Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harvest Moon Drive-In Theatre

Whenever I see a drive-in theater on my travels, I crane my neck and look for as long as I can until it passes out of sight.
When I was in my 20s, my friends and I used to take road trips to a drive-in near Joliet, Illinois.
I knew there was one in Gibson City, Illinois, and I took my husband on a surprise trip to the Harvest Moon Drive-In Theatre in 2003.
The film was Pirates of the Caribbean. We had dinner at the Bayern Stube, then killed time before dark when the film would start.
Before the movie was finished, we were getting drowsy and starting to worry about the long drive home still ahead of us, so we left before the end and headed on our way.
The theater, reopened in 1989, still pops into my head now and again, and when we were on our way back from Indiana early this month and looking for a different route, I was excited when we chose to drive through Gibson City.
Once again we stopped for an excellent meal at the Bayern Stube, then went to take a look at the drive-in, which had already closed for the season.
We were surprised to see a new sign on site touting the theater as the world's first wind-powered theatre.
In the spring of 2009, the owners of the theatre installed two small wind turbines on site that they hope will eventually produce 100% of their electricity.
It seems to me that this a great way to maintain a slice of Americana while looking out for the future.

Harvest Moon Drive-In Theatre
Route 47, South
1123 S. Sangamon Ave.
Gibson City, IL 60936

Friday, October 9, 2009

France Park

We don't have a lot of chances to see waterfalls when traveling, so when I heard there was one near Logansport, Indiana, I made plans to visit.
France Park is a lovely site to visit in the fall.
Driving in to the wooded park, we were greeted by the Fouts Cabin, a Beech log cabin built in 1839.
We paid our $2 each admission and got directions to the falls. After a short drive, we reached the parking area and got out to see the falls.
The waterfall itself is not very tall, however the site is scenic and beautiful.
I walked up the wooden staircase to the top of the falls, then joined my husband back at the bottom to go search out a Geocache hidden in the woods nearby.
Getting back in the car, we drove around the park a bit more checking out the scuba diving area where a couple of divers were in the water on this cool October day.
We also saw a brick box structure that my husband said looked like a brick oven. Later I found out that's exactly what it was.
Referred to as the Italian Oven, the recently restored oven was used by Italian immigrants who built the Wabash and Erie Canal which runs from east to west through the center of France Park, or by those who worked in the quarry. The canal operated from 1840-1875 and was used was to transport the stone mined at the quarry.
The oven, located near the entrance of the park, was used weekly as a community resource for those needing to bake their bread.
France Park is also home to camp sites and hiking trails, plus much more.

France Park
4505 W US Highway 24
Logansport, IN 46947

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The Whitehouse is a long-standing restaurant in Logansport, Indiana, we visited in early October of this year.
Most of the signs on the building listed the name as one word, but there was a sign listing it as two words as well.
The exterior is charming and time-worn, a small stone diner-style building with an old Coca-Cola logo board atop a rusty sign proclaiming the restaurant name.
We took a seat at one of the 13 small counter stools and were immediately able to order drinks and soon were sipping them, perusing the menu.
Along the countertop was a jukebox, and there was a full size one near the door.
We found by talking to the woman running the grill that this Whitehouse is considered Whitehouse number one and that at one time there were three or four of them. This location, opened in 1941, is the only one remaining.
Their ground beef comes from a local Cass County meat locker, I believe she said it was called Royal Center, delivered fresh daily. They hand make the burger patties once the meat arrives at the restaurant.
I was going for the Whitehouse burger, which we were told has cheese and bacon on it, until our grill master told me about the spicy chicken sandwich, an all white meat chicken breast breaded with a peppery mix.
When she brought it out from the back to place it on the grill, presumedly frozen and institutional, and I feared I may have made a bad choice. Once I tried it though, I was happy with my selection. The chicken breast was hot and juicy and the seasoning on the breading was delicious.
My husband had a double cheeseburger, after a discussion about how thick the patties were. He was assured he wanted a double, and was pleased with the sandwich.
The prices were incredible compared to what we see in Illinois: $2.30 for a double cheeseburger. Our entire meal, including two drinks, an order of onion rings and a slice of sugar cream pie, was less than $10.
In addition to the counter seating, there are four booths along the wall.
The Whitehouse opens very early, 4 a.m., and closes fairly early as well. On the Saturday we were in, they closed at 1 p.m.
Next time I am in the area, the Whitehouse will certainly be on my list.

87 S 6th Street
Logansport, IN