Road Trips

Art from three centuries. Food worth the drive. Fat bass lurking in the shallows. Gas up the car and find all three on these Southern Indiana…


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A couple of regular anglers at Brookville get waist deep on a hot summer day for better quality fishing. /Photo courtesy of Martin Benson

Road trips have been portrayed in novels and movies since cars were invented. Though the reasons for the trips vary from escape to cheap family vacation, the result is always a great destination with an incredible journey.

812 drove across Southern Indiana and talked to art, culinary and nature experts to find great places for food, creativity and fishing in the region. We felt the themes would appeal to the most people in Southern Indiana. We saw the incredible architecture of the Columbus City Hall, smelled decades of cinnamon at a candy museum and fished for bass at some of the most fish-filled lakes in the state.

Choose your theme and fill up your gas tank. If you’re a true food aficionado, art lover, or angler (and maybe even if you’re not), you’ll be revving to go when you finish reading.

The Art Lover’s Drive

Length of trip: 42 miles; 1 hour, 8 minutes

Arts Road 46 is a collaborative effort to attract attention to Southern Indiana Art by the Bloomington, Brown County and Columbus visitors centers.
State Road 46 connects the three distinctively artistic cities. Along the way, drivers see amazing views of foliage, valleys and a bit of limestone. Bloomington, home to the Indiana University Art Museum, has one of the finest university art museums in the nation. Even the building, designed by I. M. Pei, is artistic. Nashville has been an artist’s colony since the early 1900s, when artists such as T.C. Steele began to settle there.  Columbus is known nationally for having over 70 significant pieces of architecture and environmental art.

You can get a taste of all three cities in this road trip.

Bloomington
Indiana University Art Museum
1133 E. 7th St. Bloomington
(812) 855 – 5445
Admission: Free
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Indiana University is home to one of the most prominent university art museums in the country with approximately 53,000 visitors a year. Established in 1941, the IU Art Museum has over 40,000 pieces ranging from Claude Monet to Pablo Picasso to Stuart Davis. “Our internationally recognized collections draws art historians, anthropologists, collectors and museum curators to Bloomington from throughout the United States and abroad,” says Linda Baden, the museum’s associate director. Designed by world-renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners, the museum consists of three collection galleries and a special collections gallery featuring the Gallery of the Art of the Western World and the Gallery of the Arts of Africa. Check out the museum’s Fall 2012 special exhibitions including “Barry Gealt: Embracing Nature” and “Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Ethnic Minorities.” The museum welcomes all ages and holds a public tour every Saturday at 2 p.m.
While you’re in Bloomington, visit John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America” exhibit at the Lilly Library, says Carol Wilson at the Convention and Visitors Bureau.. The Lilly Library is just across the plaza from the IU Art Museum. Wilson also recommends the By Hand Gallery in Fountain Square Mall and pictura gallery at 122 W. Sixth St.
When you’re ready to go, head east on State Road 46 until you come to T.C. Steele Road, where you’ll turn right.

Nashville
T.C. Steele State Historic Site
4220 T.C. Steele Road
Nashville
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m.  - 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.  - 5 p.m.
Tour admission: $3.50 for adults, $2 for children

Just about nine miles east of Bloomington is the T.C. Steele State Historic Site.

Theodore Clement Steele is considered the founder of the Brown County Art Colony because he was the first professional artist to settle there. Known earlier for his portraits, his real passion was for landscapes. He loved the beauty and the light of Brown County.

“T.C. Steele was one of the most significant contributors to Indiana art,” says Becca Zuppann, program assistant for T.C. Steele State Historic Site. Not only does he continue to inspire artists today but also brought many artists together in Brown County.

The building tour begins in Steele’s studio, where visitors can see many of Steele’s oil paintings from his early work to his Brown County landscapes. The tour goes to the House of the Singing Winds, where more of Steele’s work is displayed along with the original furnishings.

Guests are welcome to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding his home and studio by hiking on the five trails and visiting the historic gardens.

After visiting the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, check out a few galleries in Nashville, such as the Brown County Craft Gallery, 58 E. Main St.,the Brown County Art Gallery, the corner of Artists Drive and Main Street, and the Ferrer Gallery, 61 W. Main St., to see  other art and artists.

Columbus
Architecture and Public Art
Tours: Monday to Friday: 10 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m., 2 p.m., Sunday: 3 p.m.

After visiting Nashville, continue 20 miles east  to Columbus.

Columbus has been ranked sixth in the nation for architecture by the American Institute of Architects. There are more than 70 buildings and pieces of public art worth seeing in Columbus by artists such as I.M. Pei, Dale Chihuly, Henry Moore and Richard Meier.

Visitors to Columbus can download a free iPhone app with a self-guided tour of the architecture and environmental art. Directions for downloading can be found at the columbus.in.us website.

Two new pieces of art in Columbus are by Chihuly. They include a glittering yellow neon chandelier with more than 900 pieces of hand-blown glass in a shape similar to a tornado located in the Columbus Area Visitors Center and “Sun Garden Panels in Suspended Circle,” a vibrant quilt of plexiglass that resembles a stained-glass window in the Columbus Learning Center.

“A visit to Columbus wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Miller House and Garden,” says Visitors Center Executive Director Lynn Lucas. Visitors can see the J. Irwin Miller House and Garden, a National Historic Landmark designed by Eero Saarinen and only recently open to the public.

The Food Aficionado’s Trip

Length of trip: 346 miles round trip; 7 hours, 38 minutes

812 recommends taking two days for this trip and staying the night in Madison. Nearby hotels include the Hillside Inn, Riverboat Inn and Suites and Historic Broadway Hotel and Tavern. Not only will you need the time, but we imagine you’ll need the space in your stomach! We talked to several experts, including a resident foodie at the Indiana Foodways Alliance, to find some of the most delicious eateries in Southern Indiana.

Auntie Aimee’s Country Tea Room & Strawberry Fields
Hope
Address: 326 Jackson St.
Phone number: (812) 546 – 0640
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Specialties: Grilled cheese, lemon sponge pie
Price: $8 – $15
Enjoy lunch at Auntie Aimee’s. While it’s known for its sweet treats such as cookies, cakes and pies, it also serves simple favorites like soup, grilled cheese and Southern Indiana favorites like tenderloins. They offer antiques, country furnishings and seasonal decor in addition to delicious food. They receive new shipments of merchandise weekly. Don’t forget to mention the Columbus Visitors Center discount to receive 50 percent off the price of a second lunch.

After lunch and a stroll around Hope, hop in the car and take State Road 7 south for about 40 miles. Enjoy the drive.

Key West Shrimp House
Madison
Address: 117 Ferry St.
Phone number: (812) 265 – 2831
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tueday – Friday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Specialty: Shrimp
Price: $10 – $20

Key West Shrimp House takes pride in being family-owned and family-oriented. It has sat along the Ohio River for more than 40 years. The location was previously a button factory, and many people claim to still find shells with button holes on the property. Besides shrimp, Key West is known for seafood chowder and Halibut Oscar.

The bacon-wrapped shrimp comes in a delicious sweet BBQ sauce. You’ll be sad to finish your creamy twice-baked potato because it’s so good, and you’ll wish you’d ordered two.

“They recently introduced a new cod sandwich and had a contest on their Facebook page to name it,” says Angie Satterfield of the Indiana Foodways Alliance, a group that connects and promotes Indiana restaurants. “The owners have a great sense of fun and community involvement.” In case you were wondering, the name of the sandwich is now the Icelandic Cod.    Before checking into your hotel, consider walking along the Ohio River and Riverfront Park to walk off some of those sweets, especially since tomorrow’s first stop is a candy museum.

When leaving Madison, take State Road 62 West for about 30 miles.

Schimpff’s Candy Kitchen and Museum
Jeffersonville
Address: 347 Spring Street
Phone number: (812) 283 – 8367, ask for Jill Schimpff
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Specialty: Cinnamon red hots, hard candy fish
Price: $2 – $10
Start off day two of this road trip at Schimpff’s Candy Kitchen and Museum. It has been making candy since 1891 and offers live demonstrations. Last year, they made 15,000 pounds of cinnamon red hots alone.

“The store — the floors, walls and ceiling — is permeated with the smell of cinnamon,” says owner Jill Schimpff. “They’re special because of tradition. People in Kentuckiana find eating red hots a way of connecting to the past.”

The store and museum also has a ‘50s-era lunch counter and soda fountain where you can have homemade soups, salads and desserts.   Other popular items include the Benedictine Cheese, which is grated cucumber and onion with cream cheese, made-from-scratch potato salad and pecan pie. Enjoy lunch here before heading off to your final destination.

Groups and families can call in advance to schedule a free tour of the museum and the chocolate dipping room with a live demonstration.

The next step is the longest leg of the journey. Take US-50 West for about 80 miles. There are many state parks and caves along the way, so stop and enjoy them.

Pea-fections Culinary
Vincennes
Address: 321-323 Main St.
Phone number: (821) 886-5146
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Specialty: Cheese broccoli soup, chicken salad, chocolate bar a la mode
Price: $8 – $15

Owners Becky Pea and William Stenger met at culinary school and created this great cafe, with vintage wood booths and floors, that is always busy on Saturday afternoons. They serve gourmet creations and simple favorites like broccoli cheddar soup and chicken salad that keep customers coming back.

Ashley Gregory, a board member of the Foodways Alliance, also recommends the strawberries and cream cake — layers of white cake with cream and strawberries.

You can see cakes being decorated upstairs and watch desserts come to life before they are placed in display cases downstairs. Pick out one of your favorites to take home with you, but trust us, the choice will be hard.

The Angler’s Fishing Journey

Length of trip: 188 miles; 3 hours, 58 minutes

For all you fishing lovers out there, take a hot summer weekend off and head for some of the best holes in Southern Indiana. Traveling through Dubois, Jackson and Franklin counties, we mapped out a loop that hits some hot spots in each area. Starting at Ferdinand State Forest Lake and ending at the Brookville Reservoir, this loop will get you some of the best bluegill, redear, and catfish known to Indiana. We asked Brian Schoenung, south region fishery supervisor for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources—to provide a list of information any diehard fisherman would want to know. So pack up your F150 with your favorite gear and get on your way.

Ferdinand State Forest
6583 East State Road 264
Ferdinand
(812) 367-1524
Ferdinand State Forest Lake

In 1933, a local conservation club bought 900 acres of land to build what is today known as Ferdinand State Forest. The area was built for the purpose of hunting and fishing. Established in 1934 as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, Ferdinand has become known for its deer and squirrel hunting and is arguably one of the most beautiful and tranquil forest lakes in the state of Indiana. According to Brian Schoenung, “Ferdinand has great shoreline fishing and quality pan fish with some bluegill up to 10.5 inches.”

Dubois County
Acres: 42
ADA Access: no
Boat Ramp: yes
Shoreline Fishing: yes
Motors: yes
Motor Restriction: electric only
Type of Launch: boat ramp
Fee: yes
Species: bluegill, redear, catfish, crappie and largemouth bass

After fishing Ferdinand, hop onto I-64 for about two hours. Just south of Brownstown, you’ll run into Starve Hollow Lake, where you can find some excellent bass fishing.

Starve Hollow State Recreation Area
4345 S. CR 275 W.
Vallonia
(812) 358-3464
Starve Hollow Lake

As part of the 280-acre Starve Hollow State Recreation Area, Starve Hollow Lake stretches across 145 acres and is known for its bass population. “Starve Hollow has quality-size fish, which is something most anglers will be interested in,” Schoenung says.  Visitors can also enjoy some of the best camping in Indiana, hiking, mountain biking or swimming at the nearby beach.

Jackson County
Acres: 145
ADA Access: no
Boat Ramp: yes
Shoreline Fishing: no
Motors: yes
Motor Restriction: electric only
Type of Launch: boat ramp
Fee: yes
Species: bluegill, redear, catfish, crappie and largemouth bass
Location:

Can’t get enough bass? Start traveling northeast toward Brookville for another great bass fishery.

Running out of bait or line for your pole? Take a pit stop at Wormie’s Bait and Tackle shop on your trip for all your fishing wants and needs.

Owner Bill Reynolds poses joyfully outside his shop, Coca Cola in hand, for its 21st year in business. /Photo by Alexandra Mahoney

Wormie’s Bait and Tackle
Located on Rt. 50 one mile east of I-275
Lawrenceburg, IN
(812) 537-5839

Established in 1991, Wormie’s Bait and Tackle is family owned and run by Bill Reynolds and son Craig. Located in Lawrenceburg, Wormie’s has two other store locations in Versailles and Tanner’s Creek. The shop has a variety of fishing gear and bait including live bait, frozen bait, nightcrawlers, ice fishing equipment, raingear and waders. Wormie’s also sells Indiana hunting and fishing licenses.
Have some time to kill after buying bait for your fishing trip? Fish Wormie’s Pay Lake just behind their shop in Lawrenceburg.  Pay Lake stretches five acres and is stocked with bass, bluegill, catfish and carp. Pay Lake has had carp as large as 54 pounds and catfish as large as 72 pounds. Open seven days a week and no fishing license is required.

Sunday-Thursday
Kids 5 & under: Free
5 & up: $6

Friday-Saturday
Kids 5 & under: Free
Ages 6-12: $6

Seniors 65 & up: $9
Ages 13-64: $10

Brookville Reservoir
P.O. Box 100
Brookville
(765) 647-2657

Brookville Lake
Just beside the historic east fork of the Whitewater River Valley, Brookville Reservoir is home to the 5,260-acre Brookville Lake, “known for its outstanding smallmouth and largemouth bass population,” Schoenung says. The tailwater area below the dam at Brookville once held the state record muskie fish. The reservoir is also known for its 450-million-year-old Ordovician fossils.

Franklin County
Acres: 5260
ADA Access: no
Boat Ramp: yes
Shoreline Fishing: yes
Motors: yes
Motor Restriction: no
Type of Launch: boat ramp
Fee: yes
Species: bluegill, redear, carp, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, muskellunge, smallmouth bass, striped bass, trout and walleye

One Response to “Road Trips”

  1. Madonna Hefferon
    June 3, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I truely enjoy your blog. Say thanks a lot for the article.