south bend indiana, or, how we survived a snowstorm and visited four museums

in an effort to “get away” from aurora and home, we took a trip to indiana. it was one of those decisions you make when you’re wanting an escape, and frankly we needed one. matt and i throughout dating and engagement “got out of the city” at least once a month. well, that hadn’t happened since we had moved, so in order to preserve our sanity, and check out some cool things i had found on the internet, we went to south bend.

south bend is home to notre dame, but, i bet you didn’t know it is also home to the national college football hall of fame museum, or the national studebaker museum. we got to check out all these things and more in this lovely town.

driving in the snow isn’t that great. the day before our trip we were in wisconsin and it had snowed there, making our trip back to aurora stressful (mainly for matt since he was the one driving). but, much to our surprise, we awoke the next morning and it seemed not too bad for the drive. seeing as we had already made our hotel reservations, we decided to brave it. driving was easy, until about 40 miles from south bend where we came upon a snowstorm. the gps had led us down the scenic route of a small indiana highway, which under normal conditions would be fantastic. however, under these conditions, it also became stressful. with roads unplowed, worrying about the distance between me and the car in front of a behind me, and even stopping on the road for about 15 minutes for an accident to be cleared up, it wasn’t too fun. but, it was beautiful. never mind that i couldn’t have the radio on because it was too much of a distraction, the snow on the trees and the wonder of being surrounded in white was so beautiful.

driving

after making it through the snowstorm and arrival in south bend, we went to tripadvisor.com’s number one rated restaurant for some asian cuisine. it was delicious…with the owner’s careful attention and explanation of dishes (even concern for allergies), you could tell she enjoys and cares about her customers. small, but quaint atmosphere, the restaurant lived up to tripadvisor expectations and owner also gave us crispy beef along with our entrees to try. nice!

"aren't cars sexy?"-matt

after that we took the jog over to the national studebaker museum, paid our $8 and saw my favorite part of the trip. we learned so much about the history and outcome of the studebaker company. did you know it started in 1856? with wagons and carriages? we didn’t know that. and also, the studebaker brothers made a

presidential line of carriages. interestingly enough, it was a studebaker carriage that lincoln rode in when he went to that theater where he was assassinated. it was kind of cool to stand next to it and be like “yeah, lincoln rode in this”. wrap your head around that for a moment.

lincoln's last ride

we have a ton of great pictures of the different models and styles of cars. honestly i don’t think either of us expected it to be as great as it was, but this was by far my favorite thing that we did. it was still snowing pretty hard, and the driveways and roads were a little slick by the time we finished at the museum, but we still wanted to see what we could. we drove to the hotel to check in and get the car underground. thankfully, the south bend museum of art was right across the street, and free , so we ran over there and checked out the local art for 30 minutes until the museum closed. it was something fun to do, and i’m so glad we were able to take it in.

the delightful dinner

after a little rest back at the hotel, we decided to venture the two blocks to the fiddler’s hearth, an irish pubhouse, for dinner. we had received the suggestion from my mom as a fun homey place to grab a beer and eat dinner. so, we went. unfortunately, it was packed. but, i guess the good thing from that is we knew it was going to be good food. we stood behind the bar for a little bit before matt scouted out a place for us to sit. it was a cramped little space, but it was great. we both got to have beers we hadn’t had before. i had the edmund fitzgerald porter, and matt had old rasputin. both were tasty, hearty, and full-bodied…aka perfect for it being 16 degrees and snowy out. i had the chicken

the disappointing dessert

wellington stuffed with mushrooms with a side of mashed potatoes (mixed with carmelized onions) and amaretto soaked carrots. matt had fish and chips, which we were told is one of the house specialities. both were delicious, earthy, and homey, which again was perfect for our walk back to the hotel. we stopped in to the chocolate café and were sorely disappointed by the lack of chocolate cheesecake (which is what i had been craving/hoping for). we split a rich piece of cake that we couldn’t even finish and headed back to the hotel.

sunday we were able to sleep in since the first museum didn’t open until 10am. we checked out of the hotel, and drove across the street to the college football hall of fame museum. it was actually very cool. unfortunately, according to

i "don't have the body" for football

the interactive segments of the museum, Iido not have what it takes to become a college football player. i know everyone believes in me, and i’ve always said “put me in, coach”, when i’m watching a mizzou football game where we are doing awful, but it didn’t think i was tall enough or something. anyways, we walked through the history of college football, everything about scoring, rules, uniforms, equipment, rivalries, bands, mascots, it was all there for us to behold.

matt has a good arm

after our stint at the hall of fame, we drove over to the same area where we had the delightful asian food and had some lovely mediterranean food. it was delicious. matt had the falaufel and i had chicken schwarma (do you realize how cultural we are in our food choices?). yum! and the nice thing was, it was less than a mile from campus.

notre dame, ah, yes. if only you had proper signage to direct visitors for where to park. we drove from the restaurant to campus where i became promptly frustrated with the lack of signage and director for visitors (i had done previous research as well, so it was even more disappointing). we pulled to the side to look at the snite museum of art website, and to hopefully get some clarity with where in the heck we were supposed to park! thankfully, we found it after a few minutes of driving around. and, thankfully once we arrived at the museum, there was a campus map that we could use to navigate our way. the snite museum of art is something else—there were some really great collections in there, and it was way bigger than we thought it was going to be. they had a visiting gallery there, the dignity collection, which was a collection of photographs taken in various countries to show the poverty in which some people in this world live in. it was a very moving section of the museum, a wonderful reminder of the gift of being born when and where we were and to be thankful for all that the Lord has provided to us. the other collection that was available was the earlier workings of the artist who painted the basilica on the campus. it had a variety of the artists early sketches and paintings, as well as some other pieces that were not related to the art in the basilica.

the dome

after the museum, we wandered around campus a bit. the museum receptionist suggested that we visit the dome and basilica. so, we found both of them, right next to each other! the one thing i would say about the campus architecture, is that it was extremely “one-note”. except for just a few buildings that we saw, all of the buildings were in the same style, and same kind of stone, and not very pretty to look at. we visited the basilica, filled with the grandeur of the artists and the ornateness that usually adorns old catholic churches. we walked around, were able to see quite a bit of the art and area used for worship. then we visited the dome, which was painted by the same artist, only it was a series of murals depicting christopher columbus discovering america. interesting choice. after a little more walking around, we searched for the library, which matt knew had a large mosaic mural

inside the dome

on the side of it. we checked out the mosaic, walked around a little bit more before deciding to head home.

basilica

overall, it was a great trip. we were able to spend time together, see some new things, visit museums, go to indiana, drive/survive in a blizzard, rest, relax, and eat some wonderful food. i can’t wait for our next trip!

seeing new places, surviving a snowstorm, visiting museums, and traveling,

matt & rachel

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