Get Out of Town, | May 09, 2018
Peace in Cattail Valley
Mary Rose Herb Farm provides an unusual getaway for Midwestern nomads.
Halfway between Evansville and Louisville, you’ll find Cattail Valley, a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life — complete with camping inspired by Mongolian nomads.
Yurts may not be common lodging in the Midwest, but they’re what Dick Betz envisioned when he and his wife, Rosa Lee, moved from Seattle to Bristow in 1999 to start Mary Rose Herb Farm & Retreat.
Dick came to Indiana on a road trip to buy an Amish cabinet, stayed the night at St. Meinrad and fell in love with the simplicity and beauty of Southern Indiana. “I was thinking of Indiana as flat cornfields, but I left the windows open at night and heard the church bells ringing over the hills and thought, This is Europe,” Dick says. He called Rosa Lee, sold his construction-related business in Washington and moved to Bristow.
“You get Hoosier hospitality in nature’s garden,” Dick says.
The two rentable yurts are made of canvas and wood and measure about 15 feet across. They’re outfitted with two double beds and include an outdoor bathroom and shower. The Betzes use only natural cleaning products.
People have used the yurts for Sweet 16 getaways, church retreats and, once, for a gathering of 50 people and a bagpiper.
While staying at the farm, you can walk on the trails or take side trips to Holiday World or French Lick. A wood-fired Japanese soaking tub provides relaxation after exploring Indiana. The tub uses natural bromine to ease sore joints and muscles.
Dick recommends making reservations early — especially if you’re looking to stay on weekends or during Holiday World’s peak season.
At the end of the day, Betz just wants his guests to follow his one-word rule: enjoy.
WHERE: 23112 Cattail Road, Bristow
WHAT: Heated/cooled canvas yurts include a home-cooked breakfast.
COST: $90/night for two people plus $17.50 per additional person. Add $38 for the soaking tub.
NEARBY: Holiday World (24 minutes away), French Lick and West Baden Resorts (45 minutes away), St. Meinrad Archabbey (10 minutes away).
TO RESERVE: Call Dick Betz at 812-357-2699 or visit maryroseherbfarm.com.