Monday, July 25, 2011

A day at Spring Mill State Park

Last weekend, despite the 90+ degree weather, we decided summer was passing us by too quickly and we had far too many things left on our summer bucket list. Off we went to Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana. We had originally intended to camp here back in the spring, and in hindsight, I sure wish I had felt up to it. A day just wasn't enough time here. (I wrote about the many activities at Spring Mill for Visit Indiana.)


Our first stop was the Pioneer Village. I'll be honest, I was expecting a cheesy take on life in the 1800s. I was so wrong. Not only are the buildings original and genuine, but the setting along the flowing creek is so picturesque.


The most interesting stop among many at the Pioneer Village is the Grist Mill. It is still fully operational and can grind up to 500 lbs of corn meal in an hour. Be sure to catch a demo from the miller, it's a real highlight of a visit to the village.


Insider Tip: If you have a toddler, sit toward the back during the demo. He/she can play with the old-fashioned toys that are set up without disturbing the rest of the group (i.e., mom and dad) who are listening to the demo. The arrow was particularly taken with the checkers.


We spent another hour or so wandering in and out of buildings, like the schoolhouse, tavern and apothecary. Many are staffed with interpreters in full dress. You'll come away from a visit with a much better understanding of pioneer life in rural Indiana.

Because lately my life revolves around food, our next stop was lunch. We ate at the park's restaurant found inside the Spring Mill Inn. A down-home, feel-good country buffet. I was partial to the dessert table, full of homemade pies, cobblers and pastries. So was the arrow, who immediately claimed the chocolate cupcake you see below. My husband was licking his fingers over their homemade fried chicken.


Insider Tip: The restaurant was busy and we made it there just before 30-minute waits started. You could just pick up take-out from the buffet, or pack a picnic to bring to the park and not let lunch slow you down too much. There was also a concession stand near the Pioneer Village parking lot.

While ordinarily we would never leave a state park without sampling a few hiking trails, did I mention it was 90 degrees (oh, and I'm 20 weeks pregnant)? Needless to say, we hit the pool instead. No pictures... 2-year-olds, pools, and digital cameras don't mix.

Before we knew it, it was well into the afternoon and the arrow was practically begging us for a nap. My husband and I took the country roads home while he snoozed and dreamed of return visits to Spring Mill.

Insider Tip: Mitchell, Indiana is the birthplace of astronaut Gus Grissom. On our next visit to Spring Mill, I want to spend some time at the Grissom Memorial found in the park.

In the next few weeks, I'll be writing about making corn cakes with the freshly-ground corn meal I purchased in the Pioneer Village. (I told you everything revolves around food these days!)

If You Visit:
Spring Mill State Park
3333 State Road 60 East, Mitchell, IN
Pioneer Village is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission to the park is $5 per car for Indiana residents. Pool admission was $2 per person (the arrow was free).
Insider Tip: If you're spending a weekend in the area, add caves to your itinerary. I wrote about the Indiana Cave Trail for Visit Indiana. All three of these caves are within an hour's drive of Spring Mill. There is also a cave you can tour inside the park itself, but children younger than 3 are not allowed. (Just another reason we'll have to come back again!)

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.