The Magic of Midwest Covered Bridges
Parke County, Indiana
Thirty-one covered bridges punctuate Parke County's landscape like the miniature buildings in a model train set. Here, 55 miles west of Indianapolis in the Wabash River Valley, you'll find the nation's highest concentration of covered bridges. Often built near mills, bridges such as the 1915 Bowsher Ford (left) once connected farmsteads separated by squiggling streams. In autumn, tour buses roll in for the half-century-old Covered Bridge Festival. In winter, though, visitors have the quiet to themselves.
Getting started: Stop by the visitors center in Rockville, pick up maps and set out on a self-guided trip through time.
While you're there: In any season, the rock cliffs of Turkey Run State Park provide places to hike and reflect. The inn at Turkey Run State Park offers inexpensive lodging. Browse for gifts at the Covered Bridge Art Gallery in downtown Rockville, and try the chicken noodle soup with cheddar-garlic biscuits at Clabber Girl in Terre Haute (about a half-hour southwest of Rockville).