Five New and Improved Brown County Overnight Stays
Where to lay your head after leaf-peeping, shopping, and/or whatever else wears you out.
This article is part of the Rediscover Brown County package in the October 2016 Indianapolis Monthly issue. For more on our favorite fall destination, click here.
It takes city-slicked guests time to acclimate to this cluster of cottages on the edge of Nashville. Eventually, they learn how to share the winding one-lane gravel road, to appreciate the sound of woodpeckers in the morning and the coyote at night, and to stop wondering why that deer statue under the crabapple tree is … um, moving. Owners Lance and Tyra Miller live at this shady haven nearly overgrown with native flora, where local architect Alva Judson Rogers worked and lived in the 1940s. Tyra has added on over the past 16 years and lavished each of the five secluded units with boutique luxuries like wisteria-draped hot tubs, full kitchens, and Wi-Fi. Weekend breakfast features sweet-potato waffles and baked oatmeal with moonshine-maple cream sauce. And oh, what quirky Brown County charm. Two miniature horses, Stormy and Rusty, live in the pasture behind Maybelle’s Cabin. Romeo the dog is there to greet guests when they arrive. And before leaving, they must check their cars for any resident free-range chickens that might have wandered in, searching for stray Cheerios. 914 Highland Ave., 812-988-7094, robinwoodinn.com —KS
Overnighting at the Victorian-style Cornerstone Inn, in the heart of downtown Nashville, is like staying at Grandma’s house. It’s spotlessly clean, and the rooms, some remodeled as recently as late last year, are stuffed full of intriguing antiques and named after the innkeeper’s ancestors, who have lived in the area since time immemorial. The Aunt Mamie Tilton Walker room somehow fits an ornate king-size bed, rocking chair, bench, leather recliner, side table, and two nightstands without feeling cramped—a veritable Hermione’s purse. Plus, they feed you, with complimentary homemade breakfast (try the granola and don’t pass up the streusel) and snacks and beverages in the evening. Pleasant common-area activities range from chess in the lobby, to porch-swinging out front, to strolling the courtyard that separates the main inn from additional guest quarters, including a charming cottage and a loft. On the northern outskirts of the village, the Cornerstone folks also rent Cabin 360, a postcard-pretty log home in a wooded setting, completely refurbished in 2013 with a long, lazy front porch and modern appointments such as a whirlpool tub and gas fireplace. 54 Franklin St., 888-383-0300, cornerstoneinn.com —KS
Brown County Inn
Opened in 1974, this kitschy, countrified hotel is enjoying a renaissance, with fresh paint, a new tin roof, and rustic touches (like petunias planted in galvanized buckets). Combine those improvements with the original plank flooring and hilly, wooded backdrop, and the Brown County Inn has the feel of an updated farmhouse. It wasn’t always this cute: After a heyday that saw it hosting country-music stars, it fell into disrepair; the current owners took over last year. All 99 guest rooms have had a thorough going-over since then, with an earth-tone color palette, comfy beds and plush linens, and accents like repurposed-wood headboards. The dilapidated tennis courts were transformed into an event space and garden. The refurbished indoor/outdoor pool, together with the miniature golf course and burned-wood signage, gives the facilities an away-at-summer-camp vibe. The onsite restaurant has a revamped menu, which guests can enjoy on an expansive new deck in the sprawling backyard that adjoins the Salt Creek Trail for short walks/rides into the village of Nashville. 51 State Rd. 46 E, 800-772-5249, browncountyinn.com —SRW
Salt Creek Winery Loft
You can book the comfy little space above the winery’s tasting room. It’s close to everything, and a convenient place to sleep one off on a side street in the center of Nashville. 26 N. Honeysuckle Ln., 812-497-0254, saltcreekwinery.com — EW
Cabin Suites at Brown County State Park
You love spending fall days immersed in the crisp outdoors, but you’d just as soon give nature a rest when it’s time to settle in for the night. Well, Brown County State Park has a little something for you: a cluster of brand-new, fully furnished, temperature-controlled Cabin Suites. On a quiet, shady cul-de-sac near the Abe Martin Lodge, the tidy duplexes each have private bedrooms, sleep six people per side, and, in an upgrade over the park’s old “family” and “rustic” cabins, include crowd-quieting digital features like flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. They’re so new, in fact, the park hasn’t announced when exactly they’ll be open (check the website for availability). Which means that you could be the lucky someone who breaks one of them in. 1801 State Rd. 46 E, 877-563-4371, indianainns.com —EW