Going on a holiday trip isn’t the simple matter today that it was in the near past. Financially speaking a different approach must be taken than say a decade ago, and other options taken into account other than the trans-states expedition.
In the summer of 2001 my grandparents and I traveled from Indiana to Yellowstone National Park in western Wyoming, a round trip of well over 3,000 miles. We also freely took detours into Utah and northern Colorado on the return trip. I remember distinctly my grandfather being upset when we had to stop and fill up the gas-tank because the price was at the highest I had yet seen in my life-time; $1.75.
Aside from a trip to Germany (buying a plane ticket to Europe is probably cheaper than traveling by car across country right now) I haven’t traveled that far from home since. Instead I’ve found other ways to satisfy my desire for weekend trips and interesting locals. This is a guide for residents of Indiana looking for a few interesting vacation spots other than the usual theme parks. Of course the distance to each place I cover here depends on the place of residence of the reader, but from my home the farthest drive was under 2 ”” hours one-way. These are my personal suggestions, but with a little research one can find that Indiana has no shortage of historical and natural places of interest.
And remember, taking the scenic route is half the fun, I try avoiding the interstates as much as possible.
Because my picks require a certain amount of information to do them justice I’ve broken this article into three parts. For locations 2 & 3 please see part two of this article; locations 4 & 5 are part three.
1.) CORYDON – I begin with Corydon, a small, historically crammed town in southern Indiana, because it is one of the most interesting spots I’ve found so far.
The town was the one time territorial capital (relocated from Vincennes) and first state capital (1816-1825) of Indiana before the move to Indianapolis. The square and surrounding area are jam-packed with significant landmarks of Indiana history. Some of the buildings, like Branham Tavern, built by William Henry Harrison, a former territorial governor and eventually President of the United States, date from before 1807.
A short walk from there will bring you to the first State Capitol Building (a $2 fee is now required to enter), a small two story structure that unbelievably at one time held the State Senate, House of Representatives and Supreme Court. Another short walk away is the Governor’s Headquarters which is usually open to the public but was unfortunately closed the day I visited for unknown reasons, but a beautiful square garden and hillside behind the house was still worth a visit.
My favorite landmark had to be the Constitution Elm, the spot where the state constitution was, according to legend, written because during the heat-wave of that summer (1816) it was too warm inside the capitol building for the delegates to meet. Unfortunately Dutch Elm disease claimed the tree in 1925, but a large portion of the 5′ across trunk is still preserved within a sandstone monument and pictures can be seen of it in its former glory at the Visitors Bureau located across from the Governor’s Headquarters on Elm and Walnut streets. Directly facing the Constitution Elm happens to be the oldest house still standing in the state.
A few miles outside of town is the Morgan’s Raid Battle Site where a small militia of Ind. soldiers briefly resisted the far superior numbers of the Confederate General Morgan before being overwhelmed and forced to retreat during the Civil War. A recently reconstructed cabin and several stone monuments are currently situated at the place of battle which is surrounded by thick woods. The quiet, secluded spot, besides being a place of interest, would also serve nicely for a picnic or for those interested and equipped, metal-detecting.
It would take more than a few paragraphs in one article to cover the dozens of sites worth the while to visit in Corydon, so I’m afraid I must leave it at that in order to cover other worthy places. It is worth the visit, the town does not disappoint. Corydon contains enough to fill a day or two for any family or individual interested, and most of the places are within easy walking distance of one another. Over-night accommodations are available at a locally run inn, and there is no shortage of franchise hotels outside of town.
The town also has sporadic bluegrass festivals and battle reenactments either at the square or at the battle site, if you’re lucky enough to plan a visit during one of these events.
Directions: Not far north-west of Louisville, KY. Follow Ind. 135 south (near Interstate 64) and there will be plenty of signs to lead the way.
Part 2 contains information for:
2.) Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell
3.) The Lew Wallace Study, Crawfordsville
Part 3 contains information for:
4.) Turkey Run State Park, Marshall
5.) Downtown Bloomington & The IU Campus