Photographer / Angela Cornell
Culver is a quiet and peaceful town that was built around Lake Maxinkuckee and has been a respite from everyday life for tourists since 1880. With so much practice at impressing visitors, it’s no wonder that this little town continues to wow those who drop by.
The heart of the community is Culver Academy, a charming boarding school that stands on the northern end of the lake. Throughout the year, the school hosts events, like sports and dramas, at which the public is welcome, all of which are listed on their website at culver.org. The 1700-acre facility is well worth a walkthrough, especially for those who enjoy architecture and sculptures. Even for those who do not, the shore-line hiking trail offers amazing views of the lake, school and surrounding town.
On the eastern end of that trail is the quasi-enclosed Culver Beach. The lifeguarded shoreline is a bustling part of the city, especially during warmer months. Activities include sand and water volleyball, kayaks and canoes are available to rent from the Beach Lodge. There is also a sailboat-style playground and an open-air amphitheater for concerts and other events. For those who visit the beach with their four-footed family members, there’s a doggy access next to the enclosed beach.
Culver-Union Township Park most certainly does not end where the beach does. Beyond the Beach Lodge, there are other historic landmarks. One is the Culver Lighthouse, which has overlooked Lake Maxinkuckee for more than 100 years. Another is the historic Culver train depot. To discover all of the park’s amenities, check out the Parks & Recreation page at townofculver.org.
Culver boasts many fantastic locally-owned restaurants. Some are across the road from the park, like the Lakehouse Grille. They serve fantastic steaks, burgers, seafood, pasta, and even sushi on the weekends, plus the whole building is decorated in a lake theme, including a sailboat that is lashed to the ceiling. View their menu at Thelakehouseculver.com.
Another nearby restaurant is the Original Root Beer Stand. This drive-in serves comfort food, like hotdogs, burgers and fries. As the name implies, they are known for selling the best root beer floats (just ask anyone who’s had one). Check them out online at facebook.com/OriginalRootBeerStand.
Culver is a very diverse city, even in its dining options. On the extremely health-conscious side of things, Healthy 2 The Max is a smoothie and juice bar that specializes in delicious meal-substitute options. Read more about them at Facebook.com/Healthy-2-The-Max.
On the other end of the spectrum, and ironically, right next door, is MJ’s Sweet Tooth. This “candy boutique” and bakery is a favorite for kids and adults alike. As an added bonus, some of their baked goods are free from gluten, nuts, and sugar! Visit them online at mjssweettooth.com
Cap your stay at the lake with the latest lakeside fashions! Civvie’s Boutique and Fisher’s & Co. Clothiers are two boutiques located downtown. Whether you’re looking for an upscale accessory or an outfit for dinner out, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Online, check out Civvie’s at Facebook.com/shopcivvies and Fisher’s at Facebook.com/FisherandCompanyClothiers.
Speaking of amazing finds, shopping enthusiasts will enjoy the Collective @ 120 S. Main. This upscale flea market has a little bit of everything, from eco-friendly toothbrushes to clothes and jewelry and from books to baby items! They also offer an hourly rental for surreys, a multiple person pedal trolley. They have two options, the largest of which can sit up to six adults and two small children. Book one of the surreys online at blazingsaddlesculver.com and discover more about The Collective online at 120southmain.com.
There are a couple of beautiful bed and breakfasts in the downtown area as well. On the northern side of the lake, there’s Inn by the Lake (Check them out online at inn-bythelake.com). On the south-eastern side of downtown Main Street, there’s the historic Culver Cottage (find them online at theculvercottage.com). There are also resorts, vacation homes and Air BnBs for those who prefer those options.
When planning your trip to Culver, be sure to visit findculver.com to discover other places to visit while in the area!