Xy and I spent the last two nights in French Lick. I highly recommend it. French Lick is about 45 minutes south of Bloomington, and it sits right next to its twin city, West Baden. The area is sometimes called Springs Valley because of the abundance of mineral springs. Those same springs, and the seven casinos that used to be there, made this area the party hotspot of the Midwest back in the early twentieth century.
We went there for our honeymoon ten and a half years ago, and we saw the ruin of the West Baden Springs Hotel. It was the largest free-standing dome in the world until the Astrodome was built, and it was spectacular. We also visited five and a half years ago and saw the dome in partial restoration, a massive project funded by Historic Landmarks of Indiana and the Cook Group. Now we saw it complete, and it is stunning. Tours are given every hour between 10am and 3pm. It’s worth the trip.
Of course, French Lick Springs Hotel is also worth checking out. That’s where Xy & I stayed on our honeymoon, as seen briefly at the end of a certain episode of ROX. It’s simply massive. Visitors are advised to seek out the historical display hidden in the basement. (Why do they hide this stuff in the basement?) Also keep an eye out for all the cool devil imagery, produced by a confusion of the Christian conception of the devil with the Roman god of the underworld, Pluto — patron of the mineral spring here.
I took a mineral bath. Not because I believe the waters have any curative powers, but simply for the experience, since that (and the gambling) was what so many people did a hundred or so years ago. It only cost $20, and it was kind of fun.
And, as we drove north to Monrovia today to visit my parents, we stopped by Orangeville to check out the Orangeville Rise. That’s where Lost River pops back up again after traveling underground for ten miles or so. It’s a Registered Natural Landmark!