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Traveling Around - Southern Indiana - A Casino and a family reunion

Updated on June 9, 2019
Indiana Grand Casino, Shelbyville, IN
Indiana Grand Casino, Shelbyville, IN

The Reason and The Trip

My mother's family, Family Reunion takes place in southern Indiana every year on the second Saturday in June. As I age, it gets more and more difficult to make the trip but decided to give it a go with a couple overnight breaks thrown in.

We left central Michigan about 8 AM on a Friday and headed south. Turned off the expressway at Pendleton, IN, and started looking for Thrift Stores to spend some relaxing time looking for bargains. Found nothing in Pendleton but as we motored south, we stopped in Greenfield and found two stores that were fun. Goodwill was new and modern and packed with stuff. Hope House was smaller and older and merchandise was scattered through several rooms. I felt like I gave Hope House rather short shrift and would like to go back but in each place we did find several bargains that we just couldn't do without.

South of Greenfield, Indiana, is Shelbyville and we set the GPS to take us to the Indiana Grand Race Track and Casino. We had visited once 8 or 10 years ago and were not impressed. But, it is a recent acquisition of Harrah's and we didn't know what to expect this time.

After getting completely turned around looking for a parking place and retracing my steps 3 times, we got ourselves into the parking garage, got parked, and found our way to the casino. Now that I've done it, I'd find it easy and straightforward.

Floor At Indiana Grand Casino
Floor At Indiana Grand Casino
Buffet At Indiana Grand Casino
Buffet At Indiana Grand Casino

In The Casino and At The Buffet

It seemed to us that the sound was a little muted inside the casino. It was spacious and comfortable and the casino floor was surround by retaurants, a poker room, and rest rooms. Well marked and in the middle was a soft drink dispensary where players could help themselves.

I did notice in particular there were machines that allowed the player to play craps, roulette, and blackjack without human intervention. The roulette tables had two ends, each with its own wheel and seating for 10 players. The craps arrangement was much the same with a long space divided into two playing areas with up to 10 players in each section. The blackjack machines were more intimate and featured the gaudy mechanical televised dealer who would deal to a maximum of 5 players at a machine. The blackjack machines have become my favorite game in the casino and I can enjoy myself for long stretches without risking too much money.

However, we mainly stopped to see what the place was like and to have some lunch at the buffet. We arrived at about 3:30 and were admitted for the price of lunch even though dinner was served at 4 PM. Lunch price was under $14 where on Friday night, dinner price jumped to over $28. If money is a consideration, go to a late lunch.

I had a variety of food from American through Italian and on to Oriental. I actually even skipped dessert. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Wandered around after we ate, wondering if there were any video poker machines and finally found a section of them. They are located right outside the buffet but we must have been restroom bound when we left the buffet and walked right by them. Then it took us a while to get back to the correct area and find the video poker. Payoffs were not good. Bonus quarters was 5-6 and JOB was 5-9. I decided I couldn't just stop in and eat so I found some cash and started in on the JOB. Stayed even and without looking at payoff table, switched to deuces. Made several nice deuces hands and when I had doubled my buy-in, I quit.

No way to get rich. But, then, I wouldn't go broke doing it, either.

The Race Track

Indiana Grand  Race Track
Indiana Grand Race Track

The race track is immediately adjacent to the casino. It is attached to the east side of the casino and is a very large facility.

Racing is thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. Most days are thoroughbred and the quarter horse days are designated on a calendar that can be found on their website.

In the grandstand area shown in the photograph, there is plenty of seating. If the player is more energetic, they can go to the fence and watch the horses up close as they pound past.

There are restaurants, restrooms, and betting windows galore to satisfy the varied tastes of racegoers.

The Reunion

We left the casino and made our way to a nearby town where I had reserved a room at a Quality Inn for overnight on the way south and then overnight at the same motel on the way north after the reunion. Got checked in and settled and popped the cork on a bottle of bubbly that I had brought along for that specific purpose.

Settled down with Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and was soon asleep for the night.

Up on Saturday AM and to the provided breakfast. Waffles and cereal with yogurt satisfied me completely. Soon we were on our way for the remainder of the trip.

Found some of the other family members had already arrived and we settled in and watched others show up. Gathered around one of the round tables and told many tales - both real and tall - and enjoyed the company of family that we only see once a year. But as we all grow older, familiar faces disappear and the ranks begin to thin out.

Ate a mammoth buffet lunch that was fried chicken and potato salad and all kinds of good stuff. Conversation continued through pecan pie but things began to wind down as the participants realized they had to go all the way home. I smiled to myself and drove back to the interim stop I had reserved an hour into our trip home.

Overnight was a repeat of Friday except that we didn't have room for the champagne that I had brought along. We did find space to devour one last chicken leg each that the wife had saved from the buffet line.

When we got up on Sunday AM it was raining and after breakfast, we drove through the rain to Michigan. And the rain stayed with us all the way. It quit just before we got home and after I unpacked the car, it began a downpour.


I enjoyed all three aspects of the trip: The Thrift Stores, The Casino, and The Reunion. It may be too ambitious to try such a project again in 2 nights. I think I should probably plan Thrift Store Drive, an overnight, A Reunion Day, an overnight, A Casino Day, an overnight, and the drive home.

That way, I might even enjoy the drive home.


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