Archive for July, 2008

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Here is what guests had to say…

“Uniquely Romantic and Restful” 7/16/2008
Stayed On: 6/2008

We recently enjoyed this amazing B&B to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. We were immediately delighted by the warmth of the innkeepers and the beauty of the inn and its surroundings. Cheescake, cookies and beverages available for our enjoyment, chocolate delights under glass by our bedside each night, clean robes, slippers and lush towels were just a few of the details that set the Songbird apart from most others we have visited over the years. The cleanliness and beauty of the rooms were just superb. And the peacefulness was divine – literally. Whether quietly admiring the wildlife at the breakfast tables each morning, walking on the grounds or napping in a hammock, this solitude was just what our souls needed. Thank you so very much for exceeding our expectations! We are already looking forward to our next visit. JKS


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Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast

174 North 600 West

Valparaiso, Indiana




The lovely Colonial country home with white-trimmed dormers may attract visitors, but it’s the grounds’ prairie grass, roses, and many trees that lure the namesake songbirds on their way to and from the Indiana Dunes. The four suites—Bluebird, Warbler, Purplefinch, and Cardinal (with bright red walls, of course)—have whirlpool baths and fireplaces, and a three-course breakfast is served in a sunroom that looks onto the bird-filled woods.

Insider Tip: There’s a microphone near one of the hummingbird feeders so guests can hear them “chirp” (a sound that’s actually made by their tails).


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From Travel + Leisure, Jul 2008


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Guide to Indiana Travel

http://www.IN.gov/VisitIndiana/index.aspx      Visit Indiana – the travel guide that has something for everyone.
indianabedandbreakfast.org what to do in Northwest Indiana

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Girlfriends Getaway/Pie Swap!   
Why not grab 3-8 of your closest friends and get away for  a pie swap, flower exchange, power shopping, scrapbookers escape weekend, indulgent pampering or inspiring retreating. Endless evening beverages and confections, (chocolate! girl food,)Find out the latest in front of a warming fireplace, unwind in a bubbling Jacuzzi complete with dead sea bath salts, full shower,oversized European towels, comfy robes and slippers, Direct TV,VCR,DVD (chick flicks) like “The Wedding Date” Three Course Hot Breakfast. starts @ $338.00(for four,2 rooms, Warbler and Purplefinch) tax included or $83.75 ea. In room massage therapy $99.00 per hour. Ask about more spa services and turn your stay into a Spa Party! Receive 15% off coupon for our gift shop! In House shopping !!! Yeah
Come for just Breakfast before shopping $19.95 each


What to do in Northwest Indiana

Girlfriends Getaway

Indianapolis Getaway

Southern Michigan Getaway

Taltree Arboretum

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Businesses, agencies win tourism bureau service awards

June 9, 2008

Nineteen local groups were honored recently for their contributions to Porter County tourism during the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission’s Recognition of Service Excellence luncheon.The R.O.S.E. awards recognize businesses and other groups for their contributions to the county.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission received the Unity Award for excellent service in Porter and LaPorte counties. John Swanson, NIRPC’s executive director, said the award meant a lot to him.

“It was just an honor to be receiving the award,” Swanson said. “I had no idea it was coming.”

Swanson said NIRPC was awarded for the planning of three particular projects: the Northwest Indiana Regional Greenways and Blueways Plan, the Marquette Plan, and the Northwest Indiana Bikeways Plan.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of life for visitors and residents alike,” Swanson said.

The Portage 16 IMAX theater was given the award for Attraction of the Year, an award that Manager Kevin Morgan said speaks for the business he runs.

“We always focus on customer service,” Morgan said. “We have the only IMAX in Northwest Indiana and the only IMAX north of Indianapolis, so I think that definitely helped.”

Morgan, who already has the award displayed in his office, said it has affected all of his employees.

“It’s a great honor to be one of four to be nominated and win,” Morgan said. “Everybody was happy to see it.”

Ruth Keefover, public relations director of Porter County tourism, said this was the sixth year the event has taken place.

“The purpose of the luncheon is to honor businesses or organizations throughout Porter County who have excellent service,” Keefover said.

This year, 19 awards were given to local businesses in Porter County, with the exception of the Unity Award, which recognized service to Porter and LaPorte counties.

Two new awards presented this year were the Cultural Attraction of the Year Award and the Green Award.

“It’s a new trend, so we wanted to honor organizations that wanted to go green,” Keefover said.

The R.O.S.E. Award Luncheon coincided with the celebration of National Tourism Week. Ken Johnson, chaplain of the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts, was the keynote speaker.


R.O.S.E. award winners

Hotel of the Year: Songbird Prairie

Festival of the Year: Elvis FANtasy Fest

Restaurant of the Year: Lucrezia

Retailer of the Year: Bass Pro Shops

Attraction of the Year: Portage 16 IMAX

Newcomer of the Year: Marina Shores

Recreation Location of the Year: Butterfly Meadows & Caterpillar Crossing

Partner of the Year (2): Kouts Chamber of Commerce and Valparaiso University

Putting Porter County on the Map: Collier archaeological site

Making Lemonade out of Lemons (2): Town of Hebron and Countryside Park

Cultural Attraction of the Year: Memorial Opera House

Green Award (2): Valparaiso Department

of Parks and Recreation and Portage Parks and Recreation Department

Professional of the Year: Mayor Jon Costas, Valparaiso

Hospitality Professional of the Year: David Rains of Country Inn & Suites, Portage

Unsung Hero: Jane Walsh-Brown from

the Brown Mansion

Unity Award: NIRPC


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Songbird Prairie B&B

“Songbird Prairie B&B was awarded Hotel of the Year” 2004 and 2008
by the Porter County Convention and Visitor’s Commission.

“Chosen 1 of 25 Best Undiscovered Romantic Inns of America.” 2006

“American Historic Inn’s TOP TEN Romantic Inns… more

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Here is what guests had to say…

“Beautiful Bed + Breakfast” 6/30/2008
Stayed On: 6/2008

Our one night stay at Songbird Prarie B&B was memorable. Effrain did a fabulous job of greeting us and giving us the Grand Tour (although he called himself a novice at this since it is usually Barbara who does this). We sat outside under the porch in a thunderstorm, read our magazines and watched the birds. We enjoyed our night in the Cardinal Suite which was tastefully decorated, immaculately clean, more than adequately supplied and included such comforts as robes and slippers and a lucious chocolate in a glass container on each side of the bed. Our three course breakfast the next morning was delicious. We enjoyed fresh fruit cut in the shape of birds, an omelette made to order, freshly baked biscuits, bacon and, although we were too full to sample it, Barbara’s banana dessert looked sinfully delicious. This B&B is in the country and is nestled in a wooded area where you can enjoy the wildlife as you eat breakfast. They have microphones to better hear the birds and resources to help you identify them – this was the draw to the B&B for us and we did not leave disappointed.

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“what a wonderful escape!” 6/27/2008
Stayed On: 6/2008

Our room was incredible, the decor was top notch. The entire house was just beautiful – we felt welcome and relaxed, and while we were staying in a home we still had our privacy. The breakfast was outstanding and the hospitality was evident from the moment we arrived. Hope to return soon.


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Lauren Viera’s 4 reasons to go
1. Birding
Loons, vultures, sandpipers, herons, cranes, hawks, grebes…they all make their home in various pockets of the Lakeshore. Some are here by accident; others come to breed and fly south for the winter. For serious ornithophiles, there’s a thorough Birds of the Indiana Dunes checklist on hand at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, located in the center of the Lakeshore, which is worth a visit anyhow.
2. Beaching
There are eight total and, because they’re in Indiana, they’re bound to be half as crowded as the ones you’ll find not far away in Michigan’s touristy. Porter Beach, in the heart of the Lakeshore, is one of the most accessible, with a bathhouse and snack food provisions; West Beach boasts 3 miles of open sand, a bathhouse and picnicking areas. Both are clean, barren and have plenty of hills for…
3. Hiking
Beyond the dunes, whose soft sand begs to be walked up, down and over (and it’s tougher than it looks), there are dozens of trails of varying difficulties and lengths strewn throughout the region. Many are conducive to cross-country skiing come wintertime, when the snow-capped dunes make for eerie, otherworldly landmarks.
4. Biking
Mountain bikers will be disappointed (the only “mountain” here is Mt. Baldy, a 126-foot-high sand dune), but the Lakeshore and State Park’s paved roads make for easy, scenic cycling. There are two bike trails: The 12-mile, off-road Calumet Bike Trail, which spans 10 miles between Mt. Baldy and the Cowles Bog area; and the 2-mile multi-use Marquette Trail on the far western corner of the Lakeshore, which is shared with hikers and horseback riders.

What did we miss? Share your tips for the Indiana Dunes.

Top attractions
Bird watching
Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center
Duneland Harvest Festival
The eight beaches of the Indiana Dunes
Mt. Baldy
Recommended resources
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes State Park
Porter County Tourism Bureau

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