Did you know there are fossil beds in Indiana? They’re some of the the largest, naturally exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world! Last autumn we visited Falls of the Ohio State Park, where the fossil beds are located. Luckily, it was the river’s low time of the year, and it happened to be lower than in most years. That meant more fossils were exposed than usual. Read more
When visiting someplace I haven’t been before, I often tour a historical museum to learn the history and culture of the area. While the general history of an area is interesting, what I find most intriguing are stories of individuals. Hearing stories of real people, especially everyday people, makes the history of a place come alive for me. I was fascinated by several of those stories when I visited the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Read more
We recently spent a few days in Shipshewana, the heart of Indiana’s Amish country and the state’s most popular tourist destination. During the day we shopped, went to plays, visited museums, toured the Amish countryside, and filled up on Amish country cooking. At night we retreated to the Blue Gate Garden Inn, just a few blocks from downtown Shipshewana. With amenities and activities that go beyond what you’d expect at a mid-range hotel, the Blue Gate Garden Inn made it easy to relax after a busy day. Read more
As a youth, Dr. Ted Waflart frequented a local Louisville amusement park with his buddies. His favorite ride was the carousel, but he couldn’t let his friends know that. So he rode roller coasters with them. However, whenever Ted passed the carousel, he slowed his pace, for it was the calliope music, rather than riding the carved horses, that really captured his attention. Today Dr Ted’s Musical Marvels, in southern Indiana’s Dubois County, showcases Dr. Ted’s mechanical music instruments that he has collected and restored for over 40 years. Read more
When I first heard, several months ago, about the total solar eclipse crossing the United States this summer, I knew I wanted to go to a point of totality. It would be cool to watch the moon completely cover the sun and to experience total darkness in the middle of the afternoon.
In the weeks leading up to the eclipse I read several articles about the subject. One article suggested that scientists would be studying the effect of the eclipse on wildlife, including whether cicadas chirp during a total solar eclipse. Odd, I thought. It seems that would be a simple thing to find out. Scientists should already know that. I made a mental note to listen for cicadas myself. Read more
Most everyone is familiar with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But there’s more than one race track in the “racing capital of the world.” Lucas Oil Raceway is only seven miles from the Speedway, and some big races run there, as well. Read more
Step on the old-time scale to see if you’re a witch … walk in wooden shoes … feed a goat … see how cheese is made. There is so much to do at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan, our three-generation family spent almost a full day there. Read more
Last fall we visited League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana. League Stadium is where the 1992 hit movie A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, was filmed. Today the Dubois County Bombers summer collegiate baseball league team plays in the stadium. However, our 2016 visit was post-season. The college players had gone back to school. The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles from the movie were long gone. Even the vintage billboard signs had been taken down for maintenance. As I stood in the stands, I could only imagine a baseball game being played in the retro-style League Stadium.
This summer my imagined game became reality. Not only did we see the Dubois County Bombers play; it was also the 25th anniversary of A League of Their Own. The Rockford Peaches played a “rematch” game against the Racine Belles. In fact, Bitty Schram, the actress who played the Rockford Peach who cried during the game, came back for the anniversary celebration. Following the rematch game, we stayed for a Dubois County Bombers regular season game. Read more
It’s a bit eerie, a sort of ghost town in Richmond, Indiana. From the late 1800s to the Great Depression, the Whitewater Valley gorge was home to the Starr Piano Company. Its subsidiary, Gennett Records, recorded great jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Today, a shell of the piano factory, a smokestack, and a couple of graffiti covered structures are all that remain. Yet, it isn’t completely dead. The property is now the Whitewater Valley Gorge Park. The lone remaining building is used as an events center, and the Gennett Records Walk of Fame is embedded into the walking/biking path that runs through the park. The Gennett Records Walk of Fame pays tribute to the jazz, country, big band, blues, and gospel greats who recorded here. Read more
Last summer my granddaughter and I visited the Saint Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri. Zoo admission is free. However, we opted for the Adventure Pass, which gets you into six attractions that aren’t included in the free admission. The Adventure Pass is well worth the $12.95 fee, which is less than admission at other major zoos. We had planned to spend only the morning at the zoo. But with all that the Adventure Pass offers, we ended up staying all day. Read more