The Bearded Blog - Santa Claus, Indiana

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If you’re planning a family trip to the Santa Claus area, choose a place to stay that continues the family-friendly, Christmas theme.

The closest hotel to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is Santa’s Lodge. Enter a lobby filled with antique Christmas decorations and a sleigh and take advantage of their on-site restaurant and both indoor and outdoor pools.

Right next door to Holiday World is Lake Rudolph RV Resort & Campground. Here your family can enjoy all the fun activities and Santa’s Splash Down WaterPark. Lodging choices includes several rental RV and cabin options. Or camp out down the road at Lincoln State Park. Find family rental cabins, campsites, and more.

Santa’s Lakeside Cottages is just two minutes from Holiday World and is loved for its beautifully kept cottages which surround a scenic lake, a playground called Elf Park and an outdoor pool. The cottages are fully furnished and sleep 6 - 10, so your whole family can stay together.

If you’re looking for a home away from home experience, there is no shortage of options. NorthStar Vacation Rentals offers two units directly across from Holiday World. Silent Night Vacation Rentals is nearby and can sleep up to 12 comfortably. “Adorable,” “Roomy,” and “Relaxing,” are words visitors have used when reviewing the Holiday Guest House Suites, offering two great hide-a-ways that show off the owner’s artistic talent.

Rolling Hills Vacation Home offers a private two-story home with a wood-burning fire place and two covered porches, nestled in scenic hills, just down the road from Holiday World. Wilmes Farmhouse is a peaceful, renovated, and fully furnished home in the country, which is just a few minutes from the theme park. Find out more about how a vacation rental is like a home away from home here.

Check out all the lodging opportunities here.

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Spending quality time together is a major priority in the lives of Iowa residents Ron and Marilou. Every year, the couple surprises their family with a fun-filled vacation that allows for bonding and creating everlasting memories. I initially spoke to them during late summer and had the opportunity to meet them when they made the drive to Santa Claus, Indiana, as they were scouting locations for their 2015 trip.

We chatted about all of the things they could do as a group, places to eat, and where to stay. They were very intrigued by Santa’s Cottage’s and thought it would be a great place to check out next. Definitely impressed with the family-owned property (they loved the fact that all of the family members could be next door to each other), they booked enough cottages for their 20-plus family, right on the spot.


Next they went to Holiday World, where Mike, the park’s sales director, took them on a tour. They got the rundown on all of the great amenities that the park is known for: free parking, discounted group tickets, meal options, and so much more.

When the couple returned to the Visitors Bureau office, Marilou exclaimed, “Oh, I’ve never seen anything like Holiday World before. It’s so big and it’s incredibly clean.  And let me tell you, Mike, who took us on our tour, was the nicest person. He even bought us lunch at the park, can you believe that?”

I could actually. The entire town is full of kind-hearted people who really do take pride in our visitor’s experiences.


There was one more person I wanted to introduce to Ron and Marilou before they called it a day. We stopped by the Santa Claus Christmas Store where they got some one-on-one time with Santa himself.

Santa was ecstatic about the family’s upcoming trip and he filled them on all of the great things they should do during their stay. He included the Lincoln parks, Santa’s Stables, and shopping on the must-do list. 


On Christmas morning, all was revealed to Ron and Marilou’s children and grandchildren, when they surprised their family with the news that they would be traveling to Santa Claus, Indiana, for their next trip. She emailed me a few days later to say that everyone was so excited and that they were looking forward to all the things they could do as a family.

Looking for ideas for your next family reunion? Call us at (888) 444-9252 or email us for more information. The Visitors Bureau is happy to provide sample itineraries, suggestions for group lodging, and more.

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Guest post by Paula Alexander of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Who doesn't love pies? Even though there is no reference to Abraham Lincoln's favorite pie, I like to think he enjoyed this tasty dessert!

While researching the topic for any reference to a food preference I came across this quote from Sally Lincoln. "Abe was a moderate eater and I now have no remembrance of his special dish; he sat down and ate what was set before him making no complaint."

According to some references he was partial to fruit. Several wild berries and fruit trees were growing in the wilderness of Indiana when he was growing up. At his home in Springfield he had a garden with apple trees and currant bushes. And, Lincoln's inaugural luncheon menu consisted of mock turtle soup, corned beef and cabbage, parsley potatoes, blackberry pie and coffee. (Source; The American Heritage Cookbook, 1964).

So, maybe, his favorite pie was some kind of fruit pie. What we do know is that he liked his wife, Mary's, white almond cake.

Mary Lincoln's main homemaking interest appeared to be cooking, especially making sweets. The cookbooks she purchased after getting married are in the Presidential library in Springfield. Her white almond cake was one of Mr. Lincoln's favorite desserts. She had brought the recipe from her favorite bakery in Lexington, Kentucky. Mary baked the white cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were courting, as a Springfield housewife, and when she was First Lady. Today, there are many versions of it, including the one listed below.

Enjoy your pie today on Pie Day, and then on Cake Day, November 26th, try Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake. Don't miss out on dessert!

Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake
(Recipe from Lincoln's Table by Donna D. McCreary was adapted by Janice Cooke Newman)

1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectionary sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top. A basic white frosting sprinkled with almonds was also popular.

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