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HAPPY TRAILS: Themed Tourist Treks Statewide

The rise of themed tourist trails around the state is a trend spurred by Indiana Artisan Program routes created in 2008. Now, if you're interested in Garfield, gardens, or what Mellencamp's ex-girlfriend has to say, there's a self-guided tour for you!

[A] NORTHERN INDIANA ART & EARTH TRAIL
148 stops • artandearthtrail.com
>> Seven themed loops, one in each county on the trail, lead to attractions such as Indiana’s largest cheese factory (Shipshewana Loop) and Molly Bea’s Ingredients (Dunes Loop), an emporium known for grind-your-own peanut butter.


 

[B] BARN QUILT TRAIL
50+ stops • visitmarshallcounty.org
>> Pull over to admire colorful “quilt blocks” (painted representations of actual quilts) displayed on the sides of barns, homes, and public places.



[C] RURAL ROUTES TO MAIN STREET CULTURAL TRAIL
13 stops • ruralroutestomainstreet.net
>> Among these artisan-related destinations is Nomad Yarns, a shop that sells skeins made from locally produced fibers.



[D] COMFORT FOOD TRAIL
16 stops • visitindiana.com
>> Eat your way across Southern Indiana, saving room for fried biscuits at Joe Huber Family Farm in Starlight and the state’s best brat at Schnitzelbank German Restaurant in Jasper.



[E] INDIANA AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE TRAIL
19 stops • indianaafricanamericanheritage.com
>> To tour the first part of what could become a statewide trail, pick up a map at The Depot welcome center in Jeffersonville, built in 1871 as a shirt-making factory for the Army—with segregated bathrooms. Destinations include Lyles Station in Princeton, a thriving African-American settlement from 1880 to 1912 and one of the last of its kind in the state.



[F] HERITAGE TRAIL DRIVING TOUR
27 stops • amishcountry.org/things-to-do/heritage-trail
>> Set a course for all things Amish, including farms and elaborate gardens planted to look like quilts, on display until October 1.



[G] TOMBSTONE TRAIL
10 stops • tombstonetrail.com
>> Visit cemeteries with distinctive monuments (in Albion, one man’s grave announces that he was murdered for money) and gripping stories of the interred.



[H] INDIANA GLASS TRAIL
26 stops • indianaglasstrail.com
>> The glass craft took root in and around Madison County after the discovery of a natural-gas well in 1887. Learn all about it by touring art-glass factories and checking out impressive glass collections. The trail detours south to Columbus to take in Chihuly masterpieces.



[I] GARFIELD TRAIL
12 stops • showmegrantcounty.com/tourism/garfield
>> Every Grant County town boasts a cat sculpture in honor of native Jim Davis.



[J] CHOCOLATE TRAIL
7 stops • visitrichmond.org 
>> Visit confectioners with a Chocolate Trail Passport from Richmond’s welcome center to receive a free gift at each place—including a taste of chocolate vino at J & J Winery.



[K] CREATIVE SPACES RURAL PLACES
21 stops • creativespacesruralplaces.com
>> This tour encompasses studios, shops, galleries—and an artist who carves wooden statues using a chainsaw.



[L] THE ROOTS OF AN AMERICAN ROCKER: AN AUDIO DRIVING TOUR
14 stops • jacksoncountyin.com
>> Pop in a CD ($13.99) with directions to John Mellencamp’s old haunts and commentary by his mother, sister, and former teachers, as well as an ex-girlfriend.



[M] JOHN HUNT MORGAN HERITAGE TRAIL
24 stops • hhhills.org/map-of-the-trail.html
>> Follow in the hoofprints of Confederate cavalryman John Hunt Morgan. Stops include a church in New Alsace where Morgan’s Raiders stole a priest’s horses while he conducted Mass.

 

 

Typography by Lars Lawson

This article appeared in the September 2012 issue.