This morning, my friend and former co-worker Michael gave us a heads up about a recent USA Today article featuring one scenic drive in each state. Since we hadn’t really formulated an agenda (other than wanting to visit Santa Claus) we decided today was a great day to take someone else’s advice!
We perused the article (here) and though it was a tad cryptic (I did say it was USA Today right?). Once we figured it out though, it was quite an amazing – truly beautiful – day trip.
We headed west on 62 from our campground and got a beautiful glimpse of some sexy roadside art – a Charlestown Hotel sign (circa 1960) and an over the top “look at me” car on a tall pole! Both at the same restaurant – that was housed in a freakin’ locomotive car. Yeah, we get it, you like attention… geez!
We then drove through a small industrial parkway (that was surprisingly close to our campground) and briefly onto Interstate 64 before rejoining the two-lane Rt. 62 a few moments later.
With the windows down, a cool breeze blowing and the sun shining bright above us, we put the pedal down on some country roads. As we raced over a beautiful farmland hill, we were compelled to take a photo of a tree that, like a child who has touched the hot burner one too many times, seems to have learned a valuable lesson – electricity hurts. Of course we know the local utility commission probably had a hand in its shape as well, but in the morning breeze, it seemed to be in a constant fight with temptation… so… here’s the photo.. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Rolling into “Historic Corydon” as the sign indicated, we decided to stop and have a bagel and muffin at Magdalena’s Restaurant & Cafe on the Square. While eating across from the Corydon Battle Park we learned that this tiny town is the site of Indiana’s ONLY Civil War battle, and the state’s first capital. But, what we loved most about our brief stay in this city, was the sign at left – apparently, this is a very specialized drug store for which we didn’t have any immediate needs. I passed it on to a few friends, but they too said they had no urgent requirements for salve.
We then stopped in the parking lot of the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, which – at 10 am – was not yet open for service, but still served the amazing complimentary view for which they have become famous. Since a picture is worth a thousand words (and probably trades for even more of mine), I’ll let the view do the talking!
Why did the turtle cross the road? No, seriously, why do so many try to cross the road in Indiana? We saw so many turtles waddling across the paved two-lane death valley that we started to think that we were crossing THEIR road. While a few cracked shells were definitely scattered across the parkway, this particular fella was at least spared for a few moments, as we stopped the car and Kimmer awkwardly chased him across the street to the relative safety of the ditch.
One thing that shines in Southern Indiana is the glow from the beautifully tilled land, arrow straight corn fields and historic farms. Indiana is primarily an agricultural state. (We’re about to drop some knowledge, so get ready.) Three quarters of Indiana’s lands are actually used for growing soybeans, corn and livestock. The state has about 63,000 farms, and in 2001, agriculture contributed about $5.1 billion towards Indiana’s economy. In terms of agriculture, Indiana is the 14th ranked state in the US. Another interesting fact is that approximately 80% of Indiana farmers depend on their farm as their primary source of income.
Turning a corner in Saint Meinrad, we came upon the St. Meinrad Archabbey. Founded in 1854 by monks in Switzerland, the Archabbey is absolutely breathtaking and perhaps the most serene place in which we’ve spent time since we’ve been on the trip and scouting locations. We parked in the visitor center entrance space, walked around the building and under a gazebo to the pristinely manicured courtyard from which we took the picture at right (click for the full photo). The School of Theology at Saint Meinrad has become well known in the education of Catholic priests, permanent deacons and lay students. Guest suites are available for those wishing to visit and worship at the ArchAbbey.
Finally we wrapped up our day with a stop at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial which brings to life his formative years in Indiana from age 7 until 21 when he and his family moved to Illinois, and Marengo Caves, the 8th longest cave system in Indiana and home of some pretty sweet natural wonders. Click the links above to see more about any of these sites.