Mud Pike Baptist Church and Cemetery

We were off on another daytrip in south east Indiana. We did have a couple of specific destinations, but as usual we did enjoy just coming upon interesting sights. One of these surprises was the Mud Pike Baptist Church and Cemetery which we came upon on, you guessed it, East Mud Pike Road. The church is roughly equidistant from Napoleon and Osgood, Indiana, both on US Highway 421, aka Michigan Road.

Pretty white church edifice

Remounted bell and one side of the cemetery

Notice the “Weeping Willow” tree in Mary’s tombstone

The grave of thirty two year old Sarah, passed in 1878

Grave of John Blackmore, Charter Member and church land donor

The bell remounted

Originally Delaware Baptist started in 1842 with 12 members, and Charter Member John Blackmore donated the ground for the church in 1844. In 1911 the bell was mounted in the belfry of the structure. A  fire devastated the church in 1996, resulting in the bell crashing to the floor. It now is mounted in a place of honor next to the flagpole and bench. The church was renamed Mud Pike Baptist Church in 1938, and it celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2017.

Finks Road stone arch bridge

Ripley County, Indiana is allegedly home to 11 stone arch bridges. The Fink Road bridge spans a branch of Laughery Creek, one of the main waterways in the county. This is a smaller single arch bridge that is not really obvious from the road.

Hard to see the stone arch through the vegetation

All you see are guardrails

Courtesy by Anthony Dillon

Stonework in B&W

This bridge was probably built around 1900 and refurbished in 1993. This turn of the century time frame saw many stone arch bridges constructed. The Fink Road Bridge, while only 60 feet long, has an unusual full 19 feet wide two lane spacing. It shows the high degree of craftsmanship typical of the times.


National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association

The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) began in 1933 as an association pursuing the active continued use and appreciation of the history of muzzle loading firearms. The Association headquarters are located in a beautiful valley in southern Indiana, Ripley County, next to the village of Friendship. Twice a year, June and September, the valley echoes with hundreds of distinctive sounding black powder gunshot reports. Thousands of men, women and youths register and compete in a wide variety of contests and events.

Range targets, shooting stands also visible.

A view across the valley






A friend of mine from High School

The NMLRA has grown tremendously over the decades. When I first came to the shoot with my dad back in 1958 you could stand in the middle of the campground, throw a rock and not hit anyone. Now twice a year hundreds of campers pull into the grounds, in addition to many trailers that remain here year round. The whole valley fills, not only with participants in the shoots, but also two separate and unrelated large flea markets.

A couple of wilderness style forts on the primitive side of the grounds

Where you can buy, sell, trade everything from Kentucky rifles to buckskin trousers to powder horns

A bit of history

Friendship NMLRA shoots are a wonderful piece of Americana, filled with characters of all kinds, history buffs, and craftsmanship you would not expect to still exist. Yes, you can find gunmakers working on fine rifles and pistols. You can also watch impressive feats of marksmanship, both with black powder firearms, bows and arrows, tomahawks and other wilderness weapons. We were there just before the Fall Shoot began.


Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre celebrates 50 years of entertainment excellence.

The year was 1973. Those three massive eye catching  Pyramids had just been constructed on the then far northwest side of Indianapolis. A new music and theater venue named Beef & Boards had just opened. It offered a delicious meal prior to the entertainment show of the evening. Thus began a wildly successful run that continues today, 50 years later.

Come celebrate with the Stark family

Fort Wayne native Douglas E. Stark patronized the opening show, Tom Jones, and was mesmerized by the venue. His dream came true in 1980 when Stark bought Beef & Boards with a business partner, Bob Zehr. Stark recently observed “At the time it offered the most stability that I could have as an actor and director to fulfill my artistic need-and at the same time provide the stability that’s necessary for raising a family.” That family is now, with Douglas, operating Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

The 2023 season will celebrate 50 years of excellence in the theater business. The lineup of shows is quite frankly remarkable. It opens with the classic board game mystery Clue, one of three debuts this season. Wonderful musicals, clever comedies and theater classics make for a must see season.

The Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre 50th Anniversary season lineup

Clue                                                               Dec. 28, 2022 – Feb. 5, 2023 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Footloose                                                   Feb. 9 – March 26
An American in Paris                           March 31 – May 15 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast      May 18 – July 9
Sophisticated Ladies                           July 13 – Aug. 20
Grumpy Old Men The Musical      Aug. 24 – Oct. 1 (Beef & Boards Debut)
Joseph -Dreamcoat                             Oct. 5 – Nov. 19
White Christmas                                   Nov. 24 – Dec. 31

The show that brought more people through its doors than any other: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from Oct. 5 through Nov. 19, 2023.

The year long celebration of 50 years at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre will be an event that you should become a part of. Each and every show has appeal to all and provides an immense variety of entertainment options. Do not miss any of these fabulous performances. Bring your desire for a filling dinner and hunger for professional entertainment. You won’t be disappointed. All the information you need is at the Beef & Boards website.

A lovely four-span stone arch bridge

Ripley County Indiana is a scenic land of rolling hills, wooded tracts interspersed with farming enterprises. Amongst the unique sites include a wonderful stone arch bridge just outside the tiny village of Friendship. This bridge was constructed in 1909 on the Olean Road where the road crosses Raccoon Creek.

From a distance

The approach to the bridge

Nearly perfect stonework

Side view of the stone work arches

The stonework on the four arches is really a stone mason’s dream. This bridge has spans over 20 feet. The deck is nearly 15 feet wide over the 103 foot length. Stone arch bridges were a very common design for many rural stream and river and there are eleven still standing in Ripley County alone, according to records.

Raccoon Creek is typical of southern Indiana hill country drainage streams. Usually running, it can go dry in droughts. The bubbling sound of the passing of the water adds to the serenity of this environment.


Historic Miller Cemetery

Just a few miles west of Shelbyville in central Indiana, on a road aptly named Cemetery Road, you’ll come across a well-kept and decent sized rural cemetery. Miller Cemetery has roots back in the early 1800’s.

Proud flag and pure white lettering

Corn and soybean fields beyond the graves

Equipment shed, and yes, an outhouse

Civil War Veteran of CO.K, 42nd IND. INF




Sad record of the death of a very young wife

A member of the Odd Fellows, symbolized in the 3 chain links

According to the Cemetery Facebook page farm neighbors formed a loosely knit organization in 1926 for the purpose of upkeep and administration of the grounds. The volunteers still perform their loving tasks. This is one of the best manicured country graveyards you will find.

“Escape to Margaritaville” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Miguel in Island Wear

As soon as you walk into the Beef & Boards lobby for Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville you can feel the excitement. There is a large photo op banner waiting for you to capture that perfect memory shot. The B&B staff waiting to greet you and escort you to your table are all decked out in island wear. You know, those wild flowered/palm tree printed shirts. Even House Manager Miguel Jardon greeted us sporting a marvelous island print suit. Pre-show island music also adds to the anticipation of an entertainment filled evening of music and hilarity. Escape to Margaritaville is truly a slice of musical paradise and a great way to end the summer.

Tully on the island bar (photo B&B media)

Both long time and new Jimmy Buffett fans aka “Parrot Heads” will love this energetic production. From a B&B press release: “This show is a musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics including “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and many more.” Also listed are the book authors Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley.

Brick and Tammy in a rousing version of “Cheeseburger in Paradise”

The story takes place on an unnamed Caribbean island. The well worn resort hosts week long tour groups and the resort staff, well, tries to put up with their guests. Fireworks erupt when two gals from Cincinnati show up, one planning to be married in a week, the other an all work no play environmentalist. The bartender Brick (Brett Mutter), likes the soon to be married Tammy (Hannah Elizabeth Boswell), and singer/songwriter Tully (Kyle Southern)  sets his sights on Rachel (Amanda Tong) the environmentalist.

Tully and Brick sing “Five O’Clock Somewhere”

The set design is the mastermind of Michael Layton, including the wonderful backscreen that displays both rhythmic ocean waves and fiery volcano lava. Terry Woods directs the orchestra, Travis Grant designs wigs and costumes. Ron Morgan’s choreography is stunning, and Douglas E. Stark directs with a flair for professional theater quality often missing in some venues.

Tully teaches Rachel how to play the guitar via the song “Three Chords”

The cast of Margaritaville work together seamlessly. Kyle Southern and Amanda Tong realistically develop their chemistry as the show progresses. You have to enjoy Brett Mutter and Hannah Elizabeth Boswell as they work through her impending marriage standing in the way of their growing attraction. Her fiancé makes it very easy for you to love to hate him. Logan Moore plays Chad as a jerk flawlessly. Ray Gleaves successfully plays two roles.

“Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” J.D. sings while trying to woo Marley

Jamal singing “Volcano”

Rachael Bibbs makes her debut at B&B playing the part of Marley, the manager of the resort. In addition to her managerial duties, she has to act in somewhat of a den mother role for guests and staff. B&B veteran and one of this venue’s favorites, Jeff Stockberger fills the role of local drunk J.D.  Always seen with a longneck in his hand, Stockberger shines as usual. His grasp of comedy including perfect comedic timing makes his performance a key part of the success of this show.

To purchase tickets online, visit Tickets are also available by calling the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays.

The reconstructed 1885 Cedar Ford Covered Bridge

This beautiful Kennedy Brothers bridge started its life in 1885 by spanning Little Blue River northeast of Shelbyville, Indiana. In 1975, instead of demolishing the bridge to make way for a modern bridge, Cedar Ford was relocated to the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

Beautiful white reconstructed bridge




The bridge remained at the fairgrounds for several years and was a great addition to the historic fairgrounds. However, someone raised a liability issue, and unfortunately the fair had the bridge dismantled, sold it to a private individual and then it was stored unprotected for years. So much for “historic” Shelby County Fairgrounds.

One of the abutments

Kennedy Bros trademark scroll work









A Monroe County, Indiana engineer named Jim Barker got ahold of the useable parts and incorporated them into the design of the fully authentic covered bridge. According to Bridge Hunter website the bridge was reconstructed at “the site of the Millikan/Milligan/McMillan/Williams Covered Bridge that was destroyed by an arson fire in 1976. Remnants of the original abutments of that bridge can be seen just West of the current bridge. Although that bridge wasn’t a Kennedy built span, there were at least two of them that once existed in Monroe County.”

Typical notched connection joint

The Burr-Arch truss






This reconstruction took place in 2019 with as many of the original members as were structurally sound. New materials were faithfully reproduced when required to finish the structure. This bridge is a Kennedy Brothers Burr-arch truss design typical of Kennedy bridges in Indiana. It spans Bean Blossom Creek on Old Maple Grove Road north of Bloomington.

Looks, sounds and smells like it did in 1885

The smell of freshly sawn lumber is perhaps the most remarkable feature of this marvelous rebuild. That’s right, when we walked across the deck of the 127 foot long span, you could clearly smell the clean scent of newly sawn lumber. You can’t help but realize that that fragrance is what the first users of the bridges encountered as they crossed the first time.