Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016 02:34
Written by Steuben County
February 22nd is circled on my calendar. It is the night of the full Snow Moon and the night of the Moon Shadow walk at Wing Haven. All day I watched the clouds roll around blocking bits of the sun, but by 5:00 the sky cleared, and I knew the night would be exceptionally beautiful.
I gathered extra clothes, gloves, hat, flashlight and my walking stick and drove the familiar route to Wing Haven, right off of County Road 400 N. in Angola. A sign was propped up at the end of the long drive telling folks which way to turn. I was grateful for the sign even though I had attended many events at Wing Haven. Driving down the lane through the trees, there were shades of day and night mingling together.
I parked my old Jeep and hauled out all my equipment and headed down the pathway to the cabin. This cabin was once the art studio of Helen Swenson (1906-1983). She and her husband, Ben, were the first caretakers of the Potowatami Inn when it opened in 1925. Upon Helen’s death the land was donated to Acres Landtrust.
Mm m. Mm m As I hiked down the narrow pathway I could see smoke rising from the chimney and warm yellow light streaming out of one of the windows. As I got closer I could hear laughter, and many greetings as I opened the door. Ah, the cabin was warm and full of friendly town folks drinking coffee and hot chocolate as they gathered around the potbelly stove.
It is nice to live in a small town where you know most of the folks; it is always like going home. I took off my mittens and made myself a cup of hot chocolate and took a seat by the stove.
Our host for the evening, Shane Perfect, the caretaker of Wing Haven, was seated in the center and began the evening in a casual way. We talked about the name of the February moon, the Snow Moon, aptly named because the heaviest snows usually appear in February in northern Indiana. There are other names, of course, from different tribes. The Zunis called it “No Snow on the Trails” moon. The Cherokees called it the “Bone Moon” because food was scarce and they had to cook the marrow out of the bones. One young man, Josh, guessed that “Bone Moon” meant because it was the color of the moon, bone white.
We read several passages about the moon from children’s books before we finally left the cabin. One by one, carrying our walking sticks, we came out and everyone gasped at the beauty of the moon rising in the woods. We followed each other down the trail towards Little Gentian Lake. We stood out on the small dock watching the full moon in silence. No words were needed as the beauty was so great. After a while we began poking holes in the ice with our sticks and watched as tiny bubbles came to the surface.
No one wanted to go back, but we said our good byes to the moon over the water and followed the trail back up the hill to the cabin. We stood around getting warmed by the fire and then burst into song. We started with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and ended with “Back Home Again in Indiana.” I think we all choked up a bit when we sang about the moonlight on the Wabash as we long for our Indiana home. I looked around at the group and realized that we all called Indiana home.
We finally hauled our gear to our cars and let the moonlight lead the way back to our Indiana homes.
Lou Ann Homan is a writer, a teacher, a storyteller and a lover of small towns. Lou Ann’s enthusiasm for teaching has graced Indiana classrooms for over 30 years. She is currently a professor at Trine University in the Humanities and Communication Department. She has been twice awarded the prestigious Lilly Teacher Creativity Award. Lou Ann is an award winning columnist for KPC Media Group with a weekly column appearing every Saturday morning for nine years. Her work appears in newspapers in all four counties in northern Indiana.
Published: Friday, 26 June 2015 01:51
Bird Watching at Pokagon State Park
Pokagon has a Sunday-morning tradition where an interpretive naturalist leads a bird hike. All ages are encouraged to participate, regardless of birding experience. The park provides binoculars if you do not have your own. The naturalists carry field guides or use cellphone applications to help identify birds and other natural wonders that capture your interest such as plants and wildlife.
If you are unable to attend the scheduled Sunday morning hike, come out and hike on your own. From the park’s Potawatomi Inn, take Trail 3 to Lake Lonidaw where you might glimpse a Great Blue Heron stalking some fishy prey or hear a Red-winged Blackbird call from its cattail perch.
Trail 2 offers a break at the Spring Shelter. Enjoy a refreshing drink of water from the natural spring found there. Continue through the woods scanning the trees for some of our colorful summer residents like the Baltimore Oriole. If you are fortunate, you might hear the hammering of the Pileated Woodpecker.
The Lake James shoreline provides viewing of the migrating waterfowl and resident Bald Eagles. Pokagon’s pine groves are habitat to Pokagon’s nocturnal owl populations. Trine State Recreation Area is home to turkeys and at certain times of the year you can see ospreys, cormorants, and the gangly yet graceful Sandhill Cranes.
Pokagon State Park Nature Center offers birding opportunities. You can relax seated on a bench and gaze out the panoramic Woodland Window and observe the many bird species and some wildlife feeding. The Red-Headed Woodpeckers are frequent visitors. A concealed microphone lets you listen to the outdoor chatter.
Pokagon State Park is located at 450 LN 100 Lake James, Angola. For additional information, call (260) 833-2012or visit www.in.gov/dnr
Published: Friday, 26 June 2015 01:54
Written by Steuben County
Waterfront restaurants are as prevalent as homemade pie in the northeast corner of Indiana, thanks to Steuben County’s impressive menu of 101 lakes. Meals of aged steaks and flown-in seafood fuel visitors for swimming, hiking and sight-seeing adventures. It’s time to fill up and explore!
The eight restaurants on the trail offer a diverse variety of options for all diners. Caruso’s, which opened in 1976, is a three-generation family run business. Menu items include pizza, pasta, sausage rolls, paninis and their famous breadsticks. Clay’s Family Restaurant offers home style cooking, along with a weekend breakfast buffet. They’re well-known for their pies and nearly 20 different varieties are on the menu, including the popular Oops! Pie, smothered in pecans and chocolate chips.
Mad Anthony’s Lakeview Alehouse, a laid-back pub, sits on the edge of Lake James and has summer outdoor seating. Brewpub menu items include pub chips, ultimate nachos, burgers and the ‘unwraps,’ a 10-inch wafer thin crust baked with gourmet toppings. Don’t forget the craft beer! Captain’s Cabin overlooks Crooked Lake and is well-known for surf and turf. For a more casual night, head downstairs for a breaded shrimp or chicken basket.
The setting for Timbuktoo’s in Fremont is a log-cabin. The menu features a wide range of seafood plus steaks, chicken sandwiches and build-your-own burgers. The Lakeview Grille is located inside the Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park. An outstanding Sunday brunch buffet plus a full menu of aged steaks, fish and burgers make for a relaxing meal inside the historic Inn.
At The Hatchery just one block southwest of the Soldier’s Monument in downtown Angola, you’ll find hand-cut steaks, ribs and salads plus a casual outside deck, while nearby Timbers Steakhouse and Seafood has five varieties of steak, ranging from an eight-ounce ribeye to a 20-ounce porterhouse. Breakfast is served until 2 p.m.
Come explore these eight unique restaurants and leave time for some of our many diversions, including Pokagon State Park, wineries, buffalo preserve and nature trails. In the winter, the state’s only refrigerated toboggan operates at the state park.
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Published: Monday, 08 August 2016 20:29
Written by Steuben County
The days of summer in 101 Lakes Country conjure memories of lazy days baking in the sun, bobbing on a foam float, and sipping tall cool glasses of lemonade (or perhaps something a little harder). Along with those sweet remembrances, is annual event that harkens back to a more nostalgic time. The Lake James Antique Boat & Car Show takes place at the end of each August, in an area of the county fondly refer to as Four Corners. Technically speaking it’s the Old Boat House Marine on Lake James near Jimmerson Lake Bridge across from places like Tom’s Donuts and Jimmy’s in the field right next to Mad Anthony’s.
At first glance the show looks like any other festival. But it doesn’t take long to realize this is something special. An assortment of old cars straight out of the 50s and 60s stand guard over the event. Live music helps visitors feel like they’ve gone on a short vacation to the tropics, while a beer tent and plenty of tasty food, from burgers to ice cream temp the tummy. But hold on to your hats, because the real fun hasn’t begun…on the way down to the water, show goers are greeted by local artisans selling everything from jewelry to pottery.
Down by the channel beautiful old boats with names like Mahoganus, The Office, and Floats In line the dock. Highly polished Chris Crafts older than many of the visitors compete for prizes. Sight-seers take them in from land and water as pontoons full of people ooh and ahh as they putter by. A submersible car silently glides by for a closer look. All the while, two remote control boats, one filled with a crew of Barbies, zig-zag through the water traffic.
But the piece de la resistance for this event is an old outboard motor, built in 1910 that still works! A crowd gathers as the owner of the engine hand cranks her to life. The Antique Outboard Motor Club always has several unique finds to show off during the event. Be sure to click on the video with this blog to see the antique motor and other great sights from the annual day-long event. Then bookmark www.indianaacbs.com to learn more and catch next year’s event.
Erika Celeste is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio, print, television, and marketing. She owns and operates New Moon Media Group where she’s written several documentaries and books.