Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site has been honored with a GEMmy!

Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site has been honored with a GEMmy!

Below is the press release from Midwest Travel Journalists Association:

The GEMmy is an award created by professional travel journalists and travel industry leaders who are members of the Midwest Travel Journalists Association, Inc. The award recognizes attractions, tours, facilities, accommodations, and experiences that exemplify the joy, discovery, and education that travel can bring. MTJA members travel extensively around the USA and internationally, and they nominate the most outstanding “gems of travel” for recognition because they offer travelers an exceptional experience. GEMmys are often new, small, located out of the way, overshadowed by sites with a larger public familiarity, or somewhat undiscovered by mainstream travelers. With this award, the members of MTJA hope to enhance travelers’ experiences by pointing out an exceptional gem worth seeking out – like the Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site – through this award.

I first visited the Coffin home more than 25 years ago, but I have never forgotten the hiding room or the basement well or the wagon with its secret compartment. But most of all, I have never forgotten the courage exhibited by the Coffin family. Your new interpretive center adds so much to the story, facilitating an enhanced understanding of not only the Coffins and their times but also current culture.

And since I think it should be on everyone’s to-visit list, I nominated the Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site for a GEMmy. Because they agree with me, travel writers Amy Lynch of Indianapolis and Damaine Vonada of Xenio, Ohio, endorsed my nomination. Your GEMmy was approved at last month’s MTJA meeting.

The nomination noted: The interactive exhibits and tours of the property that tell the important tales of these journeys are important, emotionally moving and leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages. The site presents a rare and remarkable testament to the courage not only of those who dared to follow the North Star to freedom but also of the many Americans who risked their own freedom to help them. There are so many important character traits that come into play, many in direct opposition to each other – right/wrong, courage/cowardice, perseverance/giving up, dependability/unreliability, … The Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site is a shrine to the nation’s founding goal of “securing the blessings of liberty.”

Amy, Damaine and I woud like to visit you soon to present the GEMmy plaque to you. I hope you can help us arrange a simple presentation ceremony, perhaps near the end of this month. I’m sure Nancy Sartain would love to help. In the past, GEMmy recipients have hosted a press conference and have invited key state, regional and local travel business leaders – and of course the press – to attend. It’s a major award and you deserve broad recognition for your achievement.

We encourage you to display the MTJA GEMmy logo in your publicity and promotional materials. Please contact me to get a copy for your file. The official title should indicate “Midwest Travel Journalists Association – GEMmy Award 2019.”

Again, congratulations and thank you for making travel a wonderful experience for your guests.


Elizabeth Granger
MTJA GEMmy coordinator

Photos from the Award Ceremony:

NOTE: Indiana State Representative Tom Saunders was presented a birthday cake at this event.