|A view of the hotel from the sunken garden.|
|Some of the rooms look out over the open atrium. As cool as this would have been, I was glad to have a room looking over the pool and forest surrounding the property.|
|The very top of the dome. When lit up at night, it changes colors!|
Between my scouting and the hike, I birded for a total of about 3 hours and found 49 species! I know that there are nesting Worm-eating Warblers on the property, and if I had time to look around more I would guess that I would find both Hooded and Kentucky Warblers as well. Even with all of those great species, birders rarely visit the area. Now it may not be as good for birding as Goose Pond or the Indiana Dunes, but I can't think of a better spot to spend a few days in Indiana, especially if you have a spouse or significant other that is not a birder. Both West Baden Springs and the French Lick Springs Hotels are historic landmarks that you can spend a lot of time exploring, the properties offer access to 4 golf courses, there are wonderful spas at both properties, and there is a large casino attached to the French Lick property.
The re-opening of West Baden Springs has also had a huge effect on the town of French Lick. While talking with the owner of Micki's Deli and Sweet (you must stop in here is you are in the area - the food is awesome and the sweets are even better), we learned that the town likely would have faded away into a memory had the Cook family not restored the hotels. While it is still a slow process of attracting people back to the area, you can certainly see the growth in town. Buildings are being restored and many new stores and restaurants are opening up.
|One of the many awards that the hotel has won since being restored. Wouldn't it be nice to have an award like this for conserving bird habitat and having a positive impact on communities through birding tourism?|