Small Town Indiana’s Hidden Gems



I was given some work assignments in South Central Indiana, which required overnight travel, so I decided to combine my business trip with an exploration of some small towns that I have visited many times before, but this time I would pay closer attention.

I took notice of the farmlands and small churches as I made my way from Scottsburg to Paoli, and stopped to explore the Wilstem Ranch as a potential future Mother/Daughter adventure weekend for my daughter and me. It’s a beautiful, peaceful ranch, offering cabin rentals, horseback riding, and other fun family activities.


I stopped at West Baden Springs Resort and marveled at the breathtaking architecture and furnishings. The dome ceiling is amazing!


I walked the flower-adorned paths of French Lick Springs Resort, and relaxed in one of the rocking chairs, allowing myself to become hypnotized by the American flags waving in the wind. I browsed in some of the boutique shops and resisted the temptation to visit the ice cream shop.


The following morning, I sat at a table by a window in a small cafe so I could people-watch while enjoying my coffee and omelet. After breakfast, I rented a bike for an hour to pedal around town before heading further west to complete some work in Vincennes.


As I worked my way back east, I stopped by the Lincoln National Park to see if they had any interesting portraits of Abe on display. They did!


Once all of my work was completed, I made one last stop in Saint Meinrad, IN, to visit the Monastary and Archabbey. St. Meinrad is one of only two archabbeys remaining in the United States. It is open to the public, and I had free access to walk around and see the cemetery where the Monks are buried, the college, the chicken coop and area where they grow their own food, the meditation gardens, and the Abby Press gift shop.

As I walked up the stairs and entered the Archabbey, I was awed by the simple beauty of the structure. Other than a priest who passed through briefly, I was the only person there, and I cannot remember ever being in a place where there was such complete silence. Not one sound. I stood there looking, on one end, at a painting of Christ holding the Book of Life and, on the other end, a huge cross. I stood mesmerized for a few minutes and, then, I sat down and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the many blessings in my life.


I stopped at an Amish restaurant for dinner, where I tried some unusual foods. Some were delicious; others were…interesting. When I made it home, it felt much more like I had just returned from a mini vacation rather than a business trip. Wherever you’re at, be all there!





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