Summer: Day 1 at Patoka Lake

View of Patoka LakeI have to admit that today of all days I have the perfect job!  On the first official day of summer, I was required take a 2 hour tour aboard The Voyager tour boat from Patoka Lake Marina with a wonderful motor coach group from Michigan.  My task?  Taking photos (see them here)  and capturing video to share with all of you.  I know it seems tough, but someone has to do it.

While enjoying our leisurely cruise in the perfect warm and sunny weather, complete with a cool breeze for comfort, many questions popped up about Patoka Lake.  I thought I would share some vital statistics

Did you know?

  • Patoka Lake first opened to the public on August 20th, 1979.
  • It is the 2nd largest lake in Indiana at 8,800 acres.
  • The lake is 25 miles long.
  • There are 161 miles of shoreline at regular summer pool.
  • The reservoir contains 588,251,310,000 gallons of water at summer pool.
  • 17,000 acres of land features 4 state recreation areas.
  • 10 boat ramps provide access to the lake.
  • Patoka Lake Beach has 1200 feet of sand.
  • There are 5.9 miles of paved bike trails.
  • The Patoka Lake Visitor’s Center features many interesting exhibits relating the history of Patoka Lake and the many species of wildlife found on the property.   Special events and programming hosted by Visitor’s Center staff bring Patoka Lake to life.  There are so many great things about the Visitor’s Center that it deserves its very own blog in the near future.

Patoka Lake is also special for what you don’t see.    You will not find homes, businesses, or development of any type along the shoreline.  It is truly a place to commune with nature.

What is the best way to enjoy Patoka Lake?  It all depends on you!  You can enjoy water sports, fish, cruise or just kick back and enjoy the scenery.  Rent a houseboat for a week or for the weekend or a pontoon boat for the day.  You can even stay in a floating cabin!  But… if you are a landlubber when it comes to lodging, you can enjoy one of the many nearby cabin rentals.

A little something more...
Check out these great articles about Patoka Lake from Midwest Living Magazine and USA Today.
Midwest Living – Uncrowded Lake Getaways
USA Today – 51 Great Places to View Wildlife

Those Mysterious Angels

Angels 8Have you heard of the West Baden angels?
Hidden away in the very top of the breathtaking atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel of French Lick Resort is a small room that is shrouded in mystery.  While not a secret, the angels are not well known, nor accessible for public viewing.

Describing it as a “room” might be a stretch.  It is actually a steel drum, approximately 16′ in diameter, with an aged wood floor with cracks of light beaming through.  What you find in this tiny space is extraordinary, as is the trip you must take to get there.  The Angel Room

I certainly did not understand where I was going or what I would be seeing when I accepted an invitation from Sandi Woodward, Indiana Landmarks Program Manager, to “visit the angels”.  I should have know that I was in for an adventure when I was told to “wear comfortable shoes and be ready to climb”.  We started with a trip to the top floor of the hotel and out to the roof.

Staircase to the Angel RoomStill unaware of what was to come, I enjoyed a beautiful view of the countryside and the perfect background of blue sky.  Then came the staircase…. and the realization that I was going to have to climb it.  What you do not see in the photo is the top of the staircase.  A fear of heights stopped me from taking photos as I exited the staircase and tightly gripped the large rope provided to steady climbers through the final ascent of the roof.  My bravery was rewarded with a birds eye view of the towers, gargoyles, and formal gardens .

GargoyleA red door was our re-entry point and then another climb, down this time, on a sturdy steel ladder.  We have arrived!  It is not known when they were painted or by whom.  Graffiti dating back to 1915 covers some of the painted surface.   It is hard not to imagine a lonely painter spending quiet hours creating the angels to watch over the building. Of course, we have no way of knowing the circumstances of the artist, or his intentions, but the experience of viewing the angels certainly conjures up romantic visions.

The Climb Down

Enjoy the photos of these beautiful angels and know that they are watching over you on your next visit to the West Baden Springs Hotel! 

Just one more thing, for a great video tour and more on the story, follow this link.

Angel Photo

Angels 2

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Angels 6

View from the Roof