases incredible Michigan-made wines alongside plates that are loaded with seasonal ingredients. The venison burger is layered with bacon-onion jam, creamy white cheddar, garlic aioli and arugula—all on a pretzel bun. Pair it with the barrel-aged chardonnay for maximum deliciousness. 

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