Hinshaw Rock N’ Gems: A Cut Above the Rest


Merrill Hinshaw (named by Lapidary Journal as one of the top ten stone polishers in the nation) has always loved the outdoors, he enjoyed spending time with his dad and camping as a child and has always been intrigued by rocks. Merrill and his father would hunt arrowheads and collect interesting artifacts. The Hinshaw business came to be a reality after Merrill’s father was able to purchase some equipment to cut and polish stones, what had started as a hobby quickly became a trade for Merrill. (left pic. Merrill can be seen above holding a picture of himself working on his first piece of equipment. right pic. The Display above was created over 50 years ago from when Merrill taught lapidary classes.)

Soon Merrill’s wife Janis (pictured below) and children were involved and travelling across the country with him in search of rocks that could be turned into unique hand made jewelry. On one certain trip to Wyoming in the late 1960’s, Merrill and the family ventured into a manganese mine, he quickly realized that he had a great find. Today he still has about 300 pounds of rock left from the 1000 pound find. (Pictured below are necklaces made with the find.)  Merrill stated, “I’ve never taken a vacation, but I’ve seen all of the United States, half of Canada and Mexico!”



The most impressive fact is that Merrill is all self taught and each piece of jewelry is hand crafted. The unique craftsmanship can take anywhere from a week to a month to create one spectacular piece of jewelry. Merrill’s son Matthew and grandson cut and polish the stones (pictures below) while Merrill’s daughter  Kim has always been her fathers shadow and has loved going on rock hunting expeditions with him. It’s no surprise that she is a geologist today full of knowledge about each one of the exceptional finds. Janis worked shows with Merrill over the decades and now works inside Hinshaw Rock N’ Gems shop, located in French Lick.



Their Favorite memories of collecting were from the Yellowstone River and the Manganese Mine in Wyoming. The beauty of Merrill’s creations can be seen below. Although Merrill  says they are not his creations, “the colors and pattern are already there, I just cut them.”


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Merrill stated, “You never know what you’re going to find, it looks like a rock until you cut it open.” The Mexican coconut pictured below is a great representation of what you can find, even though you’re not expecting it. All of these natural creations take place because of minerals being dissolved and then re-hardening in their own time allowing for the natural construction of these magnificent pieces.


The Hinshaw’s have been revealing the hidden beauty of stones in the lapidary (the art of cutting and polishing stones) business for 57 years. They are Nationally and Internationally known artisans creating unique treasures. Once you have been to Hinshaw Rock N’ Gems you’ll never look at a rock the same way again! This is how I enjoy #MyFrenchLick.

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Patoka Lake Boat Cruise


Outdoor Blog- Patoka Lake


Eagles and Osprey grace the sky above the magnificent 60-foot tour boat. Patoka Lake Scenic Boat Cruise is an exciting narrated cruise the whole family can enjoy. Start off the cruise on the Patoka Voyagers lower deck with some instruction from the tour guide. Then move atop the vessel to enjoy the sights and sounds of Patoka Lake. This gentle cruise is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty of the 8,800-acre lake, the pristine undeveloped shorelines and fresh water make for a picturesque view. Be on the lookout for herons, loons and other wildlife aboard this magnificent scenic tour!


patoka voyager


Sunset Wine Cruises on Patoka Lake are a fun way to sample a varietal of wines. Enjoy a fun relaxing summer evening aboard the Patoka Voyager Cruise Boat and sample Indiana wines paired with hors d’oeuvres and desserts to accent each flavor. The beauty of the lake at sunset is an unforgettable experience; adding wine to the mix only makes it that much more enjoyable!




Southern Indiana is beautiful but Southern Indiana in the fall is astounding. The hues of oranges and yellows transform the trees around Patoka Lake highlighting the scenery for the perfect setting aboard the Patoka Lake Voyager. Fall Foliage Wine Cruises are a wonderful way to enjoy a relaxing tour with Indiana wine, hors d’oeuvres and desserts that accent each variety.



Patoka Lake Boat Cruises are available from May through October. Find out how else you can enjoy #MyFrenchLick.

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Get Outdoors in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana


There’s nothing better than fresh air and natural beauty. Luckily, French Lick – West Baden has so much to offer outdoor enthusiasts. From breathtaking hiking adventures, to horseback riding, and ski trips – you will find it all in one area!


Hiking the Hoosier National Forest

Outdoor Blog- Hiking

Outdoor enthusiasts must explore the Hoosier National Forest. Witness over 203,000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana. Deep in the forest you will discover nature, wild animals, and beautiful scenery everywhere you look. Enjoy manicured hiking paths maintained by the French Lick Resort, or hike along the Spring Valley Lake. While you are there, discover the “lost river” which emerges out of a cave, and travels through limestone and underground channels. Ultimately, no outdoor adventure is complete in French Lick – West Baden without a visit to the Hoosier National Forest.


Spend a Day (or Two) on the Lake

Outdoor Blog- Patoka Lake


Swim, fish, waterski, hike, bike, or lounge on the beach in the Patoka Lake Area. This 8,800 acre lake is the perfect place for a family getaway, or a romantic adventure for two. There is no shoreline development, giving you the chance to see unobstructed views of the water, and wildlife such as otters, bald eagles, even freshwater jellyfish! If you are looking to unwind, the area is an ideal spot for a laid back picnic, or a relaxed game of disc golf.


Horseback Riding

Outdoor Blog- Stables


Enjoy the great outdoors on horseback in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana. There are two locations which offer horseback riding adventures in the area. The Stables is home to nearly 30 trained horses and features guided tours (45 or 90 minutes long). Experts and new riders are welcomed to join. Plus, you can choose pony rides for little equestrians! Horseback riding is also offered at Wilstem Ranch, which boasts 1,100 acres of natural beauty. Children ages 7 and up are permitted to ride, and guided tours last about an hour.


High Adrenaline Fun



Take your outdoor adventure to the next level! Soar through the great outdoors on a zip line course at French Lick Zip Lines. Feel like you are flying with nearly 2 miles of canopy tours and 9 zip lines total. This is sure to get the adrenaline pumping! You can also partake in the ultimate hunting experience at the Lost River Game Farm. Hunt pheasant, quail, and chukars at this unique attraction. You can choose to have a professional guide or request a professional hunting dog for your excursion!


Unparalleled Golfing Experiences

Outdoor Blog- Golf


There are so many golf courses from which to choose in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana. Featured courses are designed by legends such as Donald Ross, Pete Dye, and Tom Benedelow. These award-winning courses are a wonderful way to witness the beautiful scenery in Southern Indiana, and spend time in the great outdoors!


Skiing for Winter Adventures

Outdoor Blog- Peaks


Don’t miss out on the winter fun in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana! Paoli Peaks is home to over 65 acres of skiing adventures to make the most of the cold weather. All skill levels of skiers and snowboarders will find something to enjoy with 15 trails, 5 ski lifts, and 3 surface lifts. There are also over 10 tubing lanes for some fun for the whole family. Want to leave the skis at home? Not to worry. The facility offers ski and snowboard rentals so you can travel lightly!


When you experience the great outdoors in French Lick – West Baden, Indiana, be sure to share your experience on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use #MyFrenchLick.

The Abbeydell Hall at the Legend of French Lick Dinner & Show!

The Dinner & Show is back at The Abbeydell Hall at the Legend of French Lick! They have added more show dates for the 2018 line-up and have even added an extra special treat for fans of the Thomas Brothers: a one night only special show featuring Ross and Rhett Thomas! This perfectly blended duo has toured with the Osmond Brothers and their recognition continues to grow with appearances on television, cruises, corporate events and benefit performances.


Thomas Brothers Promo


“Twist the Night Away” the rockin’ 50’s and 60’s style Dinner & Show featuring favorites from the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patsy Cline, and of course Elvis! Filled with classic love songs and unforgettable dances this show will leave you with a new appreciation for the era that brought music and dancing to  new heights.


1.Twist the Night Away - Promo Pic


“I’ve Got the Music in Me” a musical production featuring the music of the 60’s and 70’s. Audiences will enjoy the electrifying sound of music from the BeeGees, the British Invasion and Motown! Enjoy this high energy Dinner & Show and take a journey through the music of the day!


I've got the music in me promo picture


“Christmas Treasures” will get you in the mood for the holiday season, with classic sounds that we’ve all grown to love! This production is jam packed full of fan favorites from greats like Bing Crosby, Amy Grant and the Carpenters! Of course, they will celebrate the Saviors miraculous birth with heartwarming numbers that surround you with the love of the Savior.


1. Christmas Treasures - Promo pic_preview


The Dinner & Show at The Abbeydell Hall at Legend of French Lick is a family oriented event. Those young and old will delight in the joy of each of these fantastic ensembles. The shows are filled with great talent that leave you wanting to visit #MyFrenchLick again and again!


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