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An Indiana Sampler

The neighborly state of Indiana is always ready to welcome visitors.

Whether travelers are looking for an elegant reception or a warm down-on-the-farm hello, Indiana can accommodate them while living up to its friendly reputation. The Hoosier State invites guests to see the authentic side of the state with high-class historic attractions like the French Lick Resort and simple Amish-focused sites like the Barns at Nappanee. Groups can discover why the state is known for its interactive attractions, farm-fresh cuisine and natural beauty on a tour of the state.

Popular Demand

Newfields

From giants in the art world like Vincent van Gogh to pop culture favorites like Robert Indiana’s original Love sculpture, Newfields in Indianapolis celebrates a wide range of artistic styles. General admission lets groups wander through a 152-acre campus dedicated to art and nature with a park, gardens, performance areas and a historic home. The cornerstone of the campus remains the Indianapolis Museum of Art with its 54,000 artworks spanning 5,000 years of art history. Groups can book customized tours to view works by Rembrandt, El Greco and Caravaggio.

Brown County State Park

Autumn sets the hills ablaze in yellow, red and orange leaves at Brown County State Park. The largest park in the state, the Brown County park protects 16,000 wooded acres with scenic drives threading the hilly landscape. Groups can hike, ride horseback or drive through the natural splendor. The park’s lodge offers 88 rooms and an on-site restaurant. Nearby, groups will enjoy the walkable town of Nashville as they window shop for locally made products and art.

Conner Prairie

Visitors can see Indiana from above at Conner Prairie in Fishers. The outdoor museum offers several unusual experiences, such as the 1859 Balloon Voyage, which allows guests to soar in a helium-filled, tethered balloon to learn how manned flight moved from imagination to reality. The Treetop Outpost is another centerpiece of the museum, where visitors can climb a four-story treehouse to view the White River, scenic woods and prairie terrain. Created in 1934, the attraction combines history, science and Indiana’s cultural heritage with hands-on experiences throughout its 800-acre property. Other exhibits include the Makesmith Workshop, 1836 Prairietown, Lenape Indian Camp and 1863 Civil War Journey. Parts of Conner Prairie are temporary closed, so groups should check before traveling.

Up and Coming

Indiana Dunes National Park

Established in 2019, Indiana Dunes National Park in Chesterton is the United States’ newest national park. Fifteen miles of beaches, impressive sand dunes and preserved wilderness offer postcard-worthy scenery. Though smaller at 15,000 acres than some national parks, the park keeps visitors busy with trails through marshes, wetlands  and forests and up Mount Tom, the tallest of the park’s dunes at 192 feet. Groups can arrange a day of kayaking Lake Michigan or birdwatching or take a ranger-led walk.

Barns at Nappanee

Formerly known as Amish Acres, the Barns at Nappanee opened in May 2020 in Nappanee. The current owners updated the Amish farm attraction with renovations and new offerings. The site holds tours of the historic Amish home, blacksmith shop and one-room schoolhouse. Groups can take buggy rides across the 80-acre property of rolling hills and preserved buildings. Barns at Nappanee’s 400-seat family-style restaurant is now open at 50% capacity.

‘The Bob Ross Experience’ at Minnetrista

A soft-spoken artist who became a hit television personality is celebrated at the Minnetrista museum in Muncie. “The Bob Ross Experience” exhibit will remember Ross’ life and his beloved “Joy of Painting” television show that was filmed in Muncie. The exhibit showcases Ross’ refurbished studio, objects from his life and immersive features that illustrate his message of fearless creativity. Minnetrista is a 40-acre museum campus that offers changing exhibits, a historic home called Oakhurst and themed gardens.

Overnight Sensations

French Lick Resort

Hidden away at the edge of the Hoosier National Forest, the French Lick Resort in French Lick preserves two upscale century-old hotels: French Lick Springs and the West Baden Springs Hotel. Now restored to their original splendor, the hotels were built to accommodate wealthy travelers desiring a soak in the local mineral springs. Guests can still warm up in the springs at the resort’s two luxury spas. Resort offerings keep guests busy with activities such as golf, gaming, hiking, bowling and horseback riding.

Potawatomi Inn Resort and Conference Center

Those wanting more time to take in the views at Pokagon State Park in Angola can settle in at Potawatomi Inn Resort and Conference Center. The park’s inn offers boat rentals, hiking trails, bike rentals, an indoor pool and a beach on Lake James. Winter visitors can also enjoy a refrigerated toboggan run. Groups can dine at the on-site restaurant and cafe while staying in any of the inn’s 138 rooms.

Memorable Meals

Das Dutchman Essenhaus

Indiana’s largest restaurant, Das Dutch Essenhaus in Middlebury, serves Amish-style cuisine. Groups love the restaurant’s signature dishes, among them roast beef and ham noodles, and its other home-cooked specialties. While on-site, groups can also ride in an Amish buggy, shop for handcrafted items and watch a stage performance.

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Opened in 1973, the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre in College Park combines Broadway-style shows with quality dining. The theater offers a dinner prepared by an in-house chef, a full-service bar and gourmet desserts. Its name, Beef and Boards, refers to the hand-carved roast beef served before each performance.

visitindiana.com

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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