French Lick?

May 12th, 2008 . by Jason

Although I don’t recall it, Wikipedia reminds us that according to Brad of Home Improvement, French Lick is the only good thing in the state of Indiana. While I would disagree, French Lick was quite the treat.

A couple of Melissa’s friends graduated last weekend and Bryana’s mother, who has an insatiable desire to please her children, organized a graduation party for Bryana. After the graduation ceremony there was a picnic outside of her dorm with all the food you could ever wish for, and then dread the entire next week as you are still eating it. The food was great, but what was even better was the cake. This was not any ordinary cake, but it was a cake meant to please the masses. It had amazing frosting and featured a photo of Bryana in the frosting. Underneath the frosting one side was chocolate and the other white cake, which was great because I love chocolate and Melissa prefers the white. My favorite part about the cake was that it was labelled by the store as a Full Sht Cake, they really need to use a different abbreviation.

After munching and mingling for a while we helped clean up and everyone went their ways. Bryana’s family went back to their hotel to get ready to go to French Lick, and Bryana and Ethan, her boyfriend, went to feed her friend’s cat who she is cat sitting. This left Melissa and Me with Diane and her fiancé Andrew in Diane’s apartment. I had not really yet had the chance to meet Andrew and this gave us plenty of time to get acquainted. It turns out that perhaps Diane and Andrew are high up on our list of favorite couples. Unfortunately, they will soon be joining our list of favorite couples who do not live anywhere near us once again leaving the list of favorite couples within desperate reach of us pretty sparse (although Melissa and I have devised a plan of attack in attempt to populate this list, again).

We began our journey down to French Lick a couple hours later. French Lick is located in one of the most mountainous regions of Indiana. Nearby Paoli is home to Paoli Peaks, a popular ski resort (in Indiana? no lie!). Paoli peaks is situated on a hill with a vertical drop of 300 feet (that’s no typo and I would dare say that the hill in French Lick may well rival it) and features 18″ of annual snowfall. Anyways, we pulled into French Lick in the late evening and began the search for where Bryana’s grandparents had procured a condo. Their condo was nestled away in the trees on top of French Lick hill. The drive up was a little unnerving with a sheer cliff of several feet falling on one side and the occasional oncoming car in the oncoming direction. We made is safely to the top and were greeted by Bryana’s family. The condo was actually quite awesome, no lie. It felt like we were up in the mountains with trees all around us and being up on top of the hill was awesome.

French Lick Springs Villas

That night we played one of our favorite games, Pop 5, with everyone. There were 4 couples our age, and then Bryana’s family and grandparents. It was a lot of fun. Earlier in the day Bryana’s grandparents and parents had made their way down to the casino and had come back with elastic springy cords that they attached to their players cards for the machines. Someone (no one would admit to it) taught Bryana’s little sister, who is in 3rd grade and believes in the Easter bunny, that her Barbie dolls could bungee jump from the loft down into the family room by clipping the cord around Barbie’s neck and then throwing her over the railing. Brooke thoroughly enjoyed the activity and we enjoyed teasing her by grabbing onto the dolls and replacing the doll with other items for her to fish up. We’re sure that whoever gave her the idea just reveled in the fact that Brooke was hanging her own Barbie dolls (reminds me of a story about my aunt Nancy’s barbie dolls being hung….).

The next morning, Mother’s Day, brought more lounging, chatting, and game playing. It was quite rainy outside so we were fairly restricted to indoor activities. We enjoyed a nice rousing game of scattegories, which I failed miserably in. I couldn’t compete with the likes of Andrew, Diane, or Julie who came up with absurdities such as Green Goblin Grappling Ghost Ghouls or Red Rock Round Ruby Rectangle Regular Registered Rock. Brooke continued to hang her Barbies, and Bryana and Ethan attended the local submarine races.

Later in the day we ventured down to the Hotel and Casino to check it out. The hotel was very lavish and ornate. It was a place fit for a king, or the birthplace of Larry Bird, although the hotel was around well before him. The casino is another story. Indiana has a law where casinos are alright as long as they are on water and not land. Down by Melissa’s house there is the Casino Aztar, which I call Azkaban, which is an actual river boat which up until recently actually took an occasional stroll down the river. This casino was a little different and is a clear indication of Indiana’s more relaxed definition of what a river boat is. From the outside it looks like any other river boat with its water wheel and pipes coming out the top; however, it is all for show, this river boat is not going anywhere. In order to pull off the casino they built themselves a moat and placed the casino in it!

The casino river boat in its own personal moat

We donated a few dollars to the casino and then were on our way. After the tour of the hotel and casino we ventured over to another nearby hotel, the West Baden, it was pretty cool. The picture is of the interior dome and explains most of the coolness.

West Baden Dome
Our weekend getaway to French Lick was quite the adventure. Melissa and I hope to someday make it down to nearby Patoka Lake in the future, and who knows, I may even attempt to brave the slopes of Paoli Peaks.

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