There is something truly wonderful about sand dunes. Once you’re near them it’s hard to leave. They draw you in with their softness and lull you into slowing down. They are in a constant state of flux that seems to happen in slow motion. I’ve always found dunes enticing and the Indiana Dunes were pulling at me to explore when I should really have been heading for home.
Indiana Dunes National Park
A good night sleep after hiking the day before left me with plenty of energy and the desire to see a bit more of the dunes before I started my long drive home. I really didn’t have the time, but I couldn’t resist. So I packed up camp with the idea I’d try out the cafe/market/pub at the entrance to the campground – the Goblin and the Grocer.
The cafe didn’t open until 9 a.m. so I conveniently had an hour to kill. The sweet little town of Beverly Shores sits on Lake Michigan and includes a section of the Indiana Dunes National Park. As I looked over the map with my options, I saw that I could drive to nearly Lakefront Drive and that it included something simply noted as the 1933 Century of Progress Historic District. I didn’t know what any of it was so it was time to find out.
Right at the entrance to the lake shore drive there was a spot with beach access. I spent a bit of time walking along the Lake View section of the park. Much of the spot is rocky with a bit of beach accessible further down. In the distance I could see the Chicago Skyline and nearby power plant. It was quiet and along the road across from the beach were beautiful homes. I spent about a half hour enjoying the beach before heading back to my car.
Just south on Lakefront Drive I found the 1933 Century of Progress Homes. Five homes that were moved from the Chicago World’s Fair to this spot with the hope of drawing residents to this area to build luxury homes. The five homes represented innovative construction techniques and materials for the time. All are now owned by the National Park Service and leased to private individuals in a special partnership that helps preserve and maintain the homes. My favorites were the Cypress Log Cabin and Armco-Ferro homes. I would have loved to have been able to peek inside all three. It’s not an option since they are considered private residences.
Goblin and the Grocer
This isn’t about hiking. It’s about food. After all, hiking is fueled by good food. So if you are ever in Beverly Shores, be sure to stop by the Goblin and the Grocer. Any time of day. They have wonderful coffee and breakfast items, tasty sandwiches and an amazing menu of freshly prepared local specialties along with a cozy atmosphere. Their wine and bar list is solid too. I had their breakfast quiche and coffee. It was totally worth the wait and the delay it put in my departure for home!
Back to Hiking
Once I was fueled up, I headed north toward Mount Baldy which sits on the northern end of the national park. The trail is short. Short enough that it didn’t qualify for my personal requirements for the 52 Hike Challenge. Access to Mount Baldy was closed during my visit. The park service is attempting to stabilize the area with plantings to create a safe experience on the dune. So I took the trail to the beach. The trail slopes continually upward to a break in the dune. At that point, it’s switchback style down to the beach. With the lateness of my departure, I decided to not hike to the beach. Mount Baldy would need to wait for a return trip where I have more time. The bottom line is that I fully expect to return to this park. The only question is when.
GEAR: Vasque Talus Mid UltraDry Hiking Boots, Marmot Kompressor Pack, Dueter Dirtbag, Kula Cloth, Leki Lhasa Lite AS trekking poles. Want to know more about my gear selections? Head on over to Gear & Gadgets.
Next Post Preview: Indiana Dunes : Part Two where I take a quick trip around Mount Baldy before hitting the road to head home.
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