Goats, Horror, Grotto, Ghost town and a Tipi…

Breakfast with Goats

Up and at em! After a good nights sleep and  we spent the morning hanging out with some goats at our brothers house. We were enjoying their company and the opportunity to relax so much, we got off to a later start than anticipated to Louisville, KY.

Days of The Dead

**This event was overwhelming in the best of ways and in the chaos and living in the moment we did not really get as many pictures as would have hoped.**

A week before we started our trip one of us noticed that The Days of the Dead (horror convention) was taking place in Louisville on Saturday. Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson was to be there and also he was supposed to host the Rave to the Grave after party. One of us happens to be a huge Twiggy fan and was really stoked to meet him and get his autograph, one of the main reasons we squeezed this into our trip. We were also looking forward to seeing Sid Haig from House of a 1,000 Corpses and Doug Bradley who played the infamous Pin Head in Hell Raiser.

We decided to book a room at the Crown Plaza which is where the convention was being held. Once we arrived we had a few hours to check out the events as we could not check into our room until 3:00. We scoped out that area to get our wrist bands for the event and noticed that there was an announcement that Twiggy Ramirez was not going to be in attendance that night. NOOOO!! 😦

After getting our wrist bands we explored the rooms that were filled with vendors. There was so much amazing and spooky stuff going on; handmade zombie baby dolls, killer teddy bears, some really interesting items at a taxidermy booth, lots of cool t-shirts, hats and well, just about any kind of horror memorabilia you can think of. One large room housed a tattoo convention.

Next it was off to the celebrity room. We stood in line and got an autographed picture from Sid Haig who happened to be a really cool down to earth person. There was a family in front of us and when the two young daughters  went to hand him their money he asked their age, and, upon hearing that they were both under 13 he  told them to keep their money and gave them their autographed picture for free. What a great guy!  Doug Bradley was a very nice guy also and would take the time to have a conversation with his fans when signing things and getting his picture taken. Other actors included Bill Mosely (also from a house of 1,000 corpses), the ladies from Elm Street, some of the Cenobites from Hell Raiser and the queen of scream herself Elvira. She was definitely the star attraction as the line to meet her extended down the hallways of the hotel.

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After roaming the convention several times we grabbed some dinner at the Blue Horse Restaurant in the hotel and retired to our room for a while to rest up for the after party which started at 10:00. At the party there was a sideshow couple that performed. The d.j.s played 80s music with scenes from horror movies airing on the back drop. We had a couple of drinks then headed off to bed as we were worn out and wanted to get some rest for the next day.

Providence Home Geode Grotto-Jasper, IN

The next morning we got up early, got all of our stuff packed up, showered and checked out of the hotel and started heading back to Indiana. After grabbing some breakfast at a Waffle House we started our journey to Jasper Indiana to see the grotto made out of geodes. The grotto was a creation of Father Phillip Otavi of the Sons of Divine Providence. He became director of St. Josephs Providence Home, a care facility for mentally disabled men in 1953. Otavi, an Italian immigrant based his plan from the famous grotto of Lourdes France. A colleague discovered a large supply of geodes in a creek nearby and this is what Otavi decided to use for his grotto material. It took over 10 years for Father Otavi with the help of a crew of Providence Home residents to build the grotto. It covers 4 city blocks along Bartley Street and is pretty impressive. It always amazes me when we find a place like this. Here is this unique, tranquil place tucked away in the middle of this little town. We knew the place was covered in geodes but were not expecting the elaborate gardens with pillars, a fountain and the floor covered in broken tile. The grotto itself was very serene and had a large statue of Mary as its centerpiece. It is definitely worth a stop to check out if you are in the area.

Hindostan- a 3 Hour Tour

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Another place we wanted to check out is called Hindostan falls. This was one of the abandoned towns that was listed on the Facebook article that got us started on planning this trip in the first place. The town was founded in 1816 at the falls of the East Fork in the White River. It was on an original stage coach route between New Albany and Vincennes, and was one of the few roads in the new State of Indiana. By 1820 it was the largest community in what was then still Daviess County and the most promising town of the White River. Unfortunately, also in 1820 there was an outbreak of either yellow fever or cholera. As an outcome of the disease break out and an economic depression the town became no more and most of the area was turned into farmland.

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We had the place dialed in on our phone navigation and somehow missed a turn and next thing you know we are lost in literally the middle of nowhere. We have  grown up in this area, but, none of this was recognizable to us. We stopped at two different residences where there were people  outside and asked for directions. We noticed two guys getting in their car in front of a trailer  and they gave us some directions such as go straight through the fork in the road then curve around the Y and take a  left at a turkey farm after you get through the bottoms.  Bottoms? Come to find out the bottoms was literally a road that went through a creek bed and was barely wide enough for our vehicle. Insert Hills Have Eyes Joke here, we were checking for barbed wire strung out in the middle of the road.

After being lost for 3 hours we finally found the place. We were a little disappointed as it was just a river and we could not really see the falls, the water may have been up to high. 3 hours for a 5 minute stop. The ride there was quite adventurous though. This would be a good fishing spot but, not really much else. There was a lot of litter and trash inside the wooded areas along the river. Others have reported finding remnants of the where the buildings stood. Since the trip took much longer than expected we had dwindling patience and did not leave room for much exploring.

 

A Real Tipi and Fire

After leaving Hindostan Falls we started our long trek to Rawhide Ranch in Nashville, IN. Rawhide ranch has cabins, zip lines, horse rides and a little restaurant located in the barn. You can get pricing which includes breakfast, dinner and activities along with your rooms/cabin. Another interesting thing about Rawhide Ranch is they happen to have two authentic real life tipis. We thought it would be neat to experience what it would be like to camp out in one. We found the place easy enough but it was getting close to sundown and we still had to figure out what we were going to do for dinner and we had to tackle this fire thing before the sun went down. We got to the ranch to  check in and were greeted by an employee who was very kind and helpful. He led us up to the tipi and gave us a few pointers. Then we took a  quick trip into town to get some fire wood (Rawhide Ranch does not sell firewood) and dinner. We decided on McDonalds for dinner just to be on the safe side.

Once we got back to the tipi we started the process of trying to get a fire started in the fire pit inside of our tipi. Believe it or not we actually got one going fairly quick. It was a monumental moment for us. One thing to note, the “floors” of the tipis are made of pea gravel and sand. Best to bring a tarp to lay down under your sleeping bags, which of course we forgot. We took our supply of trash bags and cut them up and luckily had the extra sleeping bags so it all worked out in the end. Once we had our sleeping area laid out and the fire going good we just sat back and relaxed and zoned out on the fire. It was very relaxing. One of us had raccoon fears though and was worried about one finding its way in the tipi while we were sleeping. We woke up a lot throughout the night as the floor was a bit uncomfortable to sleep on and well… thoughts of raccoons. Overall the stay in the tipi was very interesting and we enjoyed having the chance to say we did it. The perfect ending to our seester trip.

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The next morning we got up ,got our things together, cleaned up the site and bid farewell to Rawhide Ranch. We had planned to go to Stepp Cemetary and explore around there a little bit. Unfortunately, we felt pretty exhausted that morning. We decided to call it a trip and head back home.

The trip is over and now it’s back to reality. We had a great time on this trip and are looking forward to our next adventure or quick weekend get away. Which actually happened just a little after we got back from this excursion. Join us on our next blog when we share our experiences visiting the annual Spirit Fest at Camp Chesterfield and get a chance to interact with the Mitchell Hedges Crystal Skull.

 

 

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Exploring Evansville, IN

Tearing down the camp

breakfast

Breakfast of Champions

Well, despite the initial nerves from the raccoon incident we slept fairly well. We decided not to bring the air mattress and relied on laying 3 extra sleeping bags on the tent floor and then our regular sleeping bags on top of that. It felt fine at first but, kind of not so much as the night went on. Waking up to the view of the woods when coming out of the tent was well worth it. After filling up on some Starbucks cold coffee, tea, and Lofthouse cookies we decided to get moving and start getting our camp site cleaned up and packed away in the car, and then off to the showers. Even though we had to press the water button on the shower every 5 seconds to keep the water coming, the showers were warm and felt great. Next stop breakfast, after our sparse dinner the previous night we were quite starved and decided to go somewhere to get some hot coffee and good food. Lofthouse cookies were not going to hold us over until lunch.

Angel Mounds

So, next up on the great Southern Indiana tour was the Evansville area, starting off with Angel Mounds which is recognized as one of the most well-preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the U.S. It was inhabited by the people of the Middle Mississippian Culture from 1000-1450 AD. There are 12 earthen mounds built for ceremonial and residential purposes throughout the property behind the museum. There are foot trails and bike trails that weave through all of these structures and it is all encompassed on 100 acres. In addition to  everything to see outside there is a really informative museum. They have the center of the museum set up like an actual village with statues of Natives performing daily chores such as hunting, gathering food, and working on their dwellings. There are also a lot of artifacts on display that had been unearthed from that location. We definitely recommend checking this place out if you are in the area, it would be a great place to bring the family and make an afternoon out of it. We did notice that they hold some special events such as a haunted corn maze weekend and they also host art shows throughout the year.

Willard Library

Willard Library is another place we had talked about going to and checking out for some time. When we located it in downtown Evansville we were quite taken aback with the  gorgeous architecture. It was a large looming brick mansion with intricate carved wood throughout the building. It definitely did not have the feel of a library, rather as a stately manor. We entered inside a bit nervously as we were not coming in as patrons but as tourists. We wandered down some of the aisles between the book shelves and explored the basement and second floor. The interior of this place was amazing. Huge tall windows, chandeliers and a gorgeous carved banister extending along the wooden stairs. There was a large antique book shelf on the stairway which was quite impressive.  The library was built by Willard Carpenter, he wanted to leave a lasting legacy in a town he had helped to build through politics and business. Through some hiccups such as land values lowering and going through a couple of sets of architects and  Willard even pitching in himself at 80 years old, the building was finally opened in  1884. This library is also rumored to be haunted by the Grey Lady. She was first rumored to be seen in the late 1930s by custodian. Since then there have been a lot more reported sightings. The Grey Lady Ghost even was investigated by the show Ghost Hunters. The library gives Ghost Tours in October. You can check their website for events such as this.

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Lower level of Willard Library.

 

 

Oak Hill Cemetery

Well, we find ourselves at another cemetery. You might start noticing as you get to know us that we like to check out cemeteries. It’s not like a morbid fascination or anything, we just have an appreciation for the history and enjoy looking at and reading the headstones. So…Oak Hill Cemetery, we had read about the legend of the burial of Elizabeth Harrison on April 1, 1896.She was the queen of a tribe of Romany Gypsies who had emigrated from England in the  mid 19th century. She passed away in Mississippi and her body had to be transported to Evansville and held in a vault at Oak Hill Cemetery until her tribe members could assemble from all over different parts of the US. Her tribe members showed up in their colorful wagons which drew out curious local onlookers. It was reported in the local newspaper that Oak Hill held  6,000 people awaiting the procession.

 

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There were also areas designated for Civil War, World War One and World War 2. Along with these areas for military burials there was a monument next to a pond with a fountain. It was touching to read all of the names on the walls and the bricks lining the path up to the memorial. After looking at the memorial we delved deeper into the cemetery. We started driving around looking for Mrs. Harrison’s final resting spot and became distracted by all the different statues and elaborate memorials. We still had not located Mrs. Harrison’s grave after driving the entire graveyard. So, finally we stopped at the office and received some guidance from one of the staff. This cemetery is one of the most meticulously kept cemeteries we have been to and it has some of the most large and elaborate memorial statues we have seen in one place.

Another interesting plot is the Boetticher family. Standing guard is a large dog monument. Here is an interesting article about the dog and the family published the Evansville Courier & Press.

Quick stop at Roseanne’s and off to brothers house.

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Are there any Rosanne Barr fans out there? One of us happens to love the show Roseanne and found out that the house in the opening credits is actually in Evansville. Naturally, while we were in the area we had to find it and get a picture. We located the house with no problem and since it is actually occupied we just parked across the street from it and took a quick picture and drove on. we know, we know, “stalker much”.

After stopping for the quick pic of Roseanne’s house it is time to head to our brothers house for the night. It’s always a great time when all 3 of us get together, lots of laughs and reminiscing. Fortunately dinner did not depend on us getting a fire built that evening. Instead,  we went our for dinner  to a popular local restaurant called Porkys BBQ. YUM, our little brother even picked up the tab. After dinner we took a quick stop at Wal-Mart for a few items we needed for our next adventure the next day. I must admit it was really nice to have a good meal and a bed to sleep in. Well one of us slept in a bed and the other ended up on the couch. But, the one that got the bed stayed up and did our laundry that night. Tomorrow we will be getting up and heading off to Louisville, KY for an event that we set up at the last minute. Can’t wait to tell you about it!

 

Finding Harmony in New Harmony…

Yes, it finally came to that time of the year for one of our extended trips. 4 full days of Seester Time and we had been planning this trip for months. We were inspired by a Facebook post we had seen of a mapped out tour of ghost towns in Indiana. So, what started as that turned into a little journey through Southern Indiana.

New Harmony

First stop on this trip was a quaint little town called New Harmony .This place has been on our bucket list for a little while. We had read about this place in the past and we were reminded of it when we were at the Indiana State Museum for the Geo-Fest and seen a photograph of this place hanging in the museum. It was a picture of the hedge labyrinth with  chapel like building in the center of the maze.

When researching we found that New Harmony has an interesting past. It was community started in the early 1800’s by George Rapp. The land was later sold to Robert Owen in hopes to start a utopian community which and shortly there after failed because of economic strain. So, when we were planning this trip we decided we had to go see it.

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The Antheneum

Our visit started at the Atheneum. This modern building was quite the juxtaposition to the historical town that we drove through to get to it. Inside, we found very helpful staff that discussed the highlights of the town. They offered a 10 minute video on the history of New Harmony. There was a guided tour but, we opted out and decided to adventure around the community on our own with the self guided tour.

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The Roofless Church dome and statue

 

The courtyard around the roofless church is absolutely stunning with all of the statuary and fountains. The roofless church itself is quite interesting. Naively, we were remarking that it’s kind of funny it’s called a roofless church when it actually looks like one big roof. The dome was created by architect Philip Johnson in 1960. Under the dome is a statue by sculptor Jacob Lipchitz titled the “Virgin”. After further review the dome appears to be a structure within the roofless church and what we referred to as the courtyard is the church.

When leaving the roofless church and the historical preserved houses and cabins we ventured into town where we admired the historical architecture of the homes that people live in. Most are very well maintained with well kept yards. Throughout, the town were statues and sculptures. The downtown area had your typical “Indiana small town” feel but, some of the buildings were brightly painted and housed specialty shops and cafes. We stopped into a place called Rachael’s. We had a ruben and turkey panini with pasta salad. The food was delicious and it had a great eclectic atmosphere.

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Lunch at Rachael’s

After lunch and resting a bit we made our way around the Cathedral Labyrinth and Sacred Garden.

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Entry to the Cathedral Labyrinth

 

This is probably one of our favorite parks when visiting New Harmony. Inside was the granite labyrinth, a fountain, benches and black stones lining the fence interior perimeter. We could have sat here for hours.

The labyrinth replicates the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth in Paris. The Orpheus Fountain behind the labyrinth was installed in 1998 and is in the shape of a lyre. According to Orpheus Greek legend this instrument was used to tame wild beasts. It is suggested to wash your feet in the fountain and walk the labyrinth barefoot.

It is also worth noting that we saw signs on the entry way advertising night walks during full moons.

After we had to tear ourselves away from this tranquil spot we made our way south of town to visit what peaked our interest originally to the area and made our way to the Harmonist Labyrinth. The hedge maze went through a couple of alterations in paths and was restored in 2008. With the restoration there were gates built into the design because people were too eager to get to the center grotto. So, you can just walk down the middle if you do not wish to walk the entirety of the labyrinth.

The hedges were really tall and some were overgrown so, in places it was hard to determine if areas were open paths or if they were just thinned areas between the shrubs.

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In true Sojourning Seesters form we made our way out of town but, came across Maple Hill Cemetery and had to take a look. We stopped for a quick walk through. Inside, we found a hilly and quite steep graveyard filled with artfully crafted headstones as well as ones you typically find. Of course, we found the resting place of many individuals that had significant importance to the history of New Harmony and the surrounding area.

 

Camping

So we head into Mount Vernon to get some groceries for the evening. We decided on getting 2 premade hamburgers to cook over the fire since we were going to be camping in Harmonie State Park. After a small run to the Dollar Store to get some flashlights because we had forgotten to pack the lanterns we were on our way. We get into the state park and get checked into our camp site. We had a nice area and were on an outer loop right on the edge of the woods.

Next on the list was setting up the tent which went really quick since we had set it up in the living room the night before as a practice run. Now the fun part fire…or in our case lack of fire for quite awhile and not so much fun.  We bought the wood at the park and unfortunately, most of the wood in the pile was somewhat damp and we were rookie fire starters. We did get it going finally and started grilling our burgers in the little grill basket we had bought, then proceeded to drop the burgers out of the basket and onto the ground as the lock on the handle had slid down. One of us had the brilliant idea of just putting them back on because “the dirt will cook off”….WRONG. Chips and cookies for dinner it was.

So, after our learning experience of dinner we decide to retire for the evening. One of us was in the tent, which had Christmas lights strung up inside (love having electric campsite) and one of us was sitting out by the fire. The sky was so clear and the stars were plentiful and bright. We were enjoying the quiet starry night when all of the sudden there were footsteps and loud noises heard in the woods. Not thinking the “fire tender” freaks out, runs, and dives into the tent. Turns out it was a raccoon raiding our trash bag because one of us did not listen to the other about not putting food in the trash that was left out. One of us threw away the top of a tomato. With that experience we decided it was time to put out the fire and call it a night.

Despite all of our little faux pas with the camping it was a wonderful relaxing day and we had a blast. We had both determined that it would be worth coming back to this area and maybe staying at one of the inns in the town and spending some more time hanging out in the gardens and parks and checking out the local businesses more.

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Stay tuned for our next stop……

Bucket List…

We have so many places we would like to see and things we would like to experience. Here is the start of our bucket list (in no particular order) for the US.

  1. Coral Castle: Miami, FL
  2. Garden of the Gods-Shawnee National Forest: Southern, IL
  3. New Harmony, IN
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. Ohio State Reformatory: Mansfield, OH
  6. Antelope Canyon: Page, AR
  7. The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, CO
  8. Salem, MA
  9. Willard Library: Evansville, IN
  10. Pennhurst Asylum: Spring City, PA
  11. Roswell, NM
  12. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd spirit photo: Allen County Library: Fort Wayne, IN
  13. Brown Mountain Lights: NC
  14. Winchester Mystery House: San Jose, CA
  15. Tesla Science Center: Shoreham, NY
  16. Hopkinsville-Christian County Museum: Edgar Cayce: Hopkinsville, KY
  17. Mothman Statue and Museum: Point Pleasant, WV
  18. The Queen Mary: Long Beach, CA
  19. Ashville, NC (lots of interesting things here)
  20. Palmer House: Sauk Centre, MN
  21. Georgia Guidestones: Elbert County, GA
  22. Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum: San Jose, CA
  23. Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, PA
  24. New Orleans, LA
  25. Crystal Skulls
  26. Whaley House: San Diego, CA
  27. Stepp Cemetery: Bloomington, IN
  28. Devils Tower National Monument, WY
  29. Cliff Palace: Mesa Verde National Park, CO
  30. Thomas House: Red Boiling Springs, TN
  31. Bell Witch Cave: Adams, TN
  32. Cahokia Mounds: Collinsville, IL
  33. Villisca Axe Murder House: Villisca, IA
  34. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  35. America’s Stonehenge: North Salem, NH
  36. The Bighorn Medicine Wheel: Bighorn National Forest, WY
  37. Petroglyph National Monument: Albuquerque, NM
  38. Sensory Deprivation Tank
  39. Rockhounding: Various States
  40. Bodie, CA
  41. Ashfall Fossil Beds: NE

to be continued…

 

Seester Time…

Welcome to Seester Time, where we find time to leave the guys and children to fend for themselves as we get out for the day or maybe 4 to go explore places that hold interest for us but are of little concern to our menfolk. We have been having Seester Trips for quite a few years. When we come back home and tell people of our adventures they actually seem quite interested and want to know more. Which is the reason this blog came about. Finding this time is not always easy, between the two of us we have 4 kids (belonging to one sister), 2 dogs and two guys who we are lucky enough to have them be able to stay at home while we work full time jobs and they take care of the house. Finding this time is not always easy. We have a running joke that we have custody of each other every other weekend.

Some of our trips we take are little longer so require intense planning and taking vacation time from our jobs. We try and take 2 longer trips at least a year and several local trips throughout. One of our former extended trips was to go explore Waverly Hills, which was something that had been on our bucket list for years. Yes we have a bucket list and we will be sharing that with you in the future. Some of our interests include; urban legends tied to the area we are exploring, known and little known historical landmarks, concerts (the guys usually want to come with us on these), paranormal, learning about different cultures, and of course food. We live for Halloween.

So we invite you to come along and share in our fun, interesting, and often times don’t go as planned adventures. We always learn something and share quite a few laughs and hope you enjoy reading about them. Stay tuned as we have an upcoming trip planned and can’t wait to share it with you.