By Kim Ranegar, Midwest Living contributor
Housed in the former Furnessville schoolhouse built in 1886, the Schoolhouse Shop is a collection of boutique shops offering clothing, gifts, gourmet food, kitchen accessories and even a florist.
The Schoolhouse Shop building began as a two-room schoolhouse on a sand dune; today, it makes the grade as a quaint shopping destination in Chesterton. Located along a rural road, it’s a cute place to spend an hour—and not-to-be-missed if you’re visiting nearby or staying at the Dunes Walk Inn.
Shiny Christmas ornaments and decorations fill the Seasonal Room just off the entrance. Other rooms overflow with gift finery, such as pottery, hand-dipped candles and hand-blown glass, starting at $5. The Furnessville Gallery and Card room is a tribute to local subjects and artists, and you can spend as little at $2 on a greeting card or up to more than $2,000 on original art pieces. Climb three steps to the Tree House Toy Room where a life-size stuffed Elmo ($195) greets customers. Colorful books, stuffed animals and the kind of toys that don’t require batteries surround him.
Find affordable fashion for both men and women, from jeans to dress up, including jewels and bags, in Dunes Clothiers. I found familiar names like Pendleton alongside new designers like Dream Sacks (bamboo clothing) and Coussard (gauze and cotton). The Magic Pantry is chock-full of goodies for foodies, including salsas, vinegars and pestos, plus chefs’ tools and textiles. I found sparkling stemware, tasty teas and the coolest hand-painted drink tureens—perfect for tailgating ($144).
Lake Effect Florals makes arrangements for delivery and offers baskets and bouquets for cash-and-carry. Also downstairs is a small selection of antiques, ranging from primitive wooden dippers ($28) to ornate cathedral candlesticks ($168). The Schoolhouse Shop is open daily except Tuesdays.