Fort Negley Nashville Tenn

Fort Negley Nashville Tenn
Nashville Skyline from Fort Negley in Tennessee

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

West Baden Springs Hotel, West Baden Indiana

West Baden Springs Hotel has been high on my list of places to get to for a LONG time.  Oddly, it has been a place too close to visit.  I have lived about 2 hours from it for most of my life- so it's been one of those places I just figured I would get to some day down the road.

Well, we finally had a nice long weekend... and some pals that had been wanting to go for a while too, so we did it!

We arrived on a Friday shortly after Christmas.  Thankfully, the place still had their Christmas tree up, along with various other Christmas decorations.  With the warm weather we have experienced in our neck of the woods this year, the Christmas season felt very short, if not almost nonexistent.  Getting a few extra days of Christmas here was a real treat.  Oh!  And they were piping in classic Christmas songs in the lobby!  That was nice.

Before I babble on too much, let me say that I wish I had gone here sooner!  The place is beautiful and relaxing.  Sure, we have been here now, and we can check it off of our list, but I am already eager to get back.

We arrived in the morning, and quickly purchased tickets for the historic tour of the hotel.  If you go, you MUST do the tours (West Baden Springs Hotel AND French Lick Springs Hotel each have their own historic tours).

Not to give too much away, but here are some of the things that impressed me most about the tour here.....

Someone got on top of the dome- probably early on when the hotel was being built, and they painted some very cool angels in a room above the lobby area.  They did not sign their art and it is a bit of a mystery who put them there.  Some feel that the general good luck of the hotel, especially the early builders, could be credited to the angels.

Some ornate glasswork was looted from the building during a time that the property was abandoned.  Some of the works of art later turned up at a Kentucky antique shop.

The fireplace (which cannot now be used) has a great sculpt/painting on it.  It is spectacular and has a great story. 

The construction, various tenants, and preservation all make for good stories.  Names like Donald Trump, and Larry Bird factor in to the history of the hotel.

Our room was flawless.  We had a great window view into the atrium.  The bathroom had two sinks, a bathtub, and a shower.

Speaking of the atrium, we spent several hours each evening just enjoying the vibe there.  There are plenty of chairs, tables and couches so you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  On our first night at West Baden Springs, the hotel had Chuck Buttz playing piano.  He played for several hours, taking a few short breaks, but he was amazing!  Piano music is usually not my thing, but Mr. Buttz was really doing a great job.  I recognized most of the songs he played and his classic and classy playing truly made our time in the atrium special.  He did have a CD that you could purchase (at a very reasonable $10).  I picked up a copy and asked if he could play Moon River, a personal favorite.  Chuck played an amazing version that I will never forget.

On our second evening at the hotel, a harpist played in the lobby (I noticed many young children asking about her playing and her instrument) followed by a jazz trio.  We enjoyed them too, but the amazing piano player the night before made the evening feel almost dream-like.

We had a couple of meals at Sinclair's and Ballard's Bar.  For Ballard's, we enjoyed our meal in the atrium, still listening to Chuck Buttz on piano.  This was a fabulous experience.

There is plenty to do outside also.  Again, it was cold, so we mainly walked around and saw the old springs.  Our tour guide from our tour mentioned that there was a horse track/bicycle track oval building on the grounds several decades earlier (the horse riding track was on the bottom, with the bike track on a second level above it!).  Inside the oval was a baseball field, and many baseball teams held trainings at the West Baden Springs Hotel!

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