Last Saturday, we were finishing up our spontaneous weekend getaway
with a stop at Spring Mill State Park.
The day before, we enjoyed our time in French Lick & West Baden.
You can read all about that here.
As I previously said, no matter how many times we go to Spring Mill & look at the same falls
& tour the historic village, I take the same photos over & over again.
But I just can't help it.
I mean after all, who can resist snapping pictures of natural beauty such as this?
It seemed especially serene at this visit.
And that's just what I was needing in my spirit.
All the rain we've had in the previous months has given us a gloriously green August!
The history represented in these old log cabins is beautiful & tells it's own quiet story.
Wish I could transport this little rock-walled garden to my own backyard.
I am in love with this picture ... what a perfect bucket of vines and flowers.
And moss ... I can't get enough of it.
I'm pretty sure that I've taken pictures of moss in every state and country we've visited.
Gaah ... looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.
Course, trekking back to the falls is a must.
It gets cooler and cooler the closer you get.
We were feeling adventurous & decided to hike back to Donaldson's Cave.
Adventurous for a few reasons ... one, we wanted to see the cave.
Two, it was quite an adventure cause we totally didn't wear the right shoes for hiking!
We hadn't planned to hike!
And lastly, it was in the 90s so it was as hot as a mug!
And I should've taken a pic of all the 50 million steps leading down to the cave.
And yup, we had to climb those same 50 million steps to come back up!
This water was ICE ICE cold!
Like it literally made our feet numb in no time.
Now what was so fun about this trip to the park, we kept seeing Amish folks everywhere.
This was when we came out of the cave ... a few little gals had hiked to the cave
& were cooling their feet in the water ...
AND, taking selfies!
First they used their flip phones to make sure their hair was in order.
Up by the mill, there was another group resting & wading in the water.
This was fun to see cause you all know how much I am intrigued with the Amish.
We were able to take this photos very discreetly & they had no idea we (or others)
were snapping a few shots.
Turns out, we ended up seeing 2 huge tour buses from Shipshewana.
A big group had traveled over to spend the day at the park.
All in all, any day spent anywhere with my baby is the perfect day for me.
Well, technically not anywhere, but you know what I mean ;)
It's these stolen moments with each other that keep us sane ... that bring some balance
to the otherwise topsy turvy circumstances that life often brings.
He's my rock & my romance, my life & my love.
He's God's gift & I'm daily grateful to be spending my days doing life with him.
Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.
This is where we were & what we were doing one week ago!
We found ourselves with a weekend free of obligations ... a rare occasion, especially in the summer.
So we got out of Dodge ;)
We didn't want to go any further than 2 hours away
& thought it would be nice to go someplace we've never been.
After tossing around a couple ideas, we decided on visiting French Lick.
I'm not sure why we've never been there, cause we've been all around it, but just never there.
We drove into town & took all of 15 minutes to get the lay of the land.
There's not much too it.
Not sure what we were expecting but I guess it was a little more than that ;)
We had booked a room at the brand new Comfort Suites, deciding to save at least $150 a night
rather than staying at the 2 famous hotels.
(Now that we've visited, we know we'd like to stay at one of them in the future,
maybe to celebrate a special occasion.)
We started off by parking in the little center hub of town.
We strolled through, doing some window shopping and stopping in at a store or two.
You can pretty much access all the shops within a short block or two
(& that actually seems to be stretching it a bit -- just a few shops).
After talking to a very informative shop owner, we got the 411 & planned out our evening.
After the shop owner & her customer raved & raved about the German Cafe,
& since James loves German food, we knew we wanted to have dinner there.
She said the owners moved here from Germany & made legit German food from their family recipes.
It was decorated inside just like I imagine a family restaurant in Germany might be!
Very kitchey, very homey, full of treasures that they must've brought from home.
All the tables had a different cloth & knick-knacks on top.
Some tables had lamps sitting on them.
Our table was surrounded by all sorts of old coffee mills & grinders.
And let me tell you, the food DID NOT disappoint!
The menu was written in German, so after a few explanations from the waitress,
I decided on Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy.
It was hands down the best meal at a German restaurant that I've ever had.
James ordered what the shop owner recommended ... the Polish Schnitzel.
It was the pork schnitzel covered with polish sausage & smothered with cheese.
He really like it too, but we both decided mine was best.
She also recommended the purple cabbage & it was really good!
And where the big surprise came in was with the butter!
When I first tasted it, I was thinking how amazingly delicious and different it tasted.
We found that's because they make their own butter and boy, it was over the top.
After a delicious meal, we drove across the street to the French Lick Resort.
We came in at the far end by the pizza joint, as suggested, and started making our way through the hotel.
Here we are coming through the underground tunnel passage.
There has been a place of lodging since 1845 at this location.
Course, it's changed many times through the years ...
changed owners, looks, and had many additions & restorations.
It became quite the swanky place in the early 1900s.
Check out the lavishness of the ceilings and floors!
And the amazing Italian tile was not lost on James.
He is a skilled craftsman in the flooring industry by trade ... he was loving these floors!
I think I read that these were installed around 1901.
Pretty much everything in this hotel is on a grand scale!
Including the ladies room.
Just past this restroom, I especially liked the hallways that were lined with pictures
of all the famous people that had stayed at the French Lick Resort.
Pretty much anybody who is anybody has stayed here!
6 or 7 presidents (FDR announced his run for presidency here), famous mobsters, sports figures,
any singer or group you could imagine ... Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis ... on and on.
That was neat to see.
We sat out on the huge veranda for an hour or so ... time well spent.
This delightful group of fellas (& one gal) play live music every Friday and Saturday evenings.
It was the perfect addition ... and reminded us of our visit to New Orleans.
We bought one of their cds to bring home with us.
After French Lick Hotel was sufficiently explored, we decided to ride the trolley over
to the West Baden Springs Hotel.
It's runs back & forth between the hotels all day, up to 10pm.
The gardens and grounds here are so beautiful.
We saw 15-20 deer grazing on the front lawn on the trolley ride over.
The most spectacular thing at this hotel is the dome.
It's truly something to see.
This hotel opened for business in 1902 and this 200 ft diameter atrium was the largest in the world
for many years.
It changes colors at night giving it a kaleidoscope effect.
James took some neat panoramic shots!
Yep, all this right in the middle of nowhere, Indiana!
This is the huge fireplace that burns up to 14 foot long logs!
After we had looked around the hotel for a bit, we heard some jazz music ...
and much to our delight, there was a live band playing in the library!
We found some comfy chairs and enjoyed the music for a while before catching the last trolley back
to the French Lick Resort.
It was the perfect ending to our evening.
This veranda looks like it belongs somewhere in the deep south.
And made me wish I was there.
(Here I am at someplace fabulous & I'm wishing that I was at someplace else fabulous.
That's probably breaking some sort of rule ;) )
They say these hotels are the crowning jewels of Indiana ...
and I have to agree that they are pretty spectacular to see.
There's definitely not much to the town besides a few restaurants, shops, & golf courses,
however, I think the idea is to check in at one of these lovely hotels with the one you love
& not do much else.
Both have restaurants, ice cream shops, stores, spas & plenty of activities.
The grounds and gardens are gorgeous ... and then there are those spacious verandas full of rocking chairs.
So, I'm thinking an overnight visit at one of these, probably French Lick Resorts, may be in our future.
I think we liked it just a tiny bit better.
The following day, we headed towards home, stopping at whatever caught our attention.
Just exploring Indiana, really ... no set plan.
We love visiting Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell.
We have so many great memories there with our sons ... camping, playing in the streams,
& touring the village that showcases the southern Indiana history.
And I take the same pictures every time, but I just can't seem to help myself.
This trip to Spring Mill did end up a bit different than other trips though ...
but since this is getting pretty long & picture heavy, I'll save the rest for my next blog post.
Stay tuned for some fun pics of the rest of our adventure!