Meet your Neighbors: Carly Smith

Meet Carly Smith! Carly is a Porter County transplant who now resides in Town of Pines. Her passions include creating films, acting and marketing. She calls the Dunes home along with her husband Ryan and three fur-babies. Carly is currently Assistant Directing Jessica’s Ashes and can be seen in the upcoming film, The Weak Force.

What brought you to the dunes? I moved to The Region after graduating from Valparaiso University. I’m originally from Columbia City, Indiana (1.5hrs East on Route 30). The move was a simple decision. I had already fallen in love with Downtown Valpo and the final nail was placed when I fell in love with my now husband who had family here. Bonus fact: he proposed to me at the amphitheater at Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve!

How long have you lived here? I’ve been an official Porter County resident for 6 years.

What is your favorite thing to do in the area? I have two dogs who love hitting the trails. One of my favorite things is to go hiking with them. There is NO shortage of hiking opportunities in Porter County and the surrounding La Porte county.

Tell us a secret about the dunes. Pinhook Bog is one of my favorite Indiana Dune secrets. It’s only open to visitors on tour dates (which admittedly are limited) BUT if you are available, GO! You’ll not only learn a tremendous amount about Pinhook Bog’s fragile and unique eco-system you’ll see a part of our community you had no idea even existed!

Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)

a) Ivy’s Bohemia House– They’re an adorable eatery in downtown Chesterton with a fantastic menu (with lots of vegetarian options which I LOVE), great atmosphere and an owner who really wants you to have a great experience.

b)Homenclature– Ok discount shopping fiends, this one is for you. Homenclature has the BEST selection of new furniture at great prices. There really is nothing else like it in the area. Just remember to bring a truck to take your haul home. 😉

c) THEATER! There are so many great local theaters putting on impressive productions. Looking for something to do on a Friday night? I guarantee you can find a show to see. A few local theaters include: Footlight Theater (Michigan City), Chicago Street Theater (Valparaiso), Memorial Opera House (Valparaiso), 4th Street Theater (Chesterton) Crown Point Community Theater (Crown Point)…the list seriously goes on and on!

What would you like to teach people about the dunes? The best way to experience The Dunes is to get out there! I can’t get enough of the Indiana Dune State Park. It’s a one-stop-nature-shop with trails (including the amazing 3 Dune Challenge…do it!), a beach and even owl banding (seriously visit in October and ask the Nature Center all about it). So, that is always a great place to start.

When you’re taking in all this nature do remember to pick up after your self and stay on the trails. Dune grass is a vital and very fragile part of dune structure.

Anything else? Ok, I guess I’ll also let you all in on one final secret. The VERY best sandwich in the region can only be found at one diner…Third Coast Spice Café. Order The Peggy and change your life. Or ruin it because you can’t ever eat another sandwich and enjoy it ever again. It’s a risk worth taking, promise.

You can read more about your neighbors, right here!