On the road and at home, it's always about food and fun!
Author: Jane Simon Ammeson
Jane Simon Ammeson is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, food and personalities. She writes frequently for The Times of Northwest Indiana, Kentucky Living magazine, Edible Michiana, Lakeland Boating, Experience Michigan magazine, Indiana Monthly, Cleveland Magazine, Long Weekends Magazine, Food, Wine, Travel magazine and the Herald Palladium where she has a weekly food column. Her TouchScreenTravels include Indiana's Best. She also writes a weekly book review column for The Times of Northwest Indiana as well as food and travel, has authored 16 books including Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-road Guide to America's Favorite President was the winner of the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award in Travel Books, Third Place and also a Finalist for the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Travel category. Her latest books are America's Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness and Classic Restaurants of Northwest Indiana.
Her other books include How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away with It, A Jazz Age Murder in Northwest Indiana and Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana, all historic true crime as well Hauntings of the Underground Railroad: Ghosts of the Midwest, Brown County, Indiana and East Chicago. Jane’s base camp is Stevensville, Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Jane at facebook.com/janesimonammeson; twitter.com/hpammeson; https://twitter.com/janeammeson1; twitter.com/travelfoodin, instagram.com/janeammeson/ and on her travel and food blog janeammeson.com and book blog: shelflife.blog/
As part of a weekend-long Walloon Lake Writer’s Retreat Weekend at Hotel Walloon, the public is invited to a FREE event – A Lakeside Chat with Author John Patrick Hemingway – on Friday, April 14 at the Talcott Event Venue in downtown Walloon Lake. Doors will open at 7pm with a cash bar featuring a Pilar’s Rum Hemingway Daiquiri (see recipe below), along with select wine and beer; the discussion will begin at 7:30pm and a book signing will follow.
Throughout the weekend, the Canadian/American writer and journalist will lead writers in a series of workshops, readings and other creative exercises meant to inspire personal storytelling. Last year’s inaugural Writer’s Retreat was led by Ernest’s great granddaughter (and John’s niece), Cristen Hemingway Jaynes, author of Ernest’s Way.
In addition to his memoir, John Hemingway has published a number of short stories in magazines and literary reviews such at The Saturday Evening Post and Provincetown Arts and has also written for many fishing and hunting magazines such as Showboats International and Ducks Unlimited. His first novel, Bacchanalia: A Pamplona Story(2019), takes place in Spain during the Fiesta de San Fermín, a nine-day event that was made famous in the1920s by the publication of his grandfather’s work The Sun Also Rises.
Ernest Hemingway was just three months old when he made his first trip from his hometown of Oak Park, IL to Walloon Lake where his parents – Clarence and Grace (Hall) – had purchased property along the North Shore. Ernest spent time every summer until 1921 at the family’s beloved Windemere cottage there, the simple cottage still owned by descendants today. The woods and waters in and around Walloon Lake shaped Hemingway’s life in many ways and it was a place he always held dear to his heart. It was here that his 1972 posthumously published book, The Nick Adams Stories, is primarily set.
To inquire about availability for the “Walloon Lake Writer’s Retreat ” please contact Hotel Walloon at 231-535-5000.
Laurel Glen Vineyard, a thousand feet up the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, has long been considered one of the iconic Cabernet vineyards of California. Originally planted as Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1960’s, the present-day vineyard was developed in the 1970’s by Sonoma wine pioneer Patrick Campbell. In 2011, Bettina Sichel, a veteran of the California wine industry, became the steward of Laurel Glen Vineyard after purchasing the iconic estate from founder Patrick Campbell.
During her 20-plus-year career, she has worked with some of the finest producers of Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1998, Sichel helped launch Quintessa and went on to develop its reputation and profile distribution over the next decade as director of sales and marketing. The daughter of Peter M.F. Sichel, the man responsible for making his family’s Blue Nun a household name in America, Bettina is the fifth generation of the Sichel family to work in the wine business.
Katie Bundschu is the first female winemaker in her six-generation California wine family and just opened the doors to Abbot’s Passage Winery + Mercantile, challenging conventional expectations while honoring process and history. Katie says, “For me, winemaking is a journey full of history & heritage. I’ve always kept my family’s story and process close to my heart. I knew we could create something different in Abbot’s Passage—something based on my point-of-view and perspective. As the first female winemaker in our six-generation California wine family, I felt I could add a new dimension to the Bundschu legacy. I understood the rules before choosing to break them, and more than 150 years after our family’s first harvest, Abbot’s Passage was born. My vision was a winery dedicated to creating distinctive wine blends that both honor process and challenge conventional expectations.”
Jamie Benziger: Benziger Winery
Growing up between her family’s two Sonoma wineries, it’s no surprise that Jamie Benziger is blazing her own trail in the wine industry. She interned in marketing with Gundlach Bundschu Winery during school, but it wasn’t until her first harvest working the lab at Benziger that Jamie realized her heart was really in winemaking.
In December 2017, her father Joe retired and Jamie took the reins as winemaker. As the second-generation winemaker at Imagery, Jamie has been on a roll. Not only was she named the 2019 Best Woman Winemaker in the International Women’s Wine Competition, but she was also included on Wine Enthusiast’s list of 40 Under 40 Tastemakers.
Dalia Ceja & Amelia Moran: Ceja Winery
The Ceja Family …. But mother and daughter,Amelia Morán and Dalia Ceja, are key to the winery’s success. Amelia serves as president and has been recognized for one first after another. Her husband, Pedro, began his winemaking odyssey picking grapes for Robert Mondavi and in 1980 they created Ceja Vineyards together.
The California Legislature honored her as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business,” as the first Mexican American woman ever to be elected president of a winery. In 2009, Dalia brought her expertise to Ceja Vineyards as the Marketing Director, “a lot of minority wineries are developing their own style,” she says. “For us, it’s been about family and taking wine to a new level.” And for Dalia, being a Ceja means being part of that evolution, which includes promoting awareness of authentic Mexican cuisine and its subtle, complex flavors—the perfect companion for pairings that yield a new wine experience.
Prema Behan: Three Sticks Winery
Prema Behan is the co-founder and General Manager of Three Sticks Wines. She began working for Three Sticks Wines founder Bill Price III in 2000 in an administrative position at Texas Pacific Group (TPG). Soon Prema found herself working closely with Price, his family, and TPG’s Director of Operations.
Her work there doubled as business school: she witnessed TPG’s rapid growth and global expansion, as well as from her experience closely assisting Price in his pursuits. Behan became an essential part of Price’s team and began helping manage his winery operations. She has been involved in Three Sticks Wines from its founding and has built relationships with the winery’s allocation list as it grew from Price’s friends and family to include a growing number of Pinot-savvy consumers.
Katie Madigan: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Katie Madigan, the winemaker at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, has been crafting their popular Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays since 2011. She started at the winery while studying chemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara, helping out during harvest, and came back a full-time lab tech at St. Francis and began studying Enology & Viticulture at UC Davis. As a St. Francis Winemaker, Katie continues St. Francis’ long tradition of creating high-quality wines from Sonoma County grapes.
She oversees production of St. Francis Winery’s top-selling Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays as well as many of our other popular white wines. In 2015, Katie was awarded “Best Woman Winemaker” by the International Women’s Wine Competition. She also won Zinfandel Producer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 at the California Zinfandel Championship.
Facility That Sharing the Stories of the Survivors of the Last Slave ShipTo Arrive in the United States Will Open This Summer
At a February 3 event honoring the 110 survivors of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to arrive in the United States, the page was turned for the next chapter of a story that’s been being told for more than 150 years … in secret for decades but now shared on a global stage.
To understand the magnitude of this announcement, it helps to know some history:
Under the cover of night in the summer of 1860, a ship carrying 110 Africans slipped into Mobile Bay. The Clotilda, the last known U.S. slave ship, made its illegal voyage 52 years after the international slave trade had been outlawed. (Though it was illegal to bring enslaved people into the United States, domestic slavery itself remained legal until 1865.)
Upon arrival in Alabama, the captives were offloaded into the marshes along the Mobile River. In an attempt to conceal the crime, Timothy Meaher, the man who arranged the transfer, ordered the boat burned and sunk. Some captives remained in Mobile, enslaved by the Meaher family, and others were sold to Alabama plantations north of Mobile.
When slavery was abolished in 1865, the survivors dreamed of returning to Africa, but they didn’t have the financial means to make that happen. Instead, many of them pooled their limited resources to purchase land from the Meahers and turned it into the independent community known as “Africatown.” There they maintained their African identities, continued to speak their own languages, established their own set of laws and – in the early years – even had a chief. They built churches, schools and businesses based on what they knew from their homeland, and they effectively created their own world on the northern end of Mobile.
In 2019, it was verified that the shipwreck of the Clotilda rested at the bottom of the Mobile River, providing a tangible link to the names and stories that have been passed down through generations of descendants.
Africatown Heritage House
Africatown Heritage House is a community building that will house “Clotilda: The Exhibition,” to share this long-untold story. The facility was built by the Mobile County Commission but is a collaborative project that involves several entities working in partnership with the community. This includes the Alabama Historical Commission, which is leading the scientific efforts surrounding the search for, authentication and protection of the ship Clotilda and related artifacts, and the History Museum of Mobile, which curated, constructed and funded “Clotilda: The Exhibition” with generous support from other local organizations. The museum will operate Africatown Heritage House when it opens this summer.
The exhibition is especially focused on the people – their individuality, their perseverance and the extraordinary community they established. It will introduce the world to 110 remarkable men, women and children, from their beginnings in West Africa, to their enslavement, to their building the community of Africatown. Their stories will be shared through a combination of interpretive text panels, documents and artifacts, including some pieces of the sunken ship scientifically verified to be the Clotilda.
Africatown Heritage House and “Clotilda: The Exhibition” will open to the public on Saturday, July 8. Called “The Landing” by the descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors, this date marks 163 years since their ancestors arrived on American soil, forced against their will. Events and activities in acknowledgment of the date’s significance are being planned by the Clotilda Descendants Association and other local entities.
Africatown Heritage House will be open from Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition will have limited capacity, so tickets should be purchased in advance. Tickets will likely become available online in early summer.
For more information about the facility and the exhibition, please visit Clotilda.com, which is operated by the History Museum of Mobile. The latest details will be shared as they become available.
“You can take a hike in the winter and see all the cliff lines and other geologic formations from far distances due to the leafless forest landscape,” said Park Adventure Officer Coy Ainsley. “You have a better chance of getting a last-minute reservation in the lodge and cottages, can experience the park with less visitors and enjoy some warm-up time in front of the fire in the lodge lobby.”
Winter travel has its advantages. And if it snows?
“Carter Caves is a beautiful place under a blanket of snow,” said Ainsley.
Founded in 1946, Carter Caves State Resort Park is home to an expansive system of natural caves; in fact the Carter County region has the highest concentration of caves in Kentucky. And the park is one of only two in Kentucky’s state park system that has caves visitors can explore.
Follow the stone staircase into X-Cave and the Great Chandelier—the largest formation of stalactites in the cave. The 45-minute tour meanders through two narrow, vertical-joint passages marked with such descriptive formations as the Pipe Organ, Giant Turkey and Headache Rock, each a geologic marvel in its own right. Be prepared for 75 steps and to duck and stoop in different parts of the cave as well as inch sideways through some of X-Cave’s skinnier passages.
Scenic Cascade Cave offers a tour with its own arresting formations, including a dragon lunging from the ceiling in the Dragon’s Lair that looks like it is about to breathe fire. The hike is generally an easy one, in spite of the 250 stairs throughout the cave, and leads cavers to a reflecting pool in the Lake Room, the North Cave’s Cathedral and the Dance Hall—where a previous owner once held dances. The pièce de resistance? The illuminated 30-foot underground waterfall. The 75-minute tour covers a distance of less than a mile and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a resident bat named Bruce.
Both Cascade Cave and X Cave are open year-round for guided tours with trained interpretive staff members who cover the history and geology of the caves as well as cave ecology. Dress for the weather as parts of both tours take place outside and cave temperatures can dip as low as 30 degrees.
Explore the caves, then head to the park’s beautiful, glass-fronted fieldstone lodge for some downtime, so inviting with rockers and overstuffed sofas and chairs. A wall of windows frames the landscape beyond, parts of it marked by cliffs and caves, arches and natural bridges. Relax by the fire in the lobby, play boardgames or binge on favorite shows. (Wireless Internet service is available throughout the lodge.)
Wintertime at the park is a quiet time of year, a chance to slow down and catch up with reading, photograph the park’s winter landscape, hike the trails to spy wildlife, stargaze the night sky and browse the gift shop for Kentucky handcrafted items.
Some of the 28 rooms at Carter Caves’ Lewis Caveland Lodge have a private patio, opening to views of the winter woodlands. (Note: Lodge rooms are available Wednesday through Saturday night in winter.) Cottages are open year-round, as is the campground with its choice of primitive, RV and equestrian campsites.
Kentucky State Parks pride itself on serving Kentucky Proud products and using local meats and produce when possible in dishes that showcase the region as well as Kentucky fare: fried catfish and hushpuppies, fried chicken, pinto beans, baked spaghetti, barbecue ribs, banana pudding.
One item that is synonymous with Kentucky cuisine and served at all Kentucky State Park lodge restaurants, including Tierney’s Cavern at Carter Caves, is the Hot Brown. Pure down-home deliciousness, this hearty dish is made with roasted turkey breast and country ham stacked on toast points and topped with crispy bacon and a juicy tomato slice and smothered in cheese sauce.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and for breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Carter Caves is less than a 25-minute drive to Morehead and two activities ideal of wintertime, both located at Morehead State University.
The Space Science Center’s 100-seat state-of-the-art digital planetarium offers full-dome planetarium movie feature shows at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month throughout the year and a 6:30 p.m. laser show. The shows are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be purchased at the door by cash or check. Note: credit cards are not accepted. See the schedule at www.moreheadstate.edu/events/#f1=star-theater.
At the Kentucky Folk Art Center, see works from a 1,400-piece permanent collection of self-taught art displayed in the first-floor gallery. In the second-floor gallery, changing exhibits show off folk art, fine art, textiles and photography. The gift shop is considered to be one of the finest in the region, with original folk art, crafts and jewelry as well as books, toys and other items. Learn more at www.moreheadstate.edu.
Susan Reigler’s The Complete Guide to Kentucky State Parkswas published in 2009, when there were 49 state parks and state historic sites (there are currently 45), but it remains a valuable guide and planning resource and one enhanced by beautiful full color photography.
For more information about planning a visit to Carter Caves State Resort Park or any of Kentucky’s 45 state parks, visit https://parks.ky.gov.
Kentucky State Parks’ Kentucky Hot Brown
2 slices white bread
1 1/2 oz sliced turkey
1 1/2 oz sliced country ham
1 C cheese sauce (see recipe below)
2 strips bacon
1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 slice tomato
Hot Brown Cheese Sauce*
1 quart milk
2 oz melted butter
1/2 C flour
8 oz easy-melt American cheese
2 tsp chicken base
Melt butter and mix in flour. Add in 1 quart of milk and 2 teaspoons chicken base. Cook until thick. Add 8 ounces of easy-melt American cheese and blend until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
*NOTE: Prepare cheese sauce ahead. Sauce will make 5 to 6 Hot Browns.
Cook bacon and drain. Toast bread and top with sliced turkey and ham. Cover with about 8 ounces of warm sauce. Top with sliced tomato. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Place bacon on sides. Bake in 350-degree oven till hot and cheese browned.
About Guest Blogger Kathy Witt
Award winning writer and author Kathy Witt is a member of SATW Society of American Travel Writers and the Authors Guild
From Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment and MagicSpace Entertainment, The Bachelor Live arrives atTalking Stick Resort in Scottsdale for a limited-run engagement on April 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22. The interactive show allows fans to live out their wildest Bachelor fantasies in a hilariously fun and engaging poolside experience, featuring lively games, audience interaction and lighthearted connections.
Participants will be selected from the audience to experience first-hand what life at the mansion is really like, from the first impression rose to group date challenges and the coveted one-on-ones, all while Bachelor Nation fans cheer on those vying for the final rose. The Bachelor Live stars Becca Kufrin (“The Bachelorette” season 14, “Bachelor in Paradise” season 7) as the host and Andrew Spencer (“The Bachelorette” season 17, “Bachelor in Paradise” season 8) as The Bachelor on April 7-8 and 21-22, and Spencer as the host and Rodney Mathews (“The Bachelorette” season 18, “Bachelor in Paradise” season 8) as The Bachelor on April 14-15. Tickets are now available at TalkingStickResort.com.
“I can’t wait for Scottsdale to experience this amazing fan party poolside! It’s the perfect setting for Andrew, Rodney and I to meet and spend memorable evenings with our Bachelor Nation fans,” said Kufrin.
“We are so excited to welcome The Bachelor Live to Talking Stick Resort. It’s a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience and the perfect way for fans to celebrate and participate in this massive pop culture phenomenon,” said Ramon Martinez, Director of Public Relations for Talking Stick Resort.
A production of MagicSpace Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Unscripted Television and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, The Bachelor Liveis led by the creative team of Mark “Swany” Swanhart and Guy Phillips. For more information on The Bachelor Live, please visit BachelorLiveOnStage.com.
Talking Stick Resort is a AAA Four Diamond rated resort located just east of the Loop 101 Freeway and Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale, Ariz. In addition to relaxing in one of the 497 deluxe rooms and luxury suites, guests will enjoy several upscale amenities, including: a rejuvenating spa; six world-class restaurants; live entertainment lounges; a 100,000 square foot gaming floor; three pools and more than 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space. For more information on Talking Stick Resort, please visit www.talkingstickresort.com or call (480) 850-7777.
About MagicSpace Entertainment
The Bachelor Liveis produced by MagicSpace Entertainment, a boutique producing and presenting firm focused on first-class properties and productions. Based in Park City, UT, the company has produced and presented national tours, Broadway shows, concerts, museum exhibits and sporting events worldwide for over 40 years with a powerhouse producing team focused on providing creative, marketing and general management expertise. www.MagicSpace.net
About Warner Bros. Unscripted Television
Warner Bros. Unscripted Television is the leading unscripted studio in America, producing over 1500 hours of programming annually across broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, first-run syndication, podcasts, and high-end documentaries. Led by studio president Mike Darnell, the division is comprised of Warner Horizon, Shed Media and Telepictures and produces leading and award-winning series and franchises such as “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “The Voice,” “Extra,” “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” “Paris in Love,” “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “Below Deck Adventure”, “911 Crisis Center,” and “The Wheel”, as well as premium specials like “Friends: The Reunion” and “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” among others.
About Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment:
Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment (WBDGTE), part of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Brands and Experiences, is a worldwide leader in the creation, development, and licensing of location-based entertainment, live events, exhibits, and theme park experiences based on the biggest franchises, stories and characters from Warner Bros.’ film, television, animation, and games studios, HBO, Discovery, DC, Cartoon Network and more. WBDGTE is home to the groundbreaking locations of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal theme parks around the world, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, The WB Abu Dhabi, The FRIENDS Experience, The Game of Thrones Studio Tour, and countless other experiences inspired by the Wizarding World, DC, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, Game of Thrones, FRIENDS and more. With best-in-class partners, WBDGTE allows fans around the world to physically immerse themselves inside their favorite brands and franchises.
Mobile, Alabama Proudly embracing its history and culture, Mobile, Alabama remembers and honors all the people who have shaped its story. And you can learn about some of these stories at the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail which highlights notable people of color throughout Mobile’s history and offers the chance for visitors to learn about parts of the past that must never be forgotten.
Included in this history is the story of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to arrive in the United States in 1860 – decades after international slave trade was outlawed – and which was recently verified to be resting at the bottom of the Mobile River near 12 Mile Island and just a ways north of the Mobile Bay delta.
After the Civil War, Clotilda survivors formed their own community, naming it Africatown, and this year their descendants and the entire Mobile community are celebrating the long-anticipated opening of Clotilda: The Exhibition at the Africatown Heritage House. The exhibition shares the stories of the Clotilda, her survivors and those who came after them, and also serves as a place of reflection for the many African Americans who have been unable to trace their stories in the same way.
There will also be water tours that take visitors down the Mobile River to hear stories of captives on the schooner, Clotilda, a two-masted wooden ship. According to the Smithsonian, the ship was owned by steamboat captain and shipbuilder Timothy Meaher who bet another wealthy White man that he could bring a cargo of enslaved Africans aboard a ship into Mobile despite the 1807 Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves.And so in the autumn of 1860 Captain William Foster sailed for West Africa, capturing and successfully smuggled 110 enslaved Africans from Dahomey into Mobile. One captive did not survive the wretched conditions aboard, and perished during the Middle Passage.
The story of last shipment of enslaved people who landed on American soil, showcases not only the avariciousness and immorality of slave traders and those who profited off of the slaves but also the survival and heroism of the enslaved. It is ultimately a tale of resiliency and the ability to overcome adversity. After the Civil War, these enslaved people founded the Africatown community which still exists today.