An opportunity to return to the leisurely pace of yesteryear is sitting around the corner for those who want to experience life at a slower pace. Robert Ross, owner of Enchanted Carriages provides a return to the days when life was more relaxed with his horse and buggy rides.
Weather permitting, he and his Black Perchon named Colonel can be seen touring folks around downtown Greencastle and the DePauw Campus on weekends.
"It's really been kind of a family passion," he told the BannerGraphic.
Shortly after moving to Greencastle a few years ago, he came across a buckboard for sale and bought it. His only problem was not owning a horse to pull it. Then he found Taz, a beautiful white mare and knew he was ready to start his own carriage business.
Ross purchased an elegant carriage, found a place to board his horses and began marketing his buggy rides.
But business has been tough lately. The pastures he uses for his horses are involved in an estate sale and the costs to care for the animals is increasing.
But Ross is determined to make his business work. Because he is a small business he is able to accommodate special requests such as longer rides and different routes.
"As long as it isn't over 90 degrees, we run the carriage," said Ross. "The horses can't tolerate the heat even with the water supply we have set up on the east side of the Putnam County Courthouse," he added.
A half-hour carriage ride for people costs $30 and includes a trip through downtown Greencastle and a tour of the DePauw campus.
"We take people other places if they don't want to see the campus. We get a lot of people who are already familiar with the local points of interest," claimed Ross.
One of the favorite tours is a one-and-a-half hour tour out to the Dunbar Covered Bridge. "The clop of the horses hooves on the wooden floors is a wonderful sound," claims Ross.
"I try to show people a pace of life from the old days. You can see how different the pace is from a carriage. There's time to actually see what's around you. And, it's relaxing," said Ross.
The carriage is available most weekends; weather permitting with the exception of some festivals and special events that Ross attends with his horses.
"It's best to call ahead for reservations, especially from November to New Year's Eve. We also book early for weddings and special events," he claims.
Among those special events is bringing Santa Claus by carriage to several Indianapolis shopping malls. He also works for Christmas in the Park in Danville and at many Mansfield special events.
Ross and his other drivers try to accommodate special requests. If asked, they will even wear tuxedos for weddings. Any time he is parked at one of his two locations, on the eastside of the courthouse or in front of the Walden Inn, he will take walkup requests.
"I try to do everything possible to get everyone taken care of. Sometimes we have reservations that we honor first but much of the time people are willing to wait an hour or so to get onboard," he declared.
Those who want to take a moment out of their fast-paced fast lives and return to the past for an hour or so can call Enchanted Carriages at 653-9003.