West Baden , French Lick Indiana – Repost from 8/2012!
As my families summer travel season is winding down, I wanted to end on a high note. I started at the top, most northern part of Indiana, and worked my way southward. Our road trip adventures ended in scenic and historic West Baden and French Lick , Indiana.
I timed this trip to coincide with our sixteenth wedding anniversary and this time, we traveled sans children. We have taken them to French Lick before to visit popular areas like Paoli Peaks, the indoor water park at Splash Island, indoor carting and boating on Patoka Lake. This weekend, however, was just for the grown-ups.
We have been to the resort there before. Although, we don’t gamble, but we have taken advantage of many of the family travel packages they offer. Especially in the winter. Our destination this time, specifically, was West Baden Hotel. A few years ago my kids and I toured the resort and I just fell in love with the dome. Dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ this architectural marvel is just begging to be photographed. Being the Indiana history buff that I am, I enjoyed staying in a fortress steeped in history and tradition.
We arrived on a Friday evening and couldn’t believe how plush our room was. We had a beautiful view of the rolling hills and the gardens. It was luxurious without overdoing it from the plush robes to the specialty in-room chocolates. And, surprisingly affordable!
We filled the weekend with a tour of the Pete Dye Golf Course and mansion, a bicycle tour of the grounds, antiquing in town, the Orleans farmers market and high afternoon tea ion the dome served on fine china. It isn’t often a girl can have tea sandwiches, petit fours and warm scones with fresh cream for no other reason other than it was 3:00!
We splurged on a few spa services as well. On Saturday I had a Sprudel mineral soak and on Sunday we both had a massage. Definitely something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime. The low lighting, soft music and candles provided a much needed relaxing experience.
The weekend was perfect, a word I do not use often. From the accommodations to the food, the friendly staff to the entertainment options we were not left wanting. And the food! I was impressed with all of the options at every price point. We even visited The Black Buggy in nearby Washington, a local eatery not to be missed. (Now closed)
The highlight of the weekend, however, was a big surprise that I had been planning for my husband. I had been in cahoots with the events coordinator Jennifer and the florist Kim for several weeks planning every detail of the big day. With the help of local Pastor Craig Chestnut and photographer Ramona Pinnick I was able to not only surprise him but create what was a magical evening for the three of us in the garden. Well, plus the photographer, Pastor’s wife and 50+ onlookers who were watching. We renewed our wedding vows in the West Baden gardens near the picturesque fountain and believe it or not it held more meaning than our first ‘real’ wedding I think. 16 years, 2 kids and a busy family life will do that. All of those reasons and more were what made this day complete.
Pastor Chestnut presented us to the world again as Mr and Mrs and we were greeted with applause form the spectators that had gathered on the wraparound porch of the hotel. It was magical! After the brief ceremony, we had dinner at the hotel’s finest eatery, Sinclairs. We dined on fresh halibut and four cheese lasagna. The dining staff was so good to us and the chef shared with me the recipe for the lime pudding pie that we were served for dessert. That cool and creamy concoction is what I am sharing with you today.
All of the little touches along the course of the weekend were so special and it will be one I will not soon forget. If I realized anything with the passing of my grandmother in July, it is that you have to live your life. Out loud and in full color. Our celebration weekend was spent in a beautiful place, making happy memories and enjoying life. One tasty bite at a time.
Ramona Pinnick Photography, Indiana Visit website HERE