About a month ago, we got to take a family vacation to visit friends in Nashville, Tennessee, family in Louisville, Kentucky, and then on to Indiana for some family time just the four of us. We had so much fun, and I described part one a couple of weeks ago and just realized that I’d never shared part two! This trip ended up being just what we needed. We got to reconnect with good friends (shared in the part one post linked above), meet a new nephew (pictured below), and spend lots of quality time together.
French Lick, Indiana
We had never heard of French Lick, Indiana before this trip. It’s a quaint little town in Southern Indiana made semi-famous by the French Lick Resort and it’s neighbor and former competitor West Baden Springs Hotel. We stayed at the Villas by the French Lick Resort, and it was the perfect get-away. I recently ready There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather. The basic premise of the book is that spending time outside is beneficial, and, if you have the right clothing, you can adventure outdoors every day regardless of weather. I really love and see the benefit of adopting this mindset this winter, and, while Indiana probably isn’t as cold and snowy as Sweden, it’s definitely colder and snowier than NC! So, I was excited to put the idea to the test.
The week of our Indiana vacation was cold and cloudy. The only day the sun shone at all was our last day there, and even then it only shone for a couple of hours. Nevertheless, we went outside every day, and I was so proud and excited by the girls’ willingness to go along with this! And, they loved it! They didn’t even want to come in some days!! Having the right layers makes all the difference. 🙂
Tuesday ended up being our first full day in French Lick. We allowed a slow start to each day. But, once everyone was up, fed, and dressed, we piled the girls into the stroller and went for a walk around town. Our villa was only a block off the main road that goes right through downtown French Lick, so exploring was a breeze.
The French Lick Hotel was originally founded as a health spa made famous because of the mineral springs on the resort’s grounds. They used to bottle and sell the water, claiming all sorts of health benefits. People came from miles around to follow a treatment regimen of the spring water. Though no one bottles and sells the water now, the spa at the hotel is one of the best in the country to this day.
After reading all of this, we decided that our first activity would be a self-guided tour of the hotel and grounds. The villas are free-standing townhome-style rentals on the grounds of the hotel, so we just walked down the hill for this. The grounds and hotel are beautiful! The original spring is, of course, still right in the center of the courtyard behind the hotel. You can walk right up to it. It was so interesting to think that a whole empire was created because of that one spring!
The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus
After our unofficial tour we walked downtown. We visited the town’s museum where we learned that the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus used to winter in French Lick until 1929. They had an entire room-sized diorama of the circus, and Afton especially was completely fascinated by this. We wrapped up our morning grabbing coffee before walking home for lunch and an afternoon swim.
West Baden Springs
While on our French Lick adventures, a lady at the museum told us about a trolly that leaves every day from the French Lick Hotel to the West Baden Springs Hotel one mile away. Afton loooooves Daniel Tiger, so she was super excited about the trolly. As it turned out, they were completing the trolly’s routine maintenance the day we were going to ride it, so we drove instead. But, the trip to the West Baden Springs Hotel was completely worth it! It was another cold and cloudy day, but the grounds are gorgeous. Our girls especially enjoyed poking around the gardens! We also really enjoyed the tour of the hotel and grounds. Although, Afton’s favorite part might have been the harpist played in the hotel’s main rotunda.
Both hotels hosted their annual tree-lighting events that weekend, so we also enjoyed watching the staff decorate! One of the tree decorators noticed Afton admiring the faux poinsettias she was putting all over the tree and gave her one. It was so sweet, and Afton still loves that flower!
If ever you’re in Southern Indiana, I can’t recommend visiting the West Baden Springs Hotel highly enough. In fact, if any Indiana Brides are looking for a venue, check them out! And then hire me to be your photographer, because I’m dying to shoot a wedding there! haha!
Whew!! That’s a lot for Part II!! I’ll be back with Part III after the Holidays!