Southern Indiana is a paradisal place for a fall road trip. Whether you want to bring your family to one of the Autumn Getaway Weekends on Patoka Lake or have a solo drive with spa stops at such destinations as The Spa at the West Baden Springs Hotel, there is so much to do in the southern part of the Hoosier State that it’s easy to plan a customized road trip. From the abundant fall foliage to lakeside luxury, delightful surprises are sure to pop up along the way.
Patoka Lake is a great place to start any trip to Indiana. You can go swimming, canoeing, or water-skiing on the 8,800-acre lake. Scenic boat rides are available if you just want to relax on the water, too. The 26,000-acre Indiana Department of Natural Resources property also has great hiking and biking trails where you can see the beauty of the lake and the surrounding areas.
You won’t find a more diverse range of lodging options than what is offered at Patoka Lake Marina & Lodging. The unusual and fun spot in the heart of Patoka Lake has Indiana’s first floating cabins on the lake. For something a little more luxurious, you can stay in creative suites that were converted from silos attached to the winery. In addition to houseboats and cabins, you can also stay in one-bedroom winery suites that have their own jacuzzi bath tub.
In nearby Jeffersonville, don’t miss the public art on display in the town’s NoCo Arts and Cultural District. You’ll see a quirky display of art that was originally created on sticky notes then enlarged to show off the artists’ fine details. There are whimsical utility box murals in addition to other public murals and galleries. Don’t miss The Story Trail which showcases the work of student artists or the themed shows at the City Hall Foyer Gallery.
Have you heard of Gus Grissom? Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom was America’s second person in space, and he was one of the seven Mercury astronauts. The Grissom Memorial does a wonderful job of showcasing who the young man was and what he contributed to the space program. The Gemini 3 Molly Brown space capsule is among the exhibits that show sides of his personal and professional life.
Continue your road trip with a short drive to Borden, Indiana, where you can celebrate fall by picking a pumpkin from a large pumpkin patch or a bag of apples from seemingly endless orchards at Huber’s Orchard, Winery, Vineyards & Distillery. Those who care about animal rights and welfare will be glad to know that this charming spot does not farm animals. Although it started as a dairy farm generations ago in 1843, for many decades Huber’s has only farmed fruits and vegetables.
In addition to the scrumptious apples and pumpkins, Huber’s also has a winery and tis own Starlight Distillery where brandies are crafted in an artisanal European tradition. There are lots of places to sit and relax while trying the beverages and treats offered here.
What would a trip to Indiana be without paying homage to the 16th United States president? After all, Abraham Lincoln grew up in Southern Indiana. Drive to Lincoln State Park, a 1,747-acre park that was established nearly a century ago in memory of Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Perhaps the most interesting thing to do here is go on a one-mile woodland stroll where you can, well, walk a mile in Lincoln’s shoes, so to speak. The path follows one Lincoln himself walked years ago. It includes two historic roads with stops like the graveyard where President Lincoln’s sister Sarah was buried and the Little Pigeon Church.
Taking a scenic train ride is a perfect break from driving on a long road trip. The French Lick Scenic Railway offers a scenic train ride into the Hoosier National Forest where you can see beautiful fall foliage, a historic cabin, and even the childhood home of Larry Bird.
The West Baden Springs Hotel is a luxury hotel with a fascinating history. With all the comforts and pleasures it offers, you will want it to be your home base for as much of your Southern Indiana road trip as possible.
The striking atrium may inspire awe when you first walk through the doors. The hotel has 243 luxury guest rooms and suites, and each one is beautifully furnished and decorated. There’s a complimentary resort-wide shuttle service so you can easily get to the casino, formal gardens, or golf course. No matter what else you do during the stay, you shouldn’t miss your chance to have a massage or facial at the onsite spa.
Be sure to take a historic tour and stop by the onsite museum to get a fuller understanding of the hotel’s transformation over time. Then take note of how much of it still looks remarkably the same as it did over a century ago!
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