Friday, May 31, 2013

random road trip

I recommend a random road trip, like the one Amy, Jenni, Heather and I embarked on a few weekends ago.  After several weeks of discussing where we wanted to go, we had no clarity about a plan.  Instead, we decided not to make a plan at all.  


We met in Southport, headed toward the Interstate, flipped a coin to determine whether we would go north or south, and then guessed numbers in a travel guide to choose our destination.
We had chosen "The Old Bag Factory" in Goshen, Indiana, and hoped for the best.  On the way, we stopped at Ivanhoe's in Upland (above), for some phenomenal ice cream treats and a photo op with Garfield (a native of Grant County).

These colorful marble towers made a soothing sound as the marble cascaded through each petal.  I'd never seen these before and was a bit fascinated.

The Old Bag Factory was a quaint shopping area that didn't disappoint.  There was a beautiful furniture store, a beautiful pottery studio and store, imported treasures and collectibles and an Amish market, among other things.  The building once housed a company that made feed bags and other items, and a little museum inside showed this roll of paper (below) that would become tiny tags for Hershey's kisses.

We chose Das Dutchman Essenhaus for dinner, in nearby Middlebury, and passed several horse-powered buggies on the way.  The Essenhaus is Indiana's largest restaurant, featuring a buffet of comfort food.  None of us are frequent buffet-goers, but it was a delicious meal - the noodles on mashed potatoes were basically perfect.  They have something like twenty-five kinds of pie, and although I couldn't finish the peanut butter chocolate pie I ordered, I recommend it.  

The Essenhaus is located on a charming campus of shops and attractions, like the barn above.  I'd like to return sometime.

We were so close to the Michigan border that we decided to drive into the first town to walk around. Three Rivers' downtown was cute, but everything was closed.  We stopped anyway, walking up and down the street and peeking into storefronts. I noticed that one psychological services office was staffed by a former co-worker of mine...and was jarred by the coincidence.
We drove back to Indiana, and found a nice hotel in Elkhart, where we watched YouTube videos and laughed and slept well.  Breakfast at the nearby Golden Egg Pancake House was overwhelming.  My Eggs Benedict could have easily fed the entire table, but everyone's plates were as heaping as mine.  I ate the highlights of the meal, and then we started our drive back.

As you can tell, the skies were dreary.  We passed the time reading through magazines and chatting. We saw this awesome sign for the tiny town of Mexico, and sent the image to Val, whom we wished had been able to join us.

Our last stop was back in Southport, at a local farmer's market that had just opened for the summer.  It was sparsely populated, and we spent most of the time talking to the people who organized it and volunteered there - including one of my elementary school teachers.

These were places we likely never would have chosen, but the weekend was relaxed, and it was so great to make new memories with my friends.  Spontaneity is good.

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