This weekend, Jeremy and I skipped town for a few days and made our way to Brown County, Indiana. We’ve been wanting to visit together for a while now, and since it was my birthday weekend and there was a corn maze beer festival happening in the area, it seemed like the right time to go!
Brown County is about a three-hour journey from Fort Wayne. We left mid-morning on Friday, and decided to swing by Oliver Winery, just outside of Bloomington, before continuing on to our destination of Nashville, Indiana.
We’re so glad we made the semi last-minute decision to stop at Oliver. It was a gorgeous property – the landscaping was picture-perfect and the interior was quite lovely, too. We sampled a few wines and stocked up on a selection of bottles before hitting the road again. We definitely want to visit again and spend a little more time there. You’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds, and there are guided tours every half hour as well.
Long, curving, forest and field-lined roads led us to our cabin (which was just outside of Nashville) and the drive couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Despite the 90-degree weather, the first crisp leaves of fall were dancing down onto the road ahead of us, glistening in the rays of afternoon sun that shone through the treetops, and we even hit an unexpected patch of sunny rain.
We had a good laugh at the road and village names along the way – Wallow Hollow, Less Travelled Road, Bunny Trail, Greasy Creek, Gnaw Bone, Stony Lonesome…
As we unloaded our luggage, two unexpected visitors raced up to the porch – a large white dog and a little chihuahua (we later found out that the little guy’s name is “Shrimp”) – the cabin owners’ pets. It was the sweetest thing – they stuck with us until we took off for the afternoon, sadly watching us pull down the drive, then returned, tails wagging, when we came back later in the evening, and proceeded to stand guard on our porch for a good portion of the night.
The log cabin was quaint and lovely, filled top to bottom with antiques.
There was absolutely no cell service – or wifi – and the next nearest cabin sits back on a hill behind it, so we really felt like we were in the absolute middle of nowhere!
Our first evening in town, we spent getting a lay of the land and an idea of what we wanted to do in the coming days.
Shops tend to close up rather early (5 PM or so, depending on the day), so we quickly popped into a few before heading to Big Woods Pizza for a drink and a snack.
From there, we walked along the eerily quiet streets, taking in the quaint shops and autumn decor, before driving over to Pine Room Tavern for a proper dinner and live music.
This little city reminds me so much of a town straight from a movie set in a small town in the fall (read: Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, Double Double Toil and Trouble), especially when it’s all done up in fall decoration and the leaves change over – though we were just a few weeks too early for that!
Many of the shop names are even autumn-esque (Fallen Leaf Books, September Elm Gift Shop…) It’s a town that’s always bustling with tourists, yet one in which, or so it seems, all of the locals know and trust and greet one another, daily. The kind of place where many shops don’t even take the goods they’re displaying on the sidewalk inside at night, and produce stands and antique shops leave notes on counters that read, If you don’t see anyone, leave your cash in the jar and have a great day!
We called it an early night and made our way back to the cabin for the evening after dinner, where we played a game of checkers and hung out on the front porch with the pooches for a bit before crashing for the night.
After getting up and around on Saturday morning, we ventured into town for breakfast at Hobnob Corner Restaurant. We had an hour or so to spare before heading to the beer tasting (which took place a few towns over, in Columbus, Indiana) to check out the shops.
I drug Jeremy into several old homes and storefronts brimming with crafty goods and antiques, and found a few gems I couldn’t live without, before we hopped in the car and hit the road for 450 North Brewing.
The Corn Maze Beer Festival was an incredibly popular event this year, bringing in 4,000 people! It’s by far the most unique beer event we’ve been to. Behind the brewery is a massive cornfield, which they turn into a corn maze each year.
Except, for this event, each major section of the maze is filled with booths for several major breweries in and around the area. We sampled some excellent stuff! There were also food trucks and live music performances throughout the event. Our only complaint was the weather. Standing in the middle of a cornfield for several hours mid-day in sweltering, 90-degree heat isn’t ideal, and we joined hundreds of others in backing up against the first row of cornstalks, seeking any form of shade we could find, while guzzling insane amounts of water, between samples. Otherwise, it was an amazing time, and we already plan to do it again next year!
We were at the event for about three hours before calling it quits. We found our way out of the maze and back to the car, where we proceeded to sit with the air conditioning at full-blast for some time before driving back to Nashville.
Once back in town, we immediately stopped for food at Casa del Sol. From there, we visited a few shops close by, including a pet boutique, where we stocked up on treats for Rosie. : )
We then found ourselves in a main part of town, where we’d seen signs for pumpkin ice cream the night before. We made it to Ice Cream Cottage just minutes before the owner turned over the “Open” sign to “Closed.”
As she scooped a few hearty spoonfuls into our cups, she told us how she’d been making her pumpkin ice cream for nearly twenty years – well before the pumpkin craze was a thing. And I can confirm that it was delightful!
After cooling off with a healthy dose of ice cream, we decided to take a little adventure and visit the tiny village of Story, Indiana, about twenty minutes outside of Nashville. My mom and I visited and stayed at the inn several years ago, and I’d referenced it to J so many times since we’ve been together that I wanted him to finally see it in person.
It’s a crazy drive out to this little dot on the map – which is literally just the inn and a few of its cabin rentals, along with a barn and some stables. It’s surrounded by fields and forests, and… is supposedly haunted!
It was a bit of a different experience visiting this time around – when my mom and I stayed, it was just us and the innkeeper. When J and I got there, we quickly realized that the whole place had been rented out for a wedding!
We still walked the grounds, though, and took a quick peep inside of the inn – including its farm-to-table restaurant and the basement tavern – before heading back towards our own cabin.
On our way back to our place, I urged J to pull over at Stone Head, another historic landmark that my mom and I visited on our trip back in 2009.
I was gutted when we pulled up and I saw that the actual statue had been vandalized (I later found out that it happened just last year – the assumption is that someone used a sledgehammer to destroy the head, which has never been found.)
It’s always heartbreaking when places and pieces of history change, or worse, are destroyed, but it makes me that much more thankful that I was lucky enough to visit and/or experience them before. You can read more about the Stone Head’s history here.
It was really sweet to see that visitors leave behind little trinkets and charms. We left behind a guitar pick and a penny.
As we drove away and slowly rounded each curve back to our place, we realized just how deliriously tired we both were. It was an extremely early night back at the cabin – we were in bed at 9:00!
The next morning, we slept in and leisurely packed up our belongings. Several locals told us not to be in town before 10 AM, as shop owners and restaurants move slow on Sundays. We got into town around 11 for brunch at the Brown County Inn.
It was shaping up to be another insanely hot day, so after brunch, we quickly made our way to some of the shops we’d wanted to visit before leaving town.
All too soon, we were saying our goodbyes to Nashville, and driving toward home. We stopped at a couple of antique markets and Kelp’s Greenhouse and Pumpkin Patch along State Road 46 along the way, which may have very well been my favorite part of the trip!
Brown County was a real treat this past weekend and we can’t wait to visit again. We’d love to experience some of the trails and the state park next time around, preferably when it’s just a touch cooler!
Have you been to the area? Where are your favorite places to visit and your must-dos?