So close and yet so far away from the excitement of Chicago, northern Indiana can’t help but seem a little bit boring. In the northwest, the state is bounded by Lake Michigan, along whose shores Rust Belt hulks of derelict heavy industry stand side by side with the pristine sands of the fascinating and beautiful Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The northeastern corner, even in the estimation of the state tourist office, offers little more than a few lakes and the so-called “muck lands” around the Fighting Irish homeland of Notre Dame University at South Bend. In between stretch endless acres of rolling farmland, Amish homes, and other tourist-attractive agricultural communities, as well as some of the most important sites in early American automotive history: the homes of Studebaker, Cord, Duesenberg, and other now-defunct car companies.

Map of the Oregon Trail through Indiana.
Map of the Oregon Trail through Indiana.