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Infamously remembered for the Benton Harbor Riots in 2003, the town prior to this had been plagued with smaller less newsworthy race riots involving the police. West of Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor is on the St Joseph River in the state of Michigan. The city of St Joseph sits on the opposite bank of the river and the towns are known locally as the "Twin Cities". Whilst Benton Harbor has high unemployment and racial tensions, its sister city is a wealthy predominantly white resort town that tauntingly sits across the waterway. Benton Harbor is now emerging as a dynamic art scene with a thriving shopping district. It is home to the annual Blossomtime Festival that is the oldest multi-community festival in Michigan as a consequence of its historical agricultural past.
You will find the home and studio of renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, "Galleria del Corazon" and the amazing glass blowing gallery of Water Street Glassworks. The must do items are to explore the Krasl Art Museum and the Box Factory for the Arts. You can hike to the natural springs or check out the downtown shopping area for some eclectic boutique shopping. Take a walk down the thin pier where you will find 2 lighthouses to gawk at, but do be careful walking as the uneven surface of the pier can be extremely wet and icy.
A note of warning: certain areas are economically depressed and when the sun goes down the "boogie" man has been known to come out. Maybe this is when carrying some pepper spray may come in handy.
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