Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The beauty of Martin County Indiana

Late fall looking down on the White River in Martin County

Early fall in Martin County

Fog over the White River in Martin County

A foggy morning in late fall

Hindostan Falls where the thriving town of Hindostan once was.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More of our favorite fall spots

Ferdinand State Forest, Ferdinand, Dubois County, Indiana

In front of the Spring Mill State Park Lodge

Pioneer Village, Spring Hill State Park, Mitchell, Indiana

Hamer Creek, Spring Mill State Park

Friday, October 12, 2012


Patoka Lake

Crawford County

Sorghum Making at the Crawford County Annual Sorghum Festival

Patoka 4 Seasons Resort

Wedding at the Leavenworth Inn Overlooking the Ohio River

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Means Sorghum Making in Southern Indiana

East of Orleans in Orange County, Indiana down a country road, head to the Miller family’s farm for maple syrup which this family makes by tapping trees in the spring and then sells in gallon jars until they run out. But Mrs. Miller, the mother of 12, also cans jars of dark rich looking sorghum on her porch shelf where she sells her baked goods on Saturdays along with her peach preserves, bottles of honey and maple syrup. One of Mrs. Miller’s children ran into the house to copy a sorghum cookie recipe so that anyone buying her mother's sorghum would know what to do with it. And for those who are looking for fresh sorghum, maple syrup, peach preserves or baked goods, the Millers don’t have phones, but ask in Orleans and almost anyone can tell you how to get there. Mrs. Miller's The Best Ever Sorghum Cookies 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup shortening melted 1 egg 1/2 cup sorghum 2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon vanilla Cream sugar and melted shortening. Add egg and sorghum beat well. Add flour, and soda; mix well. Add vanilla. Drop on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 about 12 minutes. And if you want to watch sorghum being made, don't miss the Sorghum Festival, held this year on Saturday, October 20th at the Crawford County High School, 1130 South State Road 66, Marengo, IN.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our Hills are ALIVE with Autumn!

Hit the road to see some of our beautiful fall colors. Here are some suggestions:

The 66th Annual Persimmon Festival starts on September 29th in Mitchell, Indiana where they love all things orange this time of the year.

To find out more, visit

Enjoy the colors at the wonderfully grand historic French Lick Resort in French Lick. 

Best place to do so? On their wonderful old fashioned porch.

While there check out the award winning French Lick Winery.

Take a boat tour of Patoka Lake or join in on one of their sunset wine cruises.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Southern Indiana Color Tours: Road Trips for Fall

Spring Mill State Park, Lawrence County

In the autumn as fall leaves turn jewel colors, follow the winding roads as they trace their way through the hills and valleys of Southern Indiana past charming historic hamlets and meandering creeks.  Here are some of our favorite fall drivers.

Drive 1: Caves, Caves, Caves (Bedford to Mauckport) 

Board a boat to follow the Myst'ry River as it winds its way underground through Bluespring Caverns.  Located between Bedford and Mitchell, the Myst’ry River is the longest subterranean river in the United States, running for about 21 miles. The hour boat tour covers just 1 ¼ miles, ending when the way becomes impassable for the 17- person flat-bottomed boat. 
Head south to Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell for the short but fascinating 20-minute guided boat tour of Twin Caves for close-up views of albino crayfish, bats, and the endangered Northern blind cave fish inhabiting the cave.

At Marengo Cave, a national historic landmark, take the Crystal Palace tour where one of the first stops is an immense cave room where viewers look down into what appears a bottom chamber until realizing that instead they're peering into Mirror Lake --  a vast, still expanse of water that reflects the stalactites above perfectly. Another stopping point  is the Crystal Palace Room, where a flashing light show accompanies music, in a grand underground theater with stone seats and a stage.  The colored lights illuminated the various stalactites and other geological wonders in what is the ultimate light show.

Hungry?  Dine at the Blue River Café in Milltown and consider renting a kayak at Cave Country Canoes for a float on the Blue River.

Spend the night at the historic Leavenworth Inn, perched high above a horseshoe bend of the Ohio River, the wooded hillside a blaze of colors. Stop at Scout Mountain Winery on the way to Corydon where the only Civil War battle in Indiana took place. Once the state capitol take a tour of the old courthouse that sits on the town’s square. Then on to Squire Boone Caverns, the last cave on the tour. Discovered by Daniel Boone’s brother, more than a million gallons of water flow through the caverns every day and the narrow winding passageways often cross torrents of water down below.  Squire so loved the cave (he established a small village here back in the early 1800s and there’s now a mill, gift shop, rock shop and bakery) that he asked to be buried here and so he was. His bones were discovered by spelunkers several decades ago and now rest in a coffin in one of the cave’s chambers.

For more information on this route, visit:

Crawford County Tourism -
Harrison County CVB -

Drive 2: Historic Places (Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park to Tell City)

Step back into the early 1800s at the Spring Mill State Park’s Pioneer Village, an early 19th century building with more than 20 historic buildings as well as an 1817 limestone mill.  Watch historic re-enactors do what once were the day-to-day chores such as rope-making, candle-dipping, blacksmithing, gardening and weaving in the village, once a stagecoach stop along the first road to cross Indiana.

For a bit of more recent history, the park is located in Mitchell, home of astronaut Gus Grissom and this hometown hero is honored with a memorial at the park. 

Indiana still has about 90 covered bridges remaining including the double span wood Williams Covered Bridge, also known as the Lawrence County Covered Bridge, crosses the East Fork of the White River and was built in 1884 by Joseph J. Daniels, one of the premier covered bridge builders in the state. Named after nearby settlement of Williams, it is in the National Register of Historic Places and picture perfect when the brilliant hues of autumn reflect in the waters of the White River.

The small town of Paoli is centered around an old fashioned courthouse square, typical of many Indiana county seats. Here, the two-story Greek Revival Orange County Courthouse, built in 1850, boasts tall columns, white brick and two chimneys.

Morels at Big Locust Farm B&B
Take a turn around the circle and then head west to West Baden Springs and the fantastical West Baden Springs Resort. Built in 1902, the resort was  probably best known for its six story free standing dome which for over six decades was touted as the largest in the world (it wouldn’t be replaced in the record books until the 1960s when the Houston Astrodome was built).  The 100-foot high dome dominates the expansive rotunda which is the center and heart of the resort.  The shops and the restaurants as well as the guest rooms all surround the rotunda and its interior is filled with classic antique furniture, a swank bar and even a huge fireplace, original to the building and said to be worth a million dollars because of its Pewabic tile.  The showcase of all this is the pendulum which is suspended from the top of the dome and revolves, casting different color lights over the top and creating an awesome light show of sorts.   There are also formal gardens, gourmet restaurants, a cute coffee shop and ice cream store and both indoor and outdoor pools.

Blue Prairie B&B
Down the road, the Beaux Arts French Lick (note to basketball enthusiasts – Larry Bird’s hometown is French Lick) has also been beautifully restored including the royal crown moldings, original rosette shaped light fixtures, hand painted tapestry ceilings and some 5000 square feet of gold leaf. There’s a casino here, several wonderful golf courses, a luxurious spa (there’s one West Baden as well) and both resorts have indoor and outdoor pools. Stables on the grounds offer guided horseback trail riding and a courtesy shuttle connects the two resorts on a regular basis.  

Take a tour of the countryside aboard a vintage train at the nearby Indiana Railway Museum. Spend the night at either of the resorts or opt for a night at Big Locust Farm Bed & Breakfast, a brick country Victorian nestled on 93 acres and home to a 250-year old locust tree. Or consider another country setting, there’s the delightful Blue Prairie Bed & Breakfast.

Further south, stop at the Monastery Immaculate Conception with its soaring brick tower, labyrinth, peace grotto and, our favorite, the Simply Divine Bakery where the sisters make old fashioned cookies such as springerles, almerles and Hildegards (a cookie recipe dating back to the 1300s) by hand using wooden presses imported from Germany back in the 1800s.   
Cookies in hand, hit the road towards the Ohio River. Make a couple of wine stops, first at Winzerwald Winery in Bristol. "The friendly little German-style winery at the top of the hill" is a bit modest for this beautifully appointed tasting room and winery with a spectacular view of the Southern Indiana Uplands just below I-64. Dan & Donna Adams are serious vintners with a great deal of experience and education in wine-making and a string of awards for a variety of complex German and Swiss style wines grown from their own grapes. Winzerwald means "vintners of the forest" and reflects the winery's location in the Hoosier National Forest area. The distinctive Nutcracker logo and label also reflects the Adams' Southern German heritage.
The winding gravel path up Blue Heron Lane leads to Blue Heron Winery a boutique winery overlooking the river. Gary and Lynn Dauby host special events in their barn, filled with local art and stone carvings, as well as growing French grapes and making their favorite wines, including the semi-dry Two Towers, and their popular on Deck Red, often paired with chocolate.  Another path through the woods leads to the impressive 22' Celtic Cross carved from one stone by artist Greg Harris. There’s also a delightful farm house bed and breakfast on the property.

Then follow the Ohio River Scenic Byway to Tell City, founded by Swiss settlers back in the mid 1800s. Ever hear of a historic pretzel? Tell City Pretzels has been open since 1858, when the centuries-old Swiss recipe became a favorite along the Ohio River. The hand-twisted all natural (just 4 ingredients) pretzels have a new store front at the factory with an antique bar where you can purchase the classic "Der Kruncher" pretzels, Tell City sticks, or new ranch pretzels. Call ahead for a tour that includes the hand-twisting demo.

For more information on this route, visit:

Dubois County Visitors Center -
Lawrence County Visitors Center -
Orange County CVB -
Perry County CVB -

Drive 3: Not your everyday sights and sounds:  Horses and buggies, Germanic culture, ghost town, Nancy Lincoln’s Grave and more (Shoals to Rockport)

The East Fork of the White River widens as it winds through the rolling countryside of Martin County rippling over a shelf of flat stone as it continues downstream. There’s not much here now, just woodlands crowding the riverbanks and a few fisherman with their rods poised over the sparkling water.

Hindostan Falls was a much livelier place two centuries ago after the founding of Hindostan (named after a British soldier who had served time in India) in 1816, a town with a booming population that reached 1200 by 1820 making it one of the largest settlements in this part of Indiana (for a comparison – at the time it was the same size as Louisville, Kentucky).  Poised on one of the new state’s first stage coach runs connecting New Albany and Vincennes, Hindostan boasted two mills, a hotel, whetstone factory, post office and even a button factory.  Ferries made their way between the river’s two banks and houseboats moored on its waters.
Some towns just fade away, but much of Hindostan disappeared much quicker, many of its townspeople wiped out by a terrible sickness – yellow fever or cholera or even, some say, the plague. 

 But in the fall, when the blaze of colors surrounds the softly flowing waters, it’s easy to see the beauty that attracted people all those years ago.

While in Martin County, enjoy a meal Stoll’s Lakeview Restaurant with its lake views and great Amish food.

725 Old Order Amish families live in Daviess County and their heritage is celebrated in guided tours through the rural countryside, hearty Amish cuisine at the Gasthof Amish Restaurant & Bakery and a regular auction, also at Gasthof Village, of quilts and other interesting goods. There are other nearby Amish restaurants including the Odon Essen Haus Restaurant.

The foods authentic, the waitresses wear dirndl skirts and German is often heard spoken at the wonderful Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper, a Southern Indiana charmer of a city where around 90% of the population has German roots.

Wander down to the Patoka River where the Spirit of Jasper, a vintage train, departs from architectural recreation of the early 1900s depot and take a tour of the picture perfect architectural rendition of the old mill.

Next stop, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial to visit the Lincoln homestead where costumed interpreters perform the daily tasks typical of the very early 1800s when the Lincoln family lived here. Follow the pathway to Nancy Lincoln’s grave – young Abe helped build his mother’s coffin. Visit the Huffington Covered Bridge, built in the 1860s near the Huffington Mill where Lincoln would take the family’s grain to be ground into flour. Remnants of the old mill remain.

Travel to Rockport, a river city and where Lincoln made his living ferrying people across the Ohio River to Kentucky. Located in Rockport, Lincoln Pioneer Village is made up of log cabins, public buildings, schools, and churches as they stood in Lincoln’s days when the family lived in what would become Spencer County.

Davis County --
Dubois County Visitors Center -
Lawrence County Visitors Center -
Martin County Toursim Council
Orange County CVB -
Perry County CVB -
Spencer County Visitors Bureau -

For more information and maps visit  Check out the colors at

Here are the Websites for all of our counties:
Daviess County Tourism -
Dubois County Visitors Center -
Crawford County Tourism -
Harrison County CVB -
Martin County Toursim Council
Orange County CVB -
Perry County CVB -
Spencer County Visitors Bureau -

Monday, August 27, 2012

French Lick Flourishes

Since the early 1900s, French Lick, Indiana has been the destination, not only to luxuriate at the classy French Lick and West Baden Resorts where such rich and famous (and infamous) personages as Franklyn Delano Roosevelt and Al Capone spent time but also to enjoy the rural beauty of its rolling hills, creeks, springs and woodlands. For more information on the area, visit 

A Little Log Cabin in the Woods
6538 W. CR 875 S., French Lick, IN 47432
(812) 936-3000       

Enjoy rusticity among the natural setting of Orange County with its woodlands rolling hills, small streams and Patoka Lake, the second largest man made lake in the state. Terri and Carl Pryor, owners of two historic, hand-hewn log cabins, A Little Log Cabin and A Big Log Cabin and Blue Prairie Bed and Breakfast, a luxurious bed and breakfast offer total privacy, rustic luxury and modern amenities.
A Little Log Cabin is a cozy 150-year old cabin with a great stone fireplace set in the center of a 40-acre private, nature preserve, adjacent to Hoosier National Forest and close to Patoka Lake, French Lick and Paoli Peaks Ski Resort as well as being on the Uplands Wine Trail.

A Big Log Cabin in the Clouds is often described as an experience akin to being on a mountaintop with awesome views set upon a private 120-acre preserve. The two story cabin, built in 1863, boasts a chef’s kitchen, designer bathrooms, state of the art entertainment center and charcoal grill, is also on the Upland Wine Trail and conveniently located to the French Lick Resort Casino and Patoka Lake.
Strictly non-smoking, the Pryors have preserved their acreage to enhance wildlife habitat, planting wildlife food plots, wildflowers and other plants attracting birds and animals giving guests an opportunity to view nature on every visit.     

Wildlife lovers will want to book one of the places their fall during the Sandhill Crane Migrations. The cranes are visible and audible in their southern migrations that pass over here as their flights begin in October or November and continue until Christmas time. Witness the migrations of these magnificent prehistoric birds!

Bear Hollow Wood Carvers
8695 W. Jack Carnes Way, Suite 8
French Lick, IN  

Creating art with a chainsaw is a no-brainer for Jason Emmons, owner of
Bear Hollow Wood Carvers, who with his team are considered leaders in chainsaw carving industry. Though they’re often on the road Traveling Carving Shows, Custom Commissioned Sculptures, On-site Custom Carvings and even turning old tree stumps on people’s lands into works of art, Bear Hollow Wood Carvers has a fantastic retail store in downtown French Lick where their works and the works of others are on display.

Indeed, Bear Hollow Wood Carvers are so well known that they’re featured on the reality show series "Saw Dogs" which can be seen on the Discovery Channel. Catch the show here at

Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park & Resort  
8505 Indiana 56  
French Lick, Indiana
(812) 936-3866

Big Splash Adventures offers a 40,000-square foot water park adventure for the entire family. Forget about what’s happening with the weather, Big Splash is enclosed in a beautiful glass structure – one of the few retractable roof water parks in the world and the is the largest indoor water park with a retractable roof in the United States.

The water park offers 12 themed water features including the 3-story Buccaneer Bay with its 10 platforms and nearly 50 interactive play features like the two body slides and 1,000 gallon dumping bucket, outdoor leisure pool, indoor family pool, 318-foot lazy river, wet deck play area, activity pool, tot wading pool and tot bouncers and 25 person tropical hot tub.

Guests experience tropical luxury in a family friendly environment as the resort has 154 smoke free and pet free, family friendly rooms and suites many of which have bunk beds. There’s also the Treasure Chest Arcade and four dining options. Check their Website for frequent package deals.

Comfort Inn
9530 West State Road 56
French Lick, Indiana
(812) 936-5300

The award-winning Comfort Suites, a French Lick hotel near the French Lick Casino which in addition to a variety of gaming options offers lively entertainment shows, spas, salons, shopping opportunities, golf and more. The  French Lick Comfort Inn, an affordable overnight option, is also near a number of local points of interest like Big Splash Adventure water park and is less than one mile from the Hoosier National Forest where guests can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding and scenic driving through the rolling hills and country trails and roads. Also nearby is Indiana’s second largest man made lake, the 8800-acre Patoka Lake that features a full-service marina and offers an abundance of recreation options like boating, fishing and swimming.

Also there are a number of world-class golf courses in the vicinity as well as several entertainment venues, historical landmarks, shopping centers, restaurants and cocktail lounges.

The hotel’s features and amenities include free wireless high-speed Internet access, free The Wall Street Journal, fitness center, indoor heated pool & hot tub and a free hot breakfast featuring eggs, meat, yogurt and fresh fruit, cereal and more, including your choice of hot waffle flavors. For those leaving early, a Your Suite Success™ Grab & Go bag is available for the two hours prior to breakfast. Other conveniences are the business center, including a public computer with Internet access and copy and fax services.  All well-appointed guest suites have flat-screen televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, curved shower rods, work desks, irons, ironing boards, pillow-top mattresses, sofa sleepers and cable television. Some rooms feature whirlpool bathtubs, robes and safes. Connecting rooms can be requested.

French Lick Cabins
Lake Village Drive
7900 W. CR 1025 S.
French Lick, Indiana

Great for both sports-minded people and those who want a peaceful spot to get away from it all,
French Lick Cabins at Patoka Lake Village is located just 10 miles south of French Lick, in the heart of the Patoka Lake recreational area. These modern log cabins including some that are pet friendly offer  the perfect opportunity to experience the wonders of nature without giving up the comforts of home.

The cabins are next to Patoka Lake's Osborn Boat Ramp and has a 158-foot wheelchair accessible fishing pier and are also conveniently situated for those who are want to enjoy the many activities the 8800-acre lake has to offer. Also on the property are numerous hiking trails that showcase the scenic beauty of Southern Indiana and Patoka Lake, the second largest man made lake in Indiana. Swimming and boat rentals are available at Newton Stewart State Recreation Area just a short drive away

French Lick-West Baden Museum
489 S. Maple St.
French Lick, Indiana  
812-936-FLWB (3592)

The mission of the French Lick West Baden Museum is to educate and entertain visitors while sharing a historical perspective of the towns of French Lick and West Baden. 

The museum was created as a facility for preserving the heritage of the area, acting as a repository for historic artifacts. The entrance of the current museum space includes an original Pluto (In its early years, the French Lick Resort was known for its Pluto waters – spring waters said to cure whatever ailed you) wall painting from the early 1900's which was uncovered by a crew working on the renovation of the town’s old dime store building.  Another rare artifact is the original Rookwood Pottery water color design for the magnificent Sprudel fireplace in the West Baden Hotel, circa 1917.

French Lick Winery & Coffee Company
8145 W Sinclair St
West Baden Springs, IN

One of the pioneers in Indiana’s now burgeoning wine industry, the French Lick Winery was established almost 20 years ago and now is known as one of the state's premier wineries having been awarded more than 250 medals in state, national and international competitions.

Located near both the historic West Baden and French Lick resorts, vintner, John Doty, who co-owns the winery with Kim Doty, cellar master, offers visitors an opportunity to watch their wine making craftsmanship through the large observation windows inside the winery’s tasting room.  French Lick Winery crafts their wines from grapes planted at their Heaven's View Vineyard located approximately 20 miles west of the winery on Kim's family Hoosier Homestead Farm in Martin County overlooking the White River Valley.  

Besides wine tasting and wine watching, visitors can dine in the winery’s Vintage Café which specializes in freshly made Italian cuisine using local produce in season.  

French Lick and West Baden Resorts
8670 West State Road 56 
French Lick, Indiana

At the beginning of the 1900s, West Baden was a Mecca for gamblers. But others came as well. Visitors included those seeking to take advantage of the mineral waters which are so prevalent that the town next door is called French Lick after the springs that abound there. According to the Indiana Historical Society, a stay at West Baden Springs Hotel in the 1920s cost twice as much as an overnight at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. 

There was also gambling at the French Lick Springs Resort just a half mile down the road.  And like the hotel in West Baden, French Lick was a grand place with gilded ceilings and a broad front porch.  At one time 14 trains a day serviced the two resorts. Al Capone, John Dillinger, the Marx Brothers, Lana Turner, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope all visited.  In 1931, the Democratic Governor’s Conference was held here and Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, who was attending, won his party’s nomination for president. 

But glory passes and when gambling ceased (never mind that it long been illegal, the owner was connected and it wasn’t until 1949 that, as in the movie “Casablanca,” officials were shocked to find that there was gambling on the premises and finally shut down it down) even the waters couldn’t attract enough visitors. West Baden was sold to the Jesuits for $1.  French Lick, though it remained open, languished, its intricate mosaic tiles chipping, its glorious gilt dulling.

Fortunately, William Cook, an ardent preservationist was determined to make the resort profitable. Opening a casino would do that. But he also resolved, at a cost of almost $400 million, to restore both places to their former splendor.  It was a gamble built on gambling, legal again in Orange County.

West Baden, built in 1902, was famed for its free standing dome.  It was the world’s largest, a record that held for another 60 years until the Houston Astrodome was built. The atrium below is filled with an immense Pewabic tile fireplace said to be worth over a million dollars, potted palms and Victorian era furniture.  In the center of the 100-foot-high dome is a pendant chandelier which reflects prisms of light creating, at night when the dome is darkened, a light show extraordinaire.

Though its style is different, the Beaux Arts French Lick (note to basketball enthusiasts – Larry Bird’s hometown is French Lick) has also been beautifully restored including the royal crown moldings and hand painted tapestry ceilings. It is estimated that more than 5000 square feet of gold leaf was added during the renovation.  The down at the heels dining room became the elegant 1875: The Steakhouse with a not to be missed lobster macaroni dish.  There is also a lavish spread at the Grand Colonnade Buffet and drinks and casual fare at the Power Plant Bar and Grill.  The historic hotel is connected to the casino by a long, glassed in promenade lined with shops.

A shuttle runs frequently between the two resorts, both of which have luxurious spas, indoor and outdoor pools and many other amenities.

French Lick Villas
P.O. Box 108             
French Lick, Indiana
(800) 522-9210

Each of the French Lick Villas are 1600-square-foot townhouses capable of accommodating eight people in comfort and luxury in the lush garden setting of the  French Lick  Resort Casino.  Villa owners and guests can enjoy the pool and workout facility located next to the office overlooking the Villas. This new feature has a hot tub, swimming pool and workout facility.

Many amenities are also available at the adjacent French Lick  Resort Casino including the 18-hole Donald Ross Course and 9-hole Valley Links as well as the 28-room Spa at French Lick with its diverse menu of treatments that allow you to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body while soaking in the legendary Pluto Mineral Bath or pamper yourself with a luxurious Sacred Stone Massage. Other amenities include the resort’s bowling alley, fine dining and casual restaurants and the Power Plant Bar and Grill.

French Lick/West Baden Indoor Karting
8331 Indiana 56  
West Baden Springs, Indiana
(812) 936-5390

Perfect for rainy days, winter days and days you just want to go fast and have fun. This 65,000 square foot facility provides the ultimate in racing experiences with fast karts, great food and family fun. Get your motors going and speed along at up to 40 miles per hour (junior karts get speeds up to 20 miles per hour) on the challenging quarter mile road course. There’s also an observation area for watching. Visit the game arcade. 
Be sure to enjoy a great meal at the  Black Buggy Amish Buffet. Menu items include a fresh salad bar with soups daily, as well as a large hot buffet containing a wide selection of homestyle meals like fried chicken, meatloaf,  beans, mashed potatoes and casseroles.  But be sure to save room for the dessert bar with over 25 selections of pies, cakes, cobblers, and cookies and the ice cream sundae bar.

Visit the general store to browse the Amish made gifts and snacks such as jams, jellies, breads and pies. 

Hinshaw Rock 'n Gems
1232 S. County Rd. 650 W.
French Lick IN
 (812) 936-7255  

For more than a half century, the Hinshaw family has been designing and creating beautiful jewelry and decorator pieces.  Silversmith Merrill Hinshaw specializes in one-of-a-kind jewelry and Hinshaw Rock ‘n Gems, known both nationally and internationally, also offers expert polishing and silversmithing.

The Hinshaws ability to collect rough stones, then cut and polish stones by hand to create works of art has earned them the ranking as one of the top ten stone polishers in the nation from the Lapidary Journal.  The store also features items of interest for all ages and pieces to give and cherish for all occasions. Specialties include artistic jewelry design and custom cabochon cutting. The store is a wonder with unique jewelry. bookends, unusual rock specimens, minerals and much more.

Indiana Landmarks
Landmarks Emporiums & Tours
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432

Indiana Landmarks is a nonprofit organization, fighting to defend architecturally unique, historically significant, and communally cherished properties. The organization rescues, rehabilitates and gives new purpose to old buildings, saving the state's shared heritage and bringing new life to communities.

Unprecedented in the nation, the grand hotels in French Lick and West Baden Springs—both listed in the National Register of Historic Places and located one mile apart in southern Indiana—offer a fascinating window on the grand hotel era of the early twentieth century and the tradition of “taking the waters” meaning the waters from the mineral springs which bubble up from the ground here.

Guests from  the past include Al Capone, FDR, Bing Crosby, Gloria Swanson and Helen Keller, captains of industry and pampered socialites came to imbibe the waters and take spa treatments, enjoy sports and entertainments, and perhaps test their luck in the casinos.

Today, the lavishly restored French Lick and West Baden Springs Hotels still draw visitors for the same pursuits. Like Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, and Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, French Lick and West Baden Springs offer overnight accommodations in an atmosphere steeped in history.

Indiana Landmarks leads one-hour guided tours of the hotels, highlighting their fascinating histories, spectacular architecture and gardens and award-winning restorations. They also offer a specialized Twilight Tour at West Baden where tour guides dress like many of the legendary greats that once stayed at the hotel and even those who worked there like the gypsy fortune teller take visitors on a trip to the past.

Shortz Miniature Golf and Lazer Tag
8529 W. State Road 56
French Lick, Indiana
(812) 936-2386

Shortz Miniature Golf and Lazer Tag, open year round, is a one-of-a-kind facility featuring indoor Lazer Tag, a 9-hole indoor Miniature Cosmic Golf Course, Lazer Frenzy as well as an 18-hole outdoor Miniature Golf Course and arcade. Perfect for family fun and a must visit vacation destination.

In fair weather, play the 18-hole outdoor miniature golf course, an extravaganza of large rock formations, bridges and seven waterfalls. The course is perfect for all ages – young and old, making it perfect for families.
Indoor fun include Lazer Braze, a lazer maze using the latest in technology that lets participants set their own difficulty level and attempt to tackle the maze without getting zapped by any of the lazers. Friends and family can compete to beat each other’s scores. 22 people can play at a time in Lazer Tag so get a group together and let the games begin.
Then jump into an imaginary Jeep to venture through the jungle themed Cosmic Golf Course. A 9-hole course will be a great adventure for the entire family.

Wilstem Guest Ranch
4229 U.S. 150 
Paoli, IN
(812) 936-4484

Embrace your inner cowboy or girl at the 1100-acre Wilstem Guest Ranch, located at the southwestern edge of Southern Indiana's Hoosier National Forest and known for its 30 miles of trail rides through hill and dale and along ride along Lick Creek, the same body of water that gave French Lick its name. Wilstem is the perfect place for peaceful retreat, rest and relaxation, its bucolic beauty and rolling farmland making it one of the premier guest ranch destinations in the Midwest.

The ranch, almost a century old, was first purchased in 1915 by Ed Ballard, who developed the area including owning a large interest in the West Baden Springs Hotel. Ballard used it as a hideaway for wealthy and famous people as well as for his string of blooded show horses he annually entered in horse shows around the country. 

Famous people who stayed here included President Franklin D. Roosevelt who hunted pheasants and quails throughout the large stands of walnut trees as well as actors Henry Fonda and Tom Mix.  Al Capone, who married one of his wives in front of the fireplace in the historic lodge and heavyweight world boxing champ Joe Lewis trained on the Wilstem grounds, in the forest and in the ranch's historic Red Barn.

All the buildings on the property were restored including the 10 bedroom lodge, built of solid walnut logs cut on the property, by owner Jerry Fuhs, a Southern Indiana entrepreneur. Fuhs, who for years managed concerts for mega stars including George Jones, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Hank Williams Jr.and Ray Charles; and groups like Alabama, The Grass Roots, Dr. Hook among others, also cleared and restored the riding and hiking trails, restocked the ponds with fish and added modern guest quarters.  

The cabins and the lodge are perfect for vacation stays of fishing, hiking, riding and enjoying the beautiful countryside.