Summer is the season for outdoor concerts. Here in the Midwest, they pop up everywhere…and they are usually free. When I saw the event listing for the NW Indiana Symphony on the Dunes, I quickly booked two tickets on Eventbrite, then asked my friend Wendy to go with me. Together we decided to make it a two-day trip, find a place to camp overnight and explore the Indiana Dunes the next day.
The closest campgrounds were already pretty booked up and nothing looked all that appealing. So I turned to my new standby, Hipcamp, to locate a nice place to pitch our tents for the night. After scrolling through the nearby sites, I found one located in the middle of a vineyard. From the pictures, it looked peaceful and pretty. It only had one campsite and luckily it was still available.
Wendy picked me up just after 11am and we drove straight through to Mulln Heim Vineyard where we were greeted by John, the owner and caretaker. John was a talker. He shared with us how he inherited the vineyard from his parents and after losing his job, decided to try to make a go of it raising grapes for the local vineyards nearby. There are about eight within a five-mile radius. If you stay here, you can literally bike your way through an all day wine tour of local vintners.
Next, John showed us the way through the grapevines to our camping spot for the night. We couldn’t have ordered a nicer day, and the temps were suggesting it would be an especially nice evening for the symphony too. But first we had to set up camp!
I have to admit that when I saw the picture on Eventbrite, I really did think the symphony would be set up and playing directly on the Dunes. This is the picture.
But when we arrived we discovered the symphony would actually take place in the parking area of the West Dunes park. Visitors pulled wagons full of children, food, lawn chairs and coolers through the parking lot to where a large white tent had been set up. Some middle school children were already performing as an opener for the larger more professional NW Indiana Symphony.
After setting up our own sitting area, we still had an hour until the music started. We decided to take a walk on the beach. The sun was dropping in the sky and many of the day’s swimmers were packing up and rinsing sand from their arms and legs. We took some photos and walked along the sand appreciating the lake shore at dusk.
We made it back to the parking lot just as the symphony was warming up. We sat down to our table with flowers, a wine we picked up at a local vineyard, cheeses, crackers, nuts and cranberries. Everyone around us kept commenting on how much “fancy” we brought to our evening. But for us, this is just how an outdoor concert must be done. We definitely made it a night to remember.