Family Vacation

I had a great time with my parents in and around Southern Indiana while they were here at the end of July. Following are a few long-overdue highlights (posting is a bit rushed because I want to publish this before it rots in the draft folder for eternity!).

Russell led an excursion to French Lick to see the West Baden Springs Hotel, a magnificent feat of engineering for its time. It was built in 1902 and catered to the rich and (in)famous (Al Capon was a frequent guest). After a colorful history, the hotel closed and fell into disrepair. Renovation has brought the hotel back to its former glory. We wandered the hotel and then the gardens and I insisted that we take a swing by the stables. In addition to horseback riding, one might golf, gamble or enjoy the spa.

After getting our fill of picture-taking and meandering at the hotel, we headed to Jug Rock, to see the natural formation where Russell filmed scenes for The Babbling Banshee.

Now a tour of Banshee filming locations, we headed to Spring Mill State Park and explored the Pioneer Village. Russell and his film crew were at this park in the early hours of the morning with a noisy generator to film night scenes. Unfortunately, we arrived after the Village was closed but we could still wander about and peek into windows. I told Russ that we would have to day trip again sometime to see Pioneer Village when the buildings are open and period-costumed men and women are about, ready with histories of the area.

Before heading back home, we stopped at the Gus Grissom Memorial in Mitchell which honors the life and work of the second American to enter space.

Sunday, we ventured out to see the Tutankhamen exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The exhibit didn’t have Tutankhamen’s death mask or sarcophagus, as those artifacts are not permitted to leave Egypt. Nonetheless, there were plenty of pieces that I recognized and many more that I didn’t. By far my favorite was this statue of Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamen. Akhenaten revolutionized religion (he converted Egypt to monotheism), art and government during his reign. Akhenaten’s successors wiped his name from history, restored the old religion, and turned his son into a puppet. Frankly, Tutankhamen isn’t nearly as interesting to me as his father but if not for Tut, we wouldn’t know as much about his father. I highly recommend seeing this exhibit before it leaves Indy!

Other excursions included trips to Cascades Park and a climb up the fire tower at Charles C. Deam Wilderness, which is in/near Hoosier National Forest.

It wasn’t until my parents visited this time around that I discovered that not many people (at least none behind the counters of ice cream shops we talked to) in the Midwest have ever heard of water ice. How can this be??