In the Home of Purdue

It had been a few years since I had been to Lafayette,Indiana. I visited a few times when I was covering tennis.

I was looking to make a quick trip not too far away, and Lafayette kept coming up. 

Once I contacted the tourism board at Home of Purdue, I could easily see why. This little college town had a lot to offer.

My friend Jaimee was visiting and we headed out for the two-hour drive with a full itinerary. 

Our first stop was at Wolf Park. Anything to do with animals is always fun for me and I was surprised to hear this place had been here for 46 years.

Wolf Park was opened by a former Purdue professor. 

He not only wanted a refuge for these animals, but he wanted to promote the conservation of wolves and help people understand more about them.

Thanks to generous donations, the park now has its own medical center and they don’t need to go back to Purdue every time an animal needs treatment.

While the wolves are the primary focus, the 75 acres here houses more than the current 12 wolves, which includes one set of six-year-old siblings. It’s not safe to actually touch the wolves, but you can watch them interact, especially during the weekend Howl Nights.

In addition to the wolves, the park has bison, foxes, and coyotes, who will howl for you any time of day. A beautiful bridge makes a great spot for weddings and other events at Wolf Park.  

We were really hungry from walking among the wolves and we headed straight to Triple XXX Family Restaurant. This place originally opened in 1929, making it the first and oldest drive-in restaurant in Indiana.

They are known for serving Triple XXX Root beer, which dates back even further, to 1895.

The diner was a lot smaller than I expected and I’m glad they saved us a table. 

It’s popularity with out-of-towners exploded after being featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

I had to obviously start with a Triple XXX Frost, a cross between and ice cream soda and a milkshake. 

We decided to both get burgers. I went for the one featured on the Food Network, the Duane Purvis All-American. It’s ground sirloin, topped with American cheese, peanut butter, pickles, lettuce and onions.

I liked the burger, but I loved the sweet potato fries when I discovered they came with a mouthwatering cinnamon marshmallow dipping sauce. How did no one think of this before?!

They brought us a hot fudge sundae and their famous Triple XXX Root Beer Cake to taste for dessert. I wasn’t overly excited about the later, until I tasted it. It was moist and delicious.

We were running late to the Haan Mansion, where Ellie Haan was graciously waiting for us beyond closing time. 

This beautiful building, filled with treasures (many priceless) was her home for 31 years before she and her husband donated the mansion to the city as a museum.

Originally the Connecticut Building during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, it was moved by railroad to Lafayette, Indiana, after being purchased for $31,0000. 

The art, including one of the best collections of Indiana art around, is spectacular, as are other rarities, such as a Tiffany Grandfather clock, a one of a kind music box, and treasures too numerous to list. 

Haan Mansion Museum is definitely worth a trip.

We made a quick stop at McCord Candies downtown. It is a soda fountain with handmade chocolates, but that’s not their only claim to fame: they are only one of five stores in the whole country that make candy canes, right in the little shop upstairs.

Owner Chris Johnson met us at People's Brewing Company to tell us about the company he started in 2009. 

He took us through the expanding operation and back to the bar for Jaimee to do some tasting. 

She picked six of the dozen beers they have available for customers.

The favorites here are the obvious Boiler Gold, and the Farmer’s Daughter, a citrusy local specialty.

We didn’t make it to the nearby restaurant that People’s Brewing has because we had dinner scheduled at another popular local spot, Bruno's Pizza.

This family-friendly sports bar has been around for 60 years and I really enjoyed their twists on some old favorites.

We started with Bruno Dough. This deep-fried pizza dough looked like a zeppole, but it’s brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan. 

It was served with a cheese sauce and a marinara sauce we dipped the dough in.

No matter how long I live in the Midwest, I’ll never get used to people cutting squares out of round pizzas, but that didn’t make us enjoy a spinach mushroom any less. 

We were pretty stuffed when the waitress came over to tell us about the dessert pizzas. I was too intrigued not to order one.

Bruno’s dessert pizza is covered in peanut butter, mozzarella, and chocolate chips. 

I certainly love the idea of peanut butter and chocolate in anything, but I wasn’t sure about adding cheese to the mix. 
She suggested we do half with and half without the cheese.

Well, it was so good both ways that we had to take it with us when we couldn’t finish more than a few bites. I can tell you it also makes an amazing breakfast cold!

By the time we got back to the TownePlace Suites in Lafayette we were stuffed and exhausted from a very full day. It was time to get some sleep before an equally busy one to come.


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