Meet your Neighbors – Nancy Moldenhauer


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Meet Nancy Moldenhauer. Nancy was born and raised in Michigan City and graduated from Michigan City Area Schools. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Valparaiso University and a Masters in Administration from The University of Michigan. In the past, she has been executive director or president of membership, legislative, and customer service associations in Tokyo, Ann Arbor, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. As a foodie, her adventures are finding the perfect accompanying wine or craft brew. Travels have taken her to 48 states and several countries around the world.

What brought you to the dunes? Literally, my mom and dad brought me to the dunes when I was a small child. I can vividly remember climbing up over the dunes carrying my sand pail with shovel and Sinclair Dino the Dinosaur float toy. After realizing all my summers as a grown up were being spent returning to our duneland area, I decided if I ever wanted to see any place else on my vacations I’d better move back.

How long have you lived here? After being born and raised in Michigan City and leaving after graduation from Valparaiso University, I returned to this area in 1999 after a significant absence.

What is your favorite thing to do in the area? I absolutely love to hike!

Tell us a secret about the dunes My dad painted dunes in oil and acrylic, so I grew up viewing beautiful landscapes every day of my life into early adulthood. I had to beg him to paint me my own, so now I possess a gorgeous beach sunset in a Monet-like-style. He was also the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore electrician who wired all of the buildings at the Chellberg farm and Bailley homestead during renovation.

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

a) Pinhook Bog off 856-902 North Wozniak Road just south of Michigan City is open for public viewing once during the year or for scheduled ranger led tours. Now there is an upland hiking trail to the left of the bog to walk independently. The most unusual carnivorous plants and suspended peat carpet can be experienced in the bog.

b) Jammin with Save the Dunes, the first Saturday of June annually, is happening on June 6th from 5 to 11 pm this year. Kicking off the summer with this premier event cannot be more fun! What could beat craft brews, food trucks, live music, and the beautiful setting of the Guy Foreman Amphitheater in Washington Park, Michigan City?

c) Dark Star of the Dunes, in the Pines, hostess and owner Sarah Mitchell serves up New Holland drafts (the only place I’ve found locally) and live music while Erik Tannelhill, professional chef, cooks up the most creative and tasty foods in the kitchen. Lesson I learned here was never judge a book by its cover, and facility renovations are being made.

What would you like to teach people about the dunes? As Carl Sandburg so eloquently stated, “Those dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and the Yosemite to California. They constitute a signature of time and eternity. Once lost, the loss would be irrevocable.” We need to be vigilant regarding potential dangers and extremely protective to preserve them. Everyone who loves our dunes should research the proposed expansion of the Indiana Dunes State Park iconic historic Pavilion and submit their thoughts and questions to the Department of Natural Resources at DunesPavilion@dnr.IN.gov.

Anything else? I am Northwest Indiana Green Drinks in Michigan City co-founder and team-host. We are saving the world one sip at a time! Monthly meet ups feature a presentation on some green topic, an opportunity to network and make new friends, and the chance to eat some delicious food and drink tasty craft brews. We gather the third Thursday monthly, 6:30 pm, at Shoreline Brewery, 208 Wabash Street, Michigan City.

I serve on the Board of Directors for Save the Dunes. Founded in 1952, we are the only regional organization totally devoted to preserve, protect, and restore our dunes. You’re invited to become a member or a supporter of our “100 for Water” campaign. Also enjoy Save the Dunes events scheduled for this year by checking http://savedunes.org/upcoming-events/.