Located 140 mi/225 km north of Indianapolis and home of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, is a pleasant town in a pleasant setting.
Be sure to tour the Notre Dame campus, where attractions range from the Log Chapel to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a replica of the shrine in Lourdes, France.
There's a good art museum and, on the library overlooking the football stadium, a large mosaic of Christ that students call "Touchdown Jesus." (If you hope to attend a Fighting Irish football game while in town, you may want to ask for the blessing of Touchdown Jesus: Tickets are extremely hard to come by.)
The College Football Hall of Fame is located in South Bend, and it's good fun even if you're not a gridiron enthusiast. Exhibits look at some unusual aspects of the game, such as the equipment used and the way coaches motivate players. The hall of fame itself includes videos of many of the inductees in action. http://www.collegefootball.org.
Nearby, visit Copshaholm (also known as the Oliver Mansion), a 38-room house built in 1895. It's beautifully furnished with original pieces and ringed by more than 2 acres/1 hectare of formal gardens. Purchase Copshaholm tickets through the Northern Indiana Center for History. The mansion is on the grounds of the center, which also has nine galleries chronicling the area's development. In the basement, a small, interactive museum will entertain children.
If you have time, tour the Studebaker National Museum and view the historic-vehicle collection, both horse-drawn and automotive (http://www.studebakermuseum.org). If possible, have dinner at Tippecanoe Place, which was once the luxurious Studebaker residence. For sweet treats, try the South Bend Chocolate Company's Chocolate Cafe, next to the Football Hall of Fame.
Activities in St. Patrick's County Park change with the seasons. You can enjoy maple-syrup tours in the spring; special entertainment in the amphitheater in the summer, including the August Blues and Ribs Fest; a Sorghum Festival and hay rides in the fall; and cross-country skiing and snow tubing in the winter. http://www.sjcparks.org.
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