**This a journal of my experiences and when I document I feel the need to put every little detail in...thus making my posts very long. I do not feel the need to edit...I will be making this blog into a book and would like as much detail as possible to look back on in the future...it is the small details I am missing from my past that keep me from remembering the whole picture. So this is a warning that this is long and I do not expect you to "endure" it unless you enjoy doing it:) I don't write to impress...I write to remember** With that being said...let's continue.
Have any of you seen that Radio Shack commercial for the GPS system where a family types in "Santa Claus" and ends up in a little town at a diner with elves and Santa serves them hot chocolate or something like that? Well...that commercial made me curious to see if this place really existed... indeed it does and is 6 hours to the north of us. (although the diner is totally fabricated...which I have found out has bummed a lot of people out)
I decided it would be a really fun trip to take around Christmas...so a couple weeks ago I told Josh to be prepared to get in the car on Wednesday the 17th because we were going on an adventure. I didn't tell him where we were going until the night before because I didn't want him to think it was stupid and try and talk me out of it...but actually when I told him he thought it was a great idea and totally got on board with me. Woohoo!
We got loaded up and headed out on Wednesday. It just happened to be one of the coldest days of the season so far and we almost turned around because the heater in our car went out a couple of years ago and about an hour into the trip we started to feel like we just might be freezing to death. After a pit stop to purchase a multitude of hand and toe warmers and a little car heater, we endured on. It really was horrible though. Luckily I thought to pack some blankets that we bundled up around Carter and he never complained of the cold...but Josh and I were pretty miserable. I am glad we kept going though.
We made it to Santa Claus, Indiana at about 9:30 that evening. We pulled into Santa's Lodge which was decorated so cute and had multiple statues of Santa all around the property. I was disappointed though to find our room was a standard motel room and not decked out in Christmas gear...but oh well. Josh and Carter spent the rest of the evening in the hot tub and then we hit the hay.
The next day we went to the Santa Claus Post Office. I had my 2nd bundle of Christmas cards with me that I was able to give the infamous and official stamp from Santa Claus...so some of you get an extra special treat on the front of your card;) (people drive from hours away just to stamp their cards each year) I talked to some of the "elves" there that were helping to reply to all of the letters that kids send to Santa Claus. Many letters that kids put in the mail addressed only to Santa Claus end up there and they showed me some from around the country because I told them I had a skeptical friend...but it is true...saw it with my own eyes!
Next we visited the little Santa Claus museum and Carter was able to write a letter to Santa (and when I say Carter I mean Me) I asked Carter what he wanted Santa to bring him and he said a "Happy Meal"...so I wrote it down even though I know for a certain that a Happy Meal will not be under the tree on Christmas...sorry kiddo. He also added "candy" and "hot wheels"... which will be under the tree...so 2 out of 3 isn't bad.
We drove by Holiday World which is an amusement park and helps draw in more than a million visitors a year to this small town. It has some of the highest rated rides in the country/world and we are excited to come back in May when it opens! We also visited Santa's Candy Castle (which is a bit misleading in name but nice nonetheless). That day we also went to Lincoln City (SEE post below)....then after that we discovered there wasn't anything else to do. I really think they could do so much more and have so many more activities going on...especially in December...to draw in more tourists...because sorry to say...we canceled our last night there and drove to Evansville, IN. Santa Claus was a charming little town...but lacked a lot of the magic I was looking for (I tend to have really high expectations) I am glad we went though and it is a fun place to say we have been...and I definitely will not mind going back when the theme park is open.
We got into Evansville at 4:00 and drove straight to the Children's Museum. We bought a membership to the one in Memphis and that membership gets you into children's museums all over the country (one of the best purchases ever...totally worth it!) So far we have used it in Nashville, Memphis, and now Evansville and we hope to visit a few more in the near future! Carter, Josh, and I all have fun in the museums. They had a really cool digital harp there without any strings. You just ran your fingers through the open spaces in the frame and it played the chords...it was so much fun.
After an hour they closed-up and we went out to the parking lot to a dead car. Josh realized he left the little heater plugged in and turned on which killed our battery. Fabulous. And we left our handy car battery charger at home...go figure. After approaching a car and realizing I had frightened the lady...I think she had a million thoughts running through her mind like I was going to car jack her vehicle or mug her or something...but luckily she had her husband with her and he got out and helped us jump our car. Thank you!
After getting going we scouted out a place to stay and ended up at the Drury Inn. This has now become one of our favorite places to stay because they offer free drinks and snacks..fresh popped popcorn, nachos, veggies and dip...just to name a few as well as a free breakfast buffet. So totally worth being able to eat and hit the road without trying to rummage up breakfast or eat the crappy continental breakfasts that so many other places offer. And very comfy pillow top beds. We spent the evening in the pool and hot tub and had it all to ourselves the whole time. It was a lot of fun just being together as a little family and swimming and playing.
The next day we headed to the Mesker Park Zoo. I don't have any pictures because we used our video camera instead. It was a really fun zoo and we had the whole place to ourselves there too!! We decided to purchase a membership there too after finding out it worked in Memphis...but was cheaper than purchasing one in Memphis...and it even gets us into the little Pocatello Zoo too!!(we lived there for 3 years and never made it to that one!) We fed one of the giraffes and he came right up to us and licked Carter's hand and Josh petted it a lot...I was filming and was later sad I didn't touch it!
After that we were headed out of town and made a quick stop at the Visitor's Center which sat right next to the Ohio River. I had no idea the river was so close so I took some time to stand out and look at it...it was so beautiful...the picture doesn't do it justice. I had no idea that Evansville even existed but what a great city! There was so much to do there and being right on the river just makes it a hot spot. When we head back in Spring (hopefully) we will definitely go back!
It is weird because I remember living in Idaho and thinking I never heard anything about Indiana and really knew nothing about it. So now we have gotten to explore the southern part a little bit and as far as we can tell it is a great place! So over the 3 days we went from Mississippi to Tennessee, to Arkansas, to Missouri, to Illinois, to Indiana and on the way home went down through Kentucky into Tennessee. So we got to travel through a lot of states... which I just love going to places I have never been before (even if it is just on the highway)! Luckily our travel day home was up in the 60s and we were able to be comfortable the whole way...that made a big difference and we made it home safe and happy!
Now we are getting ready for Christmas and enjoying just being home. I am getting all excited and giddy about Christmas...I am such a kid when it comes to Christmas.