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The Lighthouse Lodge B&B on Lake Shafer

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment
The Lighthouse Lodge B&B on Lake Shafer.

The Lighthouse Lodge B&B on Lake Shafer.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC
http://aroundindy.com/

Life can be a routine of the mundane and ordinary if you let it, going along from day-to-day with nothing special to look forward to. Or as it has been said, “A rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out.” But then every once in a while, if you get lucky, you can break out of that rut and have a memorable and unforgettable experience that lasts a lifetime in your heart and soul.

So it was last weekend in White County, Indiana, on the occasion of my younger daughter’s wedding. But that’s not what I want to discuss herein (that’s the topic for another blog). I want to talk about the venue: The Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast on Lake Shafer. With no disrespect to anyone or any other place, this is the nicest place I’ve ever visited anywhere in Indiana.

Before I go any further, let me make it clear that there is no conflict of interest here: I didn’t receive a room discount or any favoritism of any kind. I paid my bill like any other guest. My thoughts here are simply the way I feel after enjoying three days of some of the best Hoosier hospitality I’ve ever experienced.

When it comes to hidden Hoosier treasures, The Lighthouse B&B on Lake Shafer has to be right up there at the top of the list. Owners Mike and Bonnie Triplett have taken a dilapidated and distressed property that was near the point of demolition and over the course of 20 years turned it into a little piece of Heaven on the east shore of Lake Shafer. Who knew there was such a gem just 100 miles north of Indianapolis?

The Lighthouse Lodge waterfall.

The Lighthouse Lodge waterfall adjacent to the boat dock and deck.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

The Lighthouse B&B on Lake Shafer is the Triplett’s home, but it’s also a glorious setting — right on the waterfront — for a quiet and relaxing weekend getaway. In my opinion, it’s ideal for a family reunion, weddings, business meetings, retreats, or just about any kind of gathering up to 125 guests or so.

The main building has seven tastefully decorated contemporary suites. Across the yard are four cottages that can accommodate a couple or as many as nine, including handicapped-accessible facilities. The Honeymoon Suite with a balcony overlooking the property is breathtaking. There’s a boat dock with a pontoon, a large deck for outdoor parties and other special occasions, a fire pit, a sandy beach with playground equipment and toys for the kids, a pier, a big yard with a waterfall, and that distinctive lighthouse on the point (see photo below) that gives the property its name and defines its character.

The Lighthouse Lodge after dark

The Lighthouse Lodge after dark.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

And then there’s the Rec Room (see photo below): gathering place, breakfast nook, living room, kitchen, movie theater, darts, poker, bumper pool, and restaurant all rolled into one. I can’t compare it to any other place I’ve visited. I sat at the counter and watched Bonnie make breakfast for 35 visitors on both Saturday and Sunday. Cracked five dozen eggs each morning by hand — fresh eggs just delivered by an area farmer. Blueberry syrup for the banana pancakes — from scratch. Homemade biscuits from scratch. Nothing out of a can; everything made fresh.

Lighthouse Lodge Rec Room

Lighthouse Lodge Rec Room.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

I noted Bonnie’s attention to the needs of guests who required gluten-free menu items. And I admired her easy-going, almost casual pace. Not hurried or harried, not frenetic or frustrated, but quietly and confidently in control. Great stories and conversation. Great atmosphere and friendliness. For his part, Mike is quietly efficient and attentive to the needs of his guests. Together they make a great team!

It’s one of those rarest of places where you are welcome behind the counter to pour your own coffee or get a cup of milk out of the fridge. It has a comfortable homey feeling to it. The Tripletts are there to welcome you into their home, attend to your needs, and create an unforgettable experience.

Enjoying the fire pit in front of the lodge.

Enjoying the fire pit in front of the lodge.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

I could go on, but the pictures speak for themselves. It’s not inexpensive, but hey, this isn’t a chain hotel with frozen waffles and OJ for breakfast. This is an experience. It’s worth a visit, and it’s open year-round.

Blue Roof Cottage

Our cottage at the Lighthouse Lodge: the Blue Roof Cottage on the waterfront.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

The Lighthouse B&B on Lake Shafer is located at 4866 North Boxman Place, Monticello, Indiana, a few miles north of Indiana Beach on the east side of the lake, the non-commercial side of the lake. Quiet. Serene. Peaceful. Splendid.

The Lighthouse Lodge

The Lighthouse Lodge.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

For more information, visit http://www.thelighthouselodge.com/, or call 574-583-9142.

Review: Bull Burger Battle at Family Leisure

July 17, 2013 Leave a comment
Bull Burger Battle at Family Leisure

Bull Burger Battle at Family Leisure.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC
http://aroundindy.com/

The Bull Burger Battle was held at Family Leisure, 11811 Pendleton Pike here in Indianapolis, last Saturday, July 13, 2013. It featured 16 restaurants and independent chefs competing for the title of “Best Burger” in Indianapolis, with the winner receiving a $2,500 Bull Outdoor Grill and a free trip to Las Vegas in November to compete in the World Burger Championship.

“Determination” and “attitude” were perhaps the two most operative words at the Bull Burger Battle. Every competitor with whom I spoke was confident that he or she was going to win. There was a terrific variety of burgers from giant behemoth burgers to sliders, and everything in between. Some of the local restaurants participating included Punch Burger, Eddie Merlot’s, Scotty’s Brewhouse, Eddy’s Neighborhood Grill, Fat Dan’s Deli, and others. There were also several independent chefs taking part in this event, including a team from the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Local celebrity and Indiana’s weather man Paul Poteet was the emcee for this affair, and judges included George Hill from the Indiana Pacers and Anthony Castonzo from the Indianapolis Colts (among others). The competitors fired up their grills in three separate waves and presented their creations in three consecutive groups over the afternoon. In the meantime, spectators enjoyed free samples, vendor information, bounce houses, face painting, live music, ping pong, and local food trucks. Even though the temperature was high, I’d have to say that it was a pretty cool day!

The scoring was so tight that Family Leisure and the event organizers decided to choose not one, but TWO winners. The top winner was Mark Medlin from Nashville, Tennessee. His burger featured peach slices atop a mystery concoction of cheeses and herbs. Craig Baker from The Local Eatery and Pub in Westfield was the other winner with a specialty burger containing bone marrow. Medlin took home the $2,500 Bull Outdoor Grill, and both get a free trip to Las Vegas in November to compete in the World Burger Championship.

Family Leisure has already committed to hosting this event again in 2014. Here are a few photos from the event.

A perfect cheeseburger made by Fat Dan's Deli.

A perfect cheeseburger made by Fat Dan’s Deli.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

Fat Dan's Deli cheeseburger.

How’s THIS for a burger presentation?
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

George Hill with Craig Baker

Craig Baker was one of the winners, pictured here with
celebrity judge George Hill from the Indiana Pacers.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

Mark Medlin was the top winner in the Bull Burger Battle.

Mark Medlin was the top winner in the Bull Burger Battle.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo with emcee Paul Poteet (left) and Family Leisure manager Kevin Prefontaine.

Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo with emcee Paul Poteet (left)
and Family Leisure manager Kevin Prefontaine.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

A Visit to Between the Bun in Greenwood

June 8, 2013 1 comment
Between the Bun Restaurant

Between the Bun Restaurant. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC
http://www.aroundindy.com/

Ever feel like you’re stuck in the same old rut when it comes to eating out? Well…if you want to break out of that rut, take a trip to Between the Bun, a recently opened restaurant in the former Casa Miguel Mexican Restaurant building at 102 South Madison Avenue in Greenwood, just a block north of Main Street and a mile or so south of Greenwood Park Mall.

It’s not fancy. It’s not ostentatious. Certainly not uppity or one of those places with a million dollars worth of decorations. But when it comes to specialty burgers, hot dogs, and so forth, you’d be hard pressed to find a much better or more unique place to grab a bite to eat.

My good friend Ben Risinger from DoItIndy.com and I made the trip down to Johnson County this week just to visit Between the Bun. We’d both heard about this restaurant on Twitter, Facebook and other social media circles like Google+, and noticed that Indianapolis Star food critic Jolene Ketzenberger recently listed Between the Bun among her choices for the Top 10 burgers in the Indianapolis area (two out of the ten, I might add), and so we figured we better check it out. Am I glad we did!

Italian Stallion Burger at Between the Bun

Italian Stallion Burger.

The menu has a full selection of interesting and unique appetizers, salads, burgers, hot dogs, and so forth, but what really caught my eye was the description of the burgers. At $12.49, The Big Daddy stood out on the menu: a double bacon cheeseburger with one POUND of meat! I would have jumped on that 30 years ago just for the heck of it. These days it’s more than I can handle, candidly. Then I started focusing in on the rest of the menu and discovered a virtual plethora of specialty burgers: the PB & J Burger with maple syrup (honest!), Nacho Burger, Chili Burger, the Boss Hogg topped with pulled pork, the Apple Bottom Burger topped with sliced Granny Smith apples, and several more tempting choices.

But my sights settled on the Italian Stallion Burger, a half-pound beauty covered in pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and dried oregano. It arrived as pictured herein, cooked perfectly to my request for a medium burger that was pink throughout but no red. I was particularly impressed to learn that the hamburger meat has been mixed with 24 different spices to give the meat a wonderful burst of tastes and flavors. Messy. Sloppy. Gooey. In other words: delicious!

The accompanying onion rings had this extraordinary texture and crunch to them that I can’t compare to any other onion rings I’ve tried elsewhere. Excellent.

What really made this lunchtime experience unique, however, was the appetizer that my buddy Ben ordered and ended up splitting with me: the Great Balls of Fire! What are the Great Balls of Fire, you say? Deep-fried Pepper Jack Cheese Balls served with Horsey Ranch sauce! Omigosh. I can’t say that I’ve ever had anything like this. You know how pepper jack cheese is: you get that little POW when you first bite into it, then the blend of the horseradish and ranch dressing hits you and gives you a second kick! See photo herein.

For a unique twist on a traditional side dish of Hoosier comfort food, Ben tried the macaroni and cheese served with BTB’s signature BBQ sauce. I know what you’re thinking: that can’t be any good. Wrong! It works! An excellent combination! Try it for yourself and see if you agree.

Great Balls of Fire

Great Balls of Fire.

I was also impressed to observe the style of the husband-and-wife owners of this establishment. She casually pulls up a chair and SITS DOWN at your table to take each person’s order. It’s a friendly and personal touch with an air of sincerity that I found refreshing and appealing. He went around the dining room, which was very busy when we were there, and personally greeted each customer. You gotta love that, especially when I’ve been to one well-known burger establishment on the other side of town where the owner refused to come out and say hello, even when I asked to speak with him. “He’s too busy to talk to you,” was the server’s reply.

There’s a full kids menu, vegetarian options, a whole menu of specialty hot dogs including a Taco Dog, the BLT Dog, and the Spitfire Chili Dog, not to mention pulled pork, grilled chicken, quesadillas, and a knockout BLT with one POUND of smoked bacon!

All in all, I’d say that Between the Bun is definitely worth a visit. If you’re really in the mood for the ultimate Adam Richman kind of in-your-face food challenge, try the Big Pig Challenge: Two pounds of pulled pork, one pound of smoked bacon, a half pound of Cheddar Jack, a half pound of steak cut onion rings, topped with your choice of BTB’s signature BBQ sauce, and a pound of steak fries on the side! If you can finish in less than 45 minutes, it’s free and you get a commemorative T-shirt. Otherwise: $37.99. Two have tried. Both failed.

Between the Bun is open 11 am to 9 pm, Mon-Thu, and 11 am to 10 pm, Fri-Sat. For more information, visit http://www.btbindy.com/ (so new they’re still working on their Web site at this writing), or call 317-300-8327. You can follow BTB on Twitter @between_the_bun. Between the Bun on AroundIndy.com: http://aroundindy.com/between-the-bun.php.

All photos (c) 2013, AroundIndy.com, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review: ‘Menopause, the Musical’ at Beef and Boards

April 11, 2013 Leave a comment
'Menopause, The Musical' at Beef and Boards

‘Menopause, The Musical’ at Beef and Boards. Image provided by the theatre and used with written permission.

By Elizabeth J. Musgrave
Syndicated Columnist
http://gottagoelizabeth.blogspot.com/

Menopause the Musical opens at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre this week to the sound of an audience gone wild. Who knew menopausal-age women (and their menfolk, by the way) could be so energetic and exuberant? I do now.

Lest you believe only the Red Hat Society ladies like this show, the audience was young, old, male and female.

Four women “meet” each other while fighting over a black brassiere in a sale bin at Bloomingdale’s, NYC. Four women from four different lifestyles find they all have one thing in common ~ menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, crankiness, crying jags, sex drive and vibrators all get discussed ~ and sung about ~ in the 90-minute show, which has no intermission, by the way.

Read the full review…

About Elizabeth J. Musgrave

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is the syndicated columnist of Gotta Go, newspaper and magazine circulation 216,000, as well as a travel writer, public speaker, blogger, freelance feature, copy and content writer. A local theatre, music and restaurant critic, Elizabeth can be heard on 93 WIBC’s Saturday Morning News Show as Indy’s entertainment advisor. You can follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook.

Review: ‘9 to 5 The Musical’ at Beef and Boards

February 11, 2013 Leave a comment
'9 to 5 the Musical' at Beef and Boards

‘9 to 5 the Musical’ at Beef and Boards.
Photo provided by the theatre and used with written permission.

By Elizabeth J. Musgrave
Syndicated Columnist
http://gottagoelizabeth.blogspot.com/

Once upon a time, not so very long ago…was a world where women were looked upon as inferior in the business world. They were sexually harassed, passed over for promotions, received lower wages for the same position. In 1980 a movie took a humorous look at the “what if” factor giving females everywhere a laugh at their “Good Ol’ Boys Club” bosses.

Beef and Boards brings that hit film, “9 to 5” to the Indianapolis stage as it continues its 40th anniversary of success. Three ladies (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the movie) Doralee, Violet and Judy, accidentally poison their boorish, sexist boss Franklin Hart, Jr., (Dabney Coleman in film). When he survives, they kidnap him until they have proof of his embezzlement of company funds.

Read the entire review…