Teeming with history, the US state of Indiana contains many significant small towns with atmospheric downtowns and all the outing opportunities the heart desires. These twelve towns scream of adorable charm for the next getaway into a quiet and scenic place from the steel of megalopolises.
The quirky named resort town is set on rolling hills offering second-to-none scenic views for 360 degrees. With two grand hotels representing all vast, beautiful, and classic, including golfing, hiking, spas, gardens, and historic tours, one can experience in a lifetime. An eye-candy of a town, French Lick bursts with color and a taste of the Old West. 33 Brick Street is a well-known restaurant in the town, while there are many more ways to keep busy as there are to relax, with streets full of cafes, eateries, and shops with a unique selection of products. French Lick started as a Resort and Casino back in the 19th century when people came to bathe in the natural mineral springs, followed by an entertaining night around the blackjack table. The picturesque French Lick Scenic Railway comprises a 20-mile journey leading into the Hoosier National Forest.
Set only 35 miles out of Cincinnati, the adorable town with a name to match aspires to explore every corner, with the scenic surroundings calling the adventurers for the next weekend getaway. Set on the beautiful Ohio River with the passing North Hogan Creek, the historic Aurora was established in the early 1800s, with the many well-preserved buildings in full display for the history and architecture fans. The Hillforest House Museum overlooks the Main Street, along with the scenic Veraestau Historic Site, while the bike path along the river leads to the scenic Lesko Park, which is perfect for an atmospheric picnic. The captivating Main Street comprises a hub of beautiful old architecture and all the cute and modern places to pass the time in, as expected from a small town. There, one will find an eclectic mix of restaurants and small-batch breweries for a great evening of relaxing after an explorative day.
A dream-come-true for outdoor enthusiasts, Corydon has the environment for all the kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and biking in the area where the heart desires. The historic district of the downtown contains original buildings, while there is also a winery, shopping from local artisans, and passing the time over a great meal at one of the restaurants. One can tour the Federal-style limestone capitol building from the early 1800s when the town comprised the capital of the Indiana Territory. The Battle of Corydon Battlefield calls to be explored with fascinating stories of the deep local history. The Capitol State Historic Park is another great place that combines learning about the region's interesting past within a scenically beautiful location. The Haywood Nature Reserve and the Harrison Crawford State Forest are for more natural outings, with opportunities to hike, zoom through the canopy on a zip-line, and bird-watch.
Established in March of 1828, the quiet and low-key Greenfield is the famous birthplace and boyhood time-spent of the esteemed author James Whitcomb Riley. One can learn about his works, including his claim-to-fame poem and comic, the Little Orphan Annie, at the Riley Home Museum. Topping the list of adorable small towns, Greenfield comes with an array of shops and eateries for a chilled-out place to relax in a vibrant downtown historic district with unique architecture being some of the most awe-inspiring in the state. The Tuttle Orchards offers some fantastic family fun time for a great weekend getaway just 30 minutes out of Indianapolis metropolitan area. There are also an Old Log Church and Chapel in the Park and museums with ancient Native American artifacts, pieces from the Civil War, and prehistoric fossils.
Madison is one of the nation’s most significant historic districts. It is abundant in history and fantastic architecture, including buildings and structures of the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Gothic Revival, and Arts and Crafts styles. Among the countless charming historic homes, the finest was built by the prosperous lawyer, banker, and railroad financier James Franklin Doughty Lanier in the Greek Revival style on the banks overlooking the Ohio River in 1844, with an incredible spiral staircase, formal gardens, and a stone fence. Older than the state itself, Madison was founded along the river in 1809, flourishing through the early part of the century with trade and visitors. In preparation to be selected as the state's capital, the citizens increased traffic by widening the streets to boulevard size, and although it never panned out, Madison is now known for the cozy feel with a ton of shops in the vast downtown area.
With a tiny population of fewer than 200 people, the adorable Metamora teems with tourists for the exciting and unique opportunities it has to offer. Stepping on the town's streets is like journeying back in time when Metamora was just a stop along the Whitewater Canal. One can get a fascinating insight into history by touring the ancient grist mill still in operation. The only wood aqueduct in the United States, a unique horse-drawn canal boat welcomes one inside for a 25-minute cruise down the Whitewater Canal. There is the historic Whitewater Valley railroad for more adventures, gem mining at the downtown mine, riding a horse along the canal, and some down-to-earth hiking.
Set in the Tippecanoe Township, Pulaski County, Monterey's story began before the Mexican American War, when it was charmingly named Buena Vista. The name was changed to commemorate the Battle Of Monterey when the North Mexican Army was defeated by a United States force of Regulars, Volunteers, and Texas Rangers. Today's peaceful and quiet atmosphere includes a humble yet full of character local pub, Denton’s Corner Tavern, while Hartz Lake is perfect for an afternoon spent picnicking and frolicking in the waters on a summer day. Nature lovers will love driving out to the Tippecanoe River and biking or walking down the Panhandle Pathway for over 20 miles.
The relaxing and picturesque New Harmony is suited for its melodically inspiring name. Located in the south of the state, the charm is apparent on the streets and in the establishments, with the friendly locals willing to chat more about their ways of life. There is various fine architecture, beautiful parks, and museums to explore. The secret to the name lies in the past, originally established as a religious utopia. The community stewardship and the tranquil vibe stayed to this day, in the offerings of peace among the historic architecture while throwing back a local whisky or embarking on a nightly ghost tour. The township comes with many antique shops, art galleries, endless outdoor experiences, and historic buildings and properties from the 19th century. More culture can be obtained when the New Harmony Dulcimer Company comes with music that can be heard from anywhere in the ideal town.
Paoli offers a unique experience, affirmed by the thousands of visiting families, young and old, each year. The town is especially popular during the wintertime, with many exchanging the glimmer of the steel city for that of the snowy Paoli Peaks. A great spot to set the base for skiing, snowboarding, and other snowy adventures, the locals also get to enjoy the changing scenery of the seasons. The snow cover begins to thin, revealing the freshly green grass, followed by the blooming fields of flowers in the late spring and summer. There are trails to meander through the enchanting surrounding landscapes and the Hoosier National Forest for a day in the fresh air surrounded by ancient giants, followed by a swim and relaxing on the banks of the Ohio River. In-town, one can access secrets from the beyond by getting insight into the mesmerizing Underground Railroad.
Part of the Posey Township in Switzerland County, the aptly named Patriot, is set along the lovely Ohio River as a resilient and dedicated to survival, adorable town. Becoming more robust than before, in the aftermath, of many floods and fires, the historic post office stands in affirmation. A cute town to stroll through, there is the quaint Main Street and the atmospheric Posey Park, along with many trails into the great outdoors. The town itself pleases its visitors with many annual festivals and one of the most beautiful shorelines along the river. The Ohio River is a beloved spot for kayaking, fishing, or taking a refreshing dip on a hot summer's day.
Shipshewana is a perfect visit for bargain hunters, with Midwest’s Largest Flea Market taking place each year from May through September in the town's historic area. The market offers 26 aisles of independent vendors for browsing, while there is also the Antique & Miscellaneous Auction every Wednesday. Set in the heart of Amish Country, it is a popular stop along the Heritage Trail. The fascinating town reveals insight into the local Amish-Mennonite culture and exploration of the LaGrange County history. If not taking the jaunty carriage ride through town in a horse and buggy, the town is excellent for walking with many restaurants, including the Amish-style choices at the Blue Gate Restaurant & Bakery. The Menno-Hof offers an interactive cultural experience, while the Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park is a family-friendly "wild" place that kids love.
Williamsport is the largest and the oldest county seat, containing many historic buildings, such as the Presbyterian church from 1889, the “Tower House” from 1854, and the Warren County Courthouse from 1907. Set on the Wabash River, there is also the beautiful Williamsport Falls, the highest falls in the state right downtown, for a scenic 90-foot free fall spectacle. The short canal meant to draw shipping traffic from the nearby Wabash, and Erie Canals earned Williamsport the nickname “Side-Cut City." It is home to the only hospital in the county and the fairgrounds for the annual Warren County Fair, while the waterfront Old Town overlooking the Wabash River is a perfect mix of history and scenery. Following a scenic stroll through Biggy’s Pizza makes for a delicious stop, while the Mind Song Books allows one to pick a unique find out of an eclectic collection.
Full of unique character, each of these towns comprises an unforgettable experience for one next great adventure of exploring the state. Brimming with history, architecture, culture, and natural vistas, anyone will find a special memory to take home with following a visit to one of these towns.