We decided it would be nice to get out of town just for a bit...not too long as we wanted to savor being at home too, but to give us some sense of being away. I googled obsessively....first thought of the Cleveland and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but that just felt like too long a drive. I narrowed it down to a 3ish hour drive and came up with French Lick and New Harmony Indiana.
I chose French Lick because I wanted to see the two historic hotels. It's now all one big resort with a casino which is not really my thing, but the buildings were wonderful. We stayed in the West Baden hotel. When it was built in 1902 its central dome was the largest in the world...and it maintained that status for some 60 years....all in the midst of a little southern Indiana town...home town of Larry Bird which I only know because of the Eric Brace/Peter Cooper song, Ancient History! It was overwhelmingly gorgeous. There are a ton of amazing historic---and current---photos on davelandweb.com (the site is a bit of a rabbit hole I warn you....).
We managed to leave the house pretty much on time. As we headed south we stopped at Square Donuts in Terre Haute. Delightful! We need to explore Terre Haute a bit more.
We didn't stop much other than that---although Owen asked me to take a picture of these cars....and Leo liked the Penn Central logo and told us something about the history of it.
We were on a schedule because there was a train ride at 1:00 eastern time in French Lick. We got there right on time and took off on the train. The train car reminded me of taking the Burlington Northern into Chicago from Lisle when I was a teen. Sure enough they announced it was a car from Metra in the Chicago area. It was so familiar that I jumped to show another woman how to switch the seat back from one side to another. My family looked at me surprised and I was surprised that they didn't automatically know how to do that! Leo and I sat together and chatted. Man I'm crazy about that boy.
After the train ride we set off for a nearby town that I wanted to see only to promptly go in the wrong direction. We gave up and headed into to the hotel. I can only imagine that it is nearly as jaw dropping as it was in 1902.
The boys approved the room and promptly settled into hotel mode. Owen begged to have pizza in the room so said what the hell, ordered the guys some food and went off on our own. I gotta say, as wonderful as the hotel was, the restaurants and bars were kinda eh. I usually love a good hotel bar but the service was rather impassive....although I got a hell of a pour of wine everywhere we went. There's a little trolley that runs between the West Baden and the French Lick hotels. It was a 1930s trolley car from Portugal. Lovely....we swayed along the tracks for just a few minutes before hitting the other hotel. We meandered a bit, had a meh appetizer at a bar and then decided to head back. It was cool and raining just enough to sound good as we swayed back to the West Baden. We walked up the imposing front steps and found a spot to sit on the huge wrap around porch. Ernie went inside and came back out with a drink for each of us. I texted the boys to come down and sit with us but they thought we were crazy. We happily rocked in our chairs and watched the sky darken completely and it was one of the most wonderful moments we had on the trip. Sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with my baby, sipping wine and listening to the rain. Oh yes.
Eventually hunger took us inside. We pondered the restaurants and decided we'd rather hang out with the guys. We curled up in the room with them and I had a pretty damn good room service burger....chatted....and we slowly dozed off one by one.
There's something special about spending the night in a hotel room with the guys. It's not that I don't have other family and friends I love, my sister Debbie and many others...but when I am in a room at night, it's just the four of us and I hear them all sleeping.....it's as though my entire world is in that room safe and sound. I will miss that feeling when they get too old for this. It is one of the best feelings in the world.
We often rotate beds on these trips. That night Owen and I slept in the same bed. He sleeps just like he does everything else----loudly, expressively, and constantly moving. At one point in the middle of the night his hand shot straight up into the air. I stared at it. He farted loudly and his hand dropped down as he continued so sleep. Even in his sleep he amuses me.
And that was the end of Day One of the 2015 Spring Break Tax Refund Southern Indiana Tour.