Indiana Road Rally Itinerary | Midwest Living
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Indiana Road Rally Itinerary

Check out photos, videos and travel tips from 20-plus stops on Midwest Living's river-to-river Road Rally in Indiana.

Our first-ever Road Rally took us from the Ohio River in southern Indiana to the St. Marys River in Fort Wayne. Here are the stops on our itinerary (to see the rally story from the July/August 2017 Midwest Living, click here.)

Indiana map

Charlestown State Park, Charlestown History fills the woods at this park along the Ohio River. It was once part of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, and the rusting remains of those buildings still pop up out of the trees beyond fences. Hikers can actually walk right to the remains of Rose Island, a picnic ground/resort washed away by the great flood of 1937. Audio boxes near outlines of buildings and the swimming pool tell the stories when you turn a crank. in.gov/dnr

Big 4 Bridge, Jeffersonville Governments on both sides of the Ohio River teamed up to turn this defunct railroad bridge into a pedestrian magnet lit with colorful LEDs each night. At the foot of the bridge, a plaza dubbed Big 4 Station hosts concerts during the summer. jeffmainstreet.org

Parlour, Jeffersonville Fuel up for a walk across the bridge (or grab a local beer afterward) at this pizzeria that features an imported Italian oven. The restaurant occupies an old house, with the garage transformed into a bar and the yard turned into a hangout full of firepits and yard games. eatparlourpizza.com

 

Market Street Inn, Jeffersonville Stay close to all the riverfront action at this 1881 home that once housed Confederate War widows. It reopened as an inn in 2005 after a massive renovation project. Famous guests have included George W. Bush. Plan to take your morning coffee up to the roof deck. innonmarket.com

 

Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville By mid-summer, the Ohio River has usually fallen enough that you can walk out on the horizontal limestone beds near the water and see countless fossils embedded there. The modern visitor center on the river bank provides all the background with engaging exhibits. fallsoftheohio.org

Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, Starlight Seven generations in, the Huber family keeps finding fresh takes on how to use the family’s sweeping property. U-pick produce draws big crowds throughout the growing season, and the on-site restaurants and event spaces make it a popular banquet and wedding venue. Of course, there’s a winery, which includes an eye-catching tasting room in the loft of an old barn. Recently, the Hubers launched Starlight Distillery, which makes gin, bourbon and more. All of this is covered in a variety of tours. huberwinery.com

Indiana Caverns, Corydon Children of the ’80s can come here to satisfy their Goonies-inspired dreams of stumbling into a drippy cavern harboring underground waterfalls and treasure. Tours quickly come to a 40-foot cascade and follow steel walkways to an underworld boat voyage. The spine-tingliest part of the place is frequent evidence of ice age animals. Bones, claw marks and cave bears’ hibernation wallows pop up throughout, proving that at some point, this cave was easier to get into. And a lot scarier. indianacaverns.com

 

Corydon History buffs enjoy a stop to see the limestone building that served as Indiana’s first capital, plus the enshrined Constitution Elm, which said document was signed. Everyone can indulge their inner sixth-grader with a photo op at Butt Drugs, which would be just another small-town pharmacy if it weren’t for the name of the family that owns it. But there IS that name. townofcorydon.com

Him Gentleman's Boutique, New Albany Haberdashery isn’t a word
that comes up too often in conversation—and that’s exactly why we got excited after stumbling upon Him Gentleman’s Boutique in New Albany. It’s a meticulously curated shop that can tempt even the most fashion-ignorant dude to buy the kind of jacket and hat you’d wear to the Kentucky Derby. Him Gentleman's Boutique on Facebook

Brooklyn & The Butcher, New Albany This smart steakhouse was inspired by great hotel bars of bygone eras. Stop in at the front desk, complete with keys on the wall, then have a drink at the upstairs bar or the lower-level speakeasy mixing drinks like the Highlander, which combines 10-year-old Scotch and smoked lemon juice. brooklynandthebutcher.com

Brown County State Park, Nashville The best stays in Indiana’s largest state park (for those who prefer a bed to a tent) are the family cabins, which were recently renovated. You get a private hideaway in the woods (not counting the neighboring cabin) that’s about a one-minute drive from the restaurant and waterpark at the main Abe Martin Lodge. From there, the miles of hiking, biking and bridle trails are yours to explore. in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm

 

Koteewi Archery Range & K-Trails, Noblesville A public/private partnership brought these two outdoor rec options to Hamilton County. The ranger caters to archers of all level. Targets shaped like T. Rexes and jackalopes get kids into the sport, while pro-level ranges let competitive shooters hone their skills. There’s also a 3-D target course in the woods that lets archers walk a trail and take aim at targets shaped like deer, bears and more. Next door, K-Trails offers horseback rides on nearby public trails, as well as regular lessons in horsemanship. koteewiarchery.com

 

Rosie’s Place, Noblesville On the town square in this Indy ‘burb, you’ll find the comfort food you crave, along with a few twists like pork tenderloin Benedict and gooey butter cookies, which are a riff on the famed gooey butter cake in the owners’ hometown of St. Louis. rosiesplace.net

 

Nickel Plate Arts, Noblesville It’s impossible not to relax and/or get inspired at this space hosting working artists’ studios and various public art events. You can buy new pieces for your collection, listen to live music in the courtyard or stop in at the Caravan Classes to create some art of your own in a camping trailer converted to a studio. nickelplatearts.org

 

The Palladium Theater, Carmel This may be the first theater where you feel like you should take off your shoes. The exterior is a massive dome flanked by buttressing towers, topiary and a reflecting pool. When you step into one of the boxes and glimpse the performance hall, it immediately feels like you should’ve worn a tux. Box seats rise in four tiers on three sides. Glass acoustic tiles reflect the action on the stage. The gleaming lungs of a pipe organ (yet to be completed) anchor the backstage wall. Performers consistently rave about the near-perfect acoustics in the 1,600-seat hall. Upstairs, singer/songwriter Michael Feldstein keeps the headquarters for the American Songbook Foundation, which honors and studies the standards from Broadway and film. A public museum space features rotating exhibits, and archives in the back room includes pieces like the original, hand-annotated lyrics to Unchained Melody and the script to the Robert Preston film version of The Music Manthecenterfortheperformingarts.org

Divvy, Carmel Before or after a show at the Palladium (or its sister venue the Tarkington) grab a small-plate dinner or creative cocktail at this restaurant in the retail space just across from the Center for the Performing Arts. divvycarmel.com

Conner Prairie, Fishers Generations of central Indiana families know this interactive and immersive outdoor history museum. Visitors tour buildings, talk to reenactors and even get into costume for re-creations of Civil War engagements. Our evening visit included a ride 387 feet into the air in the gondola suspended under a helium balloon, which commemorates the first air-mail flight. Then we dined as part of the Prairie Plates series, in which Conner Prairie hosts guests for farm-to-table dinners in memorable settings like its barn, lit dramatically for the occasion. Our meal came from Chef Craig Baker at The Local Eatery & Pub and featured ingredients gathered on the Conner Prairie property by a professional forager named Demi. connerprairie.org

 

An Evening in Fishers You and 15 pals power The Pint Cycle, a rolling pub that cruises the Nickel Plate District, hitting local restaurants and bars without wheels. One stop is Four Day Ray, a brewery whose name salutes a railroad worker who called in sick one day each week. If you’re around a little earlier in the day, stop into Vardagen, a local shop making a name for itself with edgy T-shirt designs and cold-brew coffee that’s rapidly becoming A Thing. thepintcycle.comfourdayray.comshop.vardagen.com

Prairie Guest House, Fishers Across the road from Conner Prairie, this inn on an old farmstead offers the rooms and breakfast you’d expect from a high-quality B&B. But it goes one chill step further by offering classes in the on-site yoga studio. prairieguesthouse.com

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground, Fort Wayne This inspiring playground in Kraeger Park reveals Fort Wayne’s commitment to all its kids. Features like soft landing places and access ramps ensure kids of all abilities can come out to play. fortwayneparks.org

Cindy’s Diner, Fort Wayne When Hollywood dreams up a diner, it looks like this one downtown: a narrow metal building with a 15-seat counter and a former waitress named Angie who now owns the place. Signature dish: The Garbage, which you may also know as eggs scrambled with potatoes and veggies. Plus, try a donut made each morning in the vintage dime-store machine. Cindy's Diner on Facebook

Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot See Fort Wayne the best way: under your own power. Local history tours leave from the old train depot on bikes and Segways. And owners Tim & Cara can also get you onto the St. Marys River on paddleboards or kayaks, where you’ll learn about the major riverfront improvements coming to town later in 2017. As Fort Wayne reconnects with its waterways, the city is in for some big upgrades. fwoutfitters.com       

DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Fort Wayne The owners of this local purveyor of high-end candies literally travel the world each year, bringing back the best concepts in confections and store design. On the afternoon we stopped in, we felt like all the biking we’d done with Fort Wayne Outfitters justified diving into the iced caramel mocha latte with sea salt. debrand.com

Tolon, Fort Wayne Chef Matthew Nolot rolls out a small-plate dinner to end all others. Two dishes left us chattering more than any others. The deviled eggs add Sriracha and miso paste to this staple Midwest appetizer. And the three-layer chocolate cake features miso mousse and bacon-chocolate ganache between the layers. The sweet-salty combo will change your idea of dessert. tolonrestaurant.com

The Fort Wayne Tincaps at Parkview Field The Class A Tincaps’ Parkview Field is a major story in the minor leagues, thanks to details like its versions of Wrigley Field’s rooftop seating and Camden Yards’ warehouse neighbors. The ballpark, which opened in 2009, has been a catalyst for downtown revitalization and has won numerous awards as the country’s best minor league baseball experience. milb.com

 

Special thanks to Ed Martin Toyota The Camrys and Highlanders we used throughout the Road Rally came courtesy of this longstanding dealership located in Anderson, just outside of Indianapolis. edmartintoyota.com

 

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