While no one is unhappy to be looking at the winter of 2014 in the rear view mirror right now—and I am paraphrasing Indiana Governor Mike Pence—we should not forget the very positive and heroic acts that we witnessed in the Lake Michigan region not only throughout the record-breaking winter but at other times during the year. One of the most heartening was the rescue of 6-year-old Nathan Woessner, who had literally disappeared on Mt. Baldy and was trapped under 11 feet of sand for almost 4 hours last July. At 125 feet tall Mt. Baldy, the highest dune along the Indiana shore, remains closed for now, but the West Beach area, at the Lake and Porter County border is great spot for hiking over the wide Succession Trail which offers panoramic views of the Lake and Chicago off in the distance.
Up the lakeshore about 20 miles in Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park operates a similar grid of hiking trails, campground information and resource and education centers throughout the southwestern portion of the state. Both states honor the DNR passport and everything from campsite lodging to current weather conditions is available online for the entire tri-state area and speaking from experience, there is so much information out there that knowing what county you are looking for is frequently helpful to target your search somewhat.
Personally, I’m quickly learning that as my family and I explore this area we are having a typically overwhelming experience on what to do and where to go next.
I’ve made a quick study of the prodigious numbers of craft breweries and wineries from the stalwarts like Tabor Hill, who have been around a half century to the newbie beer makers even in some of the older sections of Indiana and Michigan that seem to be revising their downtown areas at an increased rate of speed. I have every intention of sampling the newest craft batches at Bulldog, Shoreline, Baroda, Founders and others in the interest of expanding my palate and keeping an open mind.
This will be especially challenging considering that the champion class in both wineries and breweries are rapidly expanding into the area of craft distilleries, producing world-class complexity and characteristically smooth and light tastes. It is a whole new day when it comes to recreational cocktails leading to more compatible cuisine and even more difficult workout routines. I may be hiking more than I thought at the beginning of this column.
Look for special online exclusives including a behind-the-scenes video on the making of our Shore cover as well as digital coverage of our Fashion on the Shore event May 9th in St. Joe, Michigan at nwi.com as well as VisitShoreMagazine.com as well as the special Best of the Region issue going live in May.
See you next month!
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