Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four Great Gift Giving Ideas

Tis the season when the stores are crowded, the lines are long and the gift lists are vague. What’s a shopper to do? If you’re wanting to alleviate the stress and accentuate the pleasure – check out these four ideas that will make gift-giving a treat.

Step Inside History
French Lick Springs Hotel
Indiana Landmarks is about more than just saving historic structures. This organization connects people with our Hoosier heritage – all across the state. Give a gift membership that offers tour and program discounts, savings on merchandise, free use of the information center and a subscription to Indiana Preservation magazine.  It’s the perfect gift for the history buff on your list.

All Aboard for Adventure
Train lover on your gift list? Get them a ticket to ride on The French Lick Scenic Railway. The journey encompasses an 18-mile round-trip ride through parts of the Hoosier National Forest and the 2,200-foot Burton Tunnel. The scenic train excursion lasts almost 2 hours and is fun for the entire family. Check out the special event train trips offered throughout the year.

Hit the Slopes
Snow Tubing
Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing, Paoli Peaks offers an exciting day on the slopes for everyone – beginners, intermediates and advanced. With 15 ski trails, a cozy ski lodge, pizzeria restaurant and Pro Shop, you’ll enjoy hitting the powder without leaving Southern Indiana. Snow passes are available for use December through March.

Give a Memory
West Baden Springs Hotel
The French Lick Resort Gift Card offers a resort full of fun! You can select from your choice of French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel cards; perfect for shopping, dining and room stays. Or your favorite golfer might enjoy a gift card for the Pete Dye, Donald Ross or Valley Links Golf Course. A spa card proffers the perfect tranquil experience at either hotel. And don’t forget the kids with a Kid’s Party Fest gift card.  Visit our Gift Card web page and select the desired value for the card that never expires.

By Joy Neighbors

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wine Flights Daily at Power Plant Bar & Grill

French Lick Airport
French Lick Airport isn’t the only place you can catch a flight these days. The Power Plant Bar and Grill at the French Lick Resort is now offering the opportunity to explore several wine venues through selected tasting flights.

Airport Landing Strip
Here’s your chance to let your taste buds soar with one of three high-flying wine tasting flights now available.

If you love those effervescent, bubbly wines then “Two Bubbles and a Still” will provide the fizz you crave as you try three ounces each of two different sparkling wines. Finish the tasting trio with 3 ounces of a non-turbulent white wine to settle you gently back to earth. 

More of a middle-of-the-road wine drinker? We have a flight you’ll want to book now. “Meet Me in the Middle” ushers in three very approachable red wines that have traveled almost 9,000 miles to land tastefully at your table. Sip three ounces of each wine and discover their amazing fresh berry flavors.

If you’re in the mood for an interesting and intense red, grab a ticket to fly with the “Bold and Beautiful” wines. This flight takes your senses on a robust tasting tour with three ounces each of three provocative red wines that will tantalize, tempt and transport you to a wine lover’s nirvana. 

Here’s your chance to sample something new or revel in the familiar. Flight reservations are being accepted daily from 11am to 5pm at the Power Plant Bar and Grill in French Lick Springs Hotel. And stay tuned – there are rumors flying around that beer and bourbon tastings will be landing soon.

By Joy Neighbors

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Get Your Pickleball Game On

Pickleball is available at French Lick Resort

Although the name sounds a bit funny, Pickleball takes ball-and-paddle sports to another level. This lively game is played on a badminton-sized court with a special paddle and small ball. The net is lower than for most such games, which allows older adults to join in on the fast-paced fun. The game can be played with singles, doubles or mixed doubles, and all ages can enjoy the sport.

Pennsylvania Senior Pickle-ball Games
The rules make the game more accessible for older adults who can also enjoy playing without the usual painful joins. In Pickleball, the ball must bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed.

Pickleball was invented in 1965 near Seattle, Washington and has grown immensely as Baby Boomers become older. In fact, over 2-million people play Pickleball in the US alone, and it is now a recognized sport of the National Senior Games.

If you’d like to try your hand at Pickleball, contact the Valley Links Golf and Activities Center. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children (6 -12 years old), which includes equipment and court rental. To reserve a court and schedule a game time at (812) 936-8042.

By Joy Neighbors

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Holidays Are Glowing at French Lick Resort

French Lick Springs Hotel Tree
The holidays begin with an amazing weekend at French Lick Resort when we kick off the season with 50 Days of Lights. Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November 20, gather the family together for two special Christmas tree lighting ceremonies. The outside tree will be lit on Friday night at 7 pm in front of French Lick Springs Hotel. Head inside for hot chocolate and a visit with Santa. While you’re waiting to see the Jolly ol’ elf, check out the 7-foot tall gingerbread house located near the Meeting and Events Center.

West Baden Springs Hotel Tree
Saturday brings more holiday joy as we get ready for another tree lighting ceremony - this time in the West Baden Springs Hotel atrium at 7pm. Bring the kids early for story-time with Mrs. Clause and a chance to decorate cookies and ornaments. Children will have plenty of time to visit with Santa as Sarah Stivers and a Brass Quintet perform holiday favorites.

Holiday Lights
Take the family for a carriage ride or stroll the grounds and take in the sparkling holiday atmosphere as nearly one-million lights cast a warm glow over the resort. Fifty Days of Lights will last from November 18 through January 7. But that isn’t all the holiday festivities we have planned.

Don’t miss the Ninth Annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair also the weekend of November 18 – 20 at Valley Links Golf and Activities Center. It’s the perfect opportunity to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list. 

Thanksgiving at French Lick Springs Hotel
Thanksgiving Week is a big deal at French Lick Springs Hotel! Kids will love “Mayflower Monday,” which launches the holiday week as kids build their own ships. Tuesday ushers in a fun session of learning about the “Pilgrims and Native Americans,” culminating with each child making a hat or headdress. Wednesday, they’ll “Gobble, Gobble” as they strut about in their hand-crafted turkey hats. And Thanksgiving Day, the family can feast together on our plentiful Thanksgiving Dinner, which includes a carved turkey station, sirloin roast and pork loin along with delectable sides and luscious desserts.

Stunning House Desserts
For an adult-centric Thanksgiving, reserve your place at our sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner at West Baden Springs Hotel. The meal begins with autumn soups and salads, a local cheese board and a raw bar. Holiday entrees include carved prime rib, Applewood smoked ham, roasted Cornish game hen, crab-stuffed trout and traditional Tom Turkey served with an assortment of delicious autumn vegetable dishes. For a rich finale, select from an assortment of house desserts or dip into the chocolate fondue fountain.

And a sumptuous Christmas Dinner will be held December 16 - 25 at Sinclair's Restaurant at West Baden Springs Hotel. The menu includes ruby red trout, free-range chicken and braised beef short ribs. Reservations may be at (812) 936-5579.

Don’t miss the wonder and excitement of the season. Plan your visit today and celebrate the holidays at French Lick Resort.
By Joy Neighbors

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Holiday Traditions to Start with your Family at French Lick Resort

'Tis the Season
By Guest Blogger Elle Humbert

Watching the Christmas tree light up for the first time of the season, decorating cookies with the family and snapping holiday photos you’ll always remember are just some of the cheerful activities you can do at French Lick Resort during our 50 Days of Lights celebration. Here are the top 5 holiday happenings and ways to start new holiday traditions with your family at the awe-inspiring, fantastically festive French Lick Resort.

Tree Lightings at the French Lick and West Baden Springs Hotels
There is nothing quite as magical as witnessing the official first flip of the switch that turns on the massively magical Christmas trees at both hotels. At the entrance of the French Lick Springs Hotel, you can view the tree lighting whilst listening to holiday music, complete with a visit from Santa and fireworks! At the West Baden Springs Hotel, the grand tree in the adorned atrium is accompanied by live musical performances and Santa and Mrs. Claus stop by to celebrate the official start to the season.

Visiting the Gingerbread House
Our life-size, all edible gingerbread house is the perfect backdrop for family holiday photos. The entire scene is built around a different theme every year—this year’s being Red, Green and Sparkle! Expect to be blown away by our colossal edible art and be prepared for stunning photos your family will look forward to taking every year at the resort. 

Pictures with Santa
The holidays would not be complete without the big man himself—Santa is around the resort every weekend during our 50 Days of Lights. The best time to catch him for is during Pictures with Santa every Saturday afternoon. He’s stationed near the gingerbread house scene, making photo ops abound!

Story Time & Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus
Mrs. Claus is also a frequent visitor of the resort during the holidays and hosts story time and cookie decorating every weekend during 50 Days of Lights. The whole family will enjoy decorating cookies and listening to Mrs. Claus read storybooks. 

New Year’s Eve
Ring in the new year in style at either the French Lick or West Baden Springs Hotel—both offering their very own uniquely themed party and menu. At French Lick Springs Hotel, celebrate in Greek-style with Festival of the Gods or the lavish Fire and Ice party at West Baden Springs Hotel. Bring the kids along with you for their very own New Year’s Eve party featuring activities for younger kids as well as teens. The whole family can ring in 2017 in their own style.

NYE Celebration at the French Lick Springs Hotel

NYE Celebration at the West Baden Springs Hotel
For a full list of holiday events and activities, visit:

When the Circus Came Home to West Baden

It was 1915 when West Baden Springs Hotel owner Ed Ballard purchased the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, one of the six circus companies he owned. (Ballard owned all of the big names with the sole exception of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey.) The circus would tour the Midwest and East Coast from April through October, sometimes logging in over 12,000 miles before heading home to West Baden.

Circus Wagons Arrive
During the winter months, the circus troupe lived in West Baden. It was an exciting event when the circus arrived back in town – the population increased by more than 1,000 people and it took 60 train cars to carry the performers, animals, props and tents to their winter retreat. 

The Circus Parade
A parade from the train depot through town was always spectacular. Locals watched as performer, groomsmen, trainers, painters, carpenters, seamstresses and the menagerie of animals walked the main streets from West Baden to French Lick measuring about one mile in length. Residents vied for the best spots to see all of the action because the circus gave a special afternoon performance just for them.

Winter Quarters in West Baden
Ed Ballard was a great showman. He also enjoyed kicking off the season with a local performance before the circus took to the road for six to eight months each year. Ballad had been known to turn the hotel atrium, then known as the Pompeian Court, into a circus “big top” for guests and locals. 

Residents Watch a Circus Performance
The three-ring show was a treat for circus performers and guests alike with the performance ring set up in the center of the atrium, under the dome, and a menagerie of animals were brought in to perform for the crowd. This was quite a big event; at the time, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was the second largest circus in the US. (Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily held the number one position.)

Performers with an Elephant
Circus Performers with Elephant
The circus touched the lives of most of the residents during this time; it wasn’t surprising to hear an elephant trumpet into the night or to see a lion tamer working on his act with two “ferocious” cats. The circus wintered in West Baden until 1929 when Ballard sold out to John Ringling for $1.9-million. It was then moved back to its original home in Peru, Indiana.

Wilstem Ranch
Traces of the circus still remain in the area today; the elephant barn still stands behind Lane’s Motel. The property where the Wilstem Ranch is located was once owned by Ed Ballard and was used as a hideaway for wealthy and famous friends. (It’s rumored that Tom Mix and Al Capone were frequent guests.)

While the circus is long gone, remnants remain to remind us of that quiet, simpler time when residents lined the streets because the circus was back in town.

By Joy Neighbors

Monday, November 14, 2016

On the Road to Wellness

Dr. William Bowles
French Lick Resort has a history as a location for health and wellness.

It all began in 1845 when Doctor William Bowles, a physician from Paoli, Indiana established French Lick Springs Hotel. Dr. Bowles wanted to encourage travelers to stop and stay while exploring the healing properties of the mineral springs found in the area.

Tom Taggart
Former Indianapolis mayor, Tom Taggart, eventual owner of the hotel, built on the “healing springs” concept at the turn of the 20th century when it was all the rage to “take the waters.” Taggart increased the size of the hotel’s “spa area” and lobbied for a special spur of the Monon Railroad to be placed near the hotel so that daily runs could be made to and from Chicago. Guests from far and wide came to enjoy bathing and drinking from these famous mineral springs. In fact, Pluto Water became so popular, Taggart had a new bottling house built for his Pluto Water operation. Pluto Water was sold throughout the United States until the 1970s when it was deemed not to be as healthful as first thought.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel was also built to showcase the local mineral water and promote its healing properties. The hotel was originally called Mile Lick but the name was changed in order to create a tie-in to the famous mineral spas of Baden-Baden, Germany.  West Baden had four mineral springs where guest could partake of the waters. Sprudel Water became an instant hit with turn-of-the century socialites for its “moving properties,” and for its reputation of promoting health and vigor. 

Fitness Center at French Lick Springs Hotel
While drinking the mineral springs water is not suggested today (although you can still bath in the mineral waters at both hotel spas), health and wellness are still high on the resort’s agenda. This fall, the resort went back to its roots of promoting health and fitness by creating wellness programs for guests and groups. Now guests can choose from different types of seasonal fitness events like Fall Color Hikes, Tom the Turkey Family Walk/Run and Turkey Tabata - a high intensity interval training session. But adults aren’t the only ones to have some fun while getting fit. According to new fitness director Kaci Wher, “There are also fun things for the kids to do like a Christmas Movie Workout and a Fitness Frenzy, both designed to burn off that indoor holiday energy.”

The wellness plans are expected to take about six months to implement and will focus on overall health and fitness. Guests, groups and employees can take advantage of this opportunity to experience a resurgence of resort wellness into a third century.

By Joy Neighbors