ANGOLA, Ind. (WTHR) — Our Chuck's Christmas Adventure was not long, and we wanted to capture some great Christmas stories, fun and food in a short time.
Producer Megan Simpson, photographer Scott Graber and I knew we wanted to go to Pokagon State Park but also discovered some holiday fun in Steuben County. Some of that joy was found on the beautiful town square in Angola. Home to Trine University, Angola has been around since 1838 and boasts a vibrant downtown that is the regional center for shopping and dining. We found out why when we visited some of the merchants downtown.
Libby and Joe Hysong have made a mark on downtown Angola. Along with the star of their businesses, their dog Spoke, the Hysongs own Libby's, (a fashionable boutique), Bike and Soul and Monument Pizza. All of their businesses are on the Town Square and all of them are part of the fabric of the town.
They Hysongs have been married 15 years and work their businesses just steps from each other. Libby and her staff specialize in boutique wear from pajamas and evening dresses to soap and makeup.
Joe is right next door but sometimes hits the road. His bike store is the center of the bike culture in the area and if he isn't showing the latest brand of bike to a customer, he is leading scenic bike rides around the 101 lakes that dot the county.
Spoke is the real star of these businesses. He greets customers in both shops and is always ready for a hug or a scratch behind the ears. The Hysong's businesses have a small town feel but boast inventory like you would see in any major city boutique or cyclery store. They keep the downtown area vibrant and relevant to townspeople and visitors who make up part of the county's lake culture.
We also stopped by the Cameron Hospital Christmas Snow Village.
Last year over 1,500 people visited this unique presentation of Christmas collectibles. The breathtaking display is out for visitors to view until the New Year. It took 500 volunteer man-hours to piece the display together.
Lunch was at the historic Potowatomi Inn on Lake James, one of the states' largest lakes. The Inn opened in 1927 and I loved the view of the lake while enjoying a salad and some of the best chili I have ever eaten.
The reason we came to Pokagon though was the historic refrigerated toboggan slide, a must visit for every Hoosier and one of only two refrigerated slides in the Midwest. It didn't disappoint our crew.
Full disclosure, I am nursing some back and shoulder injuries from a car accident so I didn't ride, but our producer Megan and photographer Scott were joined by four Trine University students, Katie, Calvin, Michael and Alex. Katie and Calvin are from the Indy area. The brave toboggan riders hit the icy track at 35 miles per hour, screaming down a quarter mile track. Everyone loved the rides and wanted to keep riding again! With or without snow, the run is open Friday through Sunday from the day after Thanksgiving through February. Starting Dec. 21, the run begins its winter break hours, where it will be open every day except Christmas. This is the kind of ride that will leave memories forever for your family. In fact, the slide got its start in 1935 when the Civilian Conservation Corps built this one of a kind memory maker.