Getting Bent’s OCTOBER BENDER Part 3: CJ’s Pub

In the words of Ned Stark, “Winter is coming.” (For those of you out of touch with pop culture, that was a Game of Thrones reference.) I don’t know about you, but I think the best way to build up your Northern Indiana hibernation fat is with a delicious burger and an ice cold pitcher of beer in a dark, cave-like dive bar.

As a result, Getting Bent’s OCTOBER BENDER: Part 3 will focus on a place to do just that – CJ’s Pub – located in downtown South Bend. In my opinion, CJ’s Pub has the best burgers in The Bend. In fact, their burgers are so good they’ve been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Chicago Tribune, Men’s Journal, Food and Wine Magazine, and on ESPN Game Day.

The great thing about CJ’s is their HUGE variety of burgers, which sets them apart from other pubs and burger joints in the area. Whether you’re interested in the Napalm Burger that’s stuffed with serrano chiles, jalapeños, and ghost cheese, or a less adventurous hamburger, CJ’s is the place for you.

When ordering, you have a choice of the 5 oz Cubby size, the standard 10 oz Super Pub Burger, or, if you’re really hangry, the 20 oz Golden Domer. Pair your burger with an inexpensive mug or pitcher of American beer from the tap (don’t expect fancy, craft beer here) and some waffle fries or beer battered onion rings, and you’re going to have a great night.

-McK

Header image courtesy of http://www.cjs-pub.com

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OCTOBER BENDER PART 2: Fiddler’s Hearth

Fellow Benders,

Founder's Breakfast Stout at Fiddler's Hearth

Founder’s Breakfast Stout at Fiddler’s Hearth

We’ve had a cold and rainy week here.  On a blustery night, there is no better place in downtown South Bend than Fiddlers Hearth.  Sit by the fire, hear some music, drink a pint with some friends, make some new friends…  Of all of the bars and restaurants we feature on this blog, Fiddler’s is definitely the coziest and has the deepest community roots.

The menu is brief but solid.  I strongly (emphatically!) recommend the fish and chips, which are the best on this side of the pond.  (I can say things like that because I lived in England for two years.)  As far as beers go, there is typically something good on cask, but I like the darker, colder stuff and will almost universally start with a pint of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  If you are feeling October-y, they have a decent pumpkin ale on nitro right now.  They usually have a great selection from localist breweries.  If you are in the mood for the even harder stuff, they have a jaw-dropping whiskey selection.  After a dram or two of Redbreast, you’ll likely find yourself singing along with the band.  The tables are mostly communal, so come prepared to share.

When it comes time for dessert there is one and exactly one thing you must order—the bread pudding.  It’s insane.  Honestly at this point it would also be good to have some friends around because (1) it is pretty big, and (2) you’ll feel better about inhaling all those calories if you have some friends helping out.

Open Mic Night at Fiddlers

Open Mic Night at Fiddlers

Fiddlers is one of the better and consistent musical venues in South Bend.  Last night was a Halloween themed open mic, which was a blast.  I had a pint with the ghost of Kurt Cobain.  My friends and I heard an excellent cover of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie.  We left just as Satan was taking the stage with his ukulele…

We’ll have more to say about DTSB’s Restaurant Week as it gets closer, but Fiddler’s always puts on a great spread for that. I’d call ahead to try to reserve a table then.

Downside of Fiddlers?  It can get a bit loud if it is a full band night in the main dining hall, so if you are more in the mood for quiet conversation, check the show schedule before you go.

—Meg

PS: Stay tuned tomorrow for another stop on our Bender…

Buddy Holly makes an appearance at Fiddler's Hearth.

Buddy Holly makes an appearance at Fiddler’s Hearth.

Having a pint with the ghost of Kurt Cobain (who also did a mighty fine cover of Nirvana unplugged).

Having a pint with the ghost of Kurt Cobain (who also did a mighty fine cover of Nirvana unplugged).

Getting Bent’s OCTOBER BENDER Part One: The Crooked Ewe

snifter

It’s getting past that point in October when the glorious colors and the crisp blue skies make up for the colder days and darker mornings. And that means, it’s time to take refuge inside.

There’s no better place to spend a cold fall evening in South Bend than at the pub of your choice, and Getting Bent is here to guide you to our very favorite place to grab a pint and a bite.

Up first is the Crooked Ewe, my current favorite pub. This cozy bar opened in the old VFW building on the river, right across the street from the Farmer’s Market. And if you’re anything like my husband, you were counting the days until you could visit!

The wait for this grand opening was totally worth it, and the Crooked Ewe just keeps getting better!
menu

Let’s talk about beer. The Glasgow Butcher Scotch Ale is absolutely delightful, beautifully balanced with a hearty flavor. It’s one of the best Scotch Ales I’ve ever had, and that’s after going to Scotland and drinking many in the pubs with my husband’s family. The Crooked Ewe brewers just know what they’re doing.

I tried the Turtle Tamer IPA last time we visited as well, and it was completely different from the Scotch Ale, but just as satisfying. You want to try their beer, is all I’m saying!

burger and wingsThe chef at the Crooked Ewe (also the guy behind all the amazing carpentry and woodwork that creates this modern hip space) has done things with food that you just don’t see in South Bend.

This is a burger with fruit leather on top. I know, right? It’s awesome. Served with housemade pickles and shoestring fries, it’s out of this world.

ewetsoMy personal favorite, though, has to be the spicy, crunchy, satisfyingly unusual Ewe Tso—cauliflower, flash fried, with a General Tso’s style spicy sauce. Served with a kim chee fried rice topped with a soft boiled egg like you have NEVER tasted before. It’s comfort food, but not like your mom’s chicken and dumplings. This is comfort food that you never knew you missed in your life until you taste it at the Crooked Ewe for the first time. And then, you just want more. Like, you might have it for lunch, and want to come back for dinner!

The atmosphere is hipster, but in a very good way. The people behind the scenes know what they’re doing, and do it with genuine artistic flare. They made plates out of slabs of wood. And they serve their own smoked meats on these wood plates.

Just go to the Crooked Ewe. Order a pint. Sit at the bar, or in front of the fireplace, and hunker down. Because winter is coming.

-Jane

sausagesbar

Niles Haunted House Scream Park

With Halloween less than a week away, I wanted to highlight one of the best Halloween activities in the region – the Niles Haunted House Scream Park. As someone who grew up going to haunted houses (and loving them), I’m consistently impressed by the Scream Park’s size, quality of attractions, and overall level of fun.

As Jane mentioned in a previous Halloween-inspired post, the Niles Haunted House Scream Park in Niles, Michigan, offers 44 acres of haunted attractions. The five main 2015 attractions are the Haunted House, the Field of Screams, Dark TERRORtory Haunted Hayride, House of Horror 3D, and Ashes to Ashes haunted house. There’s also a carnival-themed midway with a movie screen playing a horror classic, various kitschy activities like “Fry Your Friend,” food, roaming monsters, and Zendor Presents, a small theatre where Zendor performs illusions or tries to read body language.

A scare in line for the Haunted House

A scare in line for the Haunted House

My parents were in town this past weekend, so I had the opportunity to introduce my dad, an avid fan of haunted houses and scary movies, to the Scream Park. We started by getting in line for the Niles Haunted House, the largest haunted house in the complex. The coolest part about the Haunted House is that there are 100 possible routes through the building – so if you go multiple times, you’ll likely never take the same route twice. This year’s theme was Kingdom’s End – the sets were inspired by Stephen King’s books. The line was a bit long – it took us about 40 minutes to get to the entrance – but we got a few scares along the way, like the killer clown at right (photo credit goes to my dad). The Haunted House is huge – and has both indoor and outdoor components – so the wait was definitely worth it.

We decided to take a bit of a scare break after the Haunted House and jumped on the Haunted Hayride. The Haunted Hayride, as the name suggests, takes you through various sets in a corn field. The hayride is pretty campy, but it’s a good break from some of the bigger scares in the park.

Frankenstein playing in the haunted midway

Frankenstein playing in the haunted midway

My favorite attraction is the Field of Screams – a haunted labyrinth. Not only do you get the standard scares by roaming monsters and other spooky illusions such as strobe lights and loud noises, but you have to find your way out of the maze. There’s plenty of dead ends to keep you disoriented, which adds an extra layer of creepiness.

The last two haunted houses – Ashes to Ashes and House of Horror 3D – are smaller than the other three attractions, but are still fun. Ashes to Ashes is decorated like a female boarding school and House of Horror uses the monsters under your bed to scare you.

The great thing about the Scream Park, which is located on Mayflower Road, just north of 12 in Niles, is that the attraction themes change every year, so you always see something new. If you like to be scared – the Niles Haunted House Scream Park is for you. I suggest going at least two weeks before Halloween, so you don’t have to wait in long lines. The Scream Park costs $30 for all five attractions. You can also buy individual attraction tickets.

-McK

Notre Dame Lakes in the Fall

Hey There Benders,

The Fall foliage at St. Mary's Lake

The Fall foliage at St. Mary’s Lake

I was out of town again for most of this week for work—out in Utah this time, sampling the great coffee shops in Salt Lake City and giving some talks at the University of Utah.  Anyways, there is lots to love about the West, but they didn’t have much by way of autumn colors out there.  So I was thrilled to fly back into the SBN yesterday afternoon and to see all of the beautiful reds, yellows, and purples lighting up northern Indiana.  Today I thought I would take in the picturesque season with one of my favorite low-key South Bend activities, a walk around the lakes at Notre Dame.

Fun Fact: Notre Dame’s real name is “Notre Dame du Lac”—Our Lady of the Lake.  Another Fun Fact:  There are actually two lakes—St. Mary’s Lake and St. Joseph’s Lake.  Which leads to a puzzle, at least for this blogger.  Why is there massive referential indeterminacy in the name of our fair university?  Philosophical questions like this are best pondered with a walk around one or both of said lakes.

Mary and Joseph are adjacent to each other.  Joseph is somewhat larger and has a beach which people hang out in the summer.  Mary is, in my opinion, the lovelier of the two.  In the summer it is home to many turtles and fish.  These days the most noticeable residents are the geese which have completely overrun the northeast bank.  You can circumnavigate Mary in about half an hour, stopping off for pictures of the Dome from the far west bank.

The Grotto at Notre Dame

The Grotto at Notre Dame after my walk

I recommend parking near the Basilica and stopping off for a quiet moment at the Grotto before or after your stroll.  If you head a bit further west from Mary, down the service road, you can also pay a visit to the Holy Cross Cemetery, a very beautiful (and moving) spot off the beaten path.

I suspect we are nearing the end of our bout of perfect fall weather, and those leaves won’t be around for long.  Go check out the lakes!

PS:  My mother found a picture of me as a six? seven? year old visiting ND in the Fall many years ago.  I loved the lakes in the fall even then.  Now if I could only find an adult sized white sweatsuit to wear on my adventures now…

A young appreciator of ND's fall scenery.

A young appreciator of ND’s fall scenery.

The Farmer’s Market Dinner

Happy Saturday everyone!

If you’re looking for something to do this morning, head over to the Farmer’s Market, it’s one of our favorite places in South Bend.

Start out with breakfast if you’re a late riser, at the Farmer’s Market Cafe. I prefer their awesome oatmeal, with milk and raisins. My husband Sam likes the eggs benedict.

Today is a special Oktoberfest event! Look at all the awesome activities!

  • Live Music
  • 3rd Annual Apple Pie Baking Contest.
  • Consider a food donation to the Food Bank.  They will be setup in the parking lot.
  • Participating vendors will also be providing samples at their booths of in-season & ready-to-eat foods along with recipes/ideas!
  • The Crooked Ewe Brewery will be at the Market with samples.

Here’s a shopping list, if you want to create an awesome fall meal. I’ve included the recipes for Dinner in a Pumpkin and Apple Pie, too!

carrots


Get these things from the Farmer’s Market today:
1 small pumpkin
6 oz. of mushrooms – Grab some from the Hovencamp’s booth, you’ll get to sample!
1 onion
3 carrots, I prefer the heirloom variety, with all the different colors.
2 pounds ground beef – DC meats is the perfect place to pick this up

9 medium apples for the pie

These are the other needed ingredients:
FOR DINNER IN A PUMPKIN:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1.5 cups of cooked rice – brown rice or wild rice is the best for this recipe
1 8oz. can of sliced water chestnuts
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (I know…just trust me)

FOR THE APPLE PIE FILLING (recipe makes 2 pies):
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

When you’re back from the market, here’s what you’ll do to make a really awesome fall dinner:
1. If your rice isn’t already cooked, cook it, and set it aside.
2. Cut up the apples (you can peel them, or keep the skins on; we peeled for this recipe).
3. Mix the apples with the ingredients listed for the apple pie filling above (sugar, salt, water, flour, cinnamon). Set this mix aside.
4.Preheat your oven to 375°. If you’re making your crust, follow that recipe; if you’re using a pre-made crust, get that out.

crust    pie filling

This recipe for crust is from my husband’s mom:
2 c flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. milk

5. Put the apple mixture into the finished pie crusts.
6. Make the topping for your pie
Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix up the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter.
Put the finished mixture on top of the pie.

7. Bake for 1 hour at 375°.

Now, on to the dinner in a pumpkin:
1. Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin, and keep the lid like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Place the pumpkin on a sturdy cookie sheet
2. Slice the mushrooms and the carrots into bite size pieces
3. Dice the onion.
4. Brown the onion in the olive oil, then add the hamburger and brown that. When this is nicely browned with no pink remaining, drain off the grease.
5. Add the rice, carrots, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Allow this to cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and cream of mushroom soup. Cook for 5 more minutes.
7. Pour this mixture into the pumpkin, and replace the lid.
8. Bake at 375° for 1 hour.

perfectdinner

This is what the stew looks like when you serve it. Make sure to scoop some of the cooked pumpkin with the other ingredients. It tastes amazing!

We served the Dinner in a Pumpkin with a red wine that we got at Martin’s.

-Jane

fiona

LangLab

The Midwest Territory Band performing

The Midwest Territory Band performing

There are so many things I love about LangLab. Located south of downtown South Bend at 1302 High Street, LangLab is a 33,000 ft warehouse that serves as an event/concert space, bar, art gallery, artist studio and private office space. The coolest thing about LangLab is that it encourages community participation. While the LangLab staff brings in a variety of musical acts, they also allow community members  to rent out the space for both public and private events.

Here’s why I love LangLab:

1. I feel like I’m entering a speakeasy every time I visit. It’s located in a warehouse district that is dead at night . There’s no sign on the front of the building except for the address – it looks like an abandoned boarded up warehouse from the outside. There’s a small metal door on the side of the building with “LangLab” spray pained on it.  Once you go through the  door, you enter a bright, cheery, artistic space and feel as though you’ve walked through the wardrobe into a hipster version of Narnia.

LangLab

The bar

2. They offer something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in listening to a live band, having a beer at the bar, checking out the latest art show in the gallery, or learning how to salsa, LangLab is the place for you.

3. You can rent it out for private events. I was once invited to a birthday party at LangLab for someone I didn’t know. His dream was to have a giant dance party for his thirtieth birthday, so he bought a bunch of beer and wine and hired a DJ and invited a ton of random people – it was great fun.

4. LangLab brings in some excellent bands. View the schedule of upcoming events.

LangLab gallery

The gallery

5. It has a good vibe. It’s a laid back environment, people are friendly, and it attracts a diverse crowd.  It’s generally just a great place to hang out.

6. (Updated 9/29/16) LangLab now has a new cafe operated by the coffee roasters, Zen Cafe, which you’ve likely seen at the South Bend Farmer’s Market. Grab an espresso or latte and a seat on one of the comfy couches and enjoy the unique surroundings!

Check it out!

-McK

 

Oaken Bucket (Fall Edition)

Oaken Bucket

Oaken Bucket

If you are just visiting the Bend for the first time and find yourself on the corner of Ironwood and River Rd, you probably wouldn’t give a second thought to the homely restaurant on the corner.  Well, maybe you’d notice the odd name: Hensell’s Oaken Bucket.  I mean, what do you even use an oaken bucket for?*  And why name a restaurant after it?  You may also be intrigued by the crowded parking lot—all that traffic for burgers and fries?

But any local will tell you, Oaken Bucket’s secret is out back.  They have far and away the best river dining in the region, with an expansive two tier deck stretching out over the river.  The Bucket gets most of its business in the summer, but I actually prefer it in the Fall, when you can take in the river at its most beautiful.  Best yet, there is usually no wait for a table.  Just bring a sweater…

The Bucket has a pretty decent draft beer selection, and you can’t beat the prices.  Their burgers are also solid; their biggest one is the size of a dinner plate.  You can also rent out the “tiki bar” downstairs for events.  I’d say its hard to find a better happy hour venue in the Bend—certainly nowhere better along the river.

*Also it appears the oaken bucket is a football thing.  

A view from the Oaken Bucket ``Tiki Bar''

A view from the Oaken Bucket “Tiki Bar”

A Weekend in Brown County, IN

This past weekend, my husband, Bob, and I went camping in Brown County, IN. We had heard that Brown County State Park was beautiful and often referred to as the “little Smokies” for the hilly terrain. Neither of us had been there before and we were pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was.

Caplingers

The fish counter at Caplinger’s

We took off after work on Friday and started driving south. Brown County is a little over an hour south of Indianapolis, so from South Bend, the total drive is about 3.5 hours. We decided to take a quick pit stop in Indianapolis for dinner. Yelp took us to an excellent place on the east side of the city – Caplinger’s Fresh Catch – which is just off the highway and is currently rated number one in the city for best restaurant. About 45 minutes before we arrived in Indy, we placed a carry-out order on their website since our initial plan was just to pick it up and eat in the car. When we arrived around 8:30 p.m., the place was packed with people waiting for their food – in fact, it was so busy many people had been waiting for over an hour (it’s a walk-up counter). Luckily, our order was ready and we snagged an open table to chow down. As the name suggests, Caplinger’s Fresh Catch is a fish restaurant and, damn, was it good. It was also cheap. We each got the Caplinger’s Special, which is a dinner of breaded or grilled swai, hush puppies, and two sides. I had cajun coleslaw and fries and Bob had collard greens and fried okra. The dinners were only $9.49 and the portions were huge – we actually nearly had a whole dinner left over. We also got a side of fried shrimp and a piece of coconut cream pie – yum! The have tons of different varieties of fish, all of which can either be grilled or fried.

Campsite

The campsite at the Last Resort

After dinner, we drove in a food coma down to Brown County. Unfortunately, Brown County State Park’s campground was full (October is evidently the most busy month in Brown County due to the insane number of leaf-peepers in town), so we made a reservation at the Last Resort, an RV park and campground that was conveniently located just across the street from the state park and about about 5 minutes east of downtown Nashville, IN. While the sites were close together, the facilities were great. All of the sites had water pumps and electrical outlets (which allowed me to charge my iPhone when the battery died so I could take more photos for this post). The bathrooms were clean and had flush toilets and the showers were hot – which I appreciated, since the overnight temperature, much to my dismay, was a freezing 25 degrees. If it was warm, the pool would also be a great amenity.

Delilah getting ready to steal a cinnamon roll

Delilah getting ready to steal a cinnamon roll

As Bob can tell you, I have lukewarm feelings about camping. I actually never went tent camping  until I met Bob in college (Bob was a Boy Scout growing up and camping is his happy place). The first time I went camping, I was convinced I would be abducted by aliens (no joke). But, over the years, camping has grown on me. It’s an inexpensive way to see a new place, waking up in beautiful scenery is quite enjoyable, and if you have the right gear (a sleeping pad for under your sleeping bag is essential), you can be pretty comfortable. Besides the frigid overnight low, it wasn’t so bad. However, I think our spoiled dog, who doesn’t seem to be into sleeping anywhere besides the couch or a bed, thought otherwise. (Don’t worry, she had her own sub-zero sleeping bag.)

Anyway, when we arrived at the campground late Friday night, we pretty much just set up the tent in the dark and went to bed. On Saturday morning, we woke up to light streaming through the beautiful autumn leaves and saw that we were on a ridge line. The terrain was incredibly hilly. After eating some cinnamon rolls that Bob made in his dutch oven over the fire pit, we jumped in the car and drove across the street to Brown County State Park.

Brown County

A lookout point at Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park was impressive. We started by driving around the park to get our bearings and check out the different lookout points. We also took two short hikes – a quick 1.5 mile hike around Ogle Lake and a mile hike from the Nature Center to Strahl Lake and back. The park has a large stable on site, and horseback rides seemed to be a super popular way to see the park. There are also copious quantities of mountain bike trails for the bike enthusiast. The campgrounds looked to be in great shape.

Nashville garden shop

A garden shop in Nashville, IN

In the afternoon, we drove down the street to Nashville, Indiana, the largest town in Brown County. I did not expect Brown County to have such a cute town. While I had heard of the state park, I had never heard of Nashville, so it was a pleasant surprise. Bob and I compared it to a southern-themed version of Saugatuck, MI, with Indiana prices. Nashville is a large art community, with tons of galleries, shops, and restaurants. Despite the throngs of tourists (October may not be the best month to go if you don’t like crowds), we had a great time walking around town and checking out the shops. We had an excellent cup of hot chocolate at the Daily Grind Coffeehouse and Cafe, saw a short marionette pupped show demo outside the “Slightly Haunted” Melchior Marionette Theatre, considered getting a pedicure (and passed) at the Hillbilly Foot Wash, watched a man carve a dragon out of a tree stump with a chainsaw, ate some awesome fudge and toffee at the Nashville Fudge Kitchen, and bought a really cool fused glass piece of art for our kitchen. If you have a dog with you, be prepared to be stopped by every fifth or so person who wants to tell you about their dog at home or pet your dog.

Farmhouse Cafe

The Farmhouse Cafe

On our walk, we stopped at the Brown County Visitors Center, where we got a map of the Backgrounds of Brown County Studio Tour. In October, artists around Brown County open up their home studios to the public. We decided to take a short drive into the scenic countryside, stopping at the Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room at the Flower and Herb Barn to check out the gardens and greenhouse. The restaurant has excellent reviews, and I’ve added it to my bucket list for next time.

After a quick nap back at the campsite, we headed back into town to have dinner at the Big Woods Brewing Company. Big Woods has two locations in Nashville – the Brewing Company and Big Woods Pizza – which are located next to each other. The Brewing Company is much smaller than the pizzeria and serves sandwiches, salads, tacos, flatbreads and a few entrees. Big Woods Pizza, as the name suggests, specializes in pizza, but has a few other items on the menu such as sandwiches and salads. Oddly enough, the much smaller Brewing Company had a shorter wait, which was great, since we weren’t in the mood for pizza. We started with the pulled pork nacho appetizer. I had the Triple B burger, which won a national competition for its tastiness. Bob had the steak pasta in a blue cheese cream sauce, which was also delicious. We also tried the seasonal pumpkin ale, the red ale, the stout, and the pale ale – all of which were great.

Brugges Brasserie

The food at Brugge Brasserie

On Sunday morning, we woke up early and drove to Indianapolis. Despite living in Indiana for the past five years, we haven’t spent much time in Indy, so we wanted to see some of the places our friends had told us about in the city. We stopped in Broad Ripple, one of the historic neighborhoods, for lunch, and took a walk along the Monon Trail, a 10.4 mile bike and walking trail, with the dog. For lunch, we ate at Brugge Brasserie, a Belgian restaurant. I had the roasted pork tenderloin, leek and goat cheese crepe with fries (you can choose from 12 dipping sauces for the fries) and Bob had the beer and tomato braised meatball sandwich, both of which were delicious. After lunch, I ran into a great store, The Bungalow, which is both an art gallery and home goods store.

Overall, our trip to Brown County, with a couple of short pit stops in Indy, was a great success. I would highly recommend to Brown County to anyone who is looking for a beautiful and fun weekend getaway.

-McK

River Lights (and Seitz Park)

The ``Other'' Bend---Bend, Oregon.Sorry for the late post today.  I’ve been in the other Bend—Bend, Oregon—on a work trip.  I can report that, while quite beautiful, the “other” Bend’s got nothing on the 574…

Anyways, hiking along the Metlious River (pictured right), got me nostalgic for the St. Joe back if you home.  One great project the city completed this summer is the permanent River Lights exhibition in Seitz Park.  River lights is an interactive light display on the banks of the St. Joseph river between Washington and Jefferson.  When some friends were in town a few weeks ago we drove up to see the exhibition.  Parking in Seitz Park (which also has a great summer concert series), we took an easy walk up and down the path to take in the experience.

The beautiful river lights display.

The beautiful river lights display.

The interactive “Light Forest” changes colors when approached and touched.  Be warned, if you are traveling with a seven year old, there will be much fighting over who gets to play with the light forest more.

Even more beautiful when seen from the mini waterfall.

Even more beautiful when seen from the mini waterfall.

I also recommend walking up the path a bit to take in the lights from the waterfall.  Great place to take in downtown as well.  As it gets darker in anticipation of winter, this display is sure to brighten up the spirits of those of us living downtown.  Definitely worth a stroll.