Category: Indiana

W is for Whitewater Canal Tunnel

Just a short stroll from South Miami Avenue in the Southwest Ohio town of Cleves is tucked an often overlooked piece of history: the Cincinnati – Whitewater Canal Tunnel.

Now a mere mere hint of what it once was and what it once promised for the region, this silt-filled tunnel had been used by canal boats for just thirteen years. Sold to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1863, soon locomotives thundered through the often flooded tunnel until being abandoned in the late 1880s.

Built during the years of 1839 – 1843, the Whitewater Canal Tunnel linked Hagerstown and Connersville, Indiana to Harrison, Ohio before entering Lawrenceburg, Indiana, until reaching the mighty Ohio River.

One of twelve canal tunnels in the country at the time, today only four such tunnels remain. This nearly forgotten structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

For more information, please visit:




U is for Unexpected

On the shelves and in the nooks of Granny’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor, are tucked nearly as many salt and pepper shakers as there are cookie jars.


This family owned shop is as delicious to look at, as the ice cream is to eat!

How about a little turkey or duck with that?

It’s like a scavenger hunt for fun!

Enjoy yourself for an afternoon in Metamora.

Q is for Quilting

Handed down from one generation to the next, quilting is sometimes considered to be an aging art or a forgotten DSC_0082laborious task.

In actuality, quilting is fresh and alive and bursting into the future. Time-saving mini-quilt kits are available, and today’s projects can be made in whole, or in part, on technologically advanced machines.


Modern designs, superior fabrics, and wide open opportunities for self expression have completely erased any lingering stereotypical images of hand sewing by candlelight.


Seek out quilt shows, like the annual Quiltfest in Rising Sun, Indiana, where these quilts were photographed earlier this month. Talk with creative and informative quilters, like members of the Sunshine Stitchers or Rivertown Quilters.

Visit your local fabric shop – not one of those mega-craft-warehouses. A real fabric shop where the employees actually make things, and can tell with one touch or a glance if that bolt of fabric is 100% cotton, or a blend.



Discover the incredible world of color, texture and adventure!



For more pictures of Quiltfest 2016, please visit;

Thank you.

J is for Judicial

Indiana’s Ohio County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the state. The pretty town of Rising Sun was platted in 1816, and fewer than 30 years later, this courthouse was erected and paid for solely from donations.

This historic structure is an excellent example of the benefits of restoration and preservation. By caring for this important part of the county’s – and the state’s – history, the stories of previous generations can come alive for today’s visitors and residents.

For more photos of Indiana courthouses, please visit:

Thank You.


I is for Indiana’s Bicentennial

This year marks Indiana’s 200th birthday. This momentous occasion is being celebrated throughout the state in as many different ways as there are Hoosiers.

In between those special events and following the official proclamations, consider a drive to an unfamiliar county that will you will leave feeling  exhilarated — or take flight over the city you thought you knew.

There is a lot to learn in Indiana’s small towns’ local museums, and by listening to some of the best jazz ever recorded.

After so much exploration and discovery, it will be wonderful to simply laze the day away beside the Ohio River.

Find your passion and your bliss in the Midwest during this year-long celebration of Indiana.

If you were ever planning on visiting the Crossroads of America,

2016 would be the year!

Discovering Home


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M is for Maple

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I have to admit that I am a huge fan of maple-everything. I have had the good fortune to taste maple cotton candy at the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, North Carolina. I’ve also spread more than a little maple butter on piping hot toast, and have been known to whip very cold heavy cream into billows of ivory while drizzling Grade B maple syrup into the beaters.

It’s a little late in the season to visit a working maple camp to buy the freshest syrup, but many family owned stores still have a good supply of regional syrup, molasses and honey. It’s well worth the effort to find the real thing since the taste of fresh, local maple syrup simply cannot be captured in mass produced plastic bottles shaped like apron-clad women or log homes.

The connection between that just-filled jar of still-hot maple syrup held in your hands on a gray February day, and the families who work with the land throughout the year is obvious when crunching through a cold woods where bright blue bags hang from tree trunks, steadily collecting the running sap.

The steam from the sugar houses rises into the gray sky, and the fragrance of wood fires, fresh pancakes and sizzling maple-cured bacon wafts from the nearby dining room. Many maple camps invite the public to celebrate the too-short harvesting season with live music, Native American-lead programs, colonial reenactors and artisans. Children are encouraged to make a maple tree themed craft, and families are welcome to tour the sugar houses.

Although the 2015 season is over, this is a good time to mark your calendars for February and March of 2016. Just be sure to bundle up and have lots of helpers to carry all those deliciously warm jugs of fresh maple syrup!

H is for Hillforest

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Driving along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, it is not unusual to see riverfront homes dating to the 1800s. Sometimes these homes are open to the public as pretty Bed and Breakfasts. Sometimes they have been neglected and are collapsing into the Indiana mud. And then there are the structures that have been restored and are being carefully preserved.

One excellent example of a private home being successfully rescued from a vine strangled demise is Hillforest in friendly Aurora, Indiana.

This hillside museum overlooking the Ohio River has an opulent view that the original owner Thomas Gaff must have appreciated if only from a business perspective; one of Mr. Gaff’s many financial interests was the shipping industry. That is obvious when looking at the front of the Isaiah Rogers‘ designed building –  it has many unmistakable characteristics of a steamboat.

The interior is beautifully furnished with many pieces being actual Gaff family heirlooms. The tour guides are knowledgeable and willing to answer questions about the family, the many Gaff family business, some of which were located in the town of Aurora, or anything else a visitor might like to know.

Please click on the link to enjoy my 2013 slideshow/video showcasing more than 100 years of wedding dresses displayed at Hillforest, one of two public mansions in Aurora, Indiana.

This museum does charge a nominal admission fee, and is open to the general public seasonally. Arrangements can be made for small tours and is available for private functions.