Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Inaugural Senior LPGA Championship Off to Historic Start

Author: Len Ziehm

Monday’s first round of the Senior LPGA Championship was more about history than anything else.

Winds gusting to 33 miles per hour prevented spectacular scoring – with one exception.  Scotland’s Trish Johnson, no stranger to the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, made five birdies in her last 12 holes to shoot a 5-under-par 67.  That was good for a 4-stroke over Carolyn Hill, one of the early starters in the 81-player field. Johnson and Hill were the only players under par after Day 1.

Carolyn Hill
Photo By: Rick Sharp

Johnson, a late starter, was the 2016 winner of The Legends Championship on the same course when she beat Juli Inkster in an epic six-hole playoff.  Inkster is on broadcast duty at the U.S. Women’s Open and not competing in this first major championship for senior women.

Johnson, though, was glad to be back on the Pete Dye design that is filled with dramatic elevation changes, spectacular views and confounding greens.

``I don’t really feel like the defending champion,’’ said Johnson.  ``I just love this golf course.  It just fits my eye.’’

Trish Johnson
Photo By: Rick Sharp
It didn’t seem to fit so well early in her round.  After two birdies in the first four holes Johnson missed a three-foot putt at No. 5 and made double bogey on the next hole.  Then the good times rolled. Johnson bounced back from the double with a bogey at No. 7 to get back in red numbers then birdied 11, 14, 15 and 18  No. 15 came on the shot of the ay, a chip-in.

The other players weren’t nearly as sharp as Johnson, but they weren’t complaining after finally getting their first major championship for women in the over-45 age group.

``I never thought this day would come,’’ said Nicole Jeray, an LPGA veteran from Berwyn, Ill.,who shot 75. ``And, to think for this to be televised.  That’s incredible.’’

Jeray was especially happy for the older players who meant so much to the development of the LPGA.

``These women are true legends, Hall of Famers,’’ said Jeray.  ``They paved the way for all the youngsters and I still walk around looking up to all of them – Betsy King, Joanne Carner, Sandra Palmer. And to think I’m one of them.  Who would have thought that.?’’

None of the players were more appreciative than Jane Blalock, at 71 the oldest player in the field.  She played in the Honors tournament held in conjunction with the Symetra Tour’s Donald Ross Centennial Classic on Sunday at the nearby Donald Ross Course.

Blalock created the Legends Tour and usually just plays in the small division for older members at its tournaments.  She wanted to go all three rounds of the first Senior LPGA Championship, however, because of its significance to women’s golf. She also wants to compete in the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open, an event put on by the U.S. Golf Association at Chicago Golf Club in 2018.

It’s all part of the boost that women’s golf expects to get from finally getting a major championship.  This week’s has live coverage from The Golf Channel all three days and a $600,000 purse with the champion receiving $90,000.

By comparison, The Legends Championship – its predecessor at French Lick since 2013 –was by far the biggest event on The Legends Tour.  When Johnson won last year it was a 36-hole tournament with $75,000 in prize money and a winner’s purse of $37,700.

Photo By: Rick Sharp
``The Senior LPGA Championship is a combination of so many years of hard work striving to get the support from the LPGA,’’ said Blalock.  ``Obviously this tournament is because of French Lick and Mr. Ferguson (Steve Ferguson, chairman of Cook Group).  I wish I could take credit, but we’re going to capitalize.  I believe the world will now know that we exist, and maybe the phone will even ring.’’

Mike Whan, commissioner of the LPGA Tour, joined Alice Dye, wife of course designer Pete Dye, in hitting the ceremonial first tee shots before Monday’s round.  Whan sees big things ahead for women’s golf as well. French Lick has a five-year agreement to host both the Senior LPGA Championship and Donald Ross Centennial Classic.

``We’re lucky to be here,’’ said Whan.  ``We’ve been launching a lot of new things and this is one that will only build with time.  This is major on all kinds of fronts.’’

Thursday, July 6, 2017

One Hundred Years of Tomato Juice

By Joy Neighbors

History was made one morning as the last orange was squeezed …

It was an early summer day in 1917 when Chef Louis Perrin entered his kitchen ready to prepare the morning meal for another crowd of guests at The Springs Restaurant. Things were progressing well until the Chef realized that they had run out of oranges and couldn't make orange juice. Ever resourceful, Chef Perrin simply grabbed a handful of tomatoes and began creating a new beverage – tomato juice.

The Chef's Recipe Minus the Secret Sauce
Using ripe tomatoes, a touch of sugar and his secret sauce, the Chef created a new breakfast drink that was a huge success. News of the drink spread quickly throughout the country and people arrived at the hotel just to try the interesting concoction. Soon there were too many orders for tomato juice and The Springs kitchen couldn’t keep up with the demand.

A tomato juice company was formed in French Lick and given the secret recipe in order to make the juice in large quantities for the hotel. But once folks had a taste for it, the demand for tomato juice increased substantially, and by 1928, canned tomato juice was available on the commercial market.

Bartender Tomi Parker and Her Tomato-based Beverage
Today, tomato juice is still available but not nearly as popular as a breakfast drink as it once was. In fact, it is more popular as the base for such cocktails as the Bloody Mary and Bloody Caesar. (In Canada, it’s popular to mix tomato juice with beer.)

If you’d like to experience the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, plan a trip to French Lick Resort and pay a visit to 1875: The Steakhouse. Bartender Tomi Parker has created a cocktail masterpiece, her signature 1875 Bloody Mary. Brimming with the flavors of peppercorn, Tabasco, Worcestershire and tomato added to black pepper vodka, this is one drink you will relish from beginning to end.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Celebrate the Fourth with French Lick Resort

-->By Joy Neighbors
Plan to spend your Fourth of July at French Lick Resort. The weekend kicks off this Friday, June 30 and continues until the
fireworks fade away on Monday, July 4.
Relax on the Curved Front Porch
Bring the family to French Lick Springs Hotel where children can experience a variety of daily activities at KidsFest, including face painting, balloon art, tie-dye and a bounce house. Families can enjoy outdoor leisure games, resort trivia (The hotel tour offered at noon each day might help with this.), a DJ pool party and deck games, and a free selfie photo station will be set up. There’s also a watermelon-eating contest at 1pm on Saturday. 

And new this year on Sunday, you can peruse Food Truck Alley from 2pm – 11 pm. 
Vendors include:

Far-Out Fred’s from Indianapolis offers burgers crafted from different countries.

Kona Ice has shaved tropical ice available.

La Poblana Taco Truck from Bloomington provides Latin American, Mexican and Tex-Mex fare.

Schnitzelbank Catering of Jasper serves German food.

Sanders Catering from Jasper offers a choice of two boxed lunches: fried chicken or BBQ pulled pork served with a choice of sides including potato salad, coleslaw, potato wedges, mashed potatoes and gravy, and dirt pudding for dessert.

Spudz-N-Stuff from Huntingburg will feature baked potatoes BBQ and salads.

The Big Cheese is everything cheesy including mac-n-cheese and grilled cheese.

Two Chicks Whisky Business from Indianapolis will offer desserts.

Evening activities at French Lick Springs Hotel include S’mores and live music on the front lawn at 6pm, and there's a Dive-In Movie with the family at the French Lick Outdoor Pool at 9pm.

Late Night Jazz
West Baden Springs Hotel is the place for live music this weekend. Each evening from 5 - 9pm, enjoy the music in the atrium. Then wrap up the day with Late Night Jazz in the Caddy Sinclair Room. Saturday, there is a cookout by the pool with a Bossa Nova band from noon to 4pm, and again Sunday from 11am – 3pm. If you’re looking for something a little “cooler,” step into the atrium for Afternoon Tea and classical harp music, Saturday from 2-4pm. 
French Lick Casino
French Lick Casino will feature live music in the lounge each evening from 8:30pm – 12:30 am.

And we’ll end the weekend with a BANG! Don’t miss the resort fireworks beginning Monday evening at dusk. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to the Red Lot for great views.

Join us for the Fourth of July weekend festivities at French Lick Resort.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Great Race Cruises through French Lick Resort

By Joy Neighbors

On this beautifully sunny afternoon, 120 drivers of classic vehicles, built in 1972 or earlier, cruised through French Lick and over to West Baden in Hemming’s Motor News Great Race. This is the premier old car rally in the world and this year drivers traveled the historic Dixie Highway, which stretches from Florida to Michigan. Drivers will be visiting all the landmarks on their way north – hence the cruise through the resort. The Dixie Highway wends through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan and there are official stops along the way.
Car enthusiasts love to see this race and tens of thousands of spectators line the route to wave and cheer. And the cars are truly phenomenal. This year, you’ll see everything from a 1917 Peerless Speedster to a 1931 Auburn Bobtail Speedster, 1941 Packard 120 Coupe, 1957 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, 1963 Jaguar E Type, 1968 Ford Torino and 1972 Chevy Corvette. The oldest car in the race is a 1909 American Simplex and there are several 1972 models – the latest model vehicles allowed.

But The Great Race really isn’t a speed race; instead, it’s a time, speed, and endurance rally. Drivers must follow the exact instructions they are given each morning, which tells them at exactly what time they should arrive at a destination. If they arrive either too early or too late, they are penalized.

The 2017 race began June 24 in Jacksonville, Florida and concludes July 2 in Traverse City, Michigan. Once the last car passed under the West Baden arches, the race was officially off to its next stop, Franklin, Indiana. To learn more, visit the Great Race.

 A few more Great Race Cars

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Local Shopping Guide

The towns of French Lick and West Baden are booming with local shopping options. When French Lick Springs Hotel reopened in 2006 and West Baden Springs Hotel in 2007, a variety of shops have emerged in the resort towns. We recently asked our Facebook fans where their favorite "must shop" spots were--here's a breakdown to work into your next visit in the area!

French Lick Winery

There's more to the French Lick Winery than delicious Italian food and house-made wines. Their gift shop is a wine-lovers haven. Wine-inspired decor ranging from signs, Wine glasses and more to a local cheese collection and French Lick Winery apparel--there's something for every wine-o in your life!

Enjoy complimentary wine tastings 7 days a week and take home a bottle (or five or ten) and enjoy their delicious wine year-round!

Connect with the Winery on Facebook:


Fox Hollow Gallery
Just a quick walk from French Lick Springs Hotel, this garden-decor inspired local store is a stellar, unique shopping experience in French Lick. Handmade garden signs, wooden decor, unique gift options and much more are always here to dazzle your shopping experience.

Follow Fox Hollow Gallery on Facebook:


Bear Hollow

You'll find one-of-a-kind chainsaw sculptures created by award-winning carvers from across the U.S., including owner Jason Emmons. Along with their wooden art, unique gifts and home decor by local artisans are also in the shop. You'll thoroughly enjoy this unique store in downtown French Lick!

Check out their Facebook for updates and event listings: https://www.facebook.com/bearhollowwc/

French Lick Harley Davidson

For all the Harley Davidson fans, this French Lick shop is full of apparel for all ages, gifts and collectibles located in downtown French Lick. 


Finder's Keepers Vendor Mall

You never know what you might find at Finder's Keepers! With a variety of booths from different vendors, you are sure to find plenty of hidden treasures at this shop in West Baden.


Springs Valley Treasures

Antiques, collectibles, homemade candles and much more can all be found at Finder's Keepers neighbor, Springs Valley Treasures! If you're lucky, Bella the shop pug will be there to greet you.


Hinshaw Rock N' Gems
Since 1961, this nationally acclaimed lapidary artists design and create unique jewelry, decorative items and gifts for all ages.

French Lick Antique Gallery
Downtown French Lick staple, this antique gallery features French Lick memorabilia, decorative art, glassware, furniture and much more.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer Vacation Ideas at French Lick Resort

Make it a summer to remember at French Lick Resort.
The stories you create together as a family will become memories that you will cherish forever.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, French Lick Resort is the ideal family fun location for all things summertime fun. Here are some summer vacation must-do's at French Lick Resort.

Endless Pool Time
Swim until your heart's content at French Lick Resort! French Lick Springs Hotel (open from 5:30am-12:30am) and West Baden Springs Hotel (open from 6am-midnight) both offer an outdoor and indoor pool. 

Outdoor Activities Abound
With two incredible hotels with lots of history, enjoy Landmarks' Historical Tours (daily at both hotels)! On select Saturdays through September, step back in time with a Twilight Tour--costumed characters representing famous guests in West Baden Springs Hotel's past give visitors a an especially lively picture of the place, sharing their impressions of the hotel, the healing mineral springs and other tidbits. Or take our self-guided Historical Walking Tour around property and go at your own pace. The resort has more than 10 miles of walking and hiking trails throughout the Hoosier National Forest--perfect for nature enthusiasts with different leveled trail routes to fit your liking! Bike rentals (including surrey carts) are available daily and a great way to see the gorgeous property.

Fourth of July Festivities
Friday, June 30-Monday, July 3
Bring the family for festive Fourth of July fun! Kids can take part in the Craft Frenzy along with face painting and balloon art all weekend. There's also a DJ Pool Party and pool deck games for the kids while adults can enjoy volleyball, corn hole, Hillbilly Golf and croquet. Friday and Monday evenings, it's a family bonfire with s'mores and live music at The Stables. Saturday and Sunday nights enjoy a Dive-In movie. Wrap up the weekend with our fabulous fireworks Monday at dusk.

Horse Around at The Stables
French Lick Resort is home to 27 specifically selected and trained horses--most for trail horses for horseback riding in our scenic trails, two for carriage rides and ponies for the little ones. The Stables at French Lick Resort is complete with a gift shop full of souvenirs and Western-style items. 

Unique FootGolf Fun
Have you heard of this unique Soccer/Golf combo game? It is officially at French Lick Resort and played on The Valley Links Course using traditional golf rules but a soccer ball replaces the golf ball and your feet are used instead of clubs! Perfect to enjoy and create fun memories with your friends and family this summer.

Summer Photo Contest

The kick off to summer calls for a photo contest! Running from Memorial Day through Labor Day, post your best summer photo at French Lick Resort to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #FLRsummerfun for a chance to be featured on our Facebook page and for amazing prizes! All details are at frenchlick.com/socialmedia

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

10 Reasons Why Preservation Matters

By Joy Neighbors

West Baden Springs Hotel
Today brings Preservation Month to a close. Whether you call it conservation, maintenance or sustainability, preservation is the perfect way to keep our cultural past alive for this and future generations to discover.

Here are ten reasons why preservation matters to each of us.

1. Older buildings help us maintain our sense of history in an area or region. It gives us our roots. 

The Lobby of French Lick Springs Hotel

2. No pre-fab construction here. Historic buildings were built with better quality materials, just look around and you’ll see the difference.

3. Regardless of what some developers say, older buildings are cost effective with tall windows to let in lots of natural light, thick walls to hold in heat and large open space that let air circulate.

4. Older buildings are economically green. Why tear down just to rebuild? Redesign and reuse –it’s the ultimate form of recycling.

5. Architecture offers us the chance to interact and   experience the past. It is through older buildings that we can also experience “another place and time."

Photos of Angels Hand Painted High Above the Atrium

6. What secrets lie behind that façade?  Stunning discoveries have included hand painted murals, intricate brick and mortar, Italian marble … you never know what may be just behind that 1990s redo.

    7. While big box stores love their, well, big boxes, it’s 
       been proven that small sole proprietors and  mom and   pop’s benefit when they locate their businesses in older buildings, thanks to the  ambience of the past and a nod to preservation.

8. Older buildings attract visitors. People want a sense of history – to see a place with a spirit and soul.

The Atrium at West Baden
9. Historic buildings help us remember our past and those who came before. They become our collective memory.

10. Once a building is gone – it’s gone. There’s no do-over on this decision.

French Lick Springs Hotel

Visit French Lick Resort for a look back at the intriguing times of the late 19th to mid- twentieth centuries. Tours of each hotel are offered daily. Step into our hotels and you'll understand why preservation matters.