Festival Banner hung above the main street in downtown Rockville, Indiana

This year's adventure was the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County, Indiana. We arrived on Thursday, Oct. 9, and rendezvoused at the Wilkins Mill Guest House, which we had rented for the weekend.

Wilkins Bridge guesthouse located next to the Wilkins Mill Covered Bridge

As usual, we ate well:

We ate most breakfasts at a table in the main room of the guesthouse. We ate dinners at a table on the back porch.

Here are Bob, Ann, Kathy, and Maija looking a little weary.

Bob, Ann, Kathy, and Maija around the table in the main room of the Wilkins Mill Guesthouse

Al and Molly Reko brought their very-well-behaved dog Melody and Al's accordian. Al plays with Finn Hall, a group of musicians who play music of the Finnish-American communities from the 1800s to the mid 19th century. Al's playing and singing can also be heard on a Smithsonian Folkways record, Deeper Polka.

In this picture Molly and Al are sitting in the main room of the guesthouse. The owners have the house filled with lots of things. There are pictures hung on the walls. There's a organ behind Molly that no one could figure out how to operate. The kitchen was so filled with various paraphenalia so that it was hard to find any workspace.

Molly and Al Reko in the main room of the Wilkins Bridge Guesthouse

Friday morning we went into Rockville and all, except Molly and Al, took a bus tour of a sample of the Covered Bridges. Our first stop was the Narrows Bridge, which was built over Sugar Creek in 1882. We learned that the reason for building covered bridges was to protect the structure of the bridge from the weather, not to provide people and horses with shelter. The bridges in Parke County were generally suspended from arches cut from large poplar trees. The entrances to the bridges resembled barn doors so as not to stress out the horses entering them.

Ann, Gail, Bob, and Bill standing in front of the Narrows Bridge.

Ann Zink, Gail Holm, Bob Bower, and Bill Burke standing in front of the Narrows Bridge

Saturday morning we passed though the traffic jams entering Rockville and headed south to see the historic Bridgeton Mill. The miller explained the history of the mill and how he was working to restore it to a healthy and productive status. We learned that in the past wheat had been repeatedly passed through the roller mill until little was left except starch and then bleach was added to that to form bleached flour. The miller's motto: Choose white bread and soon be dead; eat whole wheat and stay on your feet.

Here are Gail, Ann, and Bob at the mill. Lots of other people there too.

Gail Holm & Ann and Bob Zink at the red-painted Bridgeton Mill

While most went searching for the Ernie Pyle Memorial and Museum, the Bowers and the Holms headed for the deeply shaded gorges of Turkey Run State Park.

Gail Holm & Ann and Bob Zink at the red-painted Bridgeton Mill

We had beautiful sunny weather the entire time, even on Sunday as we prepared to leave. Here is the entire clan on that final morning in the back yard of the Guesthouse. You can see the bridge through the leaves. Left to right: Al Holm, Maija, Al Reko, Julie, Bill with Melody, Gail, Kathy, Molly, Ann, Lolly, Bob Zink, and Bob Bower.

The whole group in the backyard 
of the Guesthouse with the 
covered bridge in the trees behind them

Next year's excursion will be to the Shawano Folk Music Festival in Wisconsin on the second weekend in August. We hope to hear a lot more of Al's accordian playing and singing there.