University of Notre Dame
For the past six years I have been making my way to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend each summer to attend the Shakespeare Festival. I have a son who has been involved in a youth theatre group where they do a Shakespeare production each year through their Education Through Theatre Program. In mid-July, he and his fellow youth actors take the stage at Washington Hall on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for Shakescenes - a variety of Shakespeare-related skits from several youth theatre groups.
It's something I look forward to each summer - obviously it is exciting to see my son perform, but even moreso when it is on a stage at the University of Notre Dame! However, I also love this annual event because it gives me a chance to spend time on this amazingly stunning campus. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I take a deep breath as I enter the grounds and I can just feel the stress melt away. The winding roads, architectural masterpieces and natural beauty make for a very peaceful setting.
On our visits to Notre Dame, we've also visited the bookstore and the Eck Visitor Center next door, which is where my sister happened to get married five years ago. Her husband grew up in South Bend where he could see the Golden Dome from his yard, so it seemed a fitting place for them to marry - and a central spot for family coming from Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The Golden Dome is another place I have enjoyed visiting on our trips to South Bend. The Golden Dome serves as the administration building and is located next to Washington Hall and it wasn't until last year that I ventured inside. As beautiful as that dome is from the outside, it's more amazing from the inside.
The Basilica is also a very popular spot on campus and if you have the opportunity to pop in there, you must. You may even want to work in time to be there for a mass. There are
often weddings there on weekends and if one it taking place, it is closed to visitors. It is absolutely breathtaking and well worth waiting a bit if you have to so that you can get a glimpse of the inside.
On the way in to campus, there's a pond that I pass that is usually occupied by ducks and surrounded by those jogging, walking or biking if the weather is nice.
So far on my visits there, I haven't had time to venture further into campus, but the football field and "Touchdown Jesus" are two spots on campus that are also popular with visitors.
Aside from the campus, which is enough of a reason to visit South Bend, there's much more to see an do if you plan to spend a full day or a weekend there. You can take in a game of the South Bend Cubs, tour the historic Oliver Mansion, check out classic cars at the Studebaker Museum and pick up some chocolate treats at the South Bend Chocolate Factory...and much, much more. Also, an eatery that I highly recommend is Chicory Cafe, a New Orleans themed restaurant that has amazing mufalettas, po' boys and more. For more info on the area, go to visitsouthbend.com