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Outdoors stuff to do near Indianapolis

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Oct 13th, 2009, 09:53 AM
  #1
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Outdoors stuff to do near Indianapolis

We're going to Indianapolis for a Parents' Weekend at the end of October, and thought it would be fun to play hooky on Saturday and go do something outdoors. Any suggestions of state (or other) parks? I also wondered about fall leaves - hope to see them since we're coming from FL. Will we be in luck? It was wonderful taking my son up for early registration in April, I think it was - the first time I had seen spring flowers, etc. in 14 years!
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Oct 13th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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There is a nice canal walk in Indy itself.

Eagle Creek Park, near if not in the city limits, has walking trails and a little lake.

Shades State Park and Turkey Run State park, west of Indy, have wonderful walking trails in the woods with gorges and river views.

In scenic Brown County, south of Indy, you can drive around and see the covered bridges and scenic views, and poke around the cute little arty towns.

I think it should be a good week to see some color in the trees.
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Oct 13th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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A wonderful way to see the Fall colors is by touring some of the Park County Covered Bridges. They are world famous. You will miss the Covered Bridge Festival, but the colors should still be nice. They are having good weather this year. Turkey Run State Park is beautiful and on one of the bridge routes. They have a nice Inn where you can dine.

http://www.parkecounty.com/about/images/county_map.jpg
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Oct 14th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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Thanks so much! I had heard of the covered bridges, but didn't realize they were so close to Indy. That plus Turkey Run State Park would be a great way to spend Saturday.
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Oct 14th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Its only about 1.5 hours drive from Indy to Turkey Run State Park. I suggest you take Hwy 36 West. At Bellmore take 59 North to 236 West - this should take you through some very pretty fall color. Take 236 West to 41 North and watch for signs to Turkey Run. The Narrows bridge and Cox bridge near Turkey Run are two of the best. With this route, you'll have a nice drive through fall color, a couple of bridges, lunch at the Turkey Run Inn, maybe time for some trail hiking in the park and easily get back to Indy. On the way back, you can just take 41 South to 36 East for the fastest route back.
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Oct 14th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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I just now had time to really look at the covered bridge map - I had no idea how many there are. I decided my best bet was to post again and ask you which ones you would recommend - but you beat me to it! Many thanks.
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Oct 14th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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No problem. I grew up in that area and still have family there. Just spoke with my mother this week and she was talking about the Covered Bridge Festival -- going on now. If you get back in Feb-Mar, check out the Maple Sugar festivals. Yummy! And don't pass up the morel mushrooms in the Spring.

http://www.parkecounty.com/events/annualEvents.asp?id=2
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Oct 14th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Several years ago we enjoyed a trip to Conner Prairie.

http://www.connerprairie.org/
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Oct 20th, 2009, 02:00 PM
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Neighbors from near Indianapolis suggested Conner Prairie also - I'll look into it and thanks.

TC - I think I've been back in s. FL too long for a February or March trip up morth, although I remember reading a kids book (Bobbsey Twins?) about tapping the trees, etc., and I wanted so badly to live up north. Now spring and morel mushrooms sounds good - do you go looking yourself, or are there roadside stands sorts of things?
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Oct 20th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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for a February or March trip up north

Indiana's not North.....I don't live in Indy any longer, I do live "up North"...Minnesota. It could be 40 degrees in Indiana in February. Only a little stretch from the Florida February temps. My father tapped his own trees and made maple syrup for the grandkids until just a few years ago. It was so much fun for them to see the origins of their food.

Sadly, I'm not usually visiting IN during morel season. We always hunted for our own when I grew up there. If they are for sale at roadside stands, you'll pay a bundle. We used to have so many each Spring that we'd scramble them in eggs for breakfast. Oh, how I'd love to have that problem again. (Sigh)
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Oct 21st, 2009, 08:14 AM
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It's all relative, right? This son went to boarding school near Burlington Vermont for two years - I'll never forget going up to parents weekend (early Oct.) and it was raining when I got in. We sloshed around a bit, then went in the gym for a student/teacher basketball game. We came out and I noticed the rain was going sideways - then I noticed that it was opaque - then I realized it was snow and I hadn't driven on snow in 14+ years - talk about panic! However, it didn't stick on the roads, it was beautiful that afternoon/evening, and by the next morning we had gone back to rain.

Our winter highs (SW Florida on the Gulf coast) are mid-70s and lows are around 50, although we do have the occasional freeze. When I was in grade school they let everyone go outside because it was snowing - but it melted before it hit the ground. I had to wait until I was 12 to see snow.
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Oct 21st, 2009, 08:20 AM
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I was also going to suggest the covered bridges. They are so wonderful.
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 12:57 PM
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We got back last night - what a great trip! Friday was rainy (but 70), so we went to the Indiana State Museum which we all enjoyed. The rain stopped by Saturday morning, so we took your route advice, TC, and went to Turkey Run State Park. It was a beautiful drive - lots of trees were bare, but that just made the gold ones and the sort of rusty red ones even more spectacular. We just happened to do the hike through the gorge with the stream running through it - lots of fun and I'm glad I had more waterproof hiking shoes on! We plan to go back again the next visit. Unfortunately we didn't have time to see the two covered bridges near the park (our son was on college weekend time and we had quite a time getting him up and going!), but we did see Cornstalk Bridge near Raccoon - we'll just see the other ones next time. We discussed Connor's Prairie, but Brent needed to go shopping Sunday (wool socks and junk food) and we had to go to Skyline for some Cincinnati style chili and by then we would have been cutting it close for our plane so we spent a couple hours at the art museum (European section and the gardens. Thanks so much!
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 01:12 PM
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Thanks so much for posting your journey, Bellhouse. The hike through the gorge is spectacular. If you happen to be around in warm weather, you might want to try tubing or kayaking down Sugar Creek. My mother told me that the current issue of Midwest Living magazine has a nice feature article on the covered bridges. This might be a magazine you would be interesting in picking up once in awhile as it does have lots of suggestions for IN,IL, OH, etc.

http://www.midwestliving.com/
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:37 AM
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I'll check it out - thanks. Sugar Creek is the creek that the swinging bridge at Turkey Run goes over? That would be nice in warm weather - we talked about it.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:51 AM
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That's the one! Its so much fun to tube or canoe down Sugar Creek on a hot summer day -- through Turkey Run and Shades State Parks and under covered bridges. This was always one of our favorite summer past times.

http://www.sugarvalleycanoes.com/

http://www.clementscanoes.com/photo_gallery.htm
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Nov 4th, 2009, 07:34 PM
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We will have to do it - not sure it will be warm enough for me when school ends,but definitely when we take him to school in the early fall.It's funny - we have a neighbor and another friend from our bank - both are from Indiana and were very excited about our trip to Turkey Run - guess we have lots of mid-west retirees in FL!
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