|The CUPCAKES CUPCAKES sign in the window was irresistible|
Well, I did practice some restraint. I told the gal behind the counter I wanted 6 cupcakes instead of a dozen. Sharon couldn't believe it when I said six! I told her if she was only getting one then I would settle on 5 to round out that half dozen.
It was so hard to choose with names like "There's always room for jello" and "Root beer float". I settled on Cinnamon churro, Vanilla bean, Birthday cake mashup, Strawberry lemonade and Sea salt caramel. Sea salt caramel was hands down my favorite!
There's more in downtown Valparaiso than cupcakes, though that's reason enough to stop there in my opinion.
Sharon was very excited that the doors were open to the Memorial Opera House. We spoke to the stage crew manager and his assistant who were setting up for that evening's performance. No one beats theater people for enthusiasm, as Katrina would tell you. She herself is getting reacquainted with stage crew work on a local production of "An Inspector Calls" in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Next door to the Memorial Opera House is the Porter County Museum, a small but delightful museum housed in the former jail and sheriff's residence. Better work out before arriving, entrance is free but the jail door is heavy!
Donations are gladly accepted and I was happy to oblige when I saw all the work they've put in to bringing their collections to life and displaying them in an engaging manner.
|Goofing off in the gift shop|
On the first floor my favorite exhibit was "Life in the Hour Glass". The Hour Glass is a historic house built in 1934 by Professor O.D. Frank in Ogden Dunes not far from where Sharon and I took our Dune Succession hike and where . Sharon said Sherry would love this display, and I got to agree it's a pretty close model to how both Sherry and I present our blog posts after our nature wanderings.
Professor Frank was a student of the father of North American ecology, Henry Chandler Cowles. More on him later when I talk about our Cowles Bog hike. The Hour Glass was where Professor Frank conducted weekly learning sessions for adults and children about the ecology of the dunes. Currently a museum, the Hour Glass houses local historical items and showcases local artists. Next time I'm swinging through the area I might give it a look!
My favorite exhibit on the second floor highlighted the contributions of women to the history of Porter County. One such notable was cartoonist Dale Messick who lived in the area, as well as in other Illinois and Indiana locations over the years, and broke ground with her female reporter in comic strips in the 1940's. Brenda went on incredible adventures and while she swooned over her mystery man she always got herself out of her own fixes and solved her own problems.
Another lady of note was one of the past presidents of NOW, but I can't find the picture I took and research isn't helping me uncover her name. Speaking of the National Organization for Women....did you know that there are 100 cases that have been filed in opposition to the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act? See who the plaintiffs are here and follow the link here to send an emessage to President Obama confirming that you support all women having access to full reproductive healthcare regardless of their employers' religious beliefs. Want to know all the sides of the debate? Check out this link to the New York Times on the topic.
Before we hit the museums and the cupcake shop we stopped at Ogden Gardens to eat our picnic lunch. Can't go to a cupcake shop on an empty stomach. Imagine the trouble I would have gotten into then!
Valparaiso was also home to Orville Redenbacher. Somehow we missed this fun fact until after we had left. Sharon stopped back in town on her way back to Tennessee and got the photo op that I missed. Can you believe that the two of us walked past this bench and all we saw was the woman sitting there on her cell phone in the red dress and shoes? Popcorn royalty blasphemy!
|Sharon and Orville|
One more reminder about Domestic Violence Awareness Month - women suffering from domestic violence are not only affected physically and emotionally, but financially as well. Three quarters of women in abusive relationships report staying with their abuser longer for financial reasons, not only loss of financial support from the abuser and the cost of a second household, but sometimes loss of their own income as well. From the NOW website: