St. Marys began in 1842 when a group of Bavarian Catholics came to the area to escape persecution in the cities of the east coast. Accordingly, the town is now known for a product often associated with Germany: beer. The Straub Brewery offers tours every weekday and features an Eternal Tap that dispenses - believe it or not - free beer. Peruse the downtown shops and admire the nation's first Benedictine convent, St. Joseph, which is available for individual and group retreats. Bendigo State Park is just a short distance away with facilities for picnicking, swimming, fishing and hiking.