The Colorful Cast Of Characters In Brown County

As surely as the leaves change in autumn, these colorful characters turn up in Brown County.

Around the Village

The Candle-Sniffers
Usually traveling with their sisters and covered head to toe in Coldwater Creek, these women amble through the village shops in a state of total enchantment.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the new Iron Weed Gifts and Floral on Jefferson Street, where the smell of lilacs wafting out the front door is all the marketing the shop needs.


The Overeducated Coffee Bean-Roasters

With an M.A. in anthropology or philosophy, these baristas are motivated by the simple joys of their craft, not money. (Although tips are kindly accepted.)

Where You’ll See Them:
At the funky Fallen Leaf Books, which opened a couple of years ago and specializes in local history.

The Bachelorettes
Fueled by rosé and the enthusiasm of their bachelorette party entourages, these young ladies will only be here until dusk (when they head to Bloomington to relive memories on Kirkwood Avenue).

Where You’ll See Them:
Kind of everywhere, but especially at the Brown County Winery, which just added sparkling wine to its lineup.

The Biscuit-Eaters

Working an ice-cream cone, slab of fudge, hot cider with cinnamon stick, and—most importantly—fried biscuits and apple butter into one 9-hour period, these individuals also will leave with local provisions jarred, mulled, and roasted.

Where You’ll See Them:
At The Nashville House, since 1927.

The Dutiful Baes

Impervious to the spell of crunchy leaves underfoot and hand-carved wind chimes, these guys were bribed with a trip to the Under Armour outlet on the way home and just want to find a bar showing college football while their wives shop.

Where You’ll See Them:
At Hard Truth Hills, the massive new distillery/brewery/ATV course just north of town.

The New Age Couples
After a day of shopping for dream catchers and amethyst crystals, these mystics retire to the motel hot-tub suites on State Road 45.

Where You’ll See Them:
Almost certainly at the annual Brown County Rock and Mineral Show, at the Brown County History Center.

In the Park

The Obsessive Leaf-Peepers
They’ve been watching the soil-moisture charts for the best weekend to launch a drone, and they’re thrilled that the sugar maples are producing strong anthocyanin this year.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the park’s Hesitation Point at dawn.



The Trail-Shredders
Some with full-back tattoos of the Hilly Hundred route, these diehards unwind by switching cycles and tearing up Brown County State Park’s mountain biking paths.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the Brown County Epic, a series of mountain bike races held annually the second weekend of October.

The Saddle-Sores
Unlike the trained equestrians who ride English in Zionsville, these amateurs ride Western in a long line of other people who haven’t been on a horse in a few years.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the Ethereal Day Spa & Salon, getting a rubdown after a ride.


The Van Lifers
Circled around a campfire with a few RVs, they’re younger than that crowd, but everyone bonds over shared growlers.

Where You’ll See Them:
Before they head into the park, they’ll definitely make a stop at Big Hempin’, a new hemp-products boutique on Van Buren Street.

The Undergrad Lovebirds
Cuddled in a hammock overlooking Ogle Lake, these couples are making their first trip to the park since childhood. They plan to stop at the Brown County Humane Society later to pet cats.

Where You’ll See Them:
At Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls, a new cafe not far from the park’s entrance that serves one of the few luxuries they can afford.

The Conservation Officers

They may look harmless in their olive-green garb, but they patrol the park with an eagle eye for litterers and illegal hunters—and can make arrests.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the newly remodeled Gnaw Bone Country Store and Bakery, a place to grab their morning muffin away from the “hustle” of Nashville.

Along the Backroads

The Homesteaders
Often spotted in an herb garden by a woodpile on a road with the word “knob” in the name, these bohemians tend their gardens of medicinal plants and have a canning cellar.

Where You’ll See Them:
On the rare occasion that they head into town, they stop by the New Harmony Soap Company, a new shop full of organic grooming products on Main Street.


The Hog-Riders

Startling tourists and shaking leaves off nearby trees, these Harley-devotees rumble through town in large packs.

Where You’ll See Them:
At Pit Bull Leather Company in Nashville, suiting up in chaps and vests for a ride into the hills.


The Banjo-Pickers

Their claim to fame is that one time they jammed with fellow Brown County resident Reverend Peyton, but most days they’re playing bluegrass on the porch, Deliverance-style.

Where You’ll See Them:
At Weed Patch Music, Nashville’s instrument shop that specializes in—you guessed it—banjos.


The Bearded Hermits

Like a morel mushroom, these loners are in the forest somewhere, but you probably won’t find them.

Where You Might See Them:
At the Laura Hare Nature Preserve, a rugged conservation area east of the park that’s rarely explored.

The Plein Air Painters
From a hilltop, these aproned daubers stand at an easel and point out the opalescent haze on a distant ridgeline.

Where You’ll See Them:
In Selma Steele’s garden, the recently restored flower beds that impressionist T.C. Steele’s wife tended and he painted.


The Luxury Cabin–Owners

They helicopter into a 100-acre spread in the hills, where the house is stocked with pricey fiber art and landscape photography from town.

Where You’ll See Them:
At the Story Still Tavern, the often-missed (but never by wealthy locals) basement bar at the Story Inn.