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Lost and Found: Indiana Road Trips

Small towns with one stoplight. Tiny diners with homemade pie. Little shops with mechanical cash registers. Narrow lanes past hidden farms and trails. Rusty signs and weathered clapboard. And antiques—lots and lots of antiques. We found honest-to-God Americana on these five fall drives.

Editor's Note, May 22, 2013: Indianapolis Monthly won a City and Regional Magazine Association (CRMA) award on May 20 in the Leisure/Lifestyle Interest category for this October 2012 cover feature.

No doubt you’ve heard the Hoosier mea culpa. Sorry, folks, no mountains, oceans, or celebrities to see here. So “big” isn’t our thing. Big deal. There’s something else we do better than anyone—small.

Tiny diners and homemade pie. Little shops with mechanical cash registers. Narrow roads past hidden farms. Rusty signs and weathered clapboard. Antiques—lots and lots of antiques.

In other words, when city-dwellers dream of the simple life, what they imagine are the petite gems of Indiana’s countryside. And it turns out these places are even prettier, the people friendlier, and the autumn leaves more colorful in real life. It’s honest-to-God Americana—only small. You have to look for it (as we did on the following five trips). But don’t worry, you’ll find it. Just be sure to drive slowly, or you might blink and—well, you know.   —Evan West


ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW

Take the shell off of your pickup and toss in the bungees—It’s a picker’s paradise on the banks of the Wabash. By Julia Spalding


TRAVELOGUE

We had spent most of the day hairpinning unfamiliar backroads on the state’s western flank. Now the fuel gauge edged dangerously close to “E.” On the single lane of a covered bridge leading into [3] Williamsport, one of us said nervously, “Surely there will be a gas station in this next town.” But we forgot about fuel when we saw Blue Elephant (200 N. Monroe St., 765-764-1708, williamsportblueelephant.com), a cinderblock monolith with a Coca-Cola shingle and broken-down treasures around its perimeter.

Hunters and gatherers get excited about places like this, the floors piled with old suitcases, service-station signs, and G.I. Joe dolls. My shoe hit the side of a cardboard box, where I saw the glimmer of a lens, the curve of Bakelite, the word “Kodak.” A collector of vintage cameras, I pulled out the carton, filled with a writhing mass of sexy black plastic, leather cases, and silver gewgaws. White Polaroid Swinger. Several Kodak Brownies. A coating of mouse turds. And a label: $12. My heartbeat quickened. “Does this mean $12 each?” I stammered. “All of ’em,” said the bearish guy behind the counter. And we were off, mouse turds on the floorboard, in search of more treasures—and gas.


(1) LAFAYETTE

This is a “small” town only by the standards of cities the size of Indianapolis and larger. And with upwards of 15 antiques outlets and storefronts, there’s nothing small about the city’s ratio of curio cabinets per square block. One of the newest installments, Hot House Market (900 Kossuth Ave.,765-490-7968, hothousemarket.com), takes such a fresh and bright-eyed approach to vintage shopping that you will find yourself pondering a spot in your home for that granny-chic afghan or framed needlepoint project displayed so enticingly on stacks of old Samsonite and steamer trunks.

In the French-country hues of blue and yellow, downtown Lafayette’s Bistro 501 (501 Main St., 765-423-4501, bistro501.com) provides mid-spree sustenance in the form of mussels and frites, cheeseboards, and farmhouse pate. Update your shopping list at one of the sidewalk tables while the weather’s still nice, or take the chill off inside by the crackling fire.


(2) ATTICA

Sadly, many of the shops here have closed, but one curious little exception sits above Craft Appliances (100 N. Perry St., 765-764-4420), a creaky space where entrance comes only with permission of the desk clerk. You might feel like you have stumbled into Miss Havisham’s powder room, blowing dust off of an old decoupaged mirror or lifting a stuffed animal to discover a rare Fisher-Price play set underneath.

The Historic Devon Theater (107 W. Mill St., 765-762-3403), a 1932 movie house, features nightly second-runs. But the Art Deco razzle-dazzle steals the show.

If the waitress recommends the cheesy Tater Balls at Robie’s Fine Dining (109 W. Main St., 765-764-4351, robiesfinedining.com), go ahead and indulge her (and yourself).


POINT OF INTEREST

In Williamsport (3), you will find the aforementioned Blue Elephant store as well as
Williamsport Falls, said to be the highest free-falling water feature in the state, where a creek shoots out over a 90-foot sandstone precipice. Want a closer look? A trail leads downstream and under the falls.


(4) COVINGTON

The town square has four antiques shops, including Back Home Again Antiques (322 Liberty St., 765-299-3235), where the merchandise flows logically from primitives to pottery to kitschy kitchenware.

Several of those coveted chrome-legged dining sets have found a home in The Sundae Shoppe (216 4th St., 765-793-4981). Try the soft-serve, cookie-dough Razzle.

Spectacularly detailed WPA murals by famed painter and town native Eugene F. Savage cover the atrium walls of the 1937 Fountain County Courthouse. Weekend tours are available.

Equal parts Wes Anderson props department and Ralph Lauren photo shoot, Leaping Leopard Antiques (2145 S. 4th St., 765-474-9100, leapingleopardantiques.com), above, in Lafayette, has a lot of rugged, plaid-blanket camping gear; metal clamshell lawn chairs; and antlers, antlers, antlers. It also dabbles in steel office and mahogany furniture.

If you tend to shop ’til you drop, go ahead and reserve a room at the Davis House Bed & Breakfast (1010 W. Wabash Ave., 765-364-9661, thedavishouse.net), a comfy Italianate mansion in Crawfordsville (5) trimmed in widow’s walks and French windows.


ALLEY'S FARE

Once an Indy mainstay, White River Salvage, with the same tasteful curatorship, has moved 70 miles east on U.S. 40, to Indiana’s “official” Antique Alley. Ornate leaded-glass doors? Dazzling wedding-cake chandeliers? Check and check. 104 W. Main St., Centerville, 765-693-4400, whiteriversalvage.com.


THERE AND BACK

Indy to Lafayette: I-65 N (60 miles, 1 hour)
Lafayette to Attica/Williamsport: S.R. 25 S to S.R. 28 W (30 miles, 45 minutes)
Williamsport to Covington to Crawfordsville: S.R. 28 W to S.R. 263 S to U.S. 136 E (50 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes)
Crawfordsville to Indy: I-74 E (50 miles, 1 hour)

THE HOOSIER ROUTE 66

With friendly towns and local color in spades, the Ohio River Scenic Byway in Indiana’s boot-toe is the picture of rural America. By Evan West


TRAVELOGUE

I’d have sworn it was a setup. I was driving State Road 66 east of Newburgh, wondering how I might riff on the idea that the highway shares its name with Route 66, the national motorway that inspired wanderlusting songwriters. I poked through fuzzy radio stations until, clear as sun tea, a soothing drawl introduced the Old Scratchy Records (2) show (6 p.m., Sun., WKPB 89.5 FM), and then played Gene Austin’s 1927 high-falsetto recording of “My Blue Heaven.”

The road wound and dipped, through tangled woods, past peeling farms, and over rusted iron bridges. I caught glimpses of the vast Ohio and read signs for one-stop hamlets like “Eureka” and “Yankeetown.” I turn to the right … a little white light … will lead you to my … Blue … Heaven. My girlfriend sat next to me in her pretty dress. I thought, “Are you kidding me?” Somehow I’d landed in a scene from a romantic comedy. And though I’m not normally a fan of such flicks, this is one I’d go see again.


(1) NEWBURGH

In the prosperous river-front hamlet, restored 19th-century storefronts straddle narrow streets hugging the high banks of the Ohio. In three scenic miles, the Rivertown Trail (newburgh-in.gov) traverses the historic downtown, waterside vistas, and quiet woods.

Vecchio’s Italian Market & Delicatessen (14 W. Jennings St., 812-490-7879, vecchiositalianmarket.com) is staffed by eager culinary students who serve sliced-to-order sandwiches on house-baked focaccia.

You didn’t come to clothes-shop, but you might buy something anyway at Flutter (100 State St., 812-490-9642, flutternewburgh.com), an unfussy boutique with fashion finds like Isola wedge booties and Henry & Belle skinny cords.

You can eat steaks, seafood, or pasta at Edgewater Grille (1 E. Water St., 812-858-2443, edgewatergrille.com), but the best restaurant river view in town makes stopping in for just a drink a viable option.

eBooks can’t replace the Book Nook (11 State St., 812-858-1707, rareoldused
books.com), a cellar crammed with used editions, including an entire room of Harlequin paperbacks. (Since you’d never read those, it also has antique volumes, Oprah Club selections, and a bank vault stacked with wrinkled mags.)

Rocky Side Park (3) in tidy Rockport is a cherry picnic spot. (Follow Main Street east, and you can’t miss it.) A narrow strip of grassy bank, with benches and tables, is squeezed between sheer cliffs and the Ohio, with broad views of a sweeping river bend.

In Troy (4), a sign touting blackberry shakes might lure you to the walk-up window of the Riverside Diner, Gift Shoppe & Bakery (315 Franklin St., 812-548-0250), where suspender-wearing Gary Hackman will draw a map to local sights on an order ticket. Inside, you’ll find a squeaky-clean little restaurant where sweet-faced teenagers serve homemade cookies and dinners, and Hackman narrates framed sepia photos of past town floods. And if you don’t stay and eat because you’re in a hurry to get to another place down the road—as I was—you will regret it later.


(5) TELL CITY

The bronze statue and fountain outside City Hall (700 Main St.) in Tell City pays homage to Swiss folk hero and town namesake William Tell. Stop, snap a picture, and move on.

You can buy the original, super-crunchy Tell City Pretzels (6) in Indy. But the maker’s kitchen and outlet (1315 Washington St., 812-548-4499, tellcitypretzel.com) has a half-dozen other flavors to sample, and you can help twist the dough.


TIP

Bring your checkbook: Many of these kindly, trusting folks don’t take plastic, but they will accept your personal paper. Heaven help you if it bounces.

Excuse Cannelton (7) if it looks worn: It turns 175 this year. Check out the 1868 Myers Grade School (615 Taylor St.), the oldest public school in the country, and 1849 Indiana Cotton Mills (310 Washington St.).

Legend has it that in 1825, Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette lingered at this water-filled cave, now known as Lafayette Spring (8) (at the foot of a cliff alongside S.R. 66 east of Cannelton) after his Ohio steamer sank and stranded him nearby.

As you pull up to the bed and breakfast of Blue Heron Vineyards and Winery (9) (5330 Blue Heron Ln., 812-547-7518, blueheronvines.com; $125 per night), east of Cannelton near where State Rd. 166 veers from 66, Lynn Dauby, a friendly former art teacher, greets you at the driveway of a little white farmhouse decorated in tastefully curated bric-a-brac. You have the place to yourself—the porch and rockers, the big red barn, the grapevines in neat rows, and the pastures ringed by painted hills. Breakfast is a steep two-minute drive to a spot just behind the winery’s intimate tasting room. Dauby serves egg-filled pastry with fruit on the side, at a table perched on a bluff high above the Ohio. The 20-foot Celtic Cross just down the hill took artist Greg Harris nearly two years to carve from in situ sandstone.

Near Hoosier National Forest, Forgotten Times Cabins (10) (13304 N. S.R. 66, Derby, 812-836-2447, forgottentimescabins.com; $100 per night), built in the 1850s, were nice enough to host Colts cheerleaders.

BORDER CROSSING

In Owensboro, Kentucky, Miller House Restaurant refines Southern staples like fried green tomatoes, grits, and pork chops in a colonnaded mansion with a clubby basement bar that pours 100-or-so varieties of bourbon and rye. 301 E. 5th St., 270-685-5878, themillerhouserestaurant.com.


THERE AND BACK

Indy to Newburgh: I-70 W to U.S. 41 S to I-64 E to I-164 S to S.R. 662 E (190 miles, 3.5 hours)
Newburgh to Derby (scenic route): S.R. 66 E with detours on Old S.R. 66 and County Road 200 E (80 miles, 2 hours)
Derby to Indy: S.R. 66 E to I-64 E to I-65 N (170 miles, 3 hours)

CULTURAL TRAIL

Country charm? Yes—but a cluster of postcard towns southeast of Indy offers some urbane delights as well. Who knew? By Trisha Brand


TRAVELOGUE

I’m normally skeptical of rural restaurants. Then a friend mentioned an incredible new chef-run eatery, Butcher Shoppe & Grill at Walhill Farm (5) (857 Six Pine Ranch Rd., 812-934-2600, walhillbutchershoppe.com)—near Batesville. Huh?

Growing up just down the road, in another sleepy burg in southeastern Indiana, I had always longed for “culture.” So I escaped to Chicago and New York, where I saw a strange phenomenon: city kids seeking out small-town experiences. Country artisans and locally raised food were in vogue, and we’d leave our shoebox studios and head for the Catskills in search. It never occurred to me that I might make a similar journey to the backroads near my hometown. But there I was, outside Batesville, nibbling on bacon-wrapped elk terrine, tender braised rabbit dotted with morels, and white-chocolate bread pudding in creme anglaise, next to well-heeled locals sipping bourbon cocktails. Walhill Farm was winning me over. What else have I been missing?

(1) Strauther Pleak Round Barn (2440 N. 150 W, 812-663-5081), just north of Greensburg.

(2) GREENSBURG

Downtown storefronts house old-time mom-and-pops like County Supply (126 N. Franklin St., 812-663-2580), a hardware-seller with creaky floors and a till from 1924—plus some more up-to-date finds you might not expect.

Mayasari Indonesian Grill (213 N. Broadway St., 812-222-6269) is the only restaurant in Indiana with cuisine from the Asian archipelago, like chef Maya’s tender chicken satay, and ketimun, a cucumber boat stuffed with spinach, bacon, and tomato.

Fashion in Greensburg? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve browsed the straight-from-L.A. inventory of shabby-chic Denim 33 (217 N. Broadway St.,812-222-2009, denim33.com) and found its bold color-block dresses and side-low maxis.

Gourmet weenie vendor Dawg Haus (116 E. Washington St., 812-222-2100) has more than 40 out-of-the-box toppings, like guac-and-tomato and peanut butter. Finish the Big Dawg Challenge—a 2-footer in 15 minutes—and win a T-shirt.


(3) BATESVILLE

The legacy of 1850s German craftsmen is still present in the faux Bavarian-Viennese facade and “wuerste mit kraut” of Sherman House Restaurant & Inn (35 S. Main St., 812-934-1000, sherman-house.com).

RomWeber Marketplace (7 S. Eastern Ave., 812-932-2606, romwebermarketplace.com), a former furniture factory, now retails 1930s RomWeber chairs and Neusole handblown glass.

Slender churches gaze down on the cobblestone streets and “strasse” signs of Oldenburg, “Village of Spires,” and Wagner’s Village Inn (6) (22171 Main St., 812-934-3854), with its peppery skillet-fried chicken and Dunkel-style lager.

Mary Helen'sOutside Batesville, Mary Helen’s Bed, Breakfast & Fine Dining (4) (13296 N. Coon Hunters Rd., 812-934-3468, maryhelensplace.com; $110-plus per night) sits on three tranquil acres and serves five-course dinners, with homemade yeast rolls and mains like grilled pork loin with apple-cranberry filling, under exposed oak beams.


(7) METAMORA

On Whitewater Canal, the village has horse-drawn boat tours (765-647-6512, metamoraindiana.com) and shops like Words & Images (19040 S. Main St., 765-647-1212, metamoralanterns.com), with restored train lanterns. Smelly Gourmet (19062 S. Main St., 765-647-4328, smellygourmet.com) lured us in with caramel popcorn, but we stayed for a panini on handcrafted bread.


AISLE HOP

Delicate little Droste Pastilles Dutch chocolates. Shimmering rainbow trout. Walk-in humidor with nearly 100 cigar brands—all at the mind-blowing Jungle Jim’s International Market, north of Cincinnati, an hour from Batesville on I-74 and I-275. 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-674-6000, junglejims.com.


THERE AND BACK

Indy to Greensburg: I-74 E to U.S. 421 S (50 miles, 1 hour)
Greensburg to Batesville: S.R. 46 E (15 miles, 20 minutes)
Batesville to Oldenburg: S.R. 229 N (3 miles, 10 minutes)
Oldenburg to Metamora: S.R. 229 N to U.S. 52 E (11 miles, 20 minutes)
Metamora to Indy:
U.S. 52 W to S.R. 244 W to I-74 W (70 miles, 1.5 hours)

REAL AMISH COUNTRY

Authentic traditional experiences abound among the farms, tables, and workshops of northern Indiana—you just have to know where to look. By Daniel S. Comiskey


TRAVELOGUE

In Topeka, not far from the Amish-inspired theme park that Shipshewana has become, down a dirt road etched with buggy tracks, Owen Wingard carves toy trucks and barns in a workshop that smells magnificently of pine. His home-based business, OWL Toycraft (8) (9555 W. 300 S, 260-593-2651), sells to retailers nationwide. But if you visit his isolated barn as he whittles and sands, you can chat with the lively bearded gentleman who left RV manufacturing—a common Amish occupation—for this more-traditional craft a decade ago. Such true-blue gems still exist along the “Heritage Trail” that connects Goshen, Middlebury, and Nappanee, but they’re rarely as well-marked as tour-bus stops like Amish Acres. Not all of the attractions are “Amish,” either in truth or in the rustic sense you might expect, but the best ones all seem to adhere to the same horse-drawn pace of life.

Okay, so it’s not Amish pizza, but it’s still darned good. The brick-walled, tin-ceilinged Pizzeria Venturi (1) (123 E. Lincoln Ave., 574-485-2985, eatventuri.com) in downtown Goshen cooks its Neapolitan pies with Italian tomatoes and house-made mozzarella in a 900-degree wood-fired oven.

Howard Yoder wakes at 2:30 a.m. to start rolling out the dough for sticky cinnamon buns and flaky pie crusts at his Country Lane Bakery (2) (59162 C.R. 43, Middlebury, 574-825-7918). Both are among the best we’ve ever had. But get there early—most of it’s gone by 1 p.m.

The Meadows Inn (3) (12013 U.S. 20, 574-825-3913, meadowsinnb-b.com; $89-plus per night), outside of Middlebury, used to be a working Amish farm. Now the big white house is a B&B surrounded by red barns. Admire the passing buggies? The innkeepers can arrange a countryside ride.

At the Dutch Country Market (4) (11401 C.R. 16, Middlebury, 574-825-3594), owner Katie Lehman cuts housemade noodles and grinds peanut butter of every variety—chunky, creamy, or (yum!) chocolate-infused. You can also browse the fresh local produce on the front porch on your way in.

Take a driving break and stretch your legs with a walk or bike ride on the 30-mile Pumpkinvine Nature Trail (5) (pumpkinvine.org), which runs from Goshen to Shipshewana. The path traverses open farm country as well as woods, and the canopy of trees puts on quite a show in the fall.

Carriage HouseDozens of area craftsmen have hung out their shingles, but Lambright Woodworking (6) (7785 W. 300 S, 260-593-2997) in Topeka is the most impressive. Men work at the drafting tables as you peruse the kitchen cabinetry and oak furniture. Try finding an untrue joint anywhere.

Some Amish families offer in-home meals for groups of 10-plus, but call ahead and you might join another party. Within the quilt-lined walls of the Carriage House (7) (5280 S. 500 W, Topeka, 260-768-8199 ext. 2128), generous plates of roast beef and fried chicken leave no one hungry.

Near Ligonier, Fashion Farm’s annual Pumpkin Fantasyland (9) (1680 Lincolnway W, 260-894-4498), open throughout October, is a little kitschy. But the fun is undeniable, with a corn maze, wagon rides, and nearly 15 tons of pumpkins painted in the likenesses of presidents and pop-culture icons.

In Nappanee, a large former furniture factory is now a plank-floored collection of shops called Coppes Commons (10) (401 E. Market St., coppescommons.com). Among the best, Rocket Science Ice Cream (574-773-7003) shows how modern some Amish are willing to bend. Each order starts with a bowl of cream and the ingredients you want, which then gets a blast of liquid nitrogen.

The dry-goods stores of old may have mostly disappeared, but Culinary Mill Market & Deli (574-773-0214) still sells bulk spices, oils, grains, and cheeses in an outlet that attracts more Amish than tourists.


DINING DETOUR

In Roanoke (off of I-69 near Fort Wayne), AAA Four Diamond eatery Joseph Decuis locally sources dishes like Wagyu ribeye and charred eggplant puree. The outfit includes a boutique inn, ranch, and farm, which also hosts multicourse spreads. 191 N. Main St., 260-672-1715, josephdecuis.com.


THERE AND BACK

Indy to Goshen: I-69 N to U.S. 33 N (170 miles, 3.5 hours)
Goshen to Nappanee loop: east on S.R. 4 to S.R. 13 N, to C.R. 24 E, to C.R. 43 N, to U.S. 20 W, to S.R. 13 N, to C.R. 16 E, to S.R. 5 S, east on W 500 S, south on S 300 W, west on W 1200 N, to S.R. 5 S, to C.R. 50 W, to C.R. 43 S, to U.S. 6 W (70 miles, 2 hours)
Nappanee to Indy: west on U.S. 6 to U.S. 31 S (140 miles, 3 hours)

THE ROCKY ROAD

The rugged hills of limestone country have some fine fall scenery—and the leaves are nice, too. By Evan West


TRAVELOGUE

Oolitic (1), named after the high-grade building material this area is famous for, feels like an unofficial gateway to limestone country. The carved eagle heads of Indiana Limestone Company mark the turnoff from State Road 37; from town, you can see blocks of cut stone. If it weren’t so modest, Oolitic, perched on a high ridge, might even boast about its grand valley views of surrounding Lawrence County. (While there, please admire the Main Street statue of 1930s comic-strip hero Joe Palooka, a proud local landmark, in front of the town hall.)


Stone Cutters Cafe & Roastery(2) BEDFORD

Good luck finding a good cup of Joe in most small towns—except Bedford, where Stone Cutters Cafe & Roastery (919 15th St., 812-675-8491, stonecutterscafebedford.com) fires the beans in the store, and serves gourmet breakfast sandwiches to boot.

Stone Pig Downtown Smokehouse (1539 J St., 812-275-5507), above, has melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, three original sauces, and creamy cornbread salad.

Snow’s Drive In (2928 Mitchell Rd., 812-279-2669) is what Sonic tries to be, plus persimmon pudding, a local specialty.

Stone PigIt’s not in guidebooks, but Rick’s Relics (U.S. 50 east of town, past the Swifty gas station) is folk art worth stopping for: life-size vignettes assembled from rusty farm implements, weathered barn wood, and other detritus. Mannequin-in-outhouse is a favorite theme.

The Oolitic Antique Mall (118 Main St., 812-279-0539, ooliticantiquemall.com) is a find for Hoosiers fans: Team photos from old Oolitic High, one of the film’s rival squads, line the walls, as well as ’50s varsity sweaters and historic quarry pics.

South of Bedford, Candlelight Inn Bed and Breakfast (3) (875 Church Camp Rd., 812-797-3937, candlelightinnbedford.com; $79-plus per night) is a restored Arts and Crafts bungalow in a park-like setting.

In Orleans, Paradise Pizza and Deli (7) (124 S. Maple St., 812-865-2259) offers a slice of aloha with mounted surfboards, tiki hut, and Hawaiian-style pies.

Southwest of Bedford off of U.S. 50, on an hour-long, underground boat ride, Zack, a tour guide on the Blue Spring Caverns Myst’ry River Voyage (4) (1459 Bluespring Caverns Rd., 812-279-9471, bluespringcaverns.com), explains that “cave kisses”—droplets of water that land on explorers—are good luck.

Believe it or not, the Opera House of Mitchell (5) (7th and Brook streets, 812-849-2337, operahouseofmitchell.org), located off of the town’s busy, antiques shop–lined Main Street, is in the National Register of Historic Places and hosts lively bluegrass, country, gospel, and big-band concerts. Call for upcoming shows. 

The rolling terrain of Spring Mill State Park (6) (3333 S.R. 60 E, 812-849-3534, in.gov/dnr) is postcard Southern Indiana wilderness, with a limestone gristmill from 1817 that still grinds out cornmeal (for two bucks a bag). You can also shop the pottery, candles, ironwork, and other handicrafts of artisans in the pioneer village.

In Paoli, near the Orange County Courthouse—a Southern country gentleman on a hillside, with whitewashed columns, clock tower, and weathervane—a smiling customer at health-food co-op Lost River Market & Deli (8) (26 Library St., 812-723-3735, lostrivercoop.com) handed me a little plum, asked me to take a bite—sweet, cool, delicious—and then revealed that her husband had grown it.

Off a hidden gravel drive, the 3-mile trail through Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest (9) (1.5 miles from Paoli on U.S. 150 S, across from the Catholic church) threads an 88-acre stand of virgin timber. It’s so serene, you’ll be glad the place is difficult to find.


LUXE LAYOVER

An extra 15-minute drive past Paoli (west on S.R. 150) takes you a world away, to the European-style spa at West Baden Springs Hotel. Foot-therapy massage, “Sprudel” mineral-water bath, exotic Khayna of Africa sugar-oil peel—go ahead, you deserve it. 8538 West Baden Ave., 877-493-7822, frenchlick.com.


THERE AND BACK

Indy to Oolitic: S.R. 37 S (70 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes)
Oolitic to Paoli: SR. 37 S, with detours on U.S. 50, S.R. 60, and U.S. 150 (26 miles, 40 minutes)
Paoli to Indy: SR. 37 N (100 miles, 2 hours)

 

WHAT, NO BROWN COUNTY?

We didn’t forget. In fact, we updated all of IM’s best Brown County coverage from the past decade and gave it a new home. Enjoy!

BONUS

Photo outtakes here from these five delightful fall drives.

 

Photos by Tony Valainis and Design by Hector Sanchez for this CRMA award-winning feature story.

These articles appeared in the October 2012 issue.