Crown Point Downtown Square – Crown Point, Indiana: Square Route

With the Southlake YMCA’s two week annual maintenance shutdown finally over, I decided it was time to get back to the gym. Still preferring to spend more time outside, I figured the ten mile ride there and back would be more than sufficient  for my cardio, leaving the tedious strength training for indoors.

Mounting the bike, I hit the Erie-Lackawanna Trail in Griffith and journeyed on towards Crown Point. The great thing about this path in-particular was its consistency. One long stretch of asphalt with practically no interruptions breaking the pace (save for two or three busy roads to cross), it was an ideal route for my cardio workout.

Riding past Merrillville and spelunking through the thin cement cave under Route 30, I made my way to one of the most beautiful portions of the trail I had ever seen. Running behind the Lake County Government Center, flanked by gorgeous fields of green, smooth wooden fences and vibrant colored flowers, it was almost like stumbling into the fanciful summer meadows of Narnia hidden right in Northwest Indiana’s backyard.

The path curved around the natural landscape gently massaging the shallow hills. Traversing  a comely bridge extending over a creek, I came across the Charles & Mable Swisher Park. Just a small plot of groomed grass and four benches, this concealed little oasis was a perfect, tranquil spot for an impromptu picnic. It was too bad I ate before I came. Maybe another time.

So caught up in the beauty and peacefulness of the whole experience, it wasn’t until this point that I realized I had forgotten my YMCA membership card. Taking this misfortune in stride, I figured if I’ve already come this far, I might as well drop by and visit the Crown Point Downtown Square.

Reaching the end of the Erie-Lackawanna Trail, I hopped immediately onto West Street and moseyed on towards the bright orange tower of the Crown Point Courthouse peeking over the tree tops. It wasn’t long before I was in the heart of the square, with cars zipping by and visitors casually touring the novel, local shops. With the picturesque courthouse now in plain view, I made my way around its side to the Historical District on South Main Street to get a glimpse of my two favorite buildings: the old Lake County Criminal Court, and the Sheriff’s Building, where the notorious John Dillinger made his famed escape in 1934.

It wasn’t too long ago that Director Michael Mann came to this very location when filming his own Dillinger story, Public Enemies. I still remember standing out in the bitter cold just to get a peek at the action. In retrospect, it isn’t something I would consider doing again without a bucket full of hot chocolate…

My heart rate lowered to a lazy pace as I leisurely took in the rustic and gritty architecture of these yesteryear masterpieces. It wasn’t until I finally let out a long and content yawn that I knew it was time to get my legs back on those pedals.

Bidding farewell to the marvels of the downtown square, I started on my journey home.

Perhaps I would go to the gym tomorrow…

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