Midwest Living Review
Named for a newspaper cartoon character from the early 1900s, Abe Martin Lodge is located within Brown County State Park, the largest state park in Indiana. The setting is ridiculously scenic -- 15,000 acres of natural woodland with tons of recreational options, like camping, hiking, swimming and mountain biking. The lodge offers 155 guest rooms in its main structure; there are also rentable family cabins with all the comforts of home and more secluded rustic wood cabins for visitors who want to rough it. (The rustic cabins do include running water, heat and air-conditioning.) The main lodge could use some updating, but guests know going in this isn't going to be a modern four-star hotel, and that's all part of the charm. Common areas showcase soaring beamed ceilings and wood-paneled walls. Our king bedroom ($107 pretax during the peak season) was spacious, with Grandma's-house details, like an old-fashioned quilt on the bed and furniture trims resembling tree branches. Cabins run from $72, rooms in the lodge start at $107 and patio rooms run $117 and up. With a big water slide and several pool features, the 12,000-square-foot indoor aquatic center is a huge draw for families with kids. The lodge's Little Gem restaurant serves a hearty buffet of country cuisine -- fried chicken, ham, meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried biscuits with apple butter. There's a one-time $5-per-car admission fee to enter the park; flash your room keys for in-and-out access after that. Brown County is a spectacular place to visit during peak fall foliage, and accommodations book well in advance. Call early for reservations, and prepare for traffic jams.