Well, I finally accomplished it! Last year, the only State Park I did not visit was Chain’ O Lakes. While leaving the IEDA (Indiana Economic Development Association) spring conference in South Bend, I wandered my way to the park.  

Chain’ O Lakes is a beautiful park to visit—there are so many trails with differing landscapes. The one thing I still haven’t accomplished is kayaking the chain of lakes. I’ve had some friends do this, and it looks like a great afternoon activity. Maybe later this year? I first became aware of the park as a high schooler. We camped at the park for a couple of nights while attending the Three Rivers Festival in Fort Wayne 

Did I mention South Bend? Our conference was a great opportunity to hear about the City and the Region! A lot is going on in Northern Indiana. Staying in a hotel south of Notre Dame near Eddy Street was quite the experience. Hiking around Notre Dame’s campus and taking in the sites was pretty sweet. They even provided fireworks on my first night there (it seemed as if one of the senior staffers was retiring and student day was happening, so they had a big celebration). It was quite the tour. 

It is wonderful seeing how the City and School have worked together, integrating themselves with each other. In previous trips to this area, it was very distinct as to where the University was and where the City was. Now, it is a seamless transition between the two. Eddy Street and the development around the area have really created a walkable community feel, promoting gathering spaces, restaurants, and several housing types. This area is a nice place to shop, eat and stay.  

It was a wonderful month wandering the State. I am so blessed to be able to tie my work to my wanderings. It’s refreshing visiting different communities and seeing the positive things they do and the improvements that they make. It’s great knowing that infrastructure and quality of life are becoming so intertwined in many communities.  

This past month, trips and visits were made to Yorktown, Muncie, Rochester, Vincennes, and Terre Haute, to name a few. I wish there was space to write about them all. State Parks are also being visited. I am up to visiting eight (8) this year, with Mounds and Fort Harrison being two others that were explored. 

Send me your places to explore. I am always attempting to find new and exciting adventures. Last but not least, we ate at The Mason Inn in Pittsboro. I highly suggest grabbing a tenderloin there. Safe wanderings! 

~ Jeff Banning