Local attractions recognized as among the state’s best
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent December 30, 2012 5:50PM
The beach at the Indiana Dunes State Park, in Chesterton, is crowded with families. | Sun-Times Media, file
Updated: February 1, 2013 6:13AM
Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton and Valpo Velvet ice cream parlor in Valparaiso garnered top spots in a “Best of Indiana 2012” survey, the first of its kind sponsored by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.
The local attractions won raves in the “Your Ten Favorites” category. The State Park ranked second for fall foliage spots and third in a category dubbed “Summer Gotta-Dos.” Valpo Velvet, meanwhile, took second in ice cream shops in the recently released survey results.
“It was a big deal. We were really, really honored. It’s pretty good — I’ll take second,” said Cathy Brown, manager of the family-owned ice cream shop, noting the sweet stop has received accolades before. “Most of our customers tell us we have the best ice cream they’ve ever tasted.”
The State Park is the only destination to win in two categories, which didn’t surprise property manager Brandt Baughman. He said the park’s staff was gracious that what they had to offer was being recognized, but he had to agree with the results.
“The natural beauty and recreational opportunities that exist at the dunes truly are outstanding, and we are extremely grateful for the DNR’s continuing dedication to enhance the park, as well as the efforts by entities such as Indiana Dunes Tourism and the Duneland Chamber to make sure these improvements are known by locals and tourists alike,” he said.
Compiled based on online votes by the public, the inaugural “Best of Indiana: Your Ten Favorites” lists rank top choices for Indiana pies, ice cream shops, sandwiches, and fall and summer travel destinations, providing insiders’ insights to some of the state’s formerly best-kept secrets, according to a news release from the tourism office.
“Seasoned travelers know that the best way to find great food and fun is to ask locals what they like,” said Mark Newman, the office’s interim director, in the news release. “We’re connecting travelers with that information in a way that will help them get the most out of exploring the Hoosier state.”
The first “Your Ten Favorites” lists grew from the tourism office’s “Super 46 Sandwiches in Indiana” list, created in conjunction with Super Bowl XLVI. After receiving an enthusiastic response, the Office of Tourism Development implemented the “Best of Indiana” voters’ choice section on www.VisitIndiana.com.
Complete survey results can be found on the website.