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Steve Jamrok

Steve Jamrok


Take a Day Trip to One of these Great Parks this Memorial Day Weekend

(Published on - 5/22/2019 10:22:20 PM)





It looks like Mother Nature's Jekyl & Hyde attitude this spring might give us a little break this weekend. With warmer and hopefully drier weather forecasted for Memorial Day Weekend, it's time to get outside! 


One of my passions outside of real esate is hiking and spending time in the outdoors.  Many people underestimate the hiking and outdoor activities Indiana has to offer.  I'd like to share with you some of my favorite local spots (in no particular order) to enjoy the outdoors. All of these are great day trip locations and all are within a 2 hour drive of Northwest Indiana. 





Stretching along the southern shore of Lake Michigan is our Nation's 61st and newest National Park.  Offering over 50 miles of hiking trails and 15 miles of sandy beach, Indiana Dunes has something for everyone.  


To Do: Hiking, biking, horse trails, camping, swimming, birding, boating and Fishing.


Tip: Get there early! This was already a popular park and being designated a National Park earlier this year will only increase its popularity. 


My Favorite: Dune Succession Trail. Gives you a little bit of everything from the lake front beach to climbing dunes, forest and great views of the Chicago Skyline on clear days. 





Surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana Dunes State Park is a park within a park. With it's easy access, large beach front and awesome hiking trails, Indiana Dunes State Park is a Region Favorite. You'll enjoy over 2,000 acres of primative forest, awesome views from 200 foot sand dunes and an awesome swimming beach.  The beach is a short walk from the parking lot which is great for families. The campground is also very family friendly with easy access to the beach. 


To Do: Hiking, swimming, boating, camping, biking, fishing


Tip: Stay late to enjoy a great sunset from the beach. It's also a great place for star gazing after dark.


My Favorite:  Trail 8 and the 3 Dune Challenge. Offering great views from the 3 tallest dunes in the park. 





About 2 hours straight south on U.S. 41 from Northwest Indiana, is one of Indiana's most popular State Parks, Turkey Run. Upon crossing the suspension bridge from the parking lot, you enter a landscape that most don't know exisits in Indiana. With deep ravines and sandstone cliffs, most people are amazed the first time they explore Turkey Run.  With over 17 miles of hiking trails, a family friendly camp ground and canoeing along Sugar Creek, this park is exteemely popular with familes. 


To Do:  Hiking, camping, canoeing, tubing, horse back riding. 


Tip: Get there early and knock out the most popular trails before the crowds and then explore some of the lessor traveled trails. 


My Favorite: Trail 3, the Laders. This trail is not for the timid or out of shape. But if you like an adventure, you'll be rewarded on this trail. 


Bonus Tip: If you take U.S. 41 to get there. Stop off and check out the Bison at Kankakee Sands Nature Preserve. It's located just north of Morocco on the west side of U.S. 41. 





Turkey Run's sister park and one of my favorites. Shades State Park offers similar features and great hiking trails like Turkey Run, but it is usualy less crowded. 


To Do: Hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, horse trails, fishing


Tip: Do the 6 Ravine Hiking Trail. This is a great hike to enjoy the varied terrain of Shades. 


My Favorite: Shades offers a backpack camp site that is only accessible by hiking in. It's a fairly easy 2.5 mile hike to the camp and it's a great introduction to back country camping.  


SUPER BONUS TIP:  If you take U. S. 41 to get to get to Shades, stop at one of my favorite, secluded and little known hiking spots- Portland Arch. It is the only natural arch in Indiana and the terrain and scenery are beautiful.  It offers a moderate 1 mile loop trail with a few elevation gains and some rocky climbs. Looking at the surrounding landscape driving in, you'll be amazed once you get on the trail as it does not fit in with it's surroudings.  Take U.S. 41 just south of Attica and follow brown signs to Portland Arch. 



Warren Dunes State Park


Ok...I know this is in Michigan but it's one of my favorite Lake Michigan Beaches. Located just over an hour from Northwest indiana and just north of New Buffalo, this is a great family beach. There is a large parking area close to the beach and the beach is huge, offering plenty of space. There are also great hiking trails and large dunes offering great views of the surrounding areas. 


To Do: Swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hiking


Tip: Take time to enjoy some of the great restaurants and shops along Red Arrow Highway.


My Favorite: Spectatcular sunsets. Hard to beat on a clear d






















Northwest Indiana Farmers Markets

(Published on - 5/16/2019 5:11:56 PM)




It looks like Spring has finally decided to show it's face this year in Northwest Indiana. With the warmer weather comes the opening of many popular local farmers markets. Heres a quick guide to some of the most poplar markets in the Region.




May 4-Oct. 26

Located on the corner of Broadway and Third St.




June 1-Sept. 28




Located at Bulldog Park on the Corner of Joliet (US. 231) & West St

Just West of the Downtown Square





Begining May 25

Located on the Lake at 111 E Old Ridge Rd.




Begining May 28


Located at Community Park 8601 Calumet Ave.




May 5- Oct. 27


Located at 9660 Wicker Ave.



Tusdays & Saturdays

Begining June 1


Located at the Urschel Pavilion at Central Park

63 Lafayette St. Downtown Valparaiso




Beginning May 4


Located in Front of City Hall Downtown Whiting

1443 119th St









5 Tips For An Eco Friendly Lawn

(Published on - 5/2/2019 12:44:37 AM)


5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Lawn


The rain will eventually stop here in Northwest Indiana and the sun will come out, leading to yards that need cut and maintained.  While you're waiting for your yard to dry out, its a great time to assess your landscaping practices and make a change to more eco-friendly systems. Here are 5 tips that you can easily implement for a more eco-friendly yard.






Set your mower deck to 3" or 3 1/2" height when mowing.  Leaving your grass a little higher will create thicker grass with deeper roots. This will result in a yard that needs less watering and grass that is more tolerant to dry spells and resistant to unfriendly insects. 






Mulch or keep your clippings on the grass. They will help fertilize your lawn as they decompose and help replenish your yard with needed nutriants naturally.  You can also rake your yard clippings and use them in your garden or flower beds. Grass clippings around plants will help the soil retain moisture and help prevent weeds from growing. 





When watering your lawn, it's always best to do it in the morning before the heat of the day. It's also better to water your lawn longer but less often.  Instead of watering 4-5 times a week, try watering 2 times but water longer to let it absord deeper into the grass and down to the roots. This will help give your lawn a deep root system, making it stronger and more drought resistant. 






Planting vegetation that is native helps conserve water, require less maintenance and help keep out invasive species and weeds.  They also attract the helpful wildlife and insects that help pollinate and spread seeds.  Here's the link to the Indiana Wildlife Foundation  that provides great information on Indiana's native vegetation.



Ditch the Gas 


Electric and battery powered lawn equipment has made huge strides over the last few years, providing greater power and longer battery life. While they are a little more expensive on the front end, the cost to operate over the long term makes up for the initial cost. Not to mention you'll be helping to save the environment. Now, I too was skeptical of the battery powered lawn equipment until last year. My gas trimmer broke and after plenty of research, I came across the EGO brand. I spoke to a friend who swore by it and I decided to give it a shot. I absoluely love it! I was surpised by the power, ease of use and long battery life. The only downside I found so far is forgetting to charge the battery before you start your yard work. 


Now that the rain has stopped, Get out there and put these tips to work and enjoy your new "Green" yard!




Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

(Published on - 4/4/2019 5:56:13 PM)

Our Northwest Indiana weather is finally warming. As you get outside to enjoy the weather, it's also a good time to take a look at the exterior of your home. Here are 5 things to check for and maintain this spring that will help provent potential costly damage to your home. 


1.  ROOF- Take a good look at your roof.  Look for missing or damaged shingles that could have been caused by high winds.  Missing shingles can lead to moitsure damage and potential roof leaks leading to more costly repairs if not corrected.  Have a tall roof that you can't visually inspect? Most roofing companies or Home inspectors will come out and take a good look at your roof for you for a small fee.



2.  TREES- While your looking for any roof damage, make sure tree branches are cut back away from the roof. Not only can they cause damage to your roof during high winds, they are a highway for critters to access your roof looking to getting into the attic and nest. 



3. GUTTERS- Make sure your gutters are clean.  Gutters full of leaves and sticks can cause water to back up and flow behind the gutter causing fascia and soffits to rot. 



4.  DOWNSPOUTS-  Make sure your downspouts are connected and moving water away from the home.  Down spouts that are not connected can lead to seepage in your basement or crawl space and potential foundation issues in the long term. 


5.  GRADING-  Make sure the grading near your foundation slopes away from the home.  Over time,  flower beds and lanscpaped areas can erode leading to water pooling near the foundation which can eventually lead to issues.  Back fill flower beds and landscaped areas as needed to keep water flowing away from your home. 


Taking care of spring maintenance now will help prevent issues throughout the year. Now get outside and enjoy the warm weather!




Understanding Your Home Inspection

(Published on - 3/10/2019 5:32:43 PM)


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