Spring is here. Get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on April 21, 2021 with No Comments

By Michelle Senderhauf

Every year I look forward to the first signs of spring, this year especially. Springtime means farmers markets open with fresh foods and artisan goods, delicate wildflowers emerge along our area’s trails, and restaurants start serving meals and drinks on outdoor patios.

Since people have been more cooped up than ever this year, these seasonal changes are a welcome reprieve. Here are a few safe ways to enjoy springtime outdoors:

Chesterton’s European Market and Upsadaisy Market

Chesterton’s historical downtown will have two outdoor markets starting this May. Complementing Chesterton’s European Market on Saturdays will be the new Sunday event, Upsadaisy Market.

Chesterton’s European Market will still feature the artisan goods, farm produce, jewelry, and specialty items we all love. Upsadaisy Market, an urban-inspired curated shopping experience, will feature vintage and reinvented hand-crafted and artisan items. The quirky market will have the vibe of a cosmopolitan boutique with music, food, and demonstrations.

Chesterton’s European Market will be open every Saturday, May 1 through the fall. The Upsadaisy Market will launch Sunday, May 30.

Indiana Dunes Flower Quest

We’re fortunate to have abundant outdoor spaces to explore in Northwest Indiana. The Indiana Dunes National and State Parks, as well as our local parks, trails, and nature preserves, have given us safe outdoor places to go over the past year. Spring gives us a new activity to add to the usual list of hiking, biking, fishing, and paddling—searching for spring wildflowers!

Throughout the spring and summer, spectacular wildflowers bloom across the Indiana Dunes area. Some are small and delicate, while others are showy or even exotic looking. A few are so rare they only in specific habitats, while others may only bloom for a single day.

The Indiana Dunes Flower Quest encourages you to spend time safely outdoors and search for blooming wildflowers. Each month, a new list of seasonal flowers will be released, giving you new challenges throughout the spring and summer.

To learn more, visit indianadunes.com/flower-quest.

Favorite Outdoor Dining Spots

We’ve all missed eating in our favorite restaurants this past year. Is there a better way to celebrate spring than to support our local businesses while enjoying our meals outdoors?

Last year, Indiana Dunes Tourism polled locals on their favorite outdoor dining experience in Porter County. Ivy’s Bohemia House in Chesterton garnered the most votes and was named the Most Loved Outdoor Dining Experience in the Indiana Dunes! Locals have fallen in love with Ivy’s two outdoor dining areas. Guests can eat under umbrellas on the front porch or in the magical backyard patio strung with lights.

Amy Mackiewicz and Wayne Sydni opened Ivy’s Bohemia House in 2015. Amy has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry and brings Eastern European tastes to the menu. Her family’s polish sausage recipe, handed down for generations, is one of Ivy’s specialties. Wayne, a popular area muralist and long-time vegetarian, influences the menu by offering a variety of meatless options.

Make the Dunes Your Spring Destination

You can find more information on these and other great spring activities by visiting indianadunes.com or stopping by the Visitor Center at 1215 N. State Rd. 49 in Porter. At the Visitor Center, you can pick up an Activities GuideOutdoor Adventures Guide, or speak with one of our helpful Indiana Dunes Ambassadors!

Michelle Senderhauf is the Communication Director at Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism agency for Porter County. For more information, call 219-926-2255.

National park encouraging hikers to take Diana Dunes Dare

What is the Diana Dunes Dare? It is a hiking challenge, a ghost story re-told.

The Indiana Dunes National Park is daring you to be like dune advocate Alice Mabel Gray, also known as Diana of the Dunes. She hiked and lived in the dunes on her own in an abandoned shanty for over nine years in the early 1900s and took an interest in the history, ecology, and preservation of Indiana Dunes.

Diana of the Dunes became a legend in her own time. She was born in Chicago as Alice Mabel Gray. She was tagged Diana of the Dunes by area reporters because she chose to live a very different life from most of the women at that time. She was a well-educated woman who studied at the University of Chicago and worked for a time at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. She had a profound change of heart for reasons that are not very clear, but many newspapers at the time created a persona for the woman who chose to live alone in the wilds of the Indiana dunes.

Starting from the parking lot, hikers can climb the newly named Diana’s Dune. At the first wayside, you can pause on top of the great staircase and let the breeze surround you as it heightens your senses. At this boundless vantage point you can choose your view. You can gaze 36 miles into the distance to see Chicago. You can choose to see the abrupt line of contrast of where industry and nature collide. Or you can turn your regard to the delicate, diverse rolling beauty of the dune succession and its fragility.

At the second wayside, you can get nestled on a bench in the dune swale as you contemplate the landscape. You may hear the roar of the waves to the north or notice the quietness of an interdunal pond just at the foot of the jack pines. If you read the landscape, as Diana did, you can understand its message. The jack pines would have told Diana that she is close to the water. Jack pines are pioneer plants which are one of the first to root at the forefront of the shoreline because they do not like to compete with the inland oak forest to the south.

How to complete the Dare:

1 – Go to West Beach Parking Lot, 376 North County Line Rd., Gary.

2 – Follow Diana’s footsteps. Hike the trail and read the waysides
3 – Share your Dare. Selfie and post (Selfie station located in West Beach Bathhouse) #DianaDunesDare

4 – Get your Badge of Honor. Collect your sticker at one of the park locations: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, 1215 North State Road 49
Porter; or Paul H. Douglas Center, 100 North Lake St., Gary.

For more information, call 219-395-1882.

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