If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.

 

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Indiana Dunes

Natural beauty, birding and more

 © Becky Linhardt 2011

 The Indiana Dunes have always attracted visitors to their beaches and the waters of southern Lake Michigan do stay warm into October.  However, there is so much more natural beauty to see in the area that the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitors Commission produced a web site and booklet, Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail that provides information on special birding, wildflower, and wildlife viewing areas.

 “The Indiana Dunes hosts the largest diversity of plants and animal life in the Midwest,” said Ranger Brad Bumgardner cq.  “Its special location along Lake Michigan is a draw for bird species.  The lakefront, during north winds, can blow in some fascinating birds such as kittiwakes, jaegers, and phalaropes.  Sandhill Cranes begin migrating in good numbers in early October, some years as many as 35,000, with most congregating at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area about a 45-minute drive south of the dunes.”

 Sharing space along the shoreline is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  From their beach you can often see the Chicago skyline to the west and a climb to the top of the dunes provides great sunset viewing when the weather cooperates.  For those who love the outdoor living experience, camping spaces are more easily secured in the autumn, especially during the week.

 Just outside of Valparaiso, Taltree Arboretum & Gardens offers colorful fall foliage on the roads and trails that wander through the 360-acre reserve.  There are formal gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairie areas.  Trails named Bluebird, Goldfinch, Heron, and Owl provide access to great birding with docent lead interpretive hikes of 1 to 1 ½ hours during its season of April-October.

 If you treat yourself to a stay at Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast, you can enjoy watching the numerous birds that come in for breakfast just outside the sunroom.  Named “one of the 20 perfect summer getaways for 2008” by Travel & Leisure Magazine,  the newly built B&B has acres of former farmland to wander and the beautiful gardens near the house make it just as lovely for a fall getaway.  And, because it is located just about 15 minutes from I-65, it’s only about an hour drive to downtown Chicago – if you really want to add the big city experience to your getaway.

 Porter County/Indiana Dunes

Information: 800-283-8687 or www.beyondthebeachdiscoverytrail.com

 Indiana Dunes State Park

219-926-1592 cq or http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm

 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

219-926-7561 or http://www.nps.gov/indu/

 Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, 71 North 500 West, Valparaiso, IN

Admission: $5 per person.  219-462-0025 cq or www.taltree.org

Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast, 174 N. 800 W, Valparaiso, IN

Room/Suite Rates: $169-269 night

219-759-4274 cq or www.songbirdprairie.com

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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