Brown County Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Brown County Trip Guide

There’s a natural warmth to this region centered around Nashville. Brushstrokes of fiery oranges and reds compose landscape paintings inspired by Brown County’s tree-lined vistas. Owners of boutique shops greet shoppers like they’ve known them for years. If it does get chilly, Hoosier fare and cozy accommodations get things toasty again.
Shopping in Nashville.
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Bean Blossom Covered Bridge.
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Brown County State Park.
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T.C. Steele State Historic Site
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Rawhide Ranch.
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Bean Blossom Covered Bridge A winding two-lane road leads to the older of two covered bridges in Brown County. Stretching across Bean Blossom Creek, the 1880 bridge once served as a major passage into Nashville, and thanks to the local arts scene, it’s become the state’s most popular model for bridge paintings.

Brown County State Park Climb one of the lookout towers for a bird’s-eye view of the 16,000 acres of forests, lakes and wooded campgrounds. The park’s 25 miles of mountain biking trails rank among the state’s best. (812) 988-6406;

Brown County Craft Gallery More than 30 area artisans show their works, including pottery, jewelry, silk scarves and baskets. (812) 988-7058;

Hoosier National Forest Picnic at one of the tables overlooking the 200,000 acres, and explore some of the 266 miles of trails.  (866) 302-4173;

Rawhide Ranch Ride horses through the dense forests near Brown County State Park, then soar above the trees on five ziplines, which get progressively higher.

Shopping You’ll find antiques stores and craft studios throughout Brown County, but if you’d rather walk, spend an afternoon in downtown Nashville. Shops include Michael’s Flowers, selling custom arrangements and herb planters, and Bathology, offering soaps and bath salts. 

T.C. Steele State Historic Site Brown County traces its artistic roots to painter T.C. Steele, who inspired artists from across the country to come and paint. Guided tours wind past the artists’ works in his home and studio.


Big Woods Brewing Company The five beers at the area’s only microbrewery have names like Hare Trigger IPA and Possom Trot Pale Ale. Pair them with Emily’s Garden pizza: tomatoes, spinach, olives and feta on a cracker-thin crust.

Hobnob Corner Restaurant Original oak fixtures from 1873 and a soda fountain counter from the ‘50s set the tone for unfussy breakfasts of eggs, bacon, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy (a Hoosier staple).

The Nashville House Hickory-smoked ham, fried biscuits, apple butter and other home cooking satisfies guests at the Civil War-Era hostelry. The adjacent country store sells folksy items. (812) 988-4554;

That Sandwich Place Fans and alums of Indiana University get a kick out of the cream-and-crimson interior covered with posters, autographs and banners honoring IU basketball and coach Bob Knight. Oh, and they serve sandwiches. That Sandwich Place on Facebook

Story Inn Feast on inventive seasonal fare, such as pecan-crusted chicken with peaches, in a converted store at the site of the former town of Story. (Stay here if you dare: This B&B claims to be haunted.) (800) 881-1183;


Abe Martin Lodge In the heart of Brown County State Park, lodge rooms have patchwork quilts and furniture trim resembling branches. On-site Little Gem Restaurant serves comfort food, such as fried chicken, meat loaf and mashed potatoes. (877) 563-4371;

Artists Colony Inn Shaker-style furnishings, plank floors and four-posters decorate rooms at Nashville’s downtown inn. No matter your entree, try Sun Fries—made from sweet potatoes and served with brown sugar sauce—in the Colonial-style restaurant, complete with stone fireplace and Windsor chairs.

Story Inn Ten miles of country roads lead to this escape outside of Nashville. You’ll be staying in the renovated buildings—mill, general store, cottages—that made up the village of Story in the 1800s.

For information: Brown County Visitors Center (800) 753-3255;

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