Insider’s Guide: Winona Lake, Indiana

Michael and Jill Basden tell what you need to know before visiting Winona Lake, Indiana.

Before coming to Naples in 1999 to serve as the rector of Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church, Michael Basden and his wife, Jill, spent 12 years in Winona Lake, Indiana, where they still vacation. Jill worked as an educator for more than two decades, including at the Community School of Naples, and retired in 2018. The pair now dedicates their time to their three grandchildren and philanthropic efforts such as the David Lawrence Center. Although they’re both native Floridians—Jill from Lakeland and Michael from Orlando—the Basdens appreciate Winona Lake’s small-town lifestyle and the ability to escape to nearby Chicago for a dose of culture. They especially enjoy spending summer days exploring the Amish farmlands, sharing a glass of wine with friends, and savoring the lakeside sunsets they say rival those of Southwest Florida. —Caroline Ridgway

VIBE Quaint, welcoming, charming

WHEN TO GO The town really goes all out for the Fourth of July, and the celebration lasts for days with a concert, boat parade, and fireworks.

WHERE TO EAT Cerulean for bento boxes and sushi, and The Garden for creative bistro-style food like lamb burgers with feta, arugula, garlic aioli, and tomato jam.

LOCAL DISH TO DREAM ABOUT Maple Leaf Farms is nearby, and on a nice night we like to get fresh duck breasts to grill at home for an alfresco sunset supper.

HOW TO SPEND A FREE DAY Take a drive through the Amish farmlands outside of Shipshewana. Buggies are everywhere, and Yoder’s Meat and Cheese Company is out of this world.

AN ALFRESCO adventure Go on long walks on the Greenway. There are miles of paved trails along the lake and around town.

WHERE TO SHOP The Village at Winona is a cluster of local shops within easy walking distance. Some favorites include Belove and The Mucky Duck for gifting.

UNWRITTEN RULE THE LOCALS LIVE BY Let the “lakers” (weekenders usually from Chicago or Indianapolis) have the lake on the weekends.

MUST-TRY CULINARY EXPERIENCE Rua is one of our favorite restaurants in Warsaw, Winona Lake’s neighboring town. The restaurant has a cool, industrial feel, and the diverse menu is exceptional.

SIGNATURE DRINK Frosé on the patio at Port Winona, a local wine and gourmet shop.

A DAY TRIP Chicago is easy to get to by car or train. We especially love the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and the weekend fireworks at Navy Pier.

A CULTURAL OUTING Take in a show at the summer stock Wagon Wheel Theatre.

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