We love it when people visit Brown County and enjoy it so much they write about it! Check out this fun guest blog post from our friends Lexa & Caroline at Sippin’ Sangria!
Guest blog post & photography by Sippin’ Sangria
Brown County State Park has been on our radar for years, and after taking a trip to the Smoky Mountains, hiking has become the new go-to when looking for a fun weekend getaway. Taking the quick drive from Indianapolis to the small city of Nashville, IN is an easy trip you can do with your SO, a group of friends or for a girlfriend getaway. Here’s how we spent our trip:
What we love about exploring places close to home is less travel time. Within an hour’s drive, we had already arrived in downtown Nashville and got to spend the entire afternoon checking out antique shops and trinket stores. We first stopped at our Airbnb at Franklin Square, which was a cute little apartment right above the Acorn Cottage Gallery. The creaky floorboards and charming décor definitely encompassed the quirky and artsy vibe of the city. There are also lots of other places to stay close to town too, like the Brown County Inn.
After settling in, we took to the streets and hopped into any store that piqued our curiosity. There were lots of unique and local goodies like leather custom cowboy hats, the BEST fudge at Heritage Candy Store and Mexican pottery. The town was a lot like Stars Hollow (shoutout to the Gilmore Girls fans!) with its charming shop owners, rustic, cottage buildings and one-of-a-kind trinkets. After some hardcore shopping, we made a pitstop at The Nashville House for some drinks and a quick snack as we soaked up some sun on their outdoor patio.
For all of the brewery/spirit lovers out there, Hard Truth Distilling Co. is an absolute MUST. It’s a gorgeous property with a craft distillery, tasting center and a restaurant. Be warned – these are not your average tastings. The bartenders give some very healthy pours. We did both the spirit tasting – 5 spirits for $6.00 (try the toasted coconut rum, you won’t regret it!) – and beer tasting – where you can do a four or six flight. It was such a great experience with friends and we’ll definitely be back this summer to do their ATV tours.
Once we all were feeling pretty good (thanks to our tasting,) we absorbed all of that liquor with a hearty meal – and more drinks – at the Big Woods at Hard Truth Hills restaurant. Try the honey bacon flatbread and Bahama Mama, which is a gorgeous drink that tastes like juice, so very dangerous. 🙂
Just a street over from our Airbnb, we found The Daily Grind, a quaint coffee shop with really great tasting coffee and a local musician playing in the corner. It was the perfect pick-me-up to prep for a hike at Brown County State Park that afternoon. If the weather is nice, take some time to enjoy your breakfast in a little courtyard as the quiet town slowly starts to wake up. Before hitting the trails, we stumbled on Antique Alley Shops – a little cluster of stores with local paintings and wooden carvings. It’s the perfect spot to connect with local artists and pick up a souvenir.
Now to the real purpose of our trip: hiking. It took us only 10 minutes to get to the park entrance, where we headed straight for the fire tower. Nothing says adventure like scaling to the top of a massive tower, right? It was really cool to get an aerial view of the park and finally cross climbing to the top of a fire tower off of our Indiana bucket list.
To choose a trail, we took a more spontaneous approach: after looking at our paper map and using alltrails.org – where you can see reviews and photos by other hikers – we decided on Trail 7, a nice loop around Ogle Lake.
After a couple hours of hiking, we took a 30 minute drive into Bloomington for dinner. Nashville is a quieter town where most shops close right at 5pm. That left us with some pretty limited dinner options with tight closing times. So Bloomington was the perfect escape to grab some great Thai food at Siam House and take a little tour around IU’s campus.
There’s no better way to end a busy weekend of hiking and drinking (and more drinking) than hitting up the local brunch hotspot, the Bird’s Nest Cafe. Wanting to enjoy the warm weather, we ended up in a cute little greenhouse outside of the cafe. After eating a delicious breakfast of chicken and waffles, we hit the road back home. Our trip was exactly what we’d hoped for: a quiet trip close to home with a little hiking, shopping and lots of drinking with friends.