Day 3: November 24, 2009
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From the Luna Cafe, I picked up I-270 to I-70 to Vandalia for an overnight at another favorite. I know I've posted an interior view before but not of this king setup with dual recliner -- $45 for old folks like me. The next-door restaurant and lounge has closed and looks as if it may be on the way to being demolished or maybe seriously remodeled. Some former employees have opened up a place in the Day's Inn across the expressway where I had dinner and just about every fast food place you can think of is within sight of Jay's parking lot.

A nice surprise was finding Willy's Drive-In just a couple of blocks behind Jay's. I was kind of embarrassed at not knowing about this place which had obviously been around awhile until the waitress explained that it had just been reopened a couple of years ago after sitting empty for more than a decade. The place was rather busy when I arrived but was empty by the time I finished my omelet. Maybe they had to go to work.

I enjoy the old statehouse and made my third or fourth visit today. I'd barely noticed the cast iron stoves before even though they are in every room including four in the senate and six in the house of representatives. Today I learned that most are reproductions but not all. Of the two original stoves, the one in the auditor's office was used in making the reproductions such as the one in the supreme court chambers.

Downtown Vandalia is getting a real face lift with new paving and sidewalks. The town should look great come spring. During the construction, special instructions, shown in the last picture, are provided for getting to the capitol although they look to be a bit difficult to follow. Actually, you can park on either side of the capitol and walk right in.

I also revisited the Fayette County Museum near the old capitol but photos aren't permitted inside and I didn't think to take any outside today. At the recently opened National Road Interpretive Center, an exterior shot is all I got since the center is open only Wednesday through Saturday. At the Fayette County Museum, I learned that the Interpretive Center has just received a $100,000 grant so should be even better when I next drive through town on the new pavement.

The desk clerk at Jay's told me that plans were progressing to reopen The Depot Restaurant, victim of a September, 2007, fire and the second picture shows evidence of that. Vandalia is a very happening place.

Yep, I've stopped at this bridge west of Greenup before but I think the big set of information panels is new. Nicely done, it tells of the various bridges at this location, construction of the current bridge, and the National Road itself.

In Greenup, it was no surprise that the Cumberland County Museum was closed. A sign on the door says they're open Thursday through Sunday through the winter. And the long row of balconies wasn't a surprise either. They are a big part of Greenup's appeal. But, on the other side of the street: big surprise. The Candy Kitchen was open! It had been closed on my previous passes through town and I was ready to check it out.

The Candy Kitchen is even better than I imagined. There's a working soda fountain with ice cream made on premises. Candy, too. Hand dipped chocolates and killer fudge. I bought some fudge and a pair of persimmon cookies. I'd never had persimmon cookies before but the one I nibbled my way through while writing this was delicious. Plus the Kitchen serves lunch and dinner with breakfast possibly being added before long.

According to a back-of-the-menu history, the building dates from around 1870 and has been a post office, harness shop, and several other things. It became the Candy Kitchen in 1924 when Thomas and Angela Loomis moved their confectionary into it. They closed the successful business in 1960 and the building sat empty for thirty-seven years until Wayne & Tina Swim restored and reopened it in 2002. For reasons unknown to me, it closed in 2005 but reopened in August of 2008 and seems to be going strong. It's a cliché but this place is truly a step back in time. Original counters, chairs, ceiling fans, and more. Specials are written on the mirrors along the wall just like the Loomises did. In fact, one mirror's contents still contains a come on from 1960: "Hot Fudge Sundae 20¢, with nuts 25¢". I got some fudge and those persimmon cookies to take with me but I had to have something from that fountain. That empty glass near the right edge of the second picture used to be this.

I don't recall seeing the restored station in Casey before. The liquid in the jug by the front door looks kind of like anti-freeze or it could be some sort of witches brew connected with the stack of skulls in the window.

There are quite a few abandoned brick sections just west of the Illinois-Indiana line. This one is just west of Marshall. The third picture is a weak attempt to continue that theme from yesterday on Sixty-Six.

This is the place in Marshall where that memory card fell apart in February of 2008. To day I tried the recommended pizza and agree it's quite good. Not the best I've ever had but certainly good enough to recommend and all memory cards survived. The pictures were taken post-pizza at 3:45 when the sky was darkening and the street lights were coming on. Things had been gray all day but the only rain had been a very light drizzle early in the morning. I would drive through a brief shower as I passed Terre Haute but by then I was on the expressway. I'd left US-40 for I-70 where the two cross east of Marshall. About twenty miles beyond Terre Haute, I began having second thoughts about my chosen route as things slowed to a crawl and the occasional dead stop. The reason, I learned 2 1/2 miles later, was a small road crew that had a few yards of the right hand lane blocked. Once past the blockage, I was free to scurry across Indiana and I did.

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