We only spent less than 36 hours in Indiana but they were so friendly and welcoming, we felt we had been here a lot longer. Here in the UK, if you asked anyone to name all the states beginning with The letter I, I think some would struggle to even mention Indiana but now I have been there and seen it for myself, Indiana is definitely one that will stay with me forever.
Did you know Indiana National Park is not the biggest but it is the most bio diverse in the USA
We arrived at Indiana Dunes Visitor Centre in the morning. Our first step was to be Pinhook Bog. Pinhook Bog is a preservation area of carnivorous plants floating on top of 16m of water. To experience this involves walking across a floating platform with our experienced ranger. She was so knowledgeable about all the flora and fauna in the area.
After lunch, we headed to one of the loveliest beaches you will ever see. An inland beach on Lake Michigan and miles of natural sand with tidal waves and the skyline of Chicago across the lake. It is hard to believe that this isn’t a well known oceanside beach
Later on we experienced the 3 Dune challenge or a series of easier walks for the less fit. There are so many colourful birds and butterflies as well as three distinct landscapes oak trees, tall grasses and marshland as well as the sands of the dunes.
In downtown Valparaiso, affectionately known as Valpo locally, we got the warmest smiles and and welcome from the loveliest little American town full of small independent shops and restaurants. Elements wine bar has just opened, what a great idea, swipe a card for wines on tap and pay at the end. We had dinner in Pikks Tavern and the next day, lunch with a visit round Valpo Velvet ice cream factory and a sample of one of around 50 flavours to choose from. We were blessed with beautiful weather so we found a bar with outdoor seating to chill and relax. Once again we were welcomed with open arms
We visited Broken Wagon Bison Farm. This farm has over 100 bison of all shapes and sizes from baby ones to fully grown. These huge beasts are so cute and all have their own personalities. The crafty one, Daisy follows the truck back as she knows they will give her a little treat. It works every time!
We had the chance to briefly visit the biggest collegiate chapel in the US and the second biggest in the world. There are some lovely mosaics outside, seating for over 2000 and the organ with 106 pipes, but the most impressive thing of all about this chapel are the beautiful stained glass window which is 3 storeys high.
I really will fondly remember this friendly little town just a short distance from Chicago
Our overnight was Inspiration Wood Cottages. You do need a car here as they are a good distance from town but again the warmest, friendliest welcome in lovely spacious cottages. Our cottage slept up to 8 people.
Indiana isn’t just a small forgotten state beginning with I, it is a place I will always remember with great fondness for its beautiful beaches, lovely scenery and its friendly welcomes.