Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Foodie Girls Visit French Lick

Realizing that the Foodie Daughter would be turning 21 this fall, I had been planning something special for her birthday.

Given the nature of this gift, this trip would have to wait until after her birthday.

Then of course I would have to work around her football schedule.

Luckily, the very next Saturday after her birthday was available and I warned her to keep that date open as I had something special planned for her.

Then, on her birthday, I revealed my plans to her.

To wit; I would be taking her to French Lick, Indiana to tour West Baden Springs Hotel.

Then we would travel just a bit down the road to French Lick Hotel and Casino where we would eat lunch before hitting the casino.

As an added bonus, this would be a girls-only event.

Sorry guys, but we're leaving you at home this time.

By the time we reached West Baden Springs, the sun had begun to peek out from behind the clouds.

This is an impressive drive up the brick boulevard to the hotel.

The trees are wearing their fall colors.

Unfortunately we found that the atrium was closed to the public, as it was being readied for a private event.

The Foodie Daughter promptly decided that she would like to be married here.

It is still amazing that this magnificent place very nearly fell to ruin.

Fortunately, local Bloomington businessman, Bill Cook, spearheaded efforts to save this architectural gem.

Just one of many intricate light fixtures in the hallway.

Detail of the light.

The original lobby of the hotel.

One of several stain glass windows in the lobby.

Doors to the lobby.

The library.

The Arts and Crafts influence can be seen in the fireplace of the library.

The sunken garden.

The Billiards and Bowling Pavilion sits at the far side of the garden.

And now it's time to head over to French Lick.
Luckily it's just a couple of miles down the road.

But first, what do we have here?
Why, it's the old West Baden National Bank.

The Indiana Railway Museum is next to French Lick Hotel and Casino.

The casino at French lick.

The Foodie Daughter thought the message on this bus was hilarious.

The old train station for the hotel.

I decided that we would eat at The Power Plant Bar.
My husband and I ate here last year and I thought that the daughter would like it here, given that they have several TVs, all tuned to football games.

The old electrical switchboard that once supplied power to the hotel is a focal point of the lounge.

I ordered us each a beer, after the waitress checked the daughter's ID.

We both ordered the bacon cheeseburger with onion rings.
While we've had better burgers, the onion rings were pretty decent.
In the end, the best thing was just that we were together and were having fun.
The fact that the Foodie Daughter got to watch three football games at the same time was just icing on the cake.

After our lunch, we decided to walk around for a while before heading over to the casino.
We found the bowling alley after traveling through a limestone tunnel that was recently excavated.

This stained glass window is near the bowling alley.

Elaborate gilt table in the lobby.

Gilt detail on the balcony in the lobby.

Fireplace in the lobby.

The Foodie Daughter makes her first foray into a casino.
The security guard carefully checked her ID, even running it through a scanner to verify its authenticity.

The casino allows no photography inside.
Suffice it to say that we learned just how quickly one can become separated from one's money.
At one point the Foodie Daughter was up $5, but she soon lost even that.
Slots are definitely not our thing.
Gambling is apparently not our thing, either.

Large banners outside the conference center entrance advertise the fact that the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship will be held at the Pete Dye Golf Course nearby.
Apparently this is one gorgeous golf course.
But, you might want to hold off on reserving your tee time here as a round of golf costs $350.
Of course, that hefty fee includes a box of cigars and a bottle of bourbon for every foursome booked.
I would think that for $1,400, they most certainly could throw in a few cigars and a bottle of liquor.
Oh, and one must also be a guest of West Baden Springs Hotel in order to book a round of golf.

The historic Donald Ross golf course is more for the every-man.
I know that my husband has played here a few times.

This bridge connects the casino to the hotel.

The main entrance to the old part of the hotel.

And now it's time to head back home.
It's been fun, but we are two tired Foodie Girls.

Please note that the pictures taken from the car are curtesy of the Foodie Daughter.

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