Whitewater Rafting in the City

Whitewater Rafting in the City

There’s nothing more refreshing than cool water splashing on your skin on a hot summer day. Add an adrenalin rush as you navigate challenging rough white waters in your raft or kayak, and you have a perfect summer sport. It used to be Midwesterners had to travel to mountainous areas or at least to remote areas in northern Wisconsin or southern Indiana to go whitewater rafting, but now you can experience the rapids in two Midwest cities. Charles City, Iowa, and Sound Bend, Indiana, both offer man-made rafting adventures right in their downtown areas. Read more

Oliver Mansion, South Bend Indiana: Glimpse a Family’s Lavish 1930s Lifestyle

Oliver Mansion, South Bend Indiana: Glimpse a Family’s Lavish 1930s Lifestyle

Oliver_MansionIt isn’t often that  all of the furnishings in a historic home are original to the house, especially a 38-room, 12,000 square foot mansion. That’s what you’ll see when you tour the Oliver Mansion in South Bend, Indiana, immersing you in the lavish lifestyle of its owners, the J.D. and Anna Oliver family, as it was in the 1930s.

J.D. Oliver’s father James immigrated to the United States with his family from Scotland when he was 12 years old. He took a job working on a farm where he became familiar with plows. As an adult James was a partner in the South Bend Iron Company and experimented with improving the field plow. He registered 45 patents on improved plow design during his lifetime. The company flourished, and James Oliver became wealthy. J.D. eventually took over as President of the company. By that time the company name had been changed to Oliver Chilled Plow Works.

Oliver PlowJ.D. married Anna in 1885, and in 1886 they moved into their new Indiana fieldstone Romanesque Queen Anne home. The Olivers had four children, and as the family grew, so did the Oliver Chilled Plow Works, becoming the largest plow factory in the world at the turn of the century. The family lived lavishly, were socially active and also deeply involved in community service. The family’s community service continued through the generations, as J.D. and Anna’s grandchildren donated the mansion and its furnishings to South Bend’s Center for History.

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The home is set up as a working house in the 1930s. Though daughter Catherine, who never married and lived out her life in the mansion, sold or gave away furnishings, recipients of those items have returned many of them.

Each of the 14 fireplaces is different, some more ornate than others.

Fireplace 2FireplaceFireplace 4Carved woodwork on fireplace hearths, railings, even on the ceilings exude richness.

Ceiling - living roomParlorCeiling 2The office and the game room have especially masculine features.

Officegame roomLeaded glass windows in several rooms soften the harshness of the dark wood, and fabrics soften the decor in the dining room and music room.

Leaded windowsThe kitchen isn’t as fancy, but it’s spacious, with multiple stoves and plenty of icebox and storage space needed to prepare for large parties.

kitchen 2kitchen 1Catherine lived her adult life mostly on the second floor, which she had redone in green art deco.

Catherine suiteAfter J.D. and Anna’s son Joseph’s wife was thrown from a horse and killed, Joseph came back to live in the family home. He stayed mainly on the third floor. His seven shaving brushes, one for each day of the week, are on display in the bathroom.

Joseph shaving brushesBeautifully manicured gardens surround the mansion.

PergolaBesides the mansion, the tour also includes a look at the Polish workers’ house, less than a five minute walk from the main house. The house, comfortable quarters for the Olivers’ domestic staff, was built in 1851. The Olivers added a bathroom and other conveniences. Like the mansion, the workers’ house is decorated as it would have been in the 1930s.

Polish workers housePolish workers house 2The History Museum provides tours of the Oliver Mansion seven days a week. The main entrance is shared with the Studebaker National Museum at 897 Thomas Street, South Bend, Indiana. Check the web site for tour times and admission rates.

Disclosure: My visit to the Oliver Mansion was hosted by Visit South Bend Mishawaka and the History Museum, but any opinions expressed in this article are my own. Some of the pbotos were taken by Skip Reed and some by Connie Reed.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Studebaker Museum, South Bend: From Carriages to Automobiles

Touring the University of Notre Dame Campus, South Bend, Indiana

Tour the South Bend Chocolate Company Factory

Shop the South Bend Farmers Market Year Round

Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie


 

 

Tippecanoe Place: Dine in a Stately Old Mansion

Tippecanoe Place: Dine in a Stately Old Mansion

Tippecanoe Place ExteriorI love old mansions and am especially partial to old stone mansions. I also, of course, like a good meal. Put the two together, and it’s a sure winner. I had the pleasure of enjoying Sunday Brunch at the Tippecanoe Place restaurant in South Bend, Indiana, earlier this year. The opulent ambiance is a wonderful setting for a sumptuous meal.

Dating back to 1889, the 26,000 square foot stately mansion was originally the home of Clement Studebaker, co-founder of South Bend’s Studebaker automobile manufacturing company. During World War II, the mansion served as headquarters for the Red Cross. Today Tippecanoe Place welcomes guests for lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch

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I could feel the richness of the building just opening the heavy wood doors inset with leaded glass.

Entrance to Tippecanoe PlaceI saw only a few of the mansion’s 40 rooms on my visit. Our seating was in the mansion’s light and airy drawing room, which includes one of the building’s 20 gorgeous fireplaces.

Drawing Room, Tippecanoe PlaceFireplace in Tippecanoe PlaceThis alcove off to the side is perfect for a family get-together.

Dining Alcove in Tippecanoe PlaceIn contrast to the drawing room, the adjacent library exudes its richness through heavy, dark, carved molding. The library is where the brunch buffet was set up.

Sunday Brunch at Tippecanoe PlaceThe brunch menu includes several hot breakfast and lunch items, including made-to-order omelets and hand-carved ham and beef.

Omelet Station at Tippecanoe PlaceThere were several salads and sides to choose from, including lots of fresh fruits.

Strawberries on Tippecanoe Place Sunday brunch buffetThe dessert buffet, in a room separate from the rest of the food, had even more fruit, plus pastries, cookies, and cakes.

Dessert Fruit at Tippecanoe PlaceDessert Pastries at Tippecanoe PlaceDessert Cookies and Cakes at Tippecanoe PlaceThe dinner menu includes appetizers like Lobstercakes Tippecanoe and Baked Brie en Croute. Entrees are pasta, three cuts of prime rib, steaks, rack of lamb, seafood items like Pacific swordfish served with basil risotto, and poultry, including roasted Indiana duckling served with a choice of two sauces.

Lunch is mostly lighter fare, including salads like the fresh berry chicken salad, sandwiches like a smoked turkey Reuben or a portabella mushroom sandwich. Pasta, prime rib and a couple of grilled seafood dishes are available for lunch, as well.

Tippecanoe Place, located at 620 W Washington Street in South Bend, Indiana, is a great place to celebrate a special occasion or to treat yourself to a nice meal during your South Bend getaway. Check the web site for hours and menus. Closed Mondays.

Disclosure: My visit to Tippecanoe Places was hosted by Visit South Bend and Tippecanoe Place, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie


 

Other posts you may be interested in:

Touring the University of Notre Dame Campus, South Bend, Indiana

Café Navarre, South Bend IN: Top-Notch Farm-to-Table Dining

Tour the South Bend Chocolate Company Factory

Shop the South Bend Farmers Market Year Round

Tour and Taste at 18 Vodka, Mishawaka, Indiana