When Irish eyes are smiling
No matter what your favorite team is, one school is equated most with college football: Notre Dame. The team’s accolades are countless and its spirit has been captured in several movies, including Rudy, the true underdog story that can make even the biggest linebacker cry (grab your tissues and watch the clip below).
If you go ...
On game days in South Bend, shake players’ hands as they depart Mass at the ornate Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Visit the Hesburgh Library's 134-foot “Touchdown Jesus” mosaic, so named because Christ's raised arms resemble a referee signaling a score. Hear the Fighting Irish marching band, the country’s oldest, play the familiar Notre Dame Victory March. Then relax with a pint at Legends of Notre Dame alehouse before retiring to the Innisfree Celtic Bed and Breakfast. Or park your RV at the Sunny Haven family nudist resort in nearby Granger (fall/winter is the park's off-season, so fully clothed camping only!).
South Bend is also the current home of the College Football Hall of Fame. Have your picture taken with the Heisman Trophy; study murals, videos and busts of famous players; or test your own passing and punting skills in interactive exhibits. (Note: The hall will be closing in 2011, then reopening in Atlanta in 2012.)
Also around town, ride the rapids at the East Race Waterway. The Studebaker National Museum houses presidential carriages of Lincoln, McKinley, Benjamin Harrison and Grant. Opened in 1902, the Potawatomi Zoo is the oldest in Indiana. World-class theater and music play at the Morris Performing Arts Center.