Those that know me, know that if they are trying to find me, there is a very good chance I’m driving down highway 12 ~ otherwise known as Dunes Highway. It seems that over the course of the day, due to work, errands, carpooling & just plain fun, there are times that I drive that road back and forth 4-5 times a day! So….it’s a good thing it’s a beautiful drive. And, this time of year, there is a place I love to frequent. Ly-co-ki-we Trail!
Last year, I bought my first set of adult cross country ski’s – and I’m hooked! If you live out in this area, I would highly recommend that you give it a try. I purchased mine from Pines Slide Shop at the old Pines ski hill. They do not have a website, and have very unusual hours — but if you happen to make it in, Chris the owner is extremely helpful and can get you fitted into just what you need. Their phone number is 219.531.2220
I tried a few local trails and then one day stumbled on to Ly-co-ki-we. I parked right off of highway 12 and set out to do the loop. I loved it! If you park on 12, it can take about 40 minutes to an hour to complete. The loop is probably a little bit above a beginner level — however, if you park at the entrance off of 20 — it is much flatter and easier to handle. There are over 6 miles of trails altogether, so you can set out for a full day of skiing — or just do some of the smaller loops. The thing I love about my Hwy. 12 loop is that there is always a turn or small hill, so it never gets boring. The scenery is beautiful and it is always so quiet! I can see all sorts of animal tracks in the snow and at parts really feel like I am deep in the trail — when I am really not too far off the road at all. It’s the perfect amount of time for a quick workout. When I go, I usually try to head out at a decent pace and it is amazing how fast you warm up. I can go out on a day when it’s only 13 degrees and I’ll start sweating after the first 15 minutes. The cool, crisp fresh air always makes it seem so much more invigorating. It’s wonderful to just breathe it all in.
So….after skiing I must be hungry, right? Well just down the street is Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill (which I may be a little biased about, since I work there!) — but, it clearly is the best place in the area. Owners Gary Sanders and Nicole Bissonnette are chefs and have been in the restaurant business for many years and they know what they’re doing! At this quaint little roadhouse you can get anything from a burger, to salmon, to quinoa & kale to steak frites. There are always wonderful specials, (venison chili in the winter!) and they have one of the best craft beer selections in the area. Currently there is a tap dedicated to Burn’EM (another one of my favorite local craft beers!)
Maybe you’re not a skier and you are more of a summer-time duner. If you prefer to do your workouts indoors, a great new place has just popped up along Hwy. 12 and that is Troybuilt Fitness. I have been lucky enough to get to know Troy, and I can say from experience, that he is one of the best and most dedicated trainers in the area. His goal is for you to “Build Your Body Better”. And he is building all the resources to do just that. He offers many classes, personal training, massages, workshops and more. If you haven’t noticed his little studio, keep a look out for it the next time you are driving down 12 through the Pines and stop by to see what he has to offer! Currently he is doing a series with Bartlett’s called “Get Fit…Get Food”. Each month they work on a specific form of exercise and then head down to Bartlett’s for a delicious dinner. Dig the Dunes highlights these events each month, and it’s definitely on my list of things for you to try! If you are interested in this months class, you can reserve your spot right here!
There’s lots, lots more along hwy 12, so I am sure I will talk about it many more times in my blogs to come. There is so much it has to offer, but I need to save some material for future weeks! I hope you are finding these blogs helpful and informative, and please — do send me messages if there is a small business or event you would like me to highlight!
Stay warm everyone, and get yourself some skis! (The Indiana Dunes State Park does not have many skis — but they do have snowshoe rentals, if you’d like to give that a try!)
Dig those dunes!