Since my last post, I have been fortunate enough to experience a couple busy, fun-filled weeks exploring the ins-and-outs of South Bend Mishawaka. As a visitor to South Bend, the Museums at Washington & Chapin are a must-see! I found myself in complete awe as I wandered through the Center for History and Oliver Mansion. It is amazing to think of all of the history the strikingly beautiful mansion holds. It is uncommon in this day and age to find a museum as preserved and detailed as the home of the Oliver Family. The fact that the kitchen holds the same spices it used to, and Mr. Oliver’s closet is still home to the shoes and hats that he wore well over 100 years ago is beyond fascinating. This tour would not have been nearly as interesting if not for our guide, Ken, who proved to be a never-ending wealth of knowledge. He could provide information well beyond any textbook or online source, and drew such a vivid, detailed picture within my mind throughout the tour that sincerely made the overall experience unforgettable.
Located right next to the Center for History is the popular Studebaker National Museum. The exhibits of all the different cars were amazing on their own, but the history behind it is what makes this museum extra-special to South Bend. It brings back the history of the Studebaker factory and the success of a simpler time. You do not have to be a history buff to realize how remarkable it is that the carriage Abraham Lincoln took to the Ford Theatre the night of his assassination is parked alongside three other presidents’ carriages – all within the walls of the Studebaker National Museum, right downtown.
The history that occupies that small amount of land truly gave me the chills. It is not every day you feel as if you have travelled back in time to the bustling days of South Bend in the 1800-1900s.
Not more than a mile away from the museums, I stumbled upon another local favorite. Fiddler’s Hearth Public House is tucked away on Main Street, but may as well be located in a village off of an Ireland coast. It is not just the unique, authentic atmosphere that is felt from the moment you walk in that makes it worthwhile, but the food that creates the perfect Celtic ambiance. The Fiddler’s Hearth menu is full of Irish classics like fish n’ chips wrapped in the South Bend Tribune (delicious) and the Molly Malone stew filled with fresh seafood. After speaking with co-owner, Terry Meehan, about all the fascinating artifacts that line the walls, it was clear what a treasure this place is to South Bend. I cannot wait to go there again to hear the live music!
With the last few weeks I have left in South Bend Mishawaka, I’m eagerly looking forward to exploring more of the cities and discovering more local favorite restaurants and activities! Stay tuned!