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Thursday, August 19, 2010

West Baden Springs Hotel Bloody Mary

We went on vacation with a great menu and even more wonderful plans for what we'd do every day.  One day was going to be Louisville and the Louisville Slugger Museum with lunch at the Brown Hotel - enjoying the original Hot Brown.  Another was going to be touring the wineries and one brewery in the area.  Well, it all went out the window.  We never made it south to Louisvlle.  We ate all of our meals at the b and b - but really didn't follow the menu.  Maggie, our wonderful hostess, gave us lots of maps and info on the things to see in the area.  She mentioned that on Saturdays there is a great farm market with fresh veggies and great crafts in Orleans.  A bit over an hour's drive.  Not a bad deal since it was close to West Baden Springs Hotel.  When it was built in the early 1900's it had the largest unsupported dome in the world.  The mineral springs attracted the famous and the infamous.  Among the infamous were Al Capone.  In the early 80's I was lucky enough to see the hotel as it was.  A total wreck.  Finally, thanks to a generous man by the name of Bill Cook, the hotel was refurbished and is now - well, incredible just doesn't do it justice.  Since Connie'd never seen it so this sounded like a great adventure.  It was.  He was pretty slack-jawed when he saw the rotunda.  It's amazing.

Here's the view of the building from the parking lot:


You walk in and ahead is this amazing space

Then you get a glimpse of the rotunda

Wow, the whole deal

We wandered the halls on the first floor and looked at all the photos of the hotel in it's heyday, then decay and finally, renovation.  We decided to stop in the bar for a drink.  Being as how it was about 1:00 in the afternoon, I ordered a Bloody Mary.  Connie was dithering until he saw Sue Ellen pour in the secret ingredient.  Then, it was, "One for me too, please."

West Baden Springs Hotel Bloody Mary

good-sized splash of Guiness beer (their secret ingredient)
olive juice
celery salt
salt and pepper
lemon juice
tomato juice

On to the gardens we went.  It was about 93 degrees and about 97% humidity.  Totally miserable weather.  But, the gardens were so beautiful that we had to wander them.  I've never seen so many butterflies outside the conservatory at the White River State Park.  I must've taken 20 photos of just the butterflies. 

The first thing you come to in the gardens is a fountain.  I loved the turtle nozzles.

Then, there's the old bath house.  It's now filled in but you can tell it was the bath house because of the build and finish.  The windows are beautiful.

At the end of the gardens is the Bowling and Billiards building.  We couldn't tell if it was under renovation or was just a staging area for other renovation.

All in all, a wonderful adventure!


Clarice said...

This hotel is so beautiful. Honestly, it's hard to believe it's in America. We usually stick to functionality.

Drick said...

thanks for taking us along .. love to go kicking around, 1900's huh, built around my b'day... LOL...sounds like a great mary too.....

Kate said...

Clarice - you are so right. Wish you could see it in person!
Drick - You're welcome :-) We're with you - love kicking around and finding out of the way adventures.

Amanda @ said...

Wow, how beautiful! Thanks for taking us along on the trip. Too bad we couldn't take a sip of that bloody mary w/ the secret ingredient! Great find!

The Mom Chef said...

Wow, those are gorgeous pictures.

Anonymous said...

I put olive brine in my bloody Mary too! It totally makes it. There's a coffee joint here where I live that does a pickle spear for garnish. Elevates the cocktail to appetizer as far as I'm concerned.

Kate said...

Amanda and MomChef - thank you :-)
SomethingEdible - love the pickle spear idea!!!