Meet Bill! Bill Welter is the owner and operator of Journeyman Distillery and Staymaker in Three Oaks, MI. Born and raised in Valparaiso, IN, Bill continues to reside in NW Indiana in the dunes, with his wife Johanna and daughter Islay. Prior to opening Journeyman Distillery, Bill took great pride in assisting his father Chuck in growing the local family banking business. As a student Bill graduated from Valparaiso High School in 1995 and Missouri State in 2000.
What brought you to the dunes? In 1989 my parents were looking for a place to move my Mom’s Mom from South Bend to NW Indiana. My Grandma didnt have any more ties to SB and she wanted to be closer to the grandkids. My parents discovered a little house in Porter Beach and my Grandma moved in that year. At the time, Lake Michigan came all the way up to the retaining wall and real estate values reflected the fact there was no beach. As luck would have it the beach started coming back the following year. Living in Valparaiso it was easy to spend a lot of time at Grandmas house! We loved our Grandma very much so there are a lot of great memories there. When I moved back to the area having lived in Chicago for a few years I had the opportunity to buy a house in Porter Beach and Ive never regretted it. My wife and I live in PB with our three year old daughter.
How long have you lived here? 2009, but as I mentioned we’ve been coming out to PB for a long time.
What is your favorite thing to do in the area? I use to love to run in the dunes. I spent a year training for the Chicago Marathon by running on the beach and trails. That was one of the most fun years of my life. My knees aren’t so good anymore and now one of my favorite things to do is ride my bike with my daughter on the bike. We have a special bike with very big tires that is made for biking on the sand.
Tell us a secret about the dunes I think the secret is the dunes! I’ve been doing a lot of traveling around the country for work and Im amazed at how few people know about the Dunes. It’s this special little piece of land that not many people know about.
Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)
a) little used but very scenic trails south of roskin and west of waverly
b) the Chesterton/porter/beverly shores dining scene from Octave, Popolanos, Sage, and Lucrezia in Chesterton. Leroys and Wagners in Porter. Bartlett’s and soon to be coming Studabaker truck restaurant on 12! Lots of great family owned and operated gems.
c) Dunes in the winter. It’s even prettier and peaceful.
What would you like to teach people about the dunes? It’s a an American treasure and should be treated as such.
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