Posts made in September, 2016


By on Sep 26, 2016 in Events, Family Fun, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

It was going to be an awesome video. I had seaplanes taking off and landing right on the front lawn of the Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon! I captured them splashing down, taking off, flying low right over our heads, close-ups of pilots doing final checks, ground crews pulling planes to shore, children playing in the sand with rows upon rows of seaplanes behind them. I had it all. Apparently it was so good, that my five-year old couldn’t resist taking the camera into his own hands once we got home and no one was looking, and umm, adding to it. In his excitement to be part of the action, he deleted it all…every last perfect fall day shot of the 14th Annual Fly-In! Luckily, I did snap a few photos too, so all is not completely lost. An event like this is hard to find anywhere let alone in a small northern Indiana community. But yet, it’s been going strong for more than a decade, thanks to Randy Strebig, a local seaplane pilot and president of the Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association. Part of the success is also due to the fact that Lake James (the lake on which the event is located) has been designated a public seaplane base. That means anyone can fly in instead of getting private permission in advance to attend. Pilots and their seaplanes start arriving Friday night and continue to trickle in over the weekend, but the main event always takes place on Sunday. My family and I have made an annual event of attending rain or shine, in warm or cold weather. Believe me, we’ve come in our share of bad weather. To their credit, the pilots and their planes always show in great numbers and put on a great event. They’re truly an accessible lot, opening up their aircrafts for spectators to look inside. Often they’ll allow people to climb inside to test out the pilot’s seat and see everything up close. Most of the pilots are more than willing to share stories of their experiences and answer any questions. While the Fly-In is a great chance for seaplane pilots to congregate, it’s an even bigger chance for the general public to...

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Hunting Mushrooms

By on Sep 19, 2016 in Nature, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the things I like best about Steuben County is that it’s not just a place for the body, it’s a place for the whole person. That may sound silly at first, but how many times have you gone on vacation and caught yourself thinking about all the things you need to do back home? The email you forgot to send, the meeting you’re not attending, the lawn you’re not cutting…the list of responsibilities elsewhere goes on and on. But here in Lake Country we have the unique advantage of plenty of hidden places to lose yourself in from crystal lakes with water still as glass in the early morning, to canopied woodlands sheltering gentle surprises of nature, to sunny fields full of sweet grass and bird songs, all of them perfect for quiet reflection, centering yourself, and taking a moment to enjoy being exactly where you are. While being in the “now” is a great way to refresh the whole person, sometimes it’s not that easy. One of the activities that helps me reboot is hunting. But my kind of hunting doesn’t involve guns or getting up in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, I choose a subject and take my camera on a hike to find as many of it as I can. For example right now mushrooms and fungus have popped out all over the place. As my 5-year-old would say, “Ewww!” Granted, I might have been right there with him, but in my latest walks, I’ve acquired what a friend calls “black truck syndrome.” In other words once something has been called to your attention, you see it everywhere. That’s what’s happened with mushrooms and me. I’d never noticed just how may varieties there are: large, small, stalky, delicate, and in so many colors I thought only existed in the tropics. They’re everywhere framing trees in lace, hiding in the shadows, upturned and blocking my path as if to scream, “you must take my picture.” And so I do. If I knew more about them I might physically collect them, but shooting can be almost as much fun as eating—without the added calories or horrid death should you misjudge the poisonous ones! And...

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Trollin’ for Trout

By on Sep 8, 2016 in Nature, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you’ve never given rainbow trout a try, you really ought to. Personally, I like it smoked best. Trout was all the rage where I used to live in the mountains. But here, it’s a bit more difficult to come by. Sure you can get it in some restaurants and select super markets, but I’m talking about the fresh out of the water caught a half hour ago kind. Luckily, there is at least one great place, Lake Gage to find trout in Steuben County. It doesn’t hurt that the lake is gorgeous too. (Clear Lake used to have great trout fishing, but hard times have changed that.) Recently, veteran fisherman Bill LaVigne and his friend Tom, both of whom have been trolling for nearly 40 years, took me out for the afternoon to see what we could catch (watch the video above for more on our adventure). We hadn’t even set up when we saw a school of cisco on Bill’s gps. He informed me that they’re somewhat of a rarity in Steuben County these days too. Bill and Tom worked at GE making tools before early retirement, so it’s no surprise that they’ve developed their own spoons and canon balls for better trout trolling. Trout are cold water fish. In the spring, fisherman often catch them fishing from the shore or in the shallows with a kayak. But as the water warms the fish go deep, sometimes as much as 30 feet deeper. We went out on September 1, just at the end of the season. Even though it was the day after a storm with a northeast wind (which they informed me was not good for fishing) they were able to deliver a few fish for the camera. The DNR stocks Lake Gage annually, so most of the fish caught are less than a year old and come in between thirteen and fifteen inches long. Occasionally, Bill and Tom catch something much bigger. Not long before I joined them Bill got a 30-inch pike by accident. Getting to Lake Gage by boat is a bit of a trick. The only public access point is on Lime Lake and boats must fit under a very low bridge...

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Birth of Steuben

By on Sep 1, 2016 in History, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The year was 1834. The Whig political party became official, anti-abolitionist riots were taking place in New York, and in the northeastern corner of Indiana a group of pioneers from Vermont decided to settle the area. They called their new home the Vermont Settlement, but it would later become known as Orland, the birthplace of Steuben County. The town of less than 500 looks like one of those picturesque little places you might read about. You know the wholesome small town where everyone knows everyone else? Indeed, for the most part that’s true. But it, like most of the area, welcomes its share of tourists—with good reason too. For a place so small it has it’s share of great eateries. There’s always the Draft Horse Saloon featuring homemade bread in its sandwiches, yummy wings and other appetizers. Across the street there’s Chubby’s Fish & Steak with all the comfort food you could desire. Biscuits and gravy reign supreme our the breakfast menu while burgers and real shakes (not the pre-mixed slop) delight lunch patrons. Then of course there’s always Mister Brats, home of the Hawaiian Brat. A little on further down are other hidden gems like Wall Lake Tavern. After a tasty meal, visitors might enjoy a little down time in the city park listening to the babbling sounds of the fountain. The park also features a Bicentennial Memorial honoring all those who’ve served their country in war and peace. Visitors might also pop into the local library to learn more about the town’s history. Or they could visit an authentic barber shop for a trim off the top. Just don’t plan on stopping by on Thursdays. They’re unapologetically closed. Up the street visitors can also see a military helicopter up close at the Veterans post or travel north on 327 and check out the fish hatchery. Orland can be found in the northwest corner of Steuben County at the crossroads of 127 and...

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