Indiana Media Marketplace, Good Place to Learn about Indiana’s Gems

A look of European architecture Inside West Baden Hotel in French Lick, Indiana.

A look of European architecture Inside West Baden Hotel in French Lick, Indiana.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Indiana Media Marketplace event in Indianapolis at the State Fair grounds. It was a great opportunity for someone like me who loves to write travel articles and blog posts about our great state to visit with people interested in the same thing. Representatives from Visitor Centers around the state were there to talk with writers, trip organizers and others about the newest products, innovations, services their areas offered.

The goal is to interest writers/editors/others into publicizing the events. I’ve already contacted several editors about ideas I learned about and hope to write several.

So many fun events are happening that I want to just travel around Indiana taking in all the fun and beauty! After three hours, I had talked with 30 reps and had 3 goody bags on my arms! Here is a photo of some of the items the reps were giving away.

Fun giveaways at IN Media Marketplace

Fun giveaways at IN Media Marketplace

While I can’t take the time to list all of the 30 wonderful events and places I learned about, I’ll list some highlights.

The Red Skelton Festival in Vincennes (his hometown) on June 5-8, 2013, honors one of America’s most-beloved comedians! There is a Red Skelton Museum and re-runs of his shows and comedy camps where people can practice Red’s characters like Freddy the Freeloader. Go to and for more details.

Another can’t miss is a visit to the only nation’s only perfumery, Annie Oakley Studio in Ligonier. This would be a great girlfriend road trip!

Indianapolis is opening a new 8-mile bike trail that will go around the entire city! Wow!

I’ll mention other must-do’s for summer travel one-tank trips in future posts. Subscribe to this blog so you’ll not miss one!

What’s your favorite travel destination? Why?

French Lick Indiana–Eighth Wonder of the World

Working as a freelance writer has benefits. One such occurred when writing this article about French Lick, Indiana, for the Ft Wayne News-Sentinel travel section. My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful three days while discovering this oasis of relaxation and beauty only a few hours from home. We recommend French Lick for a breathtaking, luxurious vacation. I’d love to hear from those who have gone there.

Walking into the atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden Springs, Indiana, feels like entering a scene from Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel, The Age of Innocence. The novel’s characters from upper-class New York City society in the 1870s would have felt at home amidst the hotel’s extensive gold leaf décor, huge palm fronds, and life-size statues of Greek gods surrounding green velvet fainting couches, elaborate tile floors, and marble counters.

The 200-foot-wide atrium in the West Baden Springs Hotel may not have been the setting for a Pulitzer-prize winning novel, but the resort, first built in 1855 and named after the famous mineral springs in Wiesbaden, Germany, has its own story to tell.

When architects constructed the atrium’s free-spanning dome above the 6-story atrium in 1901, it was declared the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Celebrities and political figures like the Roosevelts and the Gettys flocked to the area by claims of miracle waters from local sulfur springs. The water, which supposedly cured dozens of diseases, including alcoholism and diabetes, was discovered later to contain lithium, which today is used in batteries.

The stock market crash of 1929 brought an end to the hotel’s visitors. In 1934 the West Baden Springs Hotel was sold for one dollar to Jesuit priests. The elegant hotel operated as a seminary for 30 years, then fell into disrepair, along with its equally glamorous sister accommodation, French Lick Springs Hotel built in 1901 and located just a mile away.

In 2005 Cook Group Inc., an Indiana-based company based out of Bloomington, Indiana, dedicated $382 million for the historic restoration of both hotels.

Today, the resorts of West Baden with 246 rooms and French Lick with 443 rooms reflect their original grandeur. More than 5,000 square feet of gold leafing on cornices and fixtures adorn nearly a dozen dining rooms, conference areas, and state-of-the-art spas.

The casino at French Lick Springs sports 51,000 square feet of slot machines and table games. Golf is also big here with a new 18-hole Pete Dye Golf course. Situated high on a neighboring mountain with rolling hills to challenge a seasoned sportsman, the Pete Dye course has been selected as the site for the 2010 PGA Professionals National Championship.

When gambling and golfing wear you down, retreat to one of the hotels’ elaborate spas.

The Spa at French Lick features 24 rooms offering a diverse selection of treatments, including an hour-long hydrotherapy treatment. The Spa at West Baden features a newly renovated 2-level natatorium housing a pool, salon, and health club.

Both hotels offer spa treatments that include bathing in the mineral springs that made the area famous.

Be sure to top off your stay with a visit to the Grand Colonnade Buffet. The Restaurant in the French Lick Hotel formerly served as a ballroom where Franklin D. Roosevelt received his party’s support to run for President. Look above your head to notice chandeliers adorned with 25,000 crystals and Trompe l’oeil art on the ceiling. 

The West Baden Springs Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places In 1974; in 1987 it earned designation as a National Historic Landmark.

For more information go to


Reprinted with permission of the News-Sentinel

Photos by Kayleen Reusser