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Archive for indiana

The Little Smokies

By Linda Tancs

Indiana’s Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and ravines. Its similarity to the Great Smoky Mountains earned it the moniker “the little Smokies.” That’s just one reason to visit Brown County State Park, the largest park in the state. The vistas are so incredible that park officials even sponsored a “7 Vista Challenge.” Some of the most popular views are found at Hesitation Point, the fire tower (the highest point in the county at 1,058 feet above sea level) and Hohen Point, where unglaciated sandstone dominates the terrain.

Sand and Solitude in Indiana

By Linda Tancs

There’s plenty of sand and opportunity for solitude at Indiana Dunes. Recently elevated to national park status, it’s Indiana’s first national park. Hiking is a prized activity, with over 50 miles of trails reaching dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests. Lying at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, it benefits from its habitat with a wide variety of fish, birds and aquatic organisms. The park also ranks fourth in plant diversity among all the national parks. Visit this weekend for some maple tapping. Taking place at the historic homestead, Chellberg Farm, the free event is one of the park’s most popular activities. Bottled syrup will be offered for sale at both the main and Bailly/Chellberg visitor centers.

Canoeing in Indiana

By Linda Tancs

Sugar Creek is one of Indiana’s most popular canoe streams. It runs right through Turkey Run State Park, Indiana’s second state park. The first parcel of the park’s 2,382 acres was purchased during the state’s centennial in 1916 when the state park system was first established. Historic accounts suggest that large numbers of wild turkeys congregated in the canyon bottoms (runs) to avoid cold weather, lending the park its name. You’ll find some of the state’s best hiking (especially moderate to rugged) among the canyons.

Art Colony of the Midwest

By Linda Tancs

Impressionist painter Theodore Clement Steele found artistic inspiration in the scenic hillsides of southern Indiana in Brown County over a century ago. Others followed, creating an art colony in the Midwest. Steele’s life and works (not to mention five hiking trails on 211 acres) make for an interesting visit at T.C. Steele State Historic Site. Enjoy guided tours of Steele’s studio (where early morning light filters through floor-to-ceiling windows) and home, hike one of his well-trodden trails or stroll through Selma Steele’s restored gardens. The property is located in Belmont, midway between Bloomington and Nashville, Indiana.

Indiana’s Other Grand Prix

By Linda Tancs

Indiana has, you might say, a need for speed. Just as the engines are cooling down in Speedway, they’re revving up again in LaPorte. Only this time, the action is on the water. The Maple City Grand Prix is taking place from June 3 to June 5, a tunnel boat racing event on Stone Lake on Saturday and Sunday that attracts daredevils from across the country and Canada. The boat parade downtown on Friday promises lots of excitement for autograph seekers and boat enthusiasts. There’s also a fireworks display on Saturday. Best of all, the event is free, including parking and shuttle services.

Indiana’s Best Kept Secret

By Linda Tancs

Open to the public and free, the Indiana War Memorial Museum and the Col. Eli Lilly Civil War Museum are two of Indiana’s best kept secrets. Along with 24 acres of parks, monuments, sculptures, statues, and fountains, they encompass the best historic site in the state. Honoring local veterans and educating citizens about the military history of the state and country, no other city in the United States maintains as many acres dedicated to honoring veterans, and only Washington D.C. has more veterans’ monuments. The Indiana War Memorials Plaza Historic District is located in downtown Indianapolis.

Ode to Indy

By Linda Tancs

What racing enthusiast wouldn’t want to lay down a hot lap for a chance to qualify for the Indy 500! You can indulge that fantasy at Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, Indiana. Located near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the facility offers visitors the chance to get behind the wheel of full car simulators or box cart simulators equipped with iRacing. That feature is part of their Interactive Zone, where racing buffs can also immerse themselves in Dallara Automobili history and learn the engineering of an IndyCar. Want to take a victory lap at the Speedway? They offer that, too; choose a two-seat IndyCar, Nascar, or event car.

A Presidential Christmas

By Linda Tancs

The year is 1888, and United States President-elect Benjamin Harrison is preparing to celebrate Christmas with his family at their homestead on North Delaware Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.  That’s the scene depicted on 13 December at the Benjamin Harrison Home, the family residence of the only United States President elected from Indiana.  Step back in time for a unique Victorian Christmas tour of this 1875 Italianate home.  Not one to surrender traditions of hearth and home, Benjamin Harrison was the first President to have a decorated Christmas tree in the White House.

America’s Christmas Hometown

By Linda Tancs

It’s hard to miss the spirit of the season in a town called Santa Claus, Indiana.  Enjoy the Christmas Celebration, which takes place on the first three weekends in December.  The Christmas-themed attractions include the Candy Castle, Santa’s Post Office, and Santa’s Tree of Lights, which comes to life hourly at Kringle Place.  While you’re in town, take a drive through the Land of Lights at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.  Munch on roasted chestnuts as you shop at the Christmas Store and craft stalls.  Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’?

Persimmons Rule in Indiana

By Linda Tancs

The persimmon is an edible fruit, a large berry about the size of an apricot with a tomato-like skin.   In southern Indiana the fruit is a native delight, its abundance celebrated each year during the Persimmon Festival in Mitchell, Indiana.  This year’s event runs from 17 to 24 September.  A major highlight, of course, is the parade on 24 September at 2 p.m., one of Indiana’s largest parades.  It forms at Lehigh Field, moving west on Main Street to Seventh Street, then north on Warren, west to Eight and ending at the high school.  Save your appetite for the persimmon pudding.  Last year’s concoction was a mix of buttermilk, heavy cream, butter, eggs, a little vanilla and a touch of cinnamon.  If that doesn’t sound gooey enough for you, then maybe you should have tried last year’s Gooey Butter Cake, winner of the Persimmon Novelty Dessert award. 

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