Photo by Tony Valainis
Of the five lakes that make up the Indian Chain in the northern part of the state, Witmer may be the most beautiful. Situated near the small town of Wolcottville, it’s also one of the cleanest in Indiana. As many fishermen know, cisco are a good sign of great water—and Witmer has its fair share of the species. Then there’s the interconnectedness of the lakes. You can explore more than 640 acres from this unspoiled little hideaway (204 acres in its own right).
There’s no boat rental place on Witmer, so you’ll want to bring your kayaks or fishing boat with you. At Coody Brown’s Lakeside Grill (1510 E 700 S, 260-854-2425), you can putter right up to the dock for pub grub. In town, Rieglings Coppertop (725 W. 700 S., 260-854-3000) has a roadhouse feel, with entrées more sophisticated than the exterior suggests—think blackened salmon drizzled with bleu cheese, then baked to a golden crisp. Perhaps the most unique experience near Witmer is Cook’s Bison Ranch (5645 E. 600 S., 866-382-2356), where 500 bison roam and you can feed the animals. This third-generation ranch also offers hunters the opportunity to harvest other large game on the property. A few miles south, Rome City features more refined attractions. The Limberlost Golf Club (3204 E 900 N, 260-854-4878)—named after the classic novel by Gene Stratton-Porter, who lived in this area—is one of the oldest courses in the state. At The Lavender Lane (2258 E. Northport Rd., 260-854-4494), you can buy soaps, oils, and potpourri from a farm that smells like heaven. Hiking trails wind through the uninhabited Big Island on adjacent Sylvan Lake. And the Sylvan Cellars tasting room (2725 E. Northport Rd., 260-760-1421) pours both craft beer and cocktails in a renovated barn.
Back on Witmer, you won’t find much to distract you from the scenery. It’s probably the sleepiest lake on this list. But for those who prefer tranquility to tourist attractions, the water here is just fine.