Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets
The Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets mall located in downtown Michigan City (601 Wabash Street) has 120 stores. Some of the stores include Gap, Reebok, Pepperidge Farm, all at great prices. This outlet mall is probably the best attraction in town. In the picture notice the huge cooling tower of the NIPSCO power plant. The plant can be seen clearly from the outlet mall.
The Heron Rookery
South of Michigan City is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's Heron Rookery. Here in the spring, nesting pairs of herons raise their young. The dense tree tops hids their nest and it takes time and a trained eye to see them.
Don't let the lack of finding birds send you away, there are acres of spring wild flowers to enjoy.
The Rokkery is west of town off US 20 (either take US 20 west from Franklin [US 421] or US 12 west to 520 in The Pines to US 20. West of The Pines take Country Road 500 E, south across the tracks (careful on the tracks, trains and it's a bad intersection/crossing [US 20, 550 E, and the railroad]. Road changes to Brown Rd (still 500E). At 1400 North, the road ends, go left (east) to 600 East. South about a mile. The parking lot is on the right (westside) of the road.
Contrary to popular belief, Mount Baldy is not the biggest sand dune in the state of Indiana. At 133 feet it is 60 feet shorter than Mount Tom, in the Indiana Dunes State Park.
But it is still huge! I try to always get people in my pictures of Mount Baldy, to give the best possible perspective of just how large this mountain of sand is.
But unlike the aforementioned tall dune, Mount Baldy is not covered by Marram Grass or Oak Trees. It is a "living dune," moving inwards a few inches a year, burying and destroying whatever gets in its way. Notice how the pronounced ridge and steep backside.
A dramatic view of Mount Baldy and the forest it encroaches on. In a few years these trees will be smothered and covered by sand.
Some areas around Mount Baldy are undergoing change. This Marram Grass stabilizes the dune, allowing for new species of plants to develop, thrive and be replaced by other species. This is plant succession.
There are two ways to get to the top of Mount Baldy: climb up the steep back side (the pictures above should give an indictation of how steep) or a gradual, winding and much easier way. These guys took the hard way.
Unfortunately a NIPSCO cooling tower and plant dominate the view to the east. On this spot once stood the "Hoosier Slide", a 200 plus foot sand dune that was visible from Chicago. Between 1890 and 1920 (long before NIPSCO's time, to be fair) an estimated 13.5 million tons of sand were shipped to various glass making factories around the state.
Looking south from the top offers nice views of the LaPorte County countryside. It is amazing in the fall. Fortunately the trees obscure the State Prison in Westville.
Mount Baldy, as seen from the pier at Washington Park in downtown Michigan City (on the other side of the cooling tower.)