JD Dotson

Explore | Jeffersonville

Story and Photos by JD Dotson

I spent much of high school exploring Southern Indiana. Many adventures are lost to memory, but one thing stands out vividly. I remember discovering “The Lady” by accident one day, cutting from Clarksville to Jeffersonville on a road I had used before, but hadn’t paid much attention. Until that day when she caught my eye, jd1gleaming and standing tall, holding a rose, her hair and scarf blowing in the wind. At more than 20 feet tall and made of hubcaps and metal, “The Lady” still stands between the railroad tracks and piles of wooden pallets just as I remember her from more than 30 years ago. The art installation stands in front of scales and next to words carved into wood that seem to have more impact on me today than ever before:

I REMEMBER what a surprise it was to see this beautiful artwork in the least likely of places. She still has quite an impact. The difference today is she is not a lonely piece in the city of Jeffersonville. Artwork abounds in this town. Creative businesses have popped up in this river town and the streets guide you around with magical sculptures, painted utility boxes, murals and bike racks.

My favorite cupcake-shaped bike rack always leads me directly to one of my favorite spots. I cannot be in Jeffersonville without stopping by Sweets by Morgan. The cinnamon swirl with icing is just about the best sweet thing I have had in my jd2life, and I have tried nearly everything sweet under the sun. It’s huge so I usually cut it in half to save for later or take home to my better half. About five minutes after devouring my half, I ask myself who I think I’m kidding and eat the rest of it, so delicious and gooey, perfectly sweet and decadent. It is quite literally my favorite thing on the planet right now and gives me sugary fuel for walking through this little town and exploring.

Jeffersonville’s downtown is bustling with new businesses mixed in with the classics: Schimpff’s Confectionary, Inner Spring Yoga, Red Yeti Brewing, Glo Spa, Sapphire on Spring and Lavender Hill, all connected with whimsical Michael Wimmer sculptures and fantastical crosswalks.

I spend the day walking to Big Four Park through the artistically-decorated retaining wall to the waterfront. Jeffersonville provides plenty of eye catching beauty right jd4along the river, from the amphitheater, peaceful places to sit and watch the river with a view of the Big Four Bridge to the natural beauty of the Falls of the Ohio. I spent the unusually warm January day walking the riverfront and exploring fossil beds, working off the cinnamon roll calories.

My walk back from the falls took me past the flood wall murals, realistic styled murals depicting the history of Jeffersonville by artist Robert Dafford. Some of the history I knew, some was new to me and I took one of these murals in particular as jd3a sign that I needed to explore a building I had driven by for decades but have never been inside. The Howard Steamboat Museum sits just off the river east of downtown and is a spectacular 22-room mansion built by the same workers building steamboats across the street. The house is full of model boats, memorabilia, photographs and beautifully preserved history from the combination gas and electric light fixtures, to original indoor plumbing, both firsts for the area. The family’s influence on the country and the history of the steamboat is detailed incredibly in this three-story, gorgeous archive. The staff is very enthusiastic about this beautiful place and eager to answer questions. By the end of the tour, I was planning on expanding my exploring to include travel by steam ship.

Whether by foot or steamboat, Jeffersonville is a small town with huge possibilities for exploration, surrounded by art, inspired by the past and definitely looking forward to her future.

The Lady

I am your mother

yet 

I am a women 

standing into the “winds of change” 

expected to be strong

yet gentle 

expected to be better 

then good

yet not reflect 

that I know

I am good 

the words force me 

to change 

yet I do not want 

To be any more than I am 

A Woman Your Mother 

take my hand

We will stand together

into the “Winds of change” 

SWEETS BY MORGAN

533 Spring St.

Jeffersonville

502.644.4276

www.sweetsbymorgan.com

HOWARD STEAMBOAT MUSEUM

1101 East Market St.

Jeffersonville

812.283.3728

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