Although I love to travel, I have a wonderful place to call home. My husband and I live in Brown County Indiana, a tourist destination to millions of people owing to the scenic rolling hills, the spectacular Brown County State Park, Indiana’s largest, and Nashville the quaint and historic artist colony that features galleries, shops, restaurants, and unique lodging.
Even with all the visitors, most times it is a pretty quiet and peaceful place to be. But October is the most popular month for the tourists who come in droves to see the spectacular autumnal display of color along the byways, the back roads and the scenic overlooks that abound in the state park and beyond.
In October, a drive down almost any country road will take you away from the throngs and through kaleidoscopic tunnels of foliage, and past authentic log cabins, country lanes, meandering creeks and harvest-ready fields. Our favorite fall drive is the northeast area of the county. It is especially nice with its uniquely named roads such as Bear Wallow, Clay Lick and Greasy Creek. The Flower and Herb Barn on Beanblossom Road is an interesting stop that features a plant nursery, myriad garden decorations, an antique barn and the Farm House Café and Tea House.
The Village of Nashville has hundreds of unique shops. Some tend toward the kitschy, but there are enough with local Brown County art, crafts, and food products to create a more authentic experience. Some of our favorites are The Trilogy, The Brown County Craft Gallery, a local cooperative, and The Jack and Jill Nut Shop. There are numerous lodging offerings including quaint inns, rustic cabins and traditional hotels with a bit of Brown County charm.
As locals, we tend to eat in town far more often than we shop. The Big Woods Pizza Company has become a very popular eatery due to its gourmet-type pizza and locally crafted beers. We are also regulars at The Hobnob Corner Restaurant, located in a historic building that was once a pharmacy with a soda counter and The Nashville House, where you can get famous Brown County biscuits and apple butter along with your meal. The Nashville General Store and Bakery is tucked into an alley way off of the main drag, but it’s worth finding for its delectable pastries, sandwiches and desserts offered in a gift shop packed with county-style food products and wares for the home décor. We stopped there recently and enjoyed white meat chicken salad with pecans and grapes served on pumpkin bread in their recently expanded dining area. Yummy!
Between 16,000 acres protected in Brown County State Park and 23,000 acres under management in Yellowwood State Forest, there is a lot of nature to enjoy in Brown County and I do that regularly. Our property is adjacent to BCSP, which makes it my go-to destination for hiking. I will be writing a blog later on hiking and camping in the county, so for now I’ll focus more on the touring aspects of this large scenic wonder. A drive through the park offers numerous overlooks into the steep valleys and ridges eroded over the millennia from bedrock of siltstone and now forested with deciduous hardwoods that are lovely any time of year, but are especially stunning in October.
A large campground is well-visited three seasons of the year and the Abe Martin lodge offers a stay in modestly appointed rooms or rustic cabins with free access to a large indoor aquatics center located in the lodge. You’ll have to book months if not years in advance to snag one of these accommodations in the fall, but a winter or spring stay is actually an easily arranged, quiet treat for the soul.
People travel from miles around to visit Brown County. Even though I experience it every day, I never take it for granted. I am excited to see people coming to enjoy the many features of the area that have made it so popular. I’m also very fortunate to be able to tuck into my little piece of the county and look out on the natural beauty of the area.
A Sunday Drive in Brown County Indiana: Photo Gallery