Our office is in Union Pier, Michigan at 9934 Town Line Rd. approximately one hour and 15 minutes from downtown Chicago, 45 minutes east of South Bend, Indiana and 30 minutes south of St Joseph, Michigan. You may use the link below to go to a mapping company that will allow you to print out a map from your location to ours. Also see below.
FROM CHICAGO: Take I-94 North/East towards Detroit. If you use the Skyway/Indiana Toll Road don’t forget to exit # 21 (Lake Station) which will put you back on I-94. Exit in Michigan at Exit #6 – Union Pier. At the end of the ramp turn right . * Drive approximately 1 mile to your first stop at the intersection with Red Arrow Hwy. We are the first drive way on your left, after you cross Red Arrow Hwy. Our office address is 9934 Townline Rd. We are a small blue house set back off the road, white picket fence.
FROM SOUTH BEND: Take US-31 North to US-12 in Michigan. Turn left (West) towards New Buffalo, through Three Oaks. At the end of US-12 it T’s. Turn right and travel approximately 2.25 miles to the blinking light in the town of Union Pier, auto repair on the left. Turn left and we are the first driveway on your left. Our office address is 9934 Townline Rd. We are a small blue house set back off the road, white picket fence and a large sign at the road.
FROM THE NORTH: Take I-94 South/West towards Chicago. Exit in Michigan at Exit #6 – Union Pier. At the end of the ramp turn left . Follow directions above from Chicago.*
OR GO TO WWW.GOOGLEMAPS.COM AND ENTER IN 9934 TOWN LINE RD, UNION PIER, MICHIGAN 49129.
Amtrak – 1-800-872-7245 or www.amtrak.com makes stops in New Buffalo twice daily. The #371, “Pierre Marquette”, leaves New Buffalo for Chicago at 10:02 am EDT and arrives in Chicago’s Union Station at 10:30 am CDT (a 1 hour 28 minute trip). The #370, “Pierre Marquette” leaves Chicago at 5:20 pm CDT and arrives in New Buffalo at 7:38 pm EDT. The cost is approximately $16.50 one way. THIS INFORMATION IS CHANGING SOON.
The South Shore Trains 1-800-356-2079 or www.nictd.com/ run from South Bend, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois through Michigan City, Indiana, approximately 20 minutes from downtown Union Pier. It is primarily a commuter train for the areas workers to and from Chicago. It has many more stops and schedules from 6am to 11pm so call them for specific times. Or check out their web site. One way fare is only $6.85.
We represent private homeowners who have generously allowed us to rent out their second homes for them. We are contracted with the Owners to provide services for them in return for a commission – primarily by renting out their vacation homes to considerate, responsible people like yourselves. We are licensed Real Estate agents in the state of Michigan and also do home and vacant land sales. We have a fiduciary responsibility to the Owners while trying to look out for your interests as well. We also have a great housekeeping service and try to help people with questions about Harbor Country, where to find good tradesmen, babysitters and other service related services!
While we only rent homes along Lake Michigan (at the moment), most of the homes are not Lakefronts. (See our Lakefronts Page for a definition of what constitutes a Lakefront home ). 99% of our vacation rentals are with-in a short distance to an available beach – 3/10s of a mile (1500 feet) or less. Our individual property listing on this web site list the ‘Distance to Beach ‘ in 10ths of a mile, unless stated otherwise. The house must be great for us to take it, if they are further to a beach. There are 3 basic beach types in Harbor Country: Private, Association and Public . Private beaches are usually associated with Lakefront homes, (but not all Lakefronts have private beaches), Association beaches are deeded by an area or association of homeowners – this is the most common type of beach up here, and there are numerous Public Beaches – the largest is in New Buffalo and Warren Dunes State Park. Many smaller ones exist and some are more hidden and therefore less populated. Most of all the beaches are sandy and compared to Chicago, empty!
Yes, but see above for a detailed explanation.
They all have TV’s and VCR’s, full kitchens with Microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, all utensils, knives pots and pans, and washer and dryers. Some homes have more things than others and there should be adequate essentials for the number of people allowed in your rental – if not please give us a call. Many homes have dishwashers. Most of these amenities are listed for each property on their individual page on this web site. See the Properties page to access these. All homes have beach access, usually association. See #5 Above . Sheets and towels are provided but soap (other than dish, dishwasher and laundry detergent) is not . All homes have either gas or charcoal grills. We provide the gas but not the charcoal. We get you started with a roll of toilet paper for each bathroom and a roll of paper towels, garbage bags and general cleaning supplies (Windex, dish soap, scrub cleanser, a broom, dust pan, mop and bucket and a vacuum cleaner). Many supplies are left by previous renters, that we don’t supply, like aluminum foil, plastic wrap, charcoal, etc. we recommend you check out the house after you check in before going out and buying everything you think you might need. It is probably cheaper in Chicago, though.
Well you are in the right place! Basically you view the properties on our web site, usually we don’t start renting to new renters until the first week in November. September if you are a former, (within the previous 3 years), returning renter. Select a few of your favorites then give us a call at (269) 469-0012 or 866-572-RSVP (7787) to check on availability . If we are able match you up with a suitable house, we put your personal information into our computer along with a credit card number. Upon booking your reservation we will email you a Confirmation Letter, Rental Agreement and POM Security Deposit Waiver Form, that you must sign and fax back. On the Confirmation Letter you fill in whether you are paying by Credit Card or Check.Without a signed Confirmation Letter your reservation will be automatically cancelled within 7 days!
FROM OUR ARF LETTER:
For a $100 Advance Reservation Fee, (ARF), we will hold your reservation, with no further payments needed until February 1st, or we receive the Owners’ Available Dates form, whichever is later. The $100 Advance Reservation Fee will be fully refunded if the Owners’ don’t allow your week(s) to be rented, and we will give you the option to cancel, penalty free, (with a full refund of the ARF) if the rental rates rise more than 5%, the start day of the week changes or there is a major reduction in the amenities of the property, ie., pool becomes unavailable or sleeping accommodations are reduced by 2 or more. Otherwise your ARF is non-refundable. Keep in mind that this fee does not go towards your future reservation payments.
REMEMBER: The ARF merely holds your reservation until the Owner approves the dates by contract. You are not obligated to accept the reservation regardless of the Owners decision, until your first payment is due in February.
If you wish to cancel your reservation please do so before February 1st, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org Once we have emailed you a Finalized Confirmation Letter and charged your credit card the first reservation fee in February, our normal Cancellation Policy will be in effect.
Baisically, instead of paying half of your rent in say September or November you are paying an extra $100 to wait to make a firm monetary committment until February. If you change your mind before February 1st you have only lost $100. About half of the reservations we make between September and February 1st use this program.
Yes, typically half of your rental amount plus the POM (Peace of Mind) Security Deposit Waiver, which is due within 7 days of your reservation (see #9 above). Your second deposit, which includes the balance of your rent, cleaning fee and any additional charges, are due 3 weeks before your arrival, as stated in the Confirmation Letter. If you paid by credit card we will charge your card at that time.
Yes! Visa, Mastercard, and Discover Card. Also personal checks with enough lead time (at least 10 days), cashiers checks, money orders and yes, cash!
During the Summer Season (see below), there is a week minimum, with multiple weeks possible in most homes. During the rest of the season there is a 2 night minimum, except for holidays which require a 3 night minimum at weekend rates. We have some year long rentals, but they are the exception rather than the norm. The owners can usually make in 10 weeks what 12 monthly rents garner.
Off-Season dates are November through the last week of April. Shoulder Season is all of May through the 1st week of June and Labor Day through the last week in October. Summer Season is July through Labor Day except for Lakefronts where the Summer Season rates apply June through Labor Day.
During the Summer season check-in time is generally* 4PM EDT/Check-out time is 10 AM EDT. During the Shoulder and Off-Season Check-in is generally* at 12Noon EDT and checkout is at 4PM EDT. Call a few days before your arrival to arrange for key pick-up if you have not received a Check-In email from us. Generally* you will stop at our office to pick up a key. If you are arriving late we will make special arrangements. We worry if we haven’t heard from you, so please call. Make a mother proud. P.S. Remember : We are always 1 hour ahead of Chicago Time ! 5 pm in Chicago is 6 pm in Michigan. When in Michigan we are on Michigan Time.
Generally, because we occasionally can’t get you in by 4pm due to unforeseen circumstances related to guests departing and maintaining the houses properly. Also we call you on your cell phone when the house is ready after cleaning, and many times if you are in the area, you may check-in early! We also attempt to call you the day before your departure and confirm check-out times. Depending on the cleaning schedule we may allow you some additional time to depart. Generally2 because there are fewer back-to-back rentals (different parties coming and going on the same day). When that does happen we have to modify the check-in and out times to allow for cleaning. Generally3 in the off-season. During the summer on a back to back reservations we leave the key after the housekeepers are finished cleaning.
Our homes are no pets allowed by renters, in the home or on the property. Some owners have pets, so if you have severe allergies please let us know. Occasionally longer term (2 months or more) renters may have pets. Smoking is not permitted in any of the homes and if you smoke on a screened in porch or deck, please leave your butts outside in an ashtray and throw away in a trash bin, not the lawn or flower box.
All of our vacation homes are equipped with phones. MOST telephones have Unlimited Long Distance Service nationally and Internationally, (see listing in binder for countries and codes)June through August only. To access this service you must first dial 1-269-612-4599, then your long distance number. If you get an error message call our office at 469-0012 for further assistance. Some homes have Unlimited Long Distance without International Services and can be dialed directly. If you require Unlimited Long Distance service September through May, there will be a $10 fee to set up the service during your stay and $20 per calendar month occupied, if staying over consecutive months.
The local call areas are Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Union Pier, Lakeside, Harbert and now also Sawyer. Those exchanges are 469, 756, 586 and 426. All other exchanges are long distance calls (if you are staying in one of those towns.)
P.S. Cell phones work most of the time now but not always and not everywhere.
We now exclusively recommend West Michigan Baby and Beach Rental.
Phone: 616-607-8547 | 616-405-2902
Let them know we sent you! Let us know if you have any problems or accolades!
When you receive your confirmation letter it will have the address and phone number of the vacation home listed in the upper right corner, under your reservation number. Most homes are easy to get to and we are happy to direct you from our office when you pick up the key. (see instructions #2 above about getting to our office) You may also type in the address into the finder at the website listed below and it can create a map from your home to your rental. If all else fails we can direct you over the phone.
Your personal items, food, beverages, a flashlight can be handy, ATM card, bug spray, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate!
See What Amenities do all your homes have? for what we don’t provide, then start your list.
Yes, New Buffalo (Exit #1) has a great grocery store named Barney’s (newly expanded), right next to the V&S Drugstore. There is another good sized grocery store in Sawyer (exit #12). The is a fresh fruit vegetable and flower market just north of Falatic’s Meat Market – a great old world style butcher who also carries fish – 1 mile North of the light in Sawyer. There are a multitude of deli’s, party stores and road side stands to keep you well fed, up and down Red Arrow Hwy, and in all the small towns. Prices are generally better and selection more varied in the larger Chicago Supermarkets, but why lug all that around? Shopping locally is practically a social sport all by itself. You never can tell who’ll you’ll run into!
Yes, but we could always use some more. The Harbor Country Guide (see #23 below) is a great source for names and addresses. So is the phone book. Both should be in your home upon check-in. If they are missing please call us and we will make sure you get a copy.
For in-depth information on the area we recommend contacting the local Harbor Country Chamber office at (800) 362-7251 or 469-5409, at 530 S. Whittaker St, New Buffalo. Their website is www.harborcountry.org and can be accessed by clicking the button above anytime you see it, or their www link above. Contact them before your arrival and ask them for The Harbor Country Guide as it has a wealth of information about this area, and the surrounding country side as well. Naturally Beaching is King! But the area is also know for its biking and hiking, golfing and shopping (mostly antiques or the outlet mall in Michigan City, dining and cooking out and just hanging out.
For kids we have the usual putt-putts, go-cart tracks, bowling alleys, there are a couple of water parks with in 40 minutes or so, a curious kids museum in St Joseph (about 30 minutes North), a great Timber Town Playground in Three Oaks, but lets face it, its hard to beat the beach on a hot summer day. Movie theaters are 30 minutes either direction, unless your kids are into Art Films at the Vickers Theater in Three Oaks, and of course there are plenty of video rentals, to fill up those VCR’s we have at all the houses for those rainy days.
There are many places and activities appropriate for children and Adults in Harbor Country and the surrounding areas. Special events are planned well ahead of time so that you may co-ordinate your vacation with these events. The Chamber will have a calendar so give them a call or visit their website.
Yes. Boats can be launched from the New Buffalo River Marina – call 269 469-1522 for details. We do not allow launching of any watercraft from our Lakefront rentals.
Bicycles can be rented through the Three Oaks Spokes Bicycle Club at (269) 756-3361. They will even arrange to have the bikes delivered and picked up from your vacation location. There are other locations and services now available as well in New Buffalo.
Boat charters are available for rental in New Buffalo. Call Captain Dave at 574-386-2372 or 574-291-3381 Also, The Michigan City Sailboat Charter Company in Michigan City (approximately 30 minutes south of Union Pier) will Charter non-powered boats only. Transient boat slips can be had on a first-come-first-served basis only. For more information please call the New Buffalo Marina at (269) 469-6887.
Faxes can be sent from Topp Press in Union Pier at (269) 469-3250 or Mail Boxes, Etc. in New Buffalo at (269) 469-2000. We will receive your faxes (for a comparable fee) and contact you when they arrive for pick-up at our office. You will have to bring your laptop to e-mail. Mail Boxes, Etc. has business suites complete with computers, available for those power meeting days, call ahead to reserve.
Lakeland Memorial in St. Joseph is the closest hospital to the north at (269) 983-8300. St. Anthony in Michigan City, IN is the closest to the south at 1-888-879-8511. Both are approximately 30 minutes from Union Pier.
There are churches of most denominations located in Harbor Country and the surrounding areas – 5 pages worth in the yellow pages for Berrien and Cass Counties.
I don’t know but if you ask me and its a good question, I’ll put it here and give you $25 off your cleaning when you rent with us!