Just south of Indianapolis, in Johnson County (aka “Festival Country”), is the small town of Franklin, Indiana. It is quintessential Small Town, U.S.A. There is the town center, anchored by the historic (and, in this case, imposing) county courthouse. Local businesses and the requisite town theater line the streets surrounding the main square. It’s all very… American. But take a 2-minute walk up Main Street to The Flying Frog Bed and Breakfast and, once you walk inside, you’ll get the feeling you’ve been transported across the pond.
How The Flying Frog Came to be
The Flying Frog B&B is owned by Warren “Butch” and Sharon Isselhardt. The couple bought the 1875 Italianate-style home in 2011 with the intent of fulfilling their dream of owning and operating a B&B. The Isselhardts began careful renovations of the historic home to make interior improvements while maintaining its structural integrity.
Originally from the Midwest, the Isselhardts have lived in and traveled extensively throughout Europe. During those times, they made memories and dear friends in some of their new favorite places. So, when The Flying Frog B&B became a reality, the Isselhardts decided to name the four guest rooms after their favorite European destinations. Naturally, the decor of each of the rooms reflects its respective destination and corresponding culture. The four rooms are:
Provence, decorated in French country style
Pernilla, named after the Isselhardts’ friend from Sweden
(Fun fact: Pernilla’s husband, Per, was upset when he learned the Isselhardts named a room after his wife and not him. The Isselhardts rectified the situation by naming the bathroom Per’s Room in his honor!)
Giovanni, decorated in an old-world Tuscan theme
1940s Paris, the bright red and gray colors inspired by Moulin Rouge
The home’s common areas exude the same kind of thoughtful elegance. The common area on the main floor is a sophisticated space for guests to relax in the evening or to wait for breakfast in the morning. On the second floor, the bright, amply furnished common space is perfect for playing cards or board games or getting to know the other guests. Also on the second floor is a beverage center where guests can find complimentary bottled water and coffee 24 hours a day. There’s also a refrigerator for guests to use, whether it’s for leftovers from the evening’s dinner or local beer and wine (wine glasses are provided). Lastly, if visiting in good weather, guests can also spend time on the home’s second-level balcony or the veranda on the first floor.
My Time at The Flying Frog
If you know me or have followed my travels, you know that I have a (not so) slight obsession with Sweden. So, you can imagine my delight when I learned that I’d be staying in Pernilla’s Room! Of course, the bed was comfortable and the en-suite bathroom was more than satisfactory, but what I appreciated most were all the mementos, pictures, and decorations that reminded me of Sweden. It was such a treat.
We have covered the “bed” portion, so let’s move on to “breakfast”. At The Flying Frog, breakfast is a gourmet, three-course experience. Sharon and Butch work together in the kitchen to provide guests a delicious start to their day. On the morning of my visit, the main course was sandwiched between poached pears in wine sauce, and a Dutch baby with fresh cream and strawberries. Everything was absolutely delightful! Sharon likes to treat guests to dessert in the evenings, too. Don’t be surprised to find slices of freshly baked pie or some kind of chocolatey goodness set out in the 2nd-floor beverage center.
I fully enjoyed every minute I spent at The Flying Frog. My room was incredibly comfortable and I loved taking in the design and personal touches of each of the rooms. But what made my stay even more special was getting to know Sharon. She and I spent a fair amount of time chatting and I especially enjoyed hearing stories from their family’s time living in and traveling around Europe. If my travels take me back to Indianapolis or near Johnson County, I wouldn’t hesitate to go out of my way to stay at The Flying Frog again.
If you go…
- Take a ride over to Bargersville for dinner and Belgian-inspired artisan ales at Taxman Brewing Company. A “culmination of a passion for beer, food, travel and friendship” is what prompted Taxman’s founders, 3 of whom actually met in Belgium, to start a brewery. Those same 3 founders are also tax professionals; hence, the name Taxman. They have the same passion for the sustainable, farm-to-table food served in their gastropub as they do their beer. You can’t go to Johnson County and NOT go to Taxman!
- Plan to spend some time at Mallow Run Winery. Also located in Bargersville, Mallow Run is part of a family-run farm. Stop by for wine tasting and to bring a bottle or two back to enjoy at The Flying Frog. Or, if you’re lucky enough to visit in summer, have a picnic in the grass during one of the winery’s many outdoor concerts.
I was a guest of Festival Country Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are, as always, 100% my own.