• cindybabington

Peace and Beauty in Northern Indiana and Michigan

Instructions for Living a Life:

Pay attention

Be astonished

Tell about it

-Mary Oliver


We took a quick late July trip to Northern Indiana and Michigan to explore a new bike trail and ride three old favorites.


Shipshewana RV Campground South Park, Shipshewana, IN

We camped at the Shipshewana Campground for three nights to ride the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. The campground was adequate for our needs. Nice, large, level sites. The campground doesn't have many amenities and, as such, seemed to cater primarily to adults. However, it was very convenient to the trail and other sites in the area.

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is 17 miles long and stretches from Shipshewana to Goshen. The name Pumpkinvine reflects the numerous curves and turns on the trail. The trail was scenic and serene, with views of pastures, horses, and glimpses of Amish people tending their fields and riding their bikes on the trail. We were so impressed with how well utilized the path was. The Amish used it as a passageway between their farms, and the small towns of Shipshewana, Middlebury, Goshen, and others used it for exercise regularly. The trail is well maintained and beloved, it seemed, by the local community. We rode on the trail on two different days, stopping at Mooey's, an excellent ice cream and sandwich stand west of Middlebury, and at Krider Nurseries World Fair Gardens. Krider Nurseries constructed and exhibited the Worlds Fair Garden at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933-34. The Krider family re-created much of the garden in Middlebury along the bike trail. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Pumpkinvine Trail.


Indigo Bluffs RV Campground, Empire, MI

Indigo Bluffs RV Campground is incredible! I'm always on the lookout for campgrounds with the surroundings of a state park, near lots of things to do and with all the bells and whistles of a private campground. This campground checked all the boxes.


The campground has two sections, an RV resort area with large fifth wheels and Class As and an older campground for everyone else. I preferred the everyone else part of the campground. We had a shaded, large, full hook-up, and quiet site on a cul-de-sac.


The campground has a lovely pool, laundry room, clean bathhouses, and food trucks and is close to the splendor of the Leelanau Peninsula. The campground is very near the Sleeping Bear Dune Climb, Sleeping Bear Heritage Bike Trail, Leelanau Bike Trail, a fantastic Farmer's Market held in different towns on various days of the week, kayaking trips on the Platte and Crystal rivers, Lake Michigan, and lots of restaurants, wineries, and breweries.



Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is one of my favorite bike trails. It has all the things - diverse scenery, plenty of food and beverage stopping points, hills, curves, and woods. I love it! Every time I ride through deep forests, it occurs to me that I'm experiencing forest bathing. Forest bathing is "the practice of immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way, using your senses to derive a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health." Gulping in the fresh air from the pine forests immediately produces a sense of calm and well-being. Ride this trail! Start in Empire, ride to Bohemian Road beach, jump in Lake Michigan to cool off, and ride back. I highly recommend this 42-mile roundtrip bike ride!



Leelanau Trail

The Leelanau Trail is flat and scenic. It passes through vineyards, orchards, small towns and wooded areas. Be sure to stop at Farm Club on the way back from Traverse City. Amazing place! We rode from Suttons Bay to Traverse City - about a 34 mile roundtrip ride.



Leelanau Peninsula

Go to the farmer's market that is held in a different town on the peninsula most days of the week, Farm Club (north of Traverse City and right on the Leelanau Trail), Joe's Friendly Tavern in Empire for the burgers, Bohemian Road Beach, visit all the small towns and all the beaches! Beautiful area of Michigan.


Kal-Haven Outpost Campground, South Haven, MI

The Outpost is a very well-kept campground outside of South Haven. The owners are making continual improvements which is great. This past year they added sewer hook-ups to their RV sites. The campground is right on the Kal-Haven bike trail and only a couple miles from South Haven.

Kal-Haven Trail

We have biked this trail a few times and always enjoy it. One of our two days here, we rode through South Haven to Van Buren State Park for a 25 mile roundtrip. The Park is nice with a very popular beach on Lake Michigan. The other day we rode 50 miles roundtrip starting from the campground. We had a 50 mile ride/race coming up soon so were trying to get in a longer ride. It was a beautiful day - gorgeous blue sky with fluffy clouds. Despite the sunshine, the temperatures were cooler. Really great ride.







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