Seniors Discover “Valpo”

Valparaiso, Indiana

 This senior recalls driving through Valparaiso, Indiana once on our way to visit Amish Country in the northwest part of the state.  The city was beautiful, especially the campus of Valparaiso University.

This four-year, private institution enrolls about 4,500 students from over 50 countries on a campus of 350 acres on the south side of the city near downtown. Originally named Valparaiso Male and Female College, the  University was founded in 1859 as one of the first co-education colleges in the United States.

“Valpo”, as everyone calls it, has  32,000+ inhabitants and is the seat of Porter County. The city is very much a part of the “Crossroads of America,” due to its proximity to I-65, I-80, I-90, and I-94. The city has a long history as a transportation hub for the region.

 Seniors Enjoy A College Town


Located on the ancient Indian trail from Rock Island to Detroit, the town had its first log cabin in 1834. Established in 1836 as Portersville, county seat of Porter County, it was renamed to Valparaiso (meaning “Vale of Paradise” in Old Spanish) in 1837 after Valparaíso, Chile, near which the county’s namesake David Porter battled in the Battle of Valparaiso during the War of 1812. The city, at the end of the 19th century, was called the “City of Churches” due to its large number of churches.

Valpo is the site of multiple colleges and universities. Purdue University North Central has a satellite campus in Valparaiso, and one of Ivy Tech’s 23 regional campuses is located in the city. The Valparaiso University is a cultural center of the city, hosting venues such as the Brauer Museum of Art, home to more than 2,700 pieces of 19th- and 20th century American art.

TripAdvisor suggests that seniors not miss The Memorial Opera House, built in 1893 as a memorial to Civil War veterans. This   historic landmark theatre continues a long tradition of opening its doors to local and national talent. I would want to head off for the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, a nature preserve boasting the largest collection of oak trees in Indiana and an award winning garden railway. This Railway Garden features hand-crafted bridges, water and vignettes that pays tribute to the steam locomotive era of American railroad history.


 Seniors View The Indiana Dunes And Lake Michigan

Destination360 notes that Valpo is “a very short distance from both the Indiana dunes and Lake Michigan, both of which are popular places for camping, swimming, and hiking.

The Wizard of Oz Festival is held every September in the Porter County Expo Center. Then there is the Popcorn Festival, due to the fact that it was the birthplace of my munchies hero…popcorn-legend Orville Redenbacher.

Seniors, set your sites on Valpo and enjoy the city. -jeb

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