Cathy Brown Brown and her husband Mike Brown
Meet Cathy Brown Brown! Cathy was a Brown (Scott and Nancy) and then she married a Brown. Now she is Brown Brown! She assures us that the Browns are not blood related, but they are “dairy” related. Both of their families had a hand in the dairy business in Valparaiso. Cathy is married to Mike Brown, whose Grandfather Herb Brown bought Browns’ Dairy in 1947. (That’s a lot of Browns!) They have 3 children: Katie, age 20, Greer, age19, and Luke age 17. They live in the home that Mike’s husband’s parents (Gordon and Bette) built. Cathy cherishes the fact that they were able to raise their children the same way that the were raised.
What brought you to the dunes? My 69 Plymouth Valiant brought me to the Dunes every other day in high school. I loved the Dunes. If I had to work during the day, then we headed up for the sunset!
How long have you lived here? I was born in Valparaiso, IN so I have lived here my entire life.
What is your favorite thing to do in the area? My favorite thing to do in this area is to drive up to the dunes on a clear day and photograph Chicago. It never gets old!
Tell us a secret about the dunes. We used to climb the big old tower every single time we went to the Dunes. It was my favorite thing to do. I remember the metal stairs and how hot our bare feet would get!
Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)
a) Spider Wall* because we would hurl ourselves down the wall and even though it hurt, we did it 70 more times.
b) Going to get ice cream at a place I used to work at (but now I run it) named Valpo Velvet. (this isn’t even a shameless plug, it’s the truth).
c) We took our kids camping at The Dunes and had a blast at that campground!
What would you like to teach people about the dunes? I send everyone I know from our ice cream shoppe (Valpo Velvet) to go explore the Dunes. I want them to know they can watch Chicago from afar, see the landscape of Lake Michigan and they can swim in some huge waves like the ocean. I also want them to know that if they park at the top of the Dunes and run down, they better wear shoes. because the sand is scorching hot in the summer!
Anything else? Aside from the Dunes, I’m glad that more people are starting to think of NW Indiana as a place to visit. There are so many gorgeous beaches that line Lake Michigan and people need to discover them. From Chicago to Michigan, we are quite lucky to be tucked away in this gorgeous piece of land. I’m proud to be from here and I’m quite proud of the close relationships that people have from The Region. I noticed this when I went to IU Bloomington. All of my non region friends always commented about how close we are were. This is especially true of Valparaiso. I have met so many new people who have moved here, but I have stayed very close with the very people I went to kindergarten with also. That’s a special thing! Downtown Valpo is also something to take note about. It has vastly improved in the last 10 years and continues to do so. The downtown is vibrant and bustling! I am very proud to have a business right in the middle of it all and able to keep serving Valpo Velvet Ice Cream. My husband and his brother make all of the ice cream on site, and we have used the same formulas for 68 years!
*Spider wall was the dune just to the east of the Central Ave beach entrance. It was much taller years ago.