Lincoln Memorial Bridge over the Wabash

The bridge carries U.S. 50 Business across the Wabash River from Vincennes, Indiana to Lawrence County, Illinois. The east end of the bridge is in the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park. At this entrance to the bridge you will find two large pylons made of granite, each with a raised sculpture depicting  a Native American Chief.

The bridge is of what is called a deck arch design, and has two traffic lanes and wide pedestrian walks on each side of the roadway.  It was opened to traffic in September, 1933.

View from the George Rogers Clark Monument

Wabash River walk, Clark monument to the left, bridge to the right

We drove across the bridge, not knowing that there was a sculpture/monument to Abraham Lincoln just on the other side of the river. Had we known, we would have walked across the bridge. We’ll cover that attraction in another post.

There were very few people out the day we were in Vincennes, thus we could easily maintain “social distance” and did feel safe. It was great getting out to see some things after our long COVID-19 isolation.

We found an old growth forest and trail

Every once in a while you stumble upon a new to you attraction. While researching  central Indiana trails and forests I came across a small but delightful gem in Shelby County, which is south east of Indianapolis. The gem is a nearly 50 acre nature preserve called Meltzer Woods Nature Preserve.

The unique quality of this property is found in its description: The forest is considered an original old-growth stand that was placed in Indiana’s Classified Forest Program in 1928. In 2014 it was protected forever when it was acquired by the Central Indiana Land Trust. An old-growth forest is one that has trees that are at least 150 years old and has not been cleared for a century or longer.

The trail

National Natural Treasure designation

 

 

 

 

 

Meltzer Woods is a wonderful place to spend time in nature, and to get a sense of what Indiana forests were like when the first European settlers arrived. Many of the trees are older than Indiana’s Statehood in 1816. Some have even been dated back to the 1600s. There is an easy and nearly level 1.3 mile trail that wanders through the forest. Magnificent trees, wildflowers galore, and interesting understory make for an inspiring walk through the forest and go back in time to when 80% of Indiana was covered in forests like this.

Dense understory

 

 

 

 

 

The Meltzer family first bought this ground in 1857. The family still owns adjacent farm ground and still farms today. Rain was threatening yesterday, and we decided to return another day when we could take the trail and really enjoy this historic and natural corner of Indiana. There is ample parking across the road, and Google Maps knows where it is if you are in the area.

Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington is a vibrant college town in south central Indiana. Originally platted in 1818, the city father’s realized that a cemetery was a need, thus in 1819 a small piece of ground west of the village was laid out. To identify the grave yard the initials “G” and “Y” were carved into a large oak tree at the entrance.

Entrance marker to Rose Hill

A unique brick and stone monument. Note the entrance gate in the background

 

 

 

 

 

Note the Hand pointing up: symbol for deceased going to heaven

Monument to Civil War Vets

There were no burial records until 1897 after the eight woman Ladies Cemetery Association took over the running of the property in 1892. This civic minded group renamed the cemetery Rose Hill after the wild rose bushes scattered around the property.

 

Infantryman on CW monument. Note that vandals have knocked off the musket

Ornate multi-level family monument, has Greek and Latin lettering for Jesus

Other improvements and additions have taken place through the years. A nice fountain was moved to another park in Bloomington in 1991 after vandalism in the cemetery. A storm destroyed some planted trees in 2000. But the main reason we find this and other cemeteries interesting is the headstones. There are marvelous examples of symbolism on many of the stones in Rose Hill. Also named iconography, there are a host of symbols carved into many stones, mostly older limestone ones.

Sentimental inscription on a mother’s stone

Bloomington is about an hour south of Indianapolis. The cemetery is east of the I-69 interstate, take the 3rd Street exit. This is a 28 acre historic cemetery with origins in the early 1800’s. History buffs, take notice. This is a great old grave yard.

Metamora, Indiana shops, mill and Whitewater canal

Metamora is a quaint little historic village located about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati on US Highway 52. In the mid 1800’s it was a thriving town on the then busy Whitewater Canal. Horse drawn barges carried goods, the grist mill ground flour and a railroad serviced the village.

The grist mill

We visited on a Friday afternoon during what they call Christmas Walk. There are quite a few shops and places to eat in the village. It used to be a thriving tourist attraction. However on our visit there were very few people. The folks we saw appeared to be resident shop owners.

Canal boat grounded until the canal is repaired and full. It does make a good platform for Christmas decor

The canal aqueduct that runs over another creek. This is the only one in existence

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canal usually offers horse drawn boat rides, however there is some kind of construction underway and the canal is about empty. There will be no boat rides until sometime in 2018.

A one ton granite ball floats on water

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

The 28 inch diameter, 2000 pound granite sphere floats on a cushion of water pumped up from a fountain below. The socket of the granite base is precision carved to allow an 8/1000th inch thick layer of water that the ball rests on. Even a child can rotate the ball!

This marvelous floating granite ball fountain is in front of the Nature Center at Holliday Park in Indianapolis. 

Indiana’s huge covered bridge festival

Large crowds looking for that elusive bargain!

Large crowds looking for that elusive bargain!

Each October Parke County, Indiana is the scene of the annual Covered Bridge Festival. This event sees close to two million people converging on the area for a ten day festival. While there are several beautiful vintage covered bridges scattered throughout the county, most folks come for the shopping.

And shopping there is! There are several small communities that become filled with vendor tents, food concession trailers and outdoor ‘yard sale’ type setups. It is true to state that if you can think of it it can be found for sale somewhere amongst the thousands of different vendors set up.

That's our RV on the right in the background, set up at the old school campground at Bridgeton Indiana

That’s our RV on the right in the background, set up at the old school campground at Bridgeton Indiana

We have set up camp in the little town of Bridgeton at an old (1920’s) school building grounds. There are several vendors set up on the grounds along with some food concession trailers. A few blocks north of our location there are hundreds of inside and outside vendors set up selling their wares. There are hand made crafts, new merchandise, antiques large and small and tons of “re-purposed” items. It is amazing how many ways an old wood pallet can be reused!

One of the hundreds of vendor displays at Bridgeton

One of the hundreds of vendor displays at Bridgeton

The Parke County Covered Bridge Festival should be on your bucket list. It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the country. People from all over the country come to shop, as well as come to set up their booths and tents to sell. There are plenty of RV campgrounds nearby and many private land owners open their yards and fields for RVs to camp during the festival.

Shipshewana, Indiana in the heart of Amish country

This display in front of an antique store aptly describes the Shipshewana area

This display in front of an antique store aptly describes the Shipshewana area

Shipshewana, Indiana is a tiny community in LaGrange County in the northeast corner of the state. The rural area is one of the largest communities of Amish families in the Midwest. The main roads all have extra wide shoulders to allow for safe travel for the horse drawn buggies and wagons.

The area is known for its many tourist attractions, including a huge flea market that is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition, there are many small shops in the town featuring hand made crafts, country decor items and antiques. As you might expect, you can take a horse drawn carriage ride or even enjoy a home made meal at one of the Amish homes who open there doors to visitors.

There are several nice RV parks in the area. All are reasonably priced. There is an RV park that is part of the flea market grounds. Enjoy a level, full hook up site that is just steps away from the market.

Restaurant, bakery and theater all in one!

Restaurant, bakery and theater all in one!

Shipshewana is truly a must see stop for anyone traveling in northern Indiana. Note that several RV companies have their assembly plants in this area. Couple a trip to see RV’s being built with an enjoyable and interesting trip to Shipshewana Amish country and you will have a trip to remember.

Lots of interesting shops to peruse.

Lots of interesting shops to visit.