Pictured is an aerial shot of Winona Lake. Photo provided.
Pictured is an aerial shot of Winona Lake. Photo provided.
WINONA LAKE – Winona Lake recently received some recognition as it was listed as one of the 10 of the best small towns in the Midwest in a July 7 article in Travel + Leisure.

While the recognition from Travel + Leisure may be a recent one, it is not the only recognition the town has received.

“I can’t speak in regards to the town of Winona Lake, but the Village at Winona has been in Midwest Living magazine and Conde Nast Traveler, as well as other regional and state publications,” said Nick Hauck, managing director of the Village at Winona. Hauk said he learned of the recognition in Travel + Leisure because Google alerts the Village at Winona any time there is something mentioned about Winona Lake or the Village at Winona.

Town Manager Craig Allebach said the town was  recognized by Accelerate Indiana Municipalities (AIM).

Benefits to the town can be seen after the town receives recognition.

“While it is hard to put an exact dollar amount from written publications, I would hope that this increases tourism in our town as a whole and this would give tourist a better idea about the amenities that our town has to offer, which would lead to an overall increase of sales in the shops and restaurants,” Hauk said. “This year, we have seen an increase of tourism regionally (two to four hours away) due to COVID and people wanting to drive to their vacation closer to home instead of getting on an airplane. Since the article was written last week, we won’t know any direct results from it for several months to a year.”

Allebach said by getting the designation of being among 10 of the best small towns in the Midwest, it allows for more regional recognition for the town. He said because it’s regional, people may be more inclined to do a day trip to visit a town like Winona Lake than if the recognition was on a national platform where people would have to fly to get to the area.

Allebach said the town sees people wanting to move to Winona Lake. He said houses are put up for the market and are sold pretty quickly, sometimes within hours, and are sometimes selling above asking price.

Anytime there is a national publication on the town of Winona Lake or the Village at Winona, Hauk said he thinks it leads to social and economic resources.  

Allebach said the town sees an increased interest in things the town has been working on over the years.

“For Winona Lake, you can look at the great trail system we have, which includes 10 miles of single-track mountain bike trails, which is some of the best in the midwest, the great park and beach that Winona has with the K21 SplashPad next to the awesome Limitless Park and beach, and the Heritage Trail Greenway which goes though all of these and connecting to The Village at Winona where there is world known restaurants and great shopping in a National Recognized Historical District,” Hauk said.

Allebach said the interest in what Winona Lake already provides doesn’t include any of the potential interest that will be brought in due to the ice rink pavillion that is being constructed.

Hauk said he thinks the recent recognition is justified “when you look at everything our town has to offer in such a confined area, it is no wonder why we keep getting noticed as one of the best small towns in the midwest.”