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Trip to West Baden and French Lick was 'awesome'Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2010, at 1:28 PM
Do you realize it's less than 50 miles from Bloomfield to West Baden, and then just a few blocks more and you're in French Lick? Have you been down there lately? Walked through the atrium of the West Baden Hotel?
My kids and I, with a few extra friends, loaded up with coolers of sandwiches and Gatorade, it was hot as heck that day, and drove down for a day trip in June.
The occasion was to watch Joseph run in the DINO series mountain bike race in the hills at French Lick -- he's been doing really well with good times. Dodging trees and riding over rocks and through wet muddy creek beds and running the risk of going over the handlebars into a ravine doesn't sound like fun to me but he likes it.
Before and after the races, we toured the French Lick Hotel and West Baden. All the kids did a lot of walking and exploring. Me, I was perfectly content to spend part of the day in a big rocking chair eating ice cream on the veranda at West Baden.
It's hard to describe the West Baden Hotel. It's one of those deals -- you've just got to go. When you first walk in to the atrium, it takes a moment to drink it all in -- as the kids said, it's totally awesome.
I was lucky growing up ... though not rich, we managed to take a long vacation to a different place every year so I got to see America east and west. I would love to take my kids on those same trips, but you can't find a motel for $15 or $20 anymore and the price of gas has gone up a bit since the '60s.
So we won't be heading out to San Francisco any time soon, but there are daytrips to take -- mini-vacations I call them.
If you are like me, on a budget, and can't take the kids on a big vacation, take them to French Lick and West Baden for a day.
Here's my scoop on the West Baden Hotel. Parking is free and it's a very short walk into the hotel. It doesn't cost anything to explore the atrium. And remember, the teens said it's totally awesome -- how many places can you take them around here where they'll say that!
You can walk around in there for free, sit on huge fancy couches and just enjoy the place. No matter where you buy your clothes, you won't feel out of place -- they're used to tourists wandering in to take a look around.
You can walk through the gardens or like me, sit on the porch. If you don't have the bucks to spring for a meal inside (we had several coolers of food in the trunk) there is an ice cream place there. It's three bucks for a scoop, but it is huge. I got chocolate -- what a mistake that was. It was super good but it was a hot day and it dripped on my white jeans -- glad I didn't run into anyone I knew.
French Lick really isn't that far away. It's just the drive after you pass Loogootee and Shoals -- it's called a scenic route.
Our next excuse for a daytrip is a race at Versailles State Park. Now is that pronounced Ver-sigh? Or Ver-sales? No matter, I've never been to Versailles before. Maybe there will be something there that is "totally awesome."
Anna is a staff writer at the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by calling 847-4487 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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