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.
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Brown County State Park
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Do

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. It's closed to vehicles but a popular spot for photographers. browncounty.com

Bean Blossom Covered Bridge
Credit: John Noltner

Brown County Music Center 

Just a mile from Brown County State Park, the 2,000-seat center offers a lineup of local, regional and national performers. browncountymusiccenter.com

Brown County Playhouse and Performing Arts Center

Check the website schedule for events (plays, musicals, concerts) 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, Indiana
Brown County State Park
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Explore Brown County

Fifteen ziplines among the treetops include the state's fastest, longest and tallest twin-racing zips. Also available at the site: paintball, arrow tag, ATV tours and camping. explorebrowncounty.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. visithardtruth.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

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
Credit: Bob Stefko

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 and Drink

Bear Wallow Distillery

Indiana-grown grains distill into whiskey, moonshine and other craft liquors in Gnaw Bone. Taste the fifths in a room meant to look like a backwoods shack. bearwallowdistillery.com

Bear Wallow Distillery.
Credit: Bob Stefko

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

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
Nashville General Store and Bakery
| Credit: 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
Robinwood Inn
| Credit: Bob Stefko

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