Our Year In Indiana
COVID-19 has changed the lives basically everyone on this planet. We're no different. Granted, there were other factors as well that kept us in Indiana longer than we originally anticipated. It was supposed to be about 2 months in total: GenCon, take care of everything with Ryne's father's estate, spend time with the family, and continue on. Obviously, it's been longer.
It started out with me not being able to find remote work from the beginning. I had super high hopes that I would be able to find one on the road. Applying every day to what seemed like unchecked email boxes. Friends helped with the search but nothing ever panned out. We gave it 4 months before we started to think about becoming stationary again. Since we were in familiar Indiana, that's where we stayed. I started working with a fitness company and began training again. Again, with the idea of it being temporary.
Then Ryne's Grandfather's health was in limbo. And, if you don't know by now, Ryne's a stellar, stand-up guy. Without ever questioning it, he began caring for him. Making sure bills were paid, care was able to come in every day and starting the process to get him into an assisted living facility. If you haven't gone through that process with any loved ones...its a struggle. Doing it during times of COVID, it was even more challenging. It became the longest and drawn out process and seemingly impossible if an elderly adult was trying to do this on their own. Luckily, they had an amazing elder law attorney and social worker to help. Ryne even took family leave from work so he can devote all his time to getting this process taken care of. In the end, he took over 8 weeks off to get him into the facility and it still wasn't enough. Over 4 months it took. 4 months! Then move-in day was finally here. But his Grandfather refused to go. The day turned out to be something out of a nightmare. In the end, he didn't go and bid us farewell. Not the closure any of us were looking for but seemed like out time in Indiana was over. Time to plan step next. Move on.
However, out time in Indiana wasn't all work, no play. We managed to do and see a bunch of cool things throughout the year. Here are some highlights and our Must see for Indiana:
Nashville, IN - Don't go into this place thinking its anything like Nashville, TN. It's not. It's an adorable little town that still has its post-colonial feel. The downtown strip is filled with unique, independent shops selling everything from fresh baked goods to jams, gemstones to musical instruments, and magic tricks to steampunk apparel. Tons of restaurants along the strip as well. It's in Brown County which means Hoosier National Forest is surely close by too. One of my new favorite places is tucked away in the woods here in Nashville, Hard Truth Hills. Its a distillery, restaurant, event center, trailhead, and more! The food is wonderful, I was going to recommend these Indian style tacos but apparently, the menu has already changed. Anyway, they'll alcohol is pretty good as well. The toasted coconut rum is surprisingly amazing. And I am not a big fan of rum.
*First photo of Nashville taken pre-COVID
Indiana Dune NATIONAL Park - Woot to a new national park. Now I grew up in New York about 7 miles from the beach. I love the beach. Now, this beach is on Lake Michigan. On clear days you can see Chicago across the water. There is something awesome about a lake beach too. It's freshwater, no need to worry about a mouthful of saltwater whilst splashing around. No seaweed, sharks, the water is so clean and beautiful looking. And the Great Lakes are massive, looking out, you cannot see the other end. You also have some trails to hike here too. You're in for a workout too! Hiking in sand is rough. They even have a hiking challenge to climb their 3 biggest dunes. 552 Feet straight up on sand and stairs. They say its the equivalent of a 55 story building. Scientists say that running on said is 1.6x harder than on a hard surface. Give that a try!
Turkey Run State Park - This place may be the local favorite park. It's pretty fantastic and wild to see. It was formed from receding glaciers over sandstone back in the day. You're basically hiking through the gorges which, depending on when you go, could be pretty rough (more rain, more water, the tougher the hike). Amazing views, though, no matter which trail you take. And they have plenty.
Indiana Museum Of Art at Newfields - Start at the top and work your way down. They have some rotating exhibits but most there year-round. They have art from around the world and through the ages. You can spend some time learning about various African cultures, then jump to Asia and then timewarp back to Ancient Europe before coming back to modern America. Pretty cool stuff. If it's a nice day out, the property also has a 100-acre art park (Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park) which looks phenomenal. We, unfortunately, didn't get to go since we went on a crummy and cold day.
Columbus, IN - Zaharakos, Crump Theater, Downtown, art. This small city is really cool. First off, Zaharakos. This place has been in the same location, doing the same thing since 1900! Serving ice cream sundaes and sodas in a most beautiful setting. Carved oak bar/counter, Tiffany-style stained-glass shade on that counter, a Welte Orchestrion player piano, a museum with things dating back to the mid-1800s. It's a cool place, great ice cream too. The Crump Theater isn't currently open but it's currently known for its high levels paranormal activity. Overall, this place is adorable and full of art and uniquely designed bridges. Worth the trip.
Lafayette, IN - We pretty much spent all summer here and explored it pretty heavily. Most notably, Purdue University is here and the campus is beautiful and huge. It's technically in West Lafayette because it's so big it needed its own zip code. From Amelia Earhart haunting Hanger 1 at their airport (Aviation degrees) to a lion fountain roaring when a virgin walks by, this place has stories to tell. The sculptures around the campus are fantastic as well. Back in Lafayette proper, you have Historic 9th Street with gorgeous Victorian homes (the neighboring neighborhood, Highland Park also has beautiful homes). The Fowler House is the largest Gothic Revival style house still standing in the US (and they serve a mean bunch the second Sunday of the month with a tour included). The area is filled with tons of parks to walk around to get back into nature without driving too far. Our favorites: Celery Bog, Happy Hallow, and Prophetstown State Park. There is also an on-going art project in the Wabash Wall Street section of town and all over you can find huge, amazing murals.
COVID-19 prevented us from doing a lot of things, but we were and are able to make the best of it. We've been keeping ourselves protected and keeping our distance as best we can. Now that we have no more loose ends, we are taking this as a fresh start. Our mental health has ebbed and flowed throughout this time as well. We're going to continue working on it in the coming months, doing what's best and feels right to us. Thanks for reading and we hope you continue to follow our adventures as we figure out where to go and do next!