Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Our Weekend Getaway to Spring Mill State Park

             Hey folks! Please tell me my husband, John, and I aren't the only ones who never really do anything special for our anniversary. It's not that it's not an important day to us. We're just not big on celebrating anything. At least not by spending money on things for each other that neither of us really want or need. Plus, we just haven't really had the time or money to do anything special. This year was different, however, and we finally had the chance to have a (much needed) couple's only weekend!
             As I've mentioned about a thousand times, my parents got us a state park pass for Christmas last year. It was actually a package deal that also included a year's subscription to Outdoor Indiana and a $65.00 gift card to use at state park inns, restaurants, and gift shops. I decided right away we should use the gift card to actually go somewhere and do something for our anniversary, so I took it upon myself to plan a weekend getaway. ;) There are only 7 inns at various state parks around the state, but it was surprisingly hard to decide where to stay because they are all at great parks! I ultimately decided on Spring Mill State Park as I haven't been there in years and it is relatively close to us. So, enough blabbering and on to the trip!

john sluicing
fossils and gems from sluicing
             Our first stop was to Blue Springs Caverns as it was on the way and not far off the main road. We used to love going to caves before we had kids. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go on a tour because the water levels were too high and it is a boat tour. Duh. You think with all of the rain we would have thought about that. :/ But, we were able to do some gem and fossil sluicing, so that was fun. AND, we learned about a cool program called the Indiana Cave Trail, where you get your “passport” stamped at each of four caves in southern Indiana. Once it's completed you get a free t-shirt!

spring mill inn lobby
spring mill inn game room and pool
spring mill queen room
spring mill room bathroom
             After checking in at the inn and looking around at the gift shop, game room, etc., we decided to drive around the park some since it was still kind of early for dinner for us. We were able to check out the campground to see if we might like to stay there with the kids at some point. Then we stopped at the “lake” (it's more like a big pond, imo) with intentions just to see if they had boat rentals and look around for a minute. John wanted to walk down the trail some that circles the lake, but we ended up doing the whole thing! Trail 5 is supposedly only 1 mile, but it felt like more than that, so John looked it up and according to whatever site he found online, it's actually more like 1.5 miles. Just an FYI. ;) There are some spots where it's pretty narrow and it gets a little rugged near the northeast side, but it's not that bad.

Spring Mill Lake
Spring Mill Lake spillway
me posing/being a smartass
             We started out Saturday by taking a tour of the pioneer village. I've been to Spring Mill several times as a kid, but I don't remember ever being able to take a tour. I don't think they do them very often, plus I think they were having one because they just started celebrating the grist mill turning 200 recently! Regardless, we enjoyed it for the most part and our guide was great, but both of us agreed that we wished she had talked more about life back in the day and less about people and dates.

spring mill nature center
 I almost forgot! We actually stopped in the nature center before we headed to the Pioneer Village There is footage of the inside in the video at the end. :)
spring mill pioneer village
             Shortly after the tour was over, we got to see the grist mill run briefly. AND, right after that, the saw mill. Both really put how our current society lives into perspective and how far technology/industry has come in a relatively short amount of time. At the same time it was pretty amazing to see what's possible with simple machinery and the power of water!

spring mill grist mill
             After we grabbed a bite to eat from the concession stand right outside the village, we leisurely looked around the village and took some pictures. My favorite has always been, and still is, the garden area. And yes, they do include plants they would have used during that time! I also thought it was neat that some of the people who work in the village make products to sell in the village gift shop, such as woven rugs and pottery.

spring mill pioneer village garden
             In case you're new around here, John and I both are kind of anti-social/don't enjoy crowds of any size, so we needed a “people break” after wandering around the village for so long. We tested the pool water when we got back and it was super warm and nice! So we enjoyed a nice swim all by ourselves. :) Their pool is kind of neat too in that it is both indoors and outdoors. They just take the divider out when it's warm out and you can swim under the big glass wall. (I always thought that was super cool as a kid. ;) )

spring mill twin cave
 One of the twin caves above.
spring mill bronson cave
 Bronson Cave
             Before heading off for dinner, we decided to look at a couple of the caves at the park. It was stairs city down to Bronson and Twin Caves. They actually have a short boat tour that goes into one of the twin caves, but it isn't open until Memorial Day. Plus, it probably wouldn't have been open anyways because of the water level.
             While not park-related, I thought I would include our trip to the drive-in Saturday night! Yes, there are still drive-ins open. Fun, right? We used to go as a kid sometimes and I haven't been forever and John has never been, so I was excited. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2, so that was awesome to see on a big screen! (Btw, it is even better and funnier than the first one!) They offered all kinds of food items at Holiday Drive-In at reasonable prices. The biggest complaint I have about the whole affair is that the movie was supposed to start around 9pm. They didn't start rolling the previews until 9:20, they included a 10 INTERMISSION, for God's sakes, before finally starting the actual movie at 9:45. The second movie was supposed to start around 11. We didn't leave until around 12:15 (credits were rolling). I barely stayed awake during the first one so, needless to say, while I would have liked to have stayed to watch the second movie, Logan, there is no way I could have stayed awake.

spring mill donaldson cave area
 This was as close as I could get to Donaldson Cave, that I'm aware of, without going wading.

             It was time to head back Sunday, but we had some time to spare, so we tried to do a little more hiking. Sadly, the stairs down to Donaldson Cave were quite dilapidated in parts, so John waited for me while I walked all the way down. I couldn't see the cave, though, because the creek was too high to walk around to the opening. Oh. And we saw what looked like a king snake crawling BACKWARDS into a hole in an old water fountain on the way down. Ew.

gus grissom museum
             Spring Mill also has a Grissom Memorial museum as he was from the small nearby town of Mitchell. (He was the second man in space, btw.) Naturally, we had to stop in there on our way out. It's pretty neat if you're into that kind of thing. Plus, it includes his spacesuit and the capsule that he landed in.
             As it was Mother's Day and we still had some time to kill, we decided to stop back by Blue Springs Caverns and grab a bag o' gems for John's mom because she's a little obsessed with rocks. Ha ha We may have done another bag ourselves as well. ;)
             We had a really great time, but I was definitely ready to see my kids. We'll probably end up taking them there camping some time as well. Spring Mill State Park is a great place for couples or the whole family, in my opinion. That reminds me, they are also scheduled to re-open their boat rentals this month after being closed for 18 years!

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a lovely place to relax and learn about nature. & The Mill is huge! I'm so impressed that it is still working. Hopefully, one day we can go and visit.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost