The Itinerary at a Glance
Southern Indiana features an abundance of natural beauty. Take for example, Clifty Falls State Park. This park is home to deeply cut gorges and sheet rock walls, along with four major waterfalls and numerous minor ones, which create a wonderland for hikers. Falls of the Ohio State Park offers stunning views of the Louisville skyline and the Ohio River. The 390-million-year-old Devonian fossil beds are some of the oldest in the world.
Length: 3 Days
Date Restrictions: None
Suitable for: Over 21
Start your adventure in Madison, one of the Midwest’s best-preserved towns. The city’s National Historic District spans 133 blocks and includes more than 1,500 buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the landmarks date to the early and mid-1800s, when Madison was a major Ohio River port during the steamboat era. Tree-shaded streets in Madison’s downtown area are lined with fine examples of Federal, Classical Revival and Italianate architecture. The crown jewel is Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, the 1844 Greek Revival home of wealthy financier James F.D. Lanier.
Spend your afternoon outside of Madison at Clifty Falls State Park. Deeply cut gorges and sheet rock walls, along with four major waterfalls and numerous minor ones, create a wonderland hikers. Nature enthusiasts may spot marine fossils in the 425-million-year-old shale and limestone rocks, and take notice of songbirds, hawks and vultures. Deer and wild turkey inhabit the uplands. After a vigorous workout, group members may choose to refresh at the Olympic-size swimming pool or relax on the sun porch of Clifty Falls Inn and take in views of the Ohio River Valley. The inn offers overnight accommodations and a restaurant known for its country cooking.
Begin with a morning tour of Falls of the Ohio State Park, which features stunning views of the Louisville skyline and the Ohio River. The 390-million-year-old Devonian fossil beds are some of the oldest in the world, and your group will learn about the Lewis & Clark Expedition’s stop here on its journey west. Continue to the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany. Named for William Culbertson—who became the richest man in Indiana after his dry goods business thrived along the Ohio River—the mansion is a masterpiece of Victorian artistry. Group tours will admire the hand-painted ceilings, marble fireplaces and elaborate plasterwork, or they can participate in a Clue Party, which involves searching the mansion to solve a “crime.”
Enjoy a hearty group lunch at Huber’s Orchard and Winery before reaching Corydon—Indian’s original state capital. Your guided tour through the Corydon State Capitol Historic Site can include the original capitol building (in service from 1816 to 1825), Governor Hendricks’ Headquarters and a brick house that served as the governor’s mansion. Conclude your day at the Harrison Country Discovery Center, which houses interactive exhibits focused on the Battle of Corydon, the only Civil War battle that occurred in Indiana. Your group can also tour the battle site with an expert historian.
Experience a day in French Lick, a city that flourished as a 19th century spa retreat and Prohibition hideout before becoming a group-friendly resort destination. Familiarize yourself with the area’s history at the French Lick West Baden Museum, which tells the area’s resort and circus history. See an elaborate diorama of 1920s Hagenbeck Wallace Circus, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey’s main competitor, learn about boxer Joe Louis (who came to the French Lick area to train) and the baseball teams that utilized the area for spring training before the Grapefruit League was founded.
You can also tour the West Baden Springs Hotel, which includes an awe-inspiring atrium at that spans 200 feet, a Roman-inspired garden and an Art Deco spa. The nearby Wilstem Ranch allows groups to register for an animal encounter with its resident giraffes and elephants. Tonight, enjoy dinner at 33 Brick Street, a sports-themed restaurant and bar located in French Lick known for its collection of jerseys, trophies, rings, photographs and medals on loan from local legend Larry Bird.