As my family’s summer travel season is winding down, I wanted to end on a high note.
I started at the top, most northern part of Indiana and worked my way southward. Our road-trip adventures ended in scenic and historic French Lick.
I timed the trip to coincide with our 16th wedding anniversary. This time, we traveled without children. We have taken them to French Lick before to visit popular areas like Paoli Peaks, an indoor water park, indoor carting and boating on Patoka Lake. This weekend, however, was just for the grown-ups.
We have been to the resort before. Although we don’t gamble, we have taken advantage of many of the family travel packages they offer, especially in the winter.
Our destination was the West Baden Hotel. A few years ago my kids and I toured the resort, and I just fell in love with the dome. Dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” this architectural marvel begs to be photographed. Being the Indiana history buff that I am, I enjoyed staying in a fortress steeped in history and tradition.
We arrived on a Friday evening and couldn’t believe how plush our room was. We had a beautiful view of the rolling hills and the gardens. It was luxurious without overdoing it, from the plush robes to the specialty in-room chocolates. And it was surprisingly affordable.
We filled the weekend with a tour of the Pete Dye Golf Course and mansion, a bicycle tour of the grounds, antiquing in town, the Orleans farmers market and high afternoon tea under the dome served on fine china. It isn’t often a girl can have tea sandwiches, petit fours and warm scones with fresh cream for no other reason other than it was 3 o’clock.
We splurged on a few spa services as well. On Saturday I had a Sprudel mineral soak, and on Sunday we both had a massage. Definitely something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime. The low lighting, soft music and candles provided a much-needed relaxing experience.
The weekend was perfect, a word I do not use often. From the accommodations to the food, the friendly staff to the entertainment options, we were not left wanting.
And I was impressed with the food. We even visited The Black Buggy in nearby Washington, a local eatery not to be missed.
The highlight of the weekend, however, was a big surprise that I had been planning for my husband. I had been in cahoots with the events coordinator Jennifer and the florist Kim for several weeks, planning every detail of the big day.
With the help of local minister Craig Chestnut and photographer Ramona Pinnick, I was able to not only surprise him but create what was a magical evening for the three of us in the garden. Well, plus the photographer, the minister’s wife and 50-plus onlookers.
We renewed our wedding vows in the West Baden gardens near the picturesque fountain; and believe it or not, I think it held more meaning than our real wedding. Sixteen years, two kids and a busy family life will do that. All of those reasons and more were what made this day complete.
Pastor Chestnut presented us to the world again as Mr. and Mrs., and we were greeted with applause from the spectators on the wraparound porch of the hotel. It was magical.
After the brief ceremony, we had dinner at the hotel’s finest eatery, Sinclair’s. We dined on fresh halibut and four-cheese lasagna. The dining staff was so good to us, and the chef shared with me the recipe for the lime pudding pie that we were served for dessert. That cool and creamy concoction is what I am sharing with you today.
All of the little touches along the course of the weekend were so special, and it will be one I will not soon forget.
If I realized anything with the passing of my grandmother in July, it is that you have to live your life out loud and in full color.
Our celebration weekend was spent in a beautiful place, making happy memories and enjoying life. One tasty bite at a time.
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
2¼ cups of milk
2 teaspoons of lime zest
2 egg yolks
½ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of AP flour
½ cup of lime juice
Whisk the cornstarch and milk together in a medium sized saucepan over med-low heat.
Add the lime zest. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow to simmer, not boil, until it is thicker. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg and yolks in a bowl. Strain the cornstarch mixture of the zest and add to the eggs with the sugar, flour and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
Add to ramekins, pie crust or a dish and bake for 25 minutes or until set. Allow to cool and chill for a few hours before serving.
Garnish with more zest if you wish.
Heather Tallman lives in the Center Grove area and writes the cooking blog Basilmomma.