The Village of Paw Paw
A drive from the lakeshore to the village of Paw Paw courses you past lush orchards and vineyards, no matter which route you take. You know before you get here that you are leaving hubbub, hustle, and noise behind and heading for open spaces, fresh air, and a softer place to land.
Halfway between Detroit and Chicago – and only 30 minutes from Lake Michigan – Paw Paw has always offered opportunity to business entrepreneurs, but the village’s location along the Paw Paw River, which feeds Maple Lake in the heart of the community, makes Paw Paw a conveniently located escape, as well.
An afternoon visit here during any time of the year might involve wine tasting and a winery tour or a downtown stroll to visit with small shop owners who have stocked their boutiques with their own art, handmade crafts, and freshly baked goodies. Where to stop for lunch or a snack while you’re shopping will be a tough decision, as the central business district is peppered with eateries offering a wide variety of delicious options.
When the day turns into evening, you’ll find even more dinner choices open to you. With a full belly, take in a show at our updated vintage movie house or view a production by our community theater troupe. Or, instead, unwind completely in a seat at the bar of our local brewpub and sample original beers and ales.
A weekend here in the spring and summer might find you seated securely in a kayak or canoe, paddling down the shady river or around Maple Isle after a picnic. Fishing from the island’s bridge or at Sunset Park on the north end of Maple Lake may send you home with a story to tell of the one that got away or with a trophy in your bucket. Paw Paw Days in July features a classic car show, an arts and crafts fair, a Kids Zone play area, and other activities for the whole family.
Summer Sundays begin with the Farmers’ Market, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. right downtown, and end with Concerts by the Lake at 6:30 p.m. on the stage of the Maple Lake Amphitheater. In between, you might enjoy viewing some of Paw Paw’s downtown historic commercial and residential landmarks with a self-guided walking tour sponsored by the Village’s Historical Commission.
Paw Paw’s signature event each year, the Wine and Harvest Festival, welcomes more than 50,000 visitors to the community on the weekend after Labor Day. For three days, the village opens up to celebrate its agricultural roots: its fruit-growing, juice, and wine-making industries. Activities in every corner of the village include the traditional grape stomping, wine tasting, 5K run, bicycle classic, and carnival midway, with new fun added each year.
Paw Paw’s quiet past continues to shape its ever-evolving future. And, in the meantime, the village remains a pleasant stop at the crossroads of two busy thoroughfares on your way to a lovely day off.