Hello and welcome to basilmomma.com! My name is Heather and I am a food blogger, newspaper columnist, freelance writer and host of Around the Kitchen Sink Radio. I am a busy parent and I write trying to find balance in life as well as in the kitchen. Join me as I share all of my culinary hits and misses....and all of the life that goes along with it!
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Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday August 11, 2012
All it took was one email from the school reminding me that registration for the 2012-2013 school year was coming up to get anxious about our summer break drawing to a close.
We still had so many things we wanted to do,places to go and sites to see! Luckily, we had a weeklong trip to Lake Monroe in Bloomington to take our minds off of the impending return to reality.
Usually when we stay at the lake we fill our time with swimming, lazily floating along the shoreline and hunting for rocks and fossils. This year was no exception.
A week with no plans and unplugged from almost all technology was just what we needed to recharge and relax. I did plan a few excursions, however. It seems most of the spring and summer free time we had was spent exploring central and northern Indiana but had yet to venture very far south.
First rain in months! Worthy of a celebration!
Salt Creek Brewery…
I didn’t want to make the boys walk around yet another farmers market, art fair or music festival in the heat. So I did a little investigating and found something that spoke to all of our interests.
First on our tour of Lawrence County was Salt Creek Brewery in northern Bedford. This newly opened craft brewery is housed in a refurbished auto garage. From the decor to the names of their brew and menu items, they have done a great job of keeping the theme. We munched on fried dill pickles and tried their signature root beer and cream soda. For the adults, they have a full compliment of brews from a milder cream style ale to a more hop lively IPA.
The next day we headed out early because my kids were so excited to get to our destination, Bluespring Caverns, also in Bedford. Just a short drive south on 37 from Johnson County and you’re there. In all of my years living in Bloomington I had never been to Bluespring Caverns, neither had my husband. We were almost as excited as my kids were!
Pouring out the bag into the ‘pan’
Sifting through the dirt.
Seeing what he found!
I had packed a picnic lunch to enjoy after we were done mining for gems and exploring the underground cavern. There is a picnic area when you first arrive on the grounds. You can probably guess what I brought- pasta salad!
First, we bought 2 bags of sand and were taught how to mine for gems, prospector style. There was a wooden chute of water and using a small screened Frame we were able to sift through to find some really beautiful rocks and minerals. I really enjoyed it myself and the kids were over the moon about the treasure they had just uncovered. Natural Wonder…
With their treasure stowed in the car we were led, by our fun tour guide Isaac, to our waiting boat, 82 feet below ground. Down below these rolling hills it is a comfortable 54 degrees year round. Perfect on a day when it is 95 like it was that day.
Entrance to what was at one time a pond, then a giant sinkhole.
Right inside the entrance
On the tour, hard to get a good shot. The water was crystal clear!
I was bowled over by the beauty of the underground cavern. We saw native blind cavefish, blind crayfish and the hollowed out caverns that we’re developed eons ago and still thriving today.
The on board lighting provided just enough illumination so we could see and the calm, quiet waters were relaxing. The tour lasted about an hour and thanks to our tour guide I learned the history of an area I lived near but never knew about.
Bluespring caverns is open most of the year and offers overnight adventures as well. From a small family like mine to a large group there is something to entertain anyone. They have more information in their visitors center or online.
Old cider press
What we ate…
Working up quite a hunger we had a picnic near what is called “Indiana’s Largest Sinkhole” of fresh apples from nearby Appleacres Orchard and some of my pasta salad. This salad is a creamy take on the classic Greek salad. I used something new to be to create the creamy zip Philadelphia Cooking Cream. Spreadable, meltable and oh so zesty, this cream comes in at least 9 flavors. I used a Savory Lemon Herb here. Another favorite is blending a bit of the tomato basil in a pot of spaghetti sauce. Find the recipe for my Creamy Greek Pasta Salad using Philly Cooking Cream HERE
While I’m beyond the “back to school” stage in my personal life, I remember those bittersweet feelings as summer came to a close. Sad – because I never felt I accomplished all that I had wanted to get done with my kids during the summer before the hectic schedule of a busy family started up once again. Glad – finally back to a regular schedule.
It looks like your family had such a great time at the lake. I hope you have a wonderful school year.
[…] enjoy being a tourist in our own state, and you may have read about our fun trips to Turkey Run, Lake Monroe, Indiana Dunes, Ft Wayne and so much more. We had not ventured very far south of where my husband […]
[…] lucky enough to visit all of the notable cavern systems that are open to the public in Indiana like Bluespring Caverns, Squire Boone Caverns and Marengo Cave (pre-blogging days). Our first visit to Indiana Caverns was […]