If you’ve spent time in Warsaw, Indiana, you’ve seen or heard of the Barbee Hotel. This classic Warsaw landmark has a long history and is allegedly a prime location to experience real hauntings. It’s been through a lot, and every little experience seems to have added to this hotel’s character.
The history of the Barbee Hotel begins in 1897, when it was built as the Hotel Ormond. The Vanhoosen family owned the hotel then, and liked to host extravagant guests.
In 1922 the hotel—now named the Barbee Hotel after the nearby lake—burnt down unexpectedly. Just a year later, Barbee Hotel was rebuilt. In the years to follow, ownership changed hands several times.
But perhaps the most interesting piece of history, as is the case with most hotels, lies in the long list of famous guests. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard both stayed there. But this particular hotel was less a Hollywood hotspot and more of a gangster’s paradise as criminals like Al Capone, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson all stayed here, too. Some say they conducted important business here. Others say you can still see Al Capone’s cigar smoke lingering in the hallways. In the end, you’ll just have to visit to see for yourself.
We associate a lot of things with the holiday season—snow, Christmas lights, pine trees, mistletoe, and Santa Claus. One of the most beloved symbols associated with Christmas is reindeer, and if you love reindeer or animals in general, then you’re in luck! This December, Milford is welcoming reindeer to the Milford Community Building for a Live Reindeer Visit on the 15th. Bring the whole family to meet the graceful creatures known for pulling Santa’s sleigh.
The visit will be totally open to the public and free, but make sure you mark your calendars—the event only lasts an hour, from 6:30 to 7:30 onThursday, December 15th. The reindeer will be accompanied by an attendant dressed as one of Santa’s elves, and there may be other animals there native to the North Pole so your little ones can meet and interact with all kinds of fun and interesting creatures.
If you want to keep a memory of the Live Reindeer Visit, you and your family can even get a photo with the reindeer after the event is over. Make sure to visit Milford for this rare opportunity to see a real life reindeer and friends at the local public library for education and fun.
Every state has some interesting, and sometimes downright crazy, traditions that the population are oddly proud of. Usually held every year or so, the traditions are far from what’s considered normal. Ranging from food to events, traditions take many forms. Here are some interesting Indiana traditions from us here at Warsaw CDJR!
Hog Roast – Literally, roasting a hog. A summer event for many Indiana families, relatives gather to stick a hog on a spit and take care of business Indiana-style.
Covered Bridge Festival – Home to over 31 covered bridges, Parke County sees more and more visitors every year. Taking place in the third week of October, the Covered Bridge Festival features vendors selling special items and large gathering of people under, you guessed it, covered bridges.
Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival – It may not be what the kids are listening to these days but bluegrass is far from dead. This age-old festival features more than 45 bluegrass bands taking the stage and performing for a total of eight days straight.
Tractor Pulling – A rather common events in many southern and Midwest states, tractor pulling is a motorsport where drivers use their tractors to pull a sled full of weights.
Fried Biscuits and Apple Butter – This family-oriented tradition is simple. Families gather around the table to take part in eating freshly fried biscuits and apple butter.
You don’t have to travel across the country to have fun. In fact, you can stay right here in Indiana and learn about our local history, culture, and natural world. Here are some great ideas from Indiana’s official travel planning source for a road trip in Indiana.
All Aboard in Indiana. If you have any train lovers in your family, this would be the perfect weekend adventure. Head to Chesterton and visit Riley’s Railhouse—a new bed and breakfast built in a renovated freight station. You can watch the local tracks to see trains pass by. Then, visit nearby Valparaiso to see the railway garden that includes a 2.5-acre model railway.
Northern Indiana State Park Tour. The beautiful waterways of northern Indiana have led to numerous state parks being developed. Take a tour of a few of the best by visiting Indiana Dunes State Park, Tippecanoe River State park, Potato Creek State Park, and Pokagon State Park.
Art & Earth Trail in Michigan City – LaPorte. This Indiana tour will show you the best of the northern Indiana area. Stop in LaPorte and pick your own blueberries this summer at Blueberries of Indiana. Then, head to the shores of Lake Michigan in Michigan City and stop at the International Friendship Gardens for a world tour of botanical delights.
Art Abounds in South Bend Mishawaka. An hour north of Warsaw is the South Bend Mishawaka area. This area is home to 13 museums all with unique collections that rank from regional art, a historic mansion, and even health education for children.
What is your favorite local destination for a weekend road trip?