Summing it Up...
Now, that I'm way on the wrong side of sixty, I feel that being true to self is important. "I yam, what I yam." Kindness and smiles are to be given away. Women are strong. Men are more vulnerable than we believe. Husbands may come and go...but one thing I know for sure is that I will NEVAH live without a corgi or coffee in my life if I can prevent it. Come piles of dog fur or hot water!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Autumn Getaway~Wandering Indiana
Getaway you say, from what....we just got home from Colorado!! Oh well, we're trying to get in a last hurrah before winterizing the Journey. Some would call it "denial" I think. So~~on Friday October 12th, we headed down to southern Indiana to join up with Winnebago-Itasca Club pals, Mike and Lori, at Shakamak State Park near Jasonville, 20 miles SE of Terre Haute. We saw three, huge, platter-sized wild turkeys run across the road as we explored the park. We had a perfect fall weekend to enjoy the foliage color, and the park was packed. We hosted supper & campfire at our site that night, and Saturday we headed to Mansfield, in Parke County, on the opening day of the Covered Bridge Festival. Bumper to bumper traffic on the roads, and on the grounds of the old Mansfield Mill, where the covered bridge crosses the Wabash. There were more dogs in baby carriages that day than babies. Endless food courts were described later that day as a caloric cavalcade. Flea market booths held everything imaginable to sell. Parke County is the covered bridge capital of the world, and has 31 covered bridges in this one county. Very pretty area, hilly, lots of autumn color, rivers and friendly people. It took us nearly two hours to get back to the campground, where Mike cooked a fantastic stew-goulash concoction in a cast iron dutch oven over the fire. It was 9pm by the time we ate supper and sat around the fire...all nodding off in our chairs. We had four dogs between us, so lots of time was spent walking all the fur-kids! Lori headed to Rockville, where the Winnebago group was having a state rally, and we headed to the southwestern tip of Indiana, to experience New Harmony.
New Harmony, 25 miles northwest of Evansville...is quite a trek from North Manchester, like 6 hours. Posey County, in the most southwestern corner of Indiana, is where the Ohio and Wabash rivers cross into Illinois and Kentucky. Such an interesting, historic town, of less than 1000 residents. Many of the Harmonist buildings still stand and have been restored. A Utopian experiment, first tried by George Rapp, and his Rappites, settled there to escape religious oppression, coming from Wuttenberg, Germany in the early 1800's. The celibate, Harmonist group lived simply, working the land, creating the beginning of a communal settlement. In 1824, Robert Owen, a Scot, bought them out. He believed in a new moral world based on reason. Education and Science, the foundation of this. The first free public library, kindergarten, and equal education for both boys and girls, began in New Harmony. The oldest library, housed in the Workingman's Institute, is still open today. The town has a charm that reminded us so much of Old Salem Village, in Winston-Salem, N.C; and Williamsburg, Virginia. We started out in the Visitor's Center, watching a 10-minute movie that gave a good overview of the town's early history. We rented a golf cart for 2 hours, so we could zoom all over town to see the gardens, buildings, roofless church, and labyrinth. Such interesting history keeps this town alive, and is sponsored by the Southern Indiana Universities,plus state and national foundations. The low tree-canopied streets were lovely, but deadly to a motorhomes' roof! The faded brick buildings and walled courtyards which held fantastic old world themed gardens were something to see. Birds, squirrels, and house cats were so laid back...a squirrel was directly above my head in a ginkgo tree, and we were having serious eye contact. Calico cats were playing with black dragonflies in the middle of the street or lounging on wide windowsills inside the historic homes. The entire town had this laid back feeling, and the townsfolk get around in golf carts and bicycles, which kind of makes sense when only several hundred live inside the perimeter of the town. Such a strange sight though, to see golf carts pulled over on streets, not parked, just pulled over. We stopped at the famous Red Geranium Restaurant our first night in town, before going out to the state park. Everything on the menu is ala'carte, but very elegant, refined, and beautiful. It's the kind of place you go....once! The state park is probably the most beautiful we've ever been to. White tail deer, and an opossum welcomed us into the park as it was dark, and the gates were closed for the night. A ranger stopped by to check us in, and Jim held his ear for a half hour sharing our experiences of camp hosting in Illinois the past two summers. We met the former coroner of Posey county who was the current camp host, and his wife is a psychologist. Such nice, friendly folks in southern Indiana.
On Monday the 15th, we met Eli and Lori, in their mid-twenties, who opened a new restaurant, eight days ago, in downtown New Harmony, called The White House. Charming hollyhock and old fashioned flowers line the walk and side patio. They have a winner, using incredible ingredients to create very simple, exquisite gourmet food. They were fun to talk with, and enthusiastic about their new endeavor. We wish them luck. The town's historic society takes care of the outside of the building they rent, so that helps keep their overhead low. They plan on having the county's FFA chapter (Future Farmer's of America) grow a garden in the huge side yard next spring/summer, which will provide a class project for the group, and fresh vegetables for the White House use. A win-win situation. Following a day of exploration in the historic area we headed to Terre Haute, and slept in a Cracker Barrel lot right by the exit ramp on I-70 to 41. Very noisy!
We arrived in Rockville, on the other side of Parke County, where the Covered Bridge Festival is still going on for another week, to meet up with the Winnebago-Itasca group for one night, to see everyone before winter sets in. We're in the county fairgrounds, no frills, and will head home tomorrow, which is a good four hour trip.