Submitted by: Scott Timmerman
After the release of the Dig The Dunes Top 25 Patio list, and with the weather finally turning nice, it was time to start crossing off patios on my list. The first trip was to Exit 3. Exit 3 on Interstate 94 is Kennedy Avenue which serves as home to Byway Brewing Company, the Indiana Welcome Center, the Erie Lackawanna Bicycle Path, Little Calumet River Levee Trail, and the Carlson Oxbow Park.
Byway Brewing Company began their operations in February 2016. Upon pulling up to the establishment, I was greeted with a banner announcing they were the 2016 Indiana’s Brewers’ Cup winner of Indiana’s Brewery of the Year and the Grand Champion Brewery of the Year. At this brewery, you are seated at a table and are served. They have seating outside on a large patio, seating inside with open windows offering a floor to ceiling view of the outside, or there is even a little area where you can sit next to the tanks where the beer is brewed. Byway has a rotating tap list filled with a wide variety of styles of beer. A flight here is your choice, up to six, and paid for by the individual sample. Byway also offers wine, mimosas, and for the guys they even have a “manmosa” which they describe as a beermosa (made with their orange wheat style beer). They offer a large seasonal food menu, which is highly reviewed online. While sitting outside, I was able to hear plenty of compliments on how great the food tasted.
For your competitive or active side, there are two sets of cornhole available on the patio. It was easy to see why, and how, this patio made the top 25 patios of the dunes.
Located across the street from the Byway Brewing Company is the Indiana Welcome Center. The Indiana Welcome Center is your one stop shop for, you guessed it, all things Indiana. Walking up to the building, you are greeted by the notorious scene from the Christmas Story of Flick getting his tongue stuck to a flagpole after being triple dog dared. The Indiana Welcome Center is host to the Christmas Story Exhibition among several other exhibitions throughout the year. It is also a place to purchase several Region items, ranging from apparel by The IN Coast and Region Wear to the popular South Shore posters. Before you leave, make sure to check out the pamphlets and tour guides for events happening in Northwest Indiana and Indiana in general.
At the southern portion of the parking lot is a trail access point for the Erie Lackawanna Rails-to-trail bicycle path. If you are feeling adventurous, you can ride this 17.7 mile paved path through five communities making your way between Crown Point and Hammond. This is the longest continuous trail in Northwest Indiana. On pleasant days, this path can get busy, but there are miminal intrusions/stops and the path is usually extra wide making there plenty of space to travel at your own pace. If you are traveling this path, there are plenty of establishments and parks to stop for a break if need be: Wicker Park, Langels Pizza, Grindhouse Cafe, Twincade (Arcade bar), Wildrose Brewing, New Oberpfalz Brewing, Pokro Brewing, Lincoln Carry Out Subs, among several others.
If walking is more your style, back across the street behind Byway Brewing is the Carlson Oxbow Park. There are several short dirt paths that snake around two ponds offering picturesque views. A paved path travels along the north side of the Little Calumet River, and if you cross the bridge over the river, the Little Calumet River Trail awaits you on the south side if you are looking for a longer walking or a running path.
With plenty to offer off this one exit, you are now triple dog dared to get out and enjoy Exit Three for an enjoyable afternoon!
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