Plan Your Next Wine Tasting

Two people toasting their wine glasses of white wine.

There are many fun and interesting ways to spend a weekend afternoon with friends, and going on a wine tasting trip is definitely one of them. Visiting a winery gives you the chance to go out in nature, meet some interesting people within the community, and enjoy some amazing wine. Luckily for those living in or around Chesterton, Indiana, there are plenty of charming wineries in the area.

Running Vines Winery

Located only minutes away from Lake Michigan, this winery is a family business that was founded by two cousins. Current owner Niki, one of the two cousins, currently works alongside winemaker Emily and together they manage to craft amazing wine. Each bottle meets high standards for taste and quality, while also staying true to the influences brought by the owner’s Italian roots. 

Their cellar is an ideal venue for wine tasting and guests are treated to a wonderful variety of local wines. It’s also very well suited for events such as parties or bridal showers, comfortably seating up to 25 guests. A regular tasting includes six different wine varieties, each with a special taste and aroma. Also, because wine often puts us in the mood for something to eat, guests can pair their wine with some cheese, pepperoni, or prosciutto.

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Take Your Family for a Spin in the New Sienna

Silver 2020 Toyota Sienna being driven on the road with trees in the background. | Toyota dealer in Burns Harbor, IN

The minivan remains the quintessential family vehicle. Although nowadays crossover SUVs provide a good alternative, the shape, size, and features of minivans make them well-suited for family road trips. The 2020 Toyota Sienna is a perfect example of that and its qualities make it the ideal choice for anyone looking for a family car. 

A Multitude of Features and Trims

Everyone has different things they want and expect from a vehicle and families are no different. The 2020 Toyota Sienna comes in five different trims, so you can choose the exact model to fit your family’s needs. The five main trim levels are L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited. The base trim comes with features that many other cars only list as options, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touch-screen interface with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay, and a great-sounding six-speaker sound system, among others.

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Taking a Trip to Indiana Dunes National Park

People scattered, standing on top of sand overlooking Lake Michigan.

Located in the northwestern part of the state, Indiana Dunes National Park runs for almost 25 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s been officially recognized as a national park in February of this year, making it the nation’s newest. Its 15,000 acres have a very diverse natural landscape, meaning that visitors always find new and exciting things to do. Here are some fun activities you and your family can do while visiting the park.

A Summer Beach Destination

Kids definitely love going to the beach and Lake Michigan’s shore is the perfect place for some fun in the sun. With 15 miles along the lake’s shore, it definitely doesn’t get crowded, so you and your family can fully enjoy your day at the beach. All parking lots are close to the beaches and have their own restrooms, much to the visitors’ convenience. There are also showers and lifeguards, so families can benefit from both the amazing natural landscape and the basic safety and hygiene necessities of modern times.

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Get Ready for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma driving up rocky terrain with greenery in the background. | Toyota dealer in Burns Harbor, IN

Trucks are constantly growing in popularity, mainly due to their reputation as vehicles that are up for any task. Indeed, from driving your kids to school to hauling thousands of pounds of cargo, trucks will do an amazing job on any terrain. When it comes to mid-sized trucks, few can compete with the Toyota Tacoma. The 2020 model will be here soon and it manages to improve upon an already great vehicle.

Added Technology and Comfort

Gone are the days when trucks were uncomfortable brutes that ware merely used to get the job done. Nowadays interior comfort is a very important part of designing a truck and modern technology plays a large part in that. The 2020 Toyota Tacoma will be fitted with a large 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is both intuitive and easy to use. Smartphone connectivity will be available via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, or USB ports. It will also feature support for Amazon Alexa Auto, helping you control all infotainment functions with the help of your voice.

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5 Best Boutiques in Chesterton

Various hues and sizes of purple glass bottles | Chesterton, IN

Boutique stores are an excellent way to find unique items. As you head out on your next shopping adventure, check out some of these fun locations in Chesterton, In. Each offers something different and little something for everyone.

1. Chesterton Toys

Activate your child’s imagination at Chesterton Toys on South Calumet Road. This store offers toys for all ages. Whether your hoping to find a fun or educational toy or game; a wide selection is available.  Grab something from the outdoor collection to play with over summer break!

Check out their large selection of Funko pops! If you’re into collecting them, there’s a good chance you can find that missing part of your collection. They also boast a wide variety of Pop! Pez collectibles which will allow you to indulge your sweet tooth. If you’re up for indulging your sour tooth, try some of the Shock Your Buds Test Tube Candies.

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Car Condensation Causes and How to Fix Them

Close up of dew drops on a flat surface. | Chesterton, IN

Clear vision is essential when driving your vehicle. Yet, many drivers need to clear condensation from their windows and windshields before going anywhere. If you need to do this constantly, there are some steps you can take to keep the condensation out of your vehicle.

1. Dirty Windows Welcome Water Droplets

Water clings to dirt and pollen. One way to reduce the amount of condensation in your car is to keep your windows clean. Do not just wash the outside of your windshield. Instead, make sure you wash the inside of the glass as well. Keep a clean rag and a small bottle of glass cleaner in your car to make cleaning on the road quick and easy. Do not use paper towels as they can smear or possibly scratch your windows and windshield. Ideally, an old shirt or other soft material works on all the glass surfaces in your vehicle.

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3 Annual Chesterton Events You Shouldn’t Miss

Close up of a toddler's legs sitting on concrete with chalk drawn on their legs and pieces of chalk on the ground that's been colored with chalk. | Chesterton, IN

Are you looking for something outside your normal routine to enjoy? Check out these great events in Chesterton, In. They are a great way to spend time with family and friends. They also make unplugging easy. With so much going on, you’ll have no trouble taking a break from electronics.

1.  Chesterton Art Fair

Artists of all kinds take over Dogwood Park on August third and fourth for the 61st Annual Chesterton Art Fair. Visitors have a chance to discover all types of art created by over 100 artists! You’ll be dazzled by the variety of mediums for sale and on display. You might even find that you can’t leave without that beautiful unique piece. While you’re there, bring a lawn chair to enjoy the live music and, of course, the food.

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3 Reasons to Make Your New SUV a Highlander

Red 2019 Toyota Highlander in the driveway in front of a home with a family of four around it. | Toyota dealer in Chesterton, IN

Is it time for you and your family to upgrade to a brand new SUV? Meet the 2019 Toyota Highlander. This versatile vehicle has something for everyone. If you are on the fence about which SUV should be your next, these excellent features will convince you to make it a Highlander.

1. Built for Families

Comfort is paramount while you travel with family and friends. The 2019 Highlander includes automatic three-zone climate control. As the driver, you can set the temperatures throughout the vehicle to keep everyone comfortable. The driver and front passenger can set their own temperatures. The third zone covers the air coming out of the second and third-row vents. 

Depending on the trim level you choose, the vehicle includes up to five USB ports. You can have up to three in the front and two in the back, saving you from arguments over who gets to charge their phones or other devices.  The family-friendly technology also includes an available rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment center. The screen folds into the ceiling for secure storage. It also consists of two pairs of headphones, so the movies can be enjoyed without disturbing other passengers.

Don’t let space limit you when packing for your next adventure.  There’s seating for eight, but the backseat folds flat into the floor. It also reclines opening up as much legroom and cargo space as possible. 

2. Safety

Keep everyone safe on the road using the standard Toyota Safety Sense system.  The system includes a lane departure warning with steering assist. It checks the area around your vehicle and gives you a chance to get back in your lane to avoid an accident.  The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system measures the distance between you and another car on the highway. If you are too close, it automatically adjusts your speed to create a safe driving distance. 

Automatic high beams take the worry out of driving in the dark. The lights turn on and off if you are on a rural road and when you approach other traffic.

3. Driver Technology

The Highlander is full of technology meant to provide the smoothest ride on your next adventure. There is a bird’s eye camera. It is unlike a traditional backup camera because it gives you a full view of your vehicle. You can use the scan feature to check on your vehicle while it is parked.  

The Driver Easy Speak function makes interacting with your passengers convenient and safe.  It is a built-in microphone up front. The microphone transmits what you say to your back seat passengers, so you can make plans or even play games with children while you stay focused on the road. 

Puddle lights are an optional feature on this SUV. They illuminate the ground under the side mirrors, giving you an opportunity to keep your feet dry.

Are you ready to meet the Highlander in person? Stop by Lake Shore Toyota today. Our staff looks forward to getting you in your 2019 Toyota Highlander today.

Image via Toyota.com.


Exceptional Beaches Within an Hour of Chesterton

Seashore and a large hill with sand and and trees at the top. | Chesterton, IN

When it comes to beaches, you might not immediately think of hanging out in Indiana. But don’t let the fact that there’s not an ocean nearby deter you. The area around Chesterton has some of the best beaches where you can cool off, create some sandcastle masterpieces, and catch some rays. Keep reading to learn more about four exceptional beaches that are within an hour of Chesterton, Indiana.

1. Indiana Dunes State Park

Located at the north end of State 49 in Porter County in Chesterton, Indiana Dunes State Park features more than 2,000 acres of historic and scenic landscape. It has more than three miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Established as a state park in 1925, the park today features numerous large sand dunes that tower almost 200 feet above Lake Michigan.

During the summer, the state park hosts numerous events, including Fireworks on the Beach and annual sand sculpture contest in July. In August, you can enjoy the annual Perseid meteor shower and stargaze at night or watch hummingbird banding demonstrations during the day.

2. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

Situated in Portage, Indiana, the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is an area that opened in October, 2008. Home to a former steel corporation, today you can access the lakefront and beach, trails, and a restored 900-foot breakwater. Open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., you can watch migrating birds or take a dip in the water, although there are no lifeguards on duty. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, step into the 3,500-square-foot pavilion.

3. Porter Beach

Porter, Indiana, along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, is the home of Porter Beach, a free beach that’s open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. This beach is part of the Indiana Dunes National Park. Pets, alcohol, and glass containers are not permitted at this beach. Seasonal restrooms are available from early April through mid-October. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty, so you can swim at your own risk.

 4. Washington Park

Located in Michigan City in Indiana, Washington Park is open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. This family-friendly park is home to the Michigan City Lighthouse, which is the state’s only working lighthouse and sits on the west side of the beach. It also features a marina, a historic rock garden, fitness trails, a gazebo, and a lifeguard-protected swimming beach. Fishing is permitted and there is a seven-acre zoo across the street.

Every June you can participate in Jammin’ with Save the Dunes at the Guy Foreman Amphitheater. This signature fundraiser features local breweries, wineries, and food trucks paired with numerous singers and bands. You can also purchase dunes-related swag at the vendor site. Kids under 12 are free, and they are encouraged to play at the Kids Zone area. Bring your favorite lawn chair and spend the entire day supporting a worthy cause.

No matter which one of these four Chesterton-area beaches you choose to take advantage of, you’re bound to enjoy the scenery and a little rest and relaxation.

Image via Flickr by daveynin | CC BY 2.0.


Sensible Toyotas for Your Teen

Close up of the back half of a taupe 2019 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota dealer in Chesterton, IN

If you have a teenager who recently received his or her license, you might feel apprehensive having your teen behind the wheel. Although you cannot be with him or her every time they’re driving, there are vehicles that can help your new driver to stay safe on the road. All Toyota vehicles come standard with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), which includes features such as lane departure alert, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist. Keep reading to learn which four Toyota vehicles are ideal for teen drivers.

1. Camry

Named the second-best midsize vehicle by U.S. News and World Report, the 2019 Toyota Camry is fuel-efficient, easy to drive, and loaded with technology. It comes standard with an Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, six-speaker audio system, Siri Eyes Free, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. It earned a perfect five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the highest rating of Good in all six individual crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The vehicle was named a 2019 Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.

2. Prius

As an environmentally friendly vehicle, the Toyota Prius is a versatile car that’s perfect for your teenager. Getting an EPA-estimated 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway, the Prius is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. Available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive headlights, and blind spot monitoring. It also achieved a perfect five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

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