One hour from downtown Indianapolis, Brown County continues to captivate visitors more than a century after artists first fell under the spell of its natural beauty. Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com

Do

Bear Wallow Distillery Indiana-grown grains distill into whiskey, moonshine and other craft liquors in Gnaw Bone. Watch the process during tours, then taste the fifths in a room meant to look like a backwoods shack. bearwallowdistillery.com

Bear Wallow Distillery

Bean Blossom Covered Bridge A winding road leads to one of two covered Brown County bridges. The 1880 bridge across Bean Blossom Creek once served as a major passage into Nashville. Now it’s a popular spot for walkers, painters and photographers. browncounty.com

Bean Blossom Covered Bridge

Brown County Music Center Just a mile from Brown County State Park, the new 2,000-seat center hosts a diverse lineup of local, regional and national performers year-round. browncountymusiccenter.com

Brown County Playhouse and Performing Arts Center The curtains part on live events (plays, musicals, concerts and comedy acts) and movies in this 426-seat theater founded in 1949. browncountyplayhouse.org

Brown County State Park Climb a lookout tower for a bird’s-eye view of the 16,000 acres of forests, lakes and wooded campgrounds. The park’s 27 miles of mountain biking trails rank among the state’s best. stateparks.in.gov

Brown County State Park

Brown County Craft Gallery More than 30 area artisans show their works, including pottery, jewelry, silk scarves and baskets. browncountycraftgallery.com

Hard Truth Hills Take a distillery tour, mixology class or ATV adventure on a 325-acre Nashville property that is also home to a Big Woods restaurant. hardtruthhills.com

Hoosier National Forest Picnic at one of the tables overlooking the 203,000 acres and explore some of the 266 miles of trails. fs.usda.gov

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. Wind down with a hayride. rawhideranchusa.com

Shopping You’ll find antiques stores and crafts studios throughout Brown County, but if you’d rather walk, spend an afternoon in Nashville. Find sweet treats at stores like Miller’s Ice Cream House or Carmel Corn Cottage, and swing by the Brown County Art Guild to see works by more than 40 local and regional artists.

T.C. Steele State Historic Site Tours of T.C. Steele’s home and studio teach about the Hoosier Group impressionist who helped turn Brown County into a thriving artists’ colony. tcsteele.org

T.C. Steele State Historic Site

Yellowwood State Forest You’ll have to hunt for the specimen yellowwoods, but plenty of pines, walnuts, locusts and oaks shade horseback and hiking trails. in.gov

Eat

Big Woods Pizza Company Artisan pizzas, such as The Smokehouse (pulled pork, smoked chicken, mozzarella, barbecue sauce), pair with beers like Busted Knuckle from the local microbrewery, Quaff ON! bigwoodsrestaurants.com

The Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room Fresh herbs and produce star in salads, sandwiches and dinner fare in an 1800s brick farmhouse at The Flower and Herb barn nursery near Bean Blossom. farmhousecafeandtearoom.com

Hobnob Corner Restaurant Original oak fixtures from 1873 set a casual tone, but the menu reflects foods both homey (liver and onions) and upscale (duck breast with red wine reduction on a butternut squash fritter). hobnobcornerrestaurant.com

Miller's Ice Cream House A local favorite for 40-plus years, this spot churns out 23 flavors of homemade ice cream plus seasonal specials. millericecream.com

Nashville General Store and Bakery In a bright yellow wood building, snack on cinnamon- and sugar-dusted fried biscuits and other homemade breakfast and lunch fare. Nashville General Store and Bakery Facebook

Nashville General Store and Bakery. Photo: Bob Stefko.

Our Sandwich Place Yes, you can order sandwiches, but the real draw is the cream-and-crimson interior crammed with memorabilia honoring Indiana University basketball and legendary coach Bob Knight. Our Sandwich Place on Facebook

Stay

Abe Martin Lodge In the heart of Brown County State Park, rooms in the stone-and-timber 1932 main lodge have patchwork quilts and furniture trim resembling branches. Families might want to opt for a two-story cabin. indianainns.com

Artists Colony Inn Shaker-style furnishings, plank floors and four-posters decorate rooms at Nashville’s downtown inn. Munch on sweet potato Sun Fries with brown sugar sauce in the Colonial-style restaurant. artistscolonyinn.com

Robinwood Inn Friendly barnyard animals and a farm-fresh breakfast set a pleasantly rustic tone at this lodging a few minutes outside Nashville. A well-supplied art room encourages creativity. robinwoodinn.com

Robinwood Inn

Story Inn Ten miles of country roads lead to this escape outside Nashville. Stay in one of 18 rooms in the renovated buildings—mill, general store, cottages—that made up the village of Story in the 1800s. storyinn.com

For more information browncounty.com

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