A March 2003 trip
to Evansville by Coach Bear
Quote: Evansville is often called the River City because of its location along the Ohio River. This has led to a rich history and the development of a unique community.
This city was founded in 1812 as a ferry boat landing across the Ohio River. It became the terminus of the failed Wabash and Erie Canal (an attempt to link Lake Erie to the Ohio River) in 1853. The early 1900s saw an influx of German immigrants who helped to change the city from furniture and cigar manufacturing to a railroad (and eventually refrigerator and plastic) industry mainstay. Now, the riverfront is a major tourist area. There are two universities in town. Tourism is soaring because of the festivals and convention opportunities found in the city.
My wife and I spent a long weekend in Evansville on a business trip and found ourselves enmeshed into the culture of the community. The restaurants are varied and reflect the history of the area. Some of them have existed more than 100 years. Others reflect historical aspects of the community. The city has developed a wonderful complex for convention opportunities. And the riverfront still exists as an attraction for all tourists.
It does not matter the type of activity that you might desire, you can find your favorite attraction in town or nearby.
I believe that it is best to drive into the city. You can walk along Main Street and along the riverfront area, but most activities seem to be a good distance from each other.
Restaurant | "Gerst Bavarian Haus"
My wife and I were really hungry when we arrived at the restaurant. We found that it is difficult to find a place to eat on weekends in Evansville unless you arrive before 5pm. The line at the Gerst Haus was short, and we wanted to eat some of the traditional German food that can be found at the restaurant. After we were seated, we ordered a beer from the extensive list. There are more than 25 beers on tap, and more than 120 brands of bottled beer served at the Gerst Haus. My wife had a German heffeweis beer, while I ordered a Guinness. I had the Gerst Oyster Rolls as an appetizer. These have been the house specialty since 1890. Anna ordered the Schweine Scnitzel, while I enjoyed a Bavarian combination that included veal, pork, and beef. The meals were served with salads and side dishes. There was so much food that we could not eat all of it. The waitress was attentive to our needs and the food was delicious.
Thankfully we arrived when we did, as the waiting line for seating became more than one hour in length by the time we finished our meal. I did not see reservations for anyone, only names taken at the door. It is my understanding that this restaurant is just as busy daily for lunch and for dinner. The next time that we travel to Evansville, we will definitely return to the Gerst Haus.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2003
Gerstt Bavarian Haus
2100 W Franklin Street
Evansville, Indiana 47712
We drove down Highway 2 to Warrenton, about 10 miles outside of Evansville. The restaurant was located on the side of the road. The parking lot, although ample, was filled by 5:30pm. We had to wait in a line that extended halfway around the building just to place our names on a waiting list to be seated. Then, we had a wait of about 90 minutes. This restaurant is really popular!
The wait was worthwhile, though. Once we entered the building, our thoughts were transported to the mid-1800s. The decor of the interior showed the logs that give this establishment its name. The walls were lined with trophy animal souvenirs. Finally we were seated. Those with groups of three or more were served family style. Others were served a la Carte. The family meal included the half fried chicken meal (for which the restaurant is famed), a choice of either roast beef or ham, and several vegetables (including mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans or green peas, carrots, squash caserole, and tomatoes). There was also a serving of a delicious fresh-baked bread. A non-alcoholic drink was included in the meal. Beer, wine, and cocktails were available on request for a modest additional price. I eagerly dug into the food as soon as it arrived, as my appetite had really become quite strong by the time we were finally seated. When we were finally finished with our meal, we were offered dessert. Even though I had been extremely hungry, I had filled myself with so much food that I could eat no more.
I have mixed feelings about the Log Inn. The idea of eating in the same location that once served Abraham Lincoln appeals to my love of history. However, as I age, I find myself less tolerant of waiting more than a few minutes for a meal. Those wishing to experience this place need to arrive early so as to get the best opportunity to be seated promptly. Otherwise, they need to be prepared for a long wait.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2003
The Log Inn
R. R. 2
Restaurant | "Stoll's Country Inn "
Apparently, one month in business had already earned Stoll’s a reputation for delicious food and good service. We parked in an over-crowded lot and stood in a line just to place our names on the waiting list. The hostess informed us that there would be a wait of about one hour for a seat. I would normally have become impatient with the wait, but there was a wonderful gift shop in the building that had many Amish-crafted items available for purchase. Anna and I ambled through the gift shop looking at the quilts, candles, jars of jelly, wooden art pieces, and other crafts. We spent about $50 buying things that caught our interest. By the time that I took these items to the car and returned inside, we only had a short wait for the table to become available.
We noticed other customers in the restaurant who had the appearance of complete satisfaction on their faces and knew that we had made a wise decision in coming to Stoll’s. The waitress arrived and took our order. She was dressed in the same manner that Kirstie Alley was dressed in the movie For Richer or Poorer (I cannot remember the name of the garment). We were offered our choice of a salad bar or an order from the menu. The salad bar had fresh homemade salads made in the restaurant and a choice of soups: beef noodle, ham and bean, beef vegetable, tomato and macaroni, vegetarian vegetable, chili, chicken noodle, tomato, and chicken and rice. The menu included selections of chicken, beef, fish, or ham. I chose the country ham with two vegetables. Anna wanted the soup and salad bar. Both selections were wise because I was soon brought a plate of meat and vegetables that could be considered some of the best that I ever was given. What a great feast we had!
Fresh pies and cakes were offered to us for dessert, but I could only down a strong cup of coffee to calm my over-stuffed stomach. Wow! It seems that I overeat when I go out to restaurants like this. Regardless, we left Stoll’s very happily filled. After the great meal and wonderful souvenirs that we purchased, it was easy to understand why the waiting line existed.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 15, 2003
Stoll's Country Inn South
19820 Castle Creek Drive
Evansville, Indiana 47725
These are the big questions which have preoccupied scientists and philosophers and backyard sky watchers when we peer up at the twinkling stars overhead. During the trip my wife and I took to Evansville we were able to view the newest sky show available in the planetarium at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science. Using the star projector, special effects and computer animation, the show, "In Search of New Worlds," helps answer those questions. When viewing the show, we saw a comprehensive presentation that looked at the search for extrasolar planets. This 30-minute planetarium program examines events that have changed our understanding of the size and content of our solar system. The cost of the program was $3.
Also, while we were in the museum we were able to view the Evansville Museum Transportation Center. This portion of the museum had a cost of $2 (children under 12 were free). Through the use of historic vehicles, vignettes and dioramas, this part of the museum offered a view of transportation in Southern Indiana in the latter part of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. We joined other visitors who entered River/Rail Hall, which is divided into four distinct areas. In one of these areas, early river travel and the arrival of the iron horse to the Tri-State area has been interpreted. Highlights of this exhibit include an interactive pilot house of a riverboat, where we were able to turn the wheel and sound the whistle as we viewed a photomural of Evansville’s late 19th century waterfront; a CD-ROM program that put us in charge of a train; and a turn-of-the-century waiting room that invited visitors to step outside and board the Museum’s historic railroad.
We ran out of time for further exploration of this fantastic new addition to the Evansville area, so we were unable to see the many other exhibits. We hope to return in the near future so that we can look further at the art and history of the area.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 8, 2003
Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science
411 SouthEast Riverside Drive
Evansville, Indiana 47713