It’s the perfect recipe for an ideal getaway. Combine a lively summer festival, a touching holiday celebration that takes you back in time and load of outdoor fun. Add a top-notch inn, restaurants that range from classy to down home and a historic downtown. The friendly community of Bremen serves it up with gusto.
This Marshall County town of nearly 5,000 makes visitors feel right at home and takes pride in continually up grading an renewing itself, while always remembering its roots. As many as 20,000 visitors converge here for the annual week long Firemen’s Festival, with carnival rides, parade, food vendors, crafts, and the crowning touch of 4th of July fireworks (July 3-7, 2012).
Early in December, before Christmas, visitors journey back to Bethlehem during the annual Holy Walk, traveling in Mary and Joseph’s footsteps with stops along the way where you’ll meet hundreds of people in costumes from that time period who tell you about life then. It culminates in the last stop – the manger. Churches from Bremen and surrounding towns stage this even on a lovely 2500 acre farm outside of town.
But even if you can’t make one of these events, Bremen had loads for you to do. Many visitors love to settle in at the Scottish Bed & Breakfast, an elegant inn with lavish rooms, an indoor pool, delicious gourmet breakfasts and even accommodations for pets. Or you might choose the Bremen Inn, a new refurbished motel in town. Then its time to explore.
Restoring the past and looking ahead to the future is a priority for Bremen. Its the smallest community in the state of Indiana with a fully functioning hospital, the Community Hospital of Bremen. The relocation and restoration of the historic Bremen Depot at 810 Douglas Road was completed in 2010. The depot was built in 1929 by the B&O railroad and is now a depot museum and area welcome center that has exhibits of Bremen area history. Appointments to visit the depot can be made by calling 574-546-4340.
Outdoor activities abound around town. You can walk a mile of pathways and see deer, birds, and perhaps a fox or wild turkey at newly restored wetlands in the east area of Sunnyside Park. The wetlands include a bridge and a pond. Jane’s Park, with its incredible expanse of children’s playground structures that look like a series of castles from a distance, draws families for picnics and play. The park was build in remembrance of Jane Seig Stillson a Bremen mother who died of cancer shortly after childbirth. Community groups maintain lovely flower gardens at the park, which includes grilling areas and picnic tables.
At one time, Sprig O’Mint Farm was one of the world’s largest international suppliers of mint oil for perfumes, gum, toothpaste and other products. Today, the site is home to Sprig O’Mint Golf Club, an 18 hole course challenging to all skill levels. Many of the fairways are bounded by trees and the course includes seven holes with water hazards. Incidentally, mint oil is still produced in Bremen, but now by Lebermuth, Inc.
Just outside of town, you can swim or fish for bluegill, bass and crappie at the Lake of the Woods. If you have a boat, you can access the lake at the state owned ramp.
If you’re worked up an appetite from all the outdoor activity, your taste buds will be pleased with Bremen offerings. Edward Christian Dining serves everything from homemade soups to steaks, trout, pasta and heavenly desserts such as chocolate lava cake. Local residents swear by the pizza at Wooden Peel, a favorite for more than 20 years. Mrs. T’s Bakery specializes in wedding cakes, but also is a great stop for donuts, cookies, and other treats.
If you want to explore some more, Bremen is a short drive from South Bend and from Northern Indiana’s Amish country. But this little town with a big heart will be waiting when you return.