Traveler: Branching Out in Brown County

Buck tradition and plan a holiday weekend in Nashville.
Brown County State Park
Sure, the fall foliage is lovely, but autumn isn’t the only time Brown County shines. Hordes thin when the trees become bare, yet the hiking trails stay open, and Nashville proves equally enchanting when strewn with twinkling white lights.
Mainstay shops like the circa-1873 Ferguson House (78 W. Franklin St., 812-988-7388) spiff up with red and green accents for the season, while The Holly Shop (37 E. Mound St., 812-988-4453) and new Miss Moonpennies Holiday House (36 W. Franklin St., 812-988-6208) promise plenty of fine nativity sets and kitschy elf tchotchkes. A handmade ballerina or bird ornament from the decorated trees at Lawrence Family Glass Blowers (36 E. Franklin St., 812-988-2600) makes the best souvenir. Stock up on mint-cookie malted-milk balls and peppermint divinity at The Candy Emporium (58 W. Main St., 812-988-1488).
On the first weekend in December, the inaugural Nibbles and ’Nogs ($25) presents a perfect excuse to snoop through adorable shops while taking in live music and sampling wine, beer, and nosh. Kids get their turn on Saturday, when merchants hand out treats for their commemorative stockings. Afterward, bundle up to watch the Christmas Lights Parade roll down Van Buren Street, and then chase away the chill with a nip at Bear Wallow Distillery (4484 E. Old State Rd. 46, 812-657-4923). The industrial-looking exterior of Indiana’s first retail distillery belies a charming facility open for “farm to fifth” tours, moonshine shake-ups, and tastings of handcrafted whiskey and rye. That should keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose.
Drive Time: 1 hour
Stay: Maybelle’s Cottage at Robinwood Inn boasts beamed ceilings, a hot tub, and a stone fireplace (from $200/night).
Play: Who needs a sleigh when you’ve got a zipline? Zip ’n Sip—cocoa, that is—takes place on select weekends at Explore Brown County.
Click: The Leaf Cam becomes the Snow Cam this time of year.