Spring Mill State Park

Early in  September, we took a short camping trip to Spring Mill State Park, which is about an hour and a half away. We camped there once before, four years ago, and really liked the campground. The sites (even ones with electric/water) are large and there are a LOT of trees in between sites, so you feel you have more privacy than in other places we've camped. We also bought a new tent which is much roomier than our old one!

The weather was uncharacteristically hot and humid, but once the sun went down we were able to sleep comfortably with the rain fly removed. We did have an encounter with a raccoon as we were finishing up our dinner. It came right up to us. David scared it off - a little! - back into the woods, but it kept returning, and the kids were pretty freaked out. It was totally dark by this time. So we packed all our food away in the van and went into the tent for the night. We could hear movement outside and, at one point, what sounded like a heated raccoon skirmish, and in the morning we found that our Dollar Tree tablecloth had been clawed to shreds. 

The next day, we visited the Pioneer Village that is inside the state park. We weren't expecting much, but were very pleasantly surprised! It's quite large, with about a dozen buildings, some original to the site and others that were built elsewhere and moved. All of them are very old. Being a weekday after Labor Day, we didn't expect any interpreters working, but there was a woman spinning thread in one building, and a man operating the grist mill in another. We got to watch the mill being turned on, which was extremely cool. The water travels down the flume pictured below, from pretty high up, and turns the wheel outside, which then activates this enormous contraption inside the building that can churn out quite a bit of ground corn in a short period of time. 

The grounds around the pioneer village were beautiful and very well-kept. I was green with envy about the gardens.

This is one of my favorite flowers (celosia, or cockscomb). I've tried growing it but mine barely got larger than those smaller two at the bottom of the picture. I love how the really full ones look like hot pink brains.

View from inside the grist mill.

Foreground: cute kid smashing some corn.
Background: that man, my dear husband, spotted a letterpress inside the grist mill. It doesn't actually belong in the mill and in the 1800s would not have been kept there, but it's the safest place for it. He's kind of got a thing for letterpresses and chatted up the guy working there. They had a great conversation fully steeped in nerd-dom.

Checkers. That huge stone behind Penny was one of the original stones used in the mill.

Outside the mill

This is at one of the other buildings in the village. I had a Grandma White once, so I liked it.

After the pioneer village, we drove north about ten  minutes to the town of Bedford, Indiana, and visited Applacres, an orchard that I took the kids to about five years ago when we lived in Bloomington. You can pick your own apples for 80 cents a pound, so each of the kids got a bag and filled it with Red and Golden Delicious apples. It was a lot of fun and was the perfect time to go - we were the only people in the orchard, and the trees were bursting with ripe fruit (but not yet overrun with fallen rotting fruit and wasps like five years before).

Next, we drove another half hour north to Bloomington, where we lived for three years while David was in graduate school and working for IU's Creative Services. We hadn't been up there in a couple of years, so it was fun to see places we used to visit often. We tried to go for lunch at our most-favorite-on-earth Chinese restaurant, Great Wall, only to discover they are closed on  Mondays. I really wanted to go to the Tibetan restaurant Snow Lion, but the kids voted no, and rather than listen to whining I agreed to a Mexican restaurant instead. It was okay, but really nothing special, except for being in Bloomington, and inside of an old theater. 

After all that, we drove home. On the return trip, we took as much of the new (to us at least) I-69. It used to take us 2 hours, 15 minutes to go between our house and Bloomington. This trip took 2 hours, 5 minutes, so, big whoop, right? And in actuality, it took more like 2 hours, 30 minutes, because we had to get off at an exit and drive for 10 minutes to find a gas station for the kids to use the bathroom, then another 10 minutes back to the interstate. There are almost no exits with anything useful on I-69, so it's only going to save time if you have a bladder of steel.


  1. There's a Granny White Pike in Nashville (which I always thought was a weird name). I wonder if it's the same one . . .

  2. I would love to live on Granny White Pike!


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