BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
This weekend at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan, I didn’t think about my thighs. Afterward, perusing the official website, I searched for an explanation.
Perhaps I have the 1,950 acres of greenery or the magnificent Lake Michigan shoreline to thank. Possibly responsible: the 221 modern and rustic campsites, the 6 miles of trails, and the rugged dune formation rising 240 feet above the lake. Maybe stunned by the clean water and wooded pathways with which Mother Nature blessed this serene getaway-spot, I could practice only love and acceptance for the gifts she’d bestowed upon me.
I spent a 1998 trip to Maui, a place so spectacularly beautiful it makes Michigan look like Gary, Ind., focused exclusively on my thighs.
Rather than supply any thigh-related information, the site trumpets: “on a clear day see the Chicago skyline across from the top of Tower Hill sand dune!” which, despite sounding as if it’s been translated into Japanese and back into English, makes a good point about the Dunes’ proximity to Chicago. Less than two hours away, the location provides a quick, relatively inexpensive vacation option for Chicagoans too busy or broke for a longer retreat. For those who love to camp, or as I like to call you, Unwashed Crazy People, the state park has three campsites, one of which even provides what the website refers to as “modern” restrooms. (An interesting word given that even Ancient Romans had running water. Perhaps these modern bathrooms offer free Kindles rather than a sodden pile of magazines.)
Though the website raves about campgrounds, for Chicagoans resigned to tyrannical city beach regulations, The Dunes’ sparkling unrestricted water represents the location’s zenith. While buoys signal deeper waters, swimmers may paddle out as far as they dare anywhere along the three miles of shoreline. Couples and families of all nationalities populate the lively beach; old and young alike taking advantage of the laidback scene. Sunday’s highlight was a Latino pair in their 60s necking in the shallows. (Let it be noted that the female half of the couple bared her thighs with aplomb.)
Concessions at the Beach range from fried to creamy to molded meat product. The only indications one hasn’t traveled back to 1955: a Starbucks brand mocha ice cream bar and a sad looking turkey wrap. While I see no reason for chicken patties to contain corn syrup, when in Rome, right? Vanilla ice cream tinged pink by the famous Michigan sunset rounded out my day.
Although serene and lovely, I can’t credit Warren Dunes State Park for my sudden thigh acceptance. Likely accountable, some miraculous combination of maturation and yoga, but whatever the cause, the Michigan board of tourism would do well to post my testimonial on their website. There’d be no keeping the women away.
Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.
Photo: Patty Michels