Tag: Southeastern Indiana

X Marks the Spot Along the Ohio River

The story of the Ohio River has never been straight and clear. Like the waterway itself, the history of the river meanders and rolls, falls and loops about again. This is a river alive with the spirit of Native Americans; moving with the enterprise of frontier families, yet still learning to balance the demands of commerce with the fragility of nature.

R Rising Sun West

Be forewarned – there is a robbers’ lair tucked into the banks of the Ohio River. Named Cave-In-Rock by notorious pirate and murderer Samuel Mason, this once violent site is now a peaceful addition to the Illinois State Park system. Visitors often stay in  comfortable cabins while exploring the nearby iron furnace, or the Garden of the Gods.

Located in Clarksville, Indiana, the once impressive 26 foot drop in elevation along two and one half miles of the Ohio River is now an educational site where fossils more than 390 million years old are preserved. Due to the fluctuating water levels of the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is best visited in late summer and through early winter.

The public is invited to learn more about the Ohio River where it flows through Southeastern Indiana when independent filmmaker Dennis Neary presents his film, Take the River, at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:00PM.

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.

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.


C is for Cookies

Chocolate chip, sugar, pinwheel, gingerbread … there are so many different cookies to choose from when perusing a cookbook, walking into a bakery, or strolling through the local grocery store.

But the best experience might be quietly taking the lid from the cookie jar and grabbing one –  or one handful of – freshly baked, homemade cookies.

One of over 3,000 cookie jars on display at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor.


Today, there are as many varieties of cookie jars as there are cookies. From utilitarian canisters to ornate, quirky or perplexing containers, somewhere there is the perfect cookie jar for everyone – and it is probably sitting on a shelf or snugged onto a counter at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor in Metamora, Indiana.


Just the suggestion of cookies brings up happy memories: the warmth of the kitchen, the smell of baking cookies, that first melting taste … comfort food at its finest.



Still family owned, Grannie’s is an integral part of Metamora, a small canal town located in Southeastern Indiana. Open year round, this welcoming shop is the place for a refreshing cone, a hot cup of coffee, and friendly conversation.

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During the summer season, when the historic canal boat eases past the front door laden with tourists,  Grannie’s bustles with incredulous first-time visitors searching for the cookie jar of their childhood. They look and point, smile with the memory, then share stories of their grandmother’s kitchen with family and friends.

On sunshine bright weekends, couples and families fill the benches, patio chairs and picnic tables prettily located beneath the many shade trees along the banks of the canal. Walking through this friendly Midwest town, with a delicious ice cream cone of course, visitors remember to slow down, to stroll, to hold the hand of their sweetheart, their parent, their child. And enjoy.

W is for Wagner’s

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Wagner’s Family Restaurant in Oldenburg, Indiana is a casual, comfortable local place where the piping hot fried chicken is served up with dish towels instead of napkins, and the sweet tea is fresh and cold.

Waitress and daytime bartender Betsy McCray grew up in Oldenburg. She knows most of the diners by name, and rarely has to offer a menu even to the newcomers since most folks come in for the Family Style Chicken Dinner.

The fragrance of the chicken frying in cast iron pans makes diners grow impatient with hunger, but when the generous portions arrive, it’s obviously worth the wait. Brian Larimore and his father Robert drive up from Lawrenceburg to enjoy the delicious food, and enthusiastically recommend the freshly fried chicken dinner.

Ray Jordan has been cooking that crispy, moist, amazing chicken, and all of the other menu choices, for a year. He deftly moves through the kitchen, loading plates with the sizzling delicacy. Betsy fills trays with bowls of tempting side items, soon making her way to eager tables.

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Creamy and just a little sweet, the coleslaw marries well with the peppery gravy made onsite from any extra fried chicken. The dinner rolls are the store-bought, in-a-plastic-bag kind – and are perfect with a generous spread of butter, or swished around a gravy-drenched plate.

The green beans come to the table with a dollop of butter and plenty of salt, while the mashed potatoes are a quiet backdrop to the flavorful chicken and bright gravy.

According to Betsy, there are desserts available, as well. Fruit cobblers, a variety of cheesecakes … it all sounds so good, but impossible to manage on this visit.

But Oldenburg is just a scenic drive away any day of the week …

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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.

Writers’ Support Group NEW LOCATION and DAYS !!

Writers are odd folks. The very nature of their craft is one of solitude.

While some pensmiths join the rest of humanity on a caffeinated trek into a well-lit cubicle every morning, many other word-mongers type through a silent night that slips into a lavender and pearl dawn. The process is always the same, however; quiet observation and private inspiration culminates in solitary composition.

Many writers hope to find a community that respects the personal nature of their work, while encouraging real improvement in a supportive environment. The WordWrites Guild is dedicated to meeting those criteria.

From the tentative to the tenacious, all writers are truly welcome. This is the place to join other like-minded souls for lively discussions, practical exercises and the often elusive objective critique.

Please join us and lend your interests and talents to this burgeoning group. Our meetings are held on the first and third Thursdays of every month at the Lakeside Campus of Ivy Tech in Lawrenceburg, Indiana from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

For more information please visit http://wordwritesguild.org/ or feel free to contact wordwritesguild@gmail.com