For a quarter-century now, summer means that Gay and I head off on an adventure. We've been to New Hampshire twice (hi Joyce), Michigan (more than once), Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and all over the Hoosier state together. Last year we missed out (thanks COVID) and this year we took a day trip that felt like more to Indy.
We headed to Indy to the Mass Ave. area to create our own scented candles at Penn and Beech, 747 N. College Ave. The company was founded by a pair of sisters who started making candles in the basement. Now they are in a cool area of Indy. The shop has been there three years and is such a hit they have one now in Carmel and three more in Columbus, Ohio.
When you walk in, you're greeted with a staff pick. We liked the scent. Then it's time to walk around and sniff the various options along the wall, recording on a card which ones strike your fancy.
Why, yes, of course I'll sniff the bubble bath scent. It was delicate ...
So strong I could have ordered a cup ... to drink. I'm not complaining though.
OOOH...I liked this scent a lot. It was one that Gay selected.
Gets my vote for best scent title. Hard NOT to select this one. Oh, the power of suggestion.
After narrowing her likes to three, Gay thinks about the mix ratio of gingerale, leather and pear.
My four selections, mixed and ready to pour into the hot wax.
Our helpful candle associate and team leader, Shelby, said her favorite combo is bonzi, champagne and goji berry. The shop changes scent options seasonally and fall will likely bring such satisfying choices as a smores scent, combining dark chocolate, whipped cream and campfire. Or the perennial favorite of pumpkin spice or maybe autumn leaves, nutmeg, cloves, or rain.
It takes an hour to create the candles and for the experience and a candle, typical cost is thirty bucks. You can spend more if you choose a pricier vessel, but I'm happy with the white one.
A fun hands-on girlfriend or sister experience. Would make a great birthday gift for a pal, or something special to do with your bridal party, mom, or anyone else. Even by your lonesome.
While the candles cured for two hours, it was off to explore the unique shops in the area, and The Bottleworks Hotel. The Art Deco one-time home to Coca-Cola execs is now a luxury hotel. Across the street is The Garage, also related, it appears, to the former Coca-Cola operation. It is now a food court featuring international fare and a quirky gift shop. Love the repurposing of local landmarks.
We enjoyed convenient on-street free parking not far away and a thoroughly enjoyable summer's afternoon.
Meanwhile back home, Brian and Rick enjoyed a nice visit and trip out to lunch into Pendleton at The Bank restaurant. We ordered Pizza King for supper and an evening of conversation, porch-sitting and the scent of a Pear candle (Brian's favorite candle scent) burning in the background, brought from Penn and Beech.
For more about this local business, hit www.pennandbeech.com. Also on several social media sites of your choosing. Thank you Kirktons for a relaxing day trip and for setting up the experience and driving down. Thanks to their daughter Katie for the recommendations as well.
In 1971, if you were a girl in Union County, Indiana, your mom probably stitched you up a calico skirt or dress with matching bonnet. She probably wore a pin exactly like the one above. You both had the pioneer spirit!
How well I remember that fall and the county's sesquicentennial festivities on the courthouse square.
When you live in UNION County, with a county seat named LIBERTY and your high school mascot is a PATRIOT, patriotism runs deep.
Turns out it still does. On Wednesday, I experienced one of those rare-air moments when life seems to come full circle. Just like that, fifty years had passed and Union County is now celebrating its bicentennial. The pin had been in Mom's jewelry box since 1971, and then mine after her passing.
Nancy Huntington put together an extraordinary tour of numerous standout homes, farms, gardens and other sites. She asked me to serve as one of the bus hostesses. I looked forward to the day for weeks and it turned out even better than I could have dreamt. About 70 "tourists," consisting largely of current or past residents, gathered at the middle school to load buses and tour the townships. Here's my bus buddies:
Between stops, we sang several patriotic tunes, including "The Star-Spangled Banner." When we belted that one out, our capable bus driver quietly removed his ball cap and put it back on following the song. I was touched by the young man's gesture.
We also sang "Back Home Again in Indiana." The state song is actually "On the Banks of the Wabash," but man. That song is SAD. It makes me cry like a baby. (Check it out.) I also prepared some trivia questions for the group. Of course there were prizes.
The following are some additional photos from the day. I have three times this many images, but here are a few to give you an idea why this farmgirl is forevermore a Liberty Belle. I want to thank Nancy for inviting me to host a bus. It was my honor. I would tell you to hit me up for the 250th but I'd be 112. The pin will, however, remain in my jewelry box for as long as I'm still kickin.' Thanks Mom, for saving it.
On the second floor of this stately Brownsville landmark, the 1876 Masonic Hall, is where the meetings took place until the Brownsville Lodge No. 70 closed and consolidated with the Liberty Lodge No. 58 in 2019. It was a special treat for me to see this second floor as I had never seen it before and it is unlikely that I ever will have that opportunity again. Downstairs, the building was rented to various grocers from the early 1900s to 1976. Grocers included L.J. Cully, John Winters, Lorel Ross and William and Isabel Brandenburg.
Darlene and Jim Kaufman were asked to be on site to answer questions about the town. With them is tour organizer Nancy Huntington, right, who did a fantastic job, along with husband Howie, of locating properties for the tour. Jim let guests inside the lodge building for a look and also pointed out the former Brownsville State Bank and the current U.S. Postal Office. There has been a post office in Brownsville since 1819.
It was a splendid day to see the homes, history, and historic barns and properties of Union County as residents and former residents celebrate the county's 200th birthday this year. Happy Independence Day everyone!