Indiana Tourism welcomes today’s guest blogger, Carey Driscoll:
Carey Driscoll resides in Indianapolis with her husband, two dogs and cat. A graduate of the University of Indianapolis, she works in business development at BLASTmedia, a public relations firm based in Fishers. She enjoys traveling, cooking, knitting and working out. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
My husband and I were lucky enough to celebrate our two month anniversary with a long weekend getaway to Southern Indiana, courtesy of The Leavenworth Inn, VisitIndiana and Smaller Indiana. Our trip was a ton of fun and even though we crammed many activities into just a couple days, it was really relaxing and a great way to chill out before the holidays!
We headed south from Indianapolis to Southern Indiana, on the banks of the Ohio River. On our way to Leavenworth, we made a quick stop in Corydon. My husband had never visited the town before and we wanted to get a look at Indiana’s original State Capital. We wanted to make it to Leavenworth before dark, so all we really had time for was a quick drive around the Old Capitol Building.
A few more miles along I-64, and we found ourselves heading off the interstate and toward the river again. The Leavenworth Inn is situated atop a bluff overlooking a horseshoe bend in the Ohio River. We made it just in time for sunset, which we enjoyed while eating a home-cooked fried chicken dinner at the Overlook Restaurant. A trip to Southern Indiana wouldn’t be complete without fried chicken, and a trip to Leavenworth isn’t complete without a meal at the Overlook! As a teenager, I worked for five years at a family restaurant that was famous for their fried chicken, so I’ll say that I’m a bit of a subject-matter expert. The Overlook did NOT disappoint; perfectly cooked chicken (white meat for me, dark for my husband and we were both happy) accompanied by real mashed potatoes – with the lumps to prove it! The best part of the meal though? The gravy! I haven’t had gravy that good since Grandma made it!
After dinner, we enjoyed a cozy night at the Inn. I’ve never stayed at a bed & breakfast before, and I always imagined that they might feel a little awkward. I thought it might feel like you are staying a stranger’s home, with a nosy innkeeper. Not the case at the Leavenworth Inn. The accommodations were spacious, the decor a warm country chic and the staff was friendly without being overbearing. If you’re looking for a quick getaway in the late fall or winter- the Leavenworth Inn is sure to satisfy. They have modern amenities like internet access, an extensive DVD library, satellite TV plus everything you’d want at a country inn; a fireplace, wooden rocking chairs, paths for strolls or bike rides and complimentary bikes and helmets for your ride. And I couldn’t forget the freshly baked cookies or included breakfasts at the Overlook!
The next day, we took a quick drive up the highway to Marengo Cave, where we took both tours of the US National Landmark. While we really enjoyed both tours, if we had to choose only one, we would probably elect to do the Dripstone Trail over the Crystal Palace tour. The cave is a fun activity all year regardless of the season, as the cave remains a steady and comfortable 52°F. Beyond learning about how cave formations are created and enjoying their natural beauty, the tours also give visitors some insight into the cave’s history – it was discovered in 1883 by two children, has played host to a variety of community functions from high school musicals to town hall meetings, and may or may not be haunted by a deceased tour guide! One tip – if you go, be sure to visit their website first to print out some coupons.
After Marengo Cave, we went back to I-64 for the quick drive over to Ferdinand to visit relatives. While we were too late to shop at the towns Christkindlmarkt, we took a brief driving tour of the town. The main attraction is the Sisters of St. Benedict grounds. We had a dinner reservation up the road in Jasper, so we didn’t make it inside, but we did enjoy the views of the monastery’s unique architecture, and the website offers a photo tour if you’re interested in learning more.
We headed north a few minutes on Highway 164, and found ourselves at the Schnitzelbank Restaurant, my grandma’s favorite dining destination in the county. The atmosphere might be a little over the top for some, and if you’ve been to Germany you might not think it too authentic, but the meal did not disappoint! We began our meal with potato pancakes topped with apple butter, continued on to sausages, wiener schnitzel, schweine schnitzel, sptzle, German fries and sauerkraut. Wash it all down with a drink from their extensive beer and wine list, and you have an overwhelmingly satisfying taste of Germany! If you plan to eat at Schnitzelbank, make sure you make reservations ahead of time because the restaurant is a destination for many tour buses.
After stuffing ourselves, we headed south again and took a much-needed stroll around the grounds of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. My aunt works at Saint Meinrad, so we had a full tour from an insider’s point of view which was eye-opening for both of us. The last time I visited, I was a teenager (and therefore didn’t appreciate it) and my husband had never been there before. Saint Meinrad was established in 1854 and is one of only two archabbeys in the country. If the history or the uniqueness of the community doesn’t impress you, the art and architecture you’ll find at Saint Meinrad is sure to please. The Archabbey Church was built from 1899-1907 in the Romanesque style, and includes a shrine to St. Meinrad complete with a bone relic. Saint Meinrad is full of beautiful art, including several works created by the monks themselves. If you are in the area and are interested in the Catholic faith, architecture, history or art, Saint Meinrad welcomes visitors and even offers accommodations at the guest house.
After our second night at the Leavenworth Inn, we were sad to say goodbye to our cozy room. We packed up and headed back toward home in Indianapolis, but not before making one last detour before hitting I-65. Huber’s Orchard & Winery is far from the beaten path, but worth the drive through the countryside. We indulged in a complimentary loft tasting, were impressed with every variety we tried, and wound up coming home with a full case! Who could resist the Semi-Annual Wine Sale? 20% off when you buy a case, and you’ll be glad you have the extra bottles on hand when you’re in need of a last minute holiday gift for a friend, co-worker or relative! Unfortunately, our time at Hubers was limited, so we didn’t have the chance to tour the farm, eat at the restaurant, sample the cheese or ice cream shop treats, visit the farm market or orchard or take home a Christmas tree! There’s so much to do at Hubers, your family could probably spend a full day there and still not get to do everything!