Tag Archives: Explore

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Explore | Tell City

Story and Photos by JD Dotson

Lucky to have a partner in exploration, Jon and I headed west to Perry County not sure of what we would find in this part of south central Indiana. We knew that Perry County was the hilliest and most forested part of Indiana and home to the Hoosier National Forest, but our knowledge ended there. Our first stop, in the county seat Tell City, was the Tell City Pour Haus, where we came up with an exploration game plan over a beer and an iced tea. Built inside the Tell City Foundry and Machine Works building, the Pour Haus is home to Tell City Brewing Company, which has a large craft beer selection, huge menu, pool hall, outdoor music venue and summer concert series. The interior has retained much of the wood beams and brick work from the original building, and the beautiful wood booths were made by a craftsperson in Evansville using reclaimed wood. The walls are covered with photographs of the town and the building’s history. Our server was exceptionally helpful in not only helping Jon with a local beer selection and me with a snack selection, but also gave us plenty of tips for exploration. We finished our beer cheese and pretzel and drinks and headed off to our first stop just a block away, the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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TELL CITY POUR HAUS

706 Humboldt St. | Tell City

812.547.2739

www.tellcitypourhaus.com

The Tell City Depot, home of the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau, offers much more than tourist maps and brochures. The gift shop is filled with goods from Indiana artisans, paintings, sculpture, jewelry and crafts, all of which are handmade and unique. In addition to maps and brochures, there is a walled kiosk of sights to see in the surrounding area and the most knowledgeable staff. Very helpful and proud of Perry County, the staff assisted in helping us plan a route for the day. Before we left, we had to get a picture. Channeling Lily Tomlin, we climbed into the oversized, massive antique Boston rocker, one of two left in the world, before setting out to explore.

TELL CITY DEPOT

333 7th St. | Tell City

812.547.7933

www.pickperry.com

e3We decided to drive further up the hill to check out the view at the top, even though our guide informed us we showed up on a day Blue Heron Vineyards & Winery was closed. At least the cross was open to the public and the view from the top was spectacular.

Being nosy individuals and knowing the winery was closed, we drove down the driveway anyway, pulled into the parking lot and encountered someone in the lot spraying for weeds. I remarked that we were aware they were closed but were just exploring, and her answer was: “If you are here, then I am not closed.”

Lynn and Gary Dauby graciously stopped their work to give us an amazing tour of the vineyard, the beautiful view, other works of art by Gary Harris, an amazing house for rent overlooking the river, Gary’s walking stick collection, the winery gift shop with Lynn’s beautiful artwork, a vineyard kitty and (also!) a tasting. The wine was delicious and we ended up purchasing a couple of bottles to take home, but the most enjoyable part was the conversation of two incredibly lovely people. Lynn and Gary are a testament to our favorite aspect of Southern Indiana, the people that we run across.

BLUE HERON VINEYARDS & WINERY

5330 Blue Heron Lane | Cannelton

812.547.7518; 812.619.6045 | www.blueheronvines.com

Perry County offers many beautiful views of the Ohio River, from the murals and parks along the waterfront in Tell City to the view of the locks at Eagle’s Bluff Overlook Park in Cannelton. We made a few scenic detours on our way to see the Celtic Cross. Commissioned by Gary and Lynn Dauby of Blue Heron Vineyard, local self-taught sculptor Greg Harris has carved into a 20-foot stone the largest “in-situ” (or of its own stone) Celtic cross in the world. The cross sits just up the hill from the main road and down a wooded path. Coming into the clearing, the cross takes your breath away as soon as it comes into view. The size, detail and sheer perfection of the work of art in this quiet setting, surrounded by trees and sounds of the woods, is quite a humbling experience.

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EAGLE’S BLUFF PARK & OVERLOOK

5100 E. State Road 66

With a bit of time to kill before dinner, we drove the strip of Tell
City and visited the courthouse, where I learned Tell City was named for William Tell, who shot an apple balanced on the head of his young son. (How did I not know that?) We popped into Domestic Goddess Salon and Boutique. The front of the space boasts a really cool shop with everything from jewelry, clothing and accessories, baby gear and home decor, much with an Indiana theme. We have seen a lot of Indiana tee shirts before, but we really loved these colorful state jersey tees. Domestic Goddess has a bit of something for everyone with some really unique affordable gifts.

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DOMESTIC GODDESS

510 Main St. | Tell City

812.547.8477

Our final Perry County stop for dinner was The Post, a casual multi-cuisine restaurant and bar in Tell City’s original post office building. Elements of the original interior, postmaster and teller windows separate the dining room and the bar area. The huge menu ranged from Italian pasta dishes and pizza to tacos, sandwiches and wraps and a few Creole and Asian-influenced dishes. I ordered the Tell City Cod Tacos topped with house made pico de gallo and chipotle cream with house jalapeño slaw. As a rule, I don’t usually eat too much super spicy food, but I was feeling adventurous and there was a sauce on the menu called Bang Bang sauce. How could I resist that? It was a delicious, slightly fiery cream sauce that added just the right amount of kick to my meal. Finishing up dinner, Jon and I made plans for an extended stay in Perry County, revisiting some wonderful people at the winery, catching a concert at the Pour Haus, bringing some friends and soaking up more of this part of Southern Indiana.

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THE POST RESTAURANT AND BAR

516 Main St. | Tell City

812.547.4700 | www.thepostrestaurantonline.com

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

JD Dotson

Charlestown

Story and photos by JD Dotson

Once again, I am completely in awe of a place I thought I knew, only to be pleasantly surprised at every turn.  Charlestown quietly sits in Eastern Clark County and not knowing where I was going, I stopped in the first interesting place I came upon to ask questions and poke around. (By the way: Don’t forget to check out Charlestown during the Christmas season, beginning with Light Up Charlestown on the Friday after Thanksgiving.)

rocks bird

The CHARLESTOWN FEED STORE 

11106 Dean St. | On Highway 62 Near Highway 3 | 812.256.2048 | charlestownfeedstore.com

Sitting outside the Charlestown Feed Store was an old giant wagon, shining with color, with row upon row of raw West Virginia glass. I took it as a sign to see what other things – beside feed – I could find at the feed store. I met a beautiful parrot named Goldie, saw the largest collection of vintage coolers and got some good information and stories from Luke, who works at the store. I heard the legend of the haunted Seven Penny Bridge, (or Ten Penny Bridge, if you search online) and got directions to the Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve. Still, I was sure I had more pennies in the floorboard of my car, and I headed out to explore Charlestown.

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CHARLESTOWN STATE PARK 

12500 Indiana 62 | 812.256.5600 | www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2986.htm | $7 entry fee

Charlestown State Park sits just off Hwy 62 on 5,100 acres of land formerly belonging to the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, and on the banks of the Ohio River. The park boasts several marked trails rated moderate to rugged and ruins of ammunition plants in the hills.  I began my adventure at the Riverside Overlook and trail No. 6 which immediately had me running up a steep, rocky ascent. Once I cleared the climb, my run had me along the ridge of the woods with a steep drop-off and the most spectacular view in the park of the river. It was at once both terrifying and beautiful, quiet on the path and breathtaking. I kept the course which wound me back down to creek beds and back up. I was easily distracted by bits of a ruin which took me off trail and off course, just a bit lost but reveling in the adventure of trying to reconnect with my path. Eventually, I found my way back to my car and to my map to Rose Island. I have heard of Rose Island since my childhood. My Granny lived down the road, worked in the ammunition plant and told of picnics at the popular amusement park. In the 1920s, the park, only accessible by steamboat, ferry or a suspension bridge, boasted a small zoo, a pool, shooting gallery, dance hall, cafeteria, ferris wheel and roller coaster and hotel. The Depression closed the park temporarily and the flood of 1937 destroyed the park entirely. These days a short hike down the steep, paved hill and crossing over the Porterville Bridge will drop you at the entrance of Rose Island. There are a lot of really remarkable ruins and historic markers guiding you along the paths with photographs of what once belonged here. A bit of imagination helped to fill in the river banks with thousands of people bustling around the peninsula on a beautiful day. I explored Rose Island quite a bit, knowing I was stalling the run back to my car. At the end of this trip, I will have run 10 miles and the last leg was up another steep incline. As a reward, I asked some fellow explorers a bit of advice on what food I should stuff in my face.

otharocks distantclearing

NINE PENNY BRANCH STATE NATURE PRESERVE 

3143, 3019 Tunnel Mill Rd

The back roads of Charlestown are peaceful, curvy and perfect for a gorgeous Saturday drive. I wound my way down Tunnel Mill Road and took in the sights, the hills and woods, farms and fields. The Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve sits just off the road with a small parking lot and a path leading you away. A quarter of a mile in and you are really alone and seemingly far from civilization. The path curves and slopes down, winding back and forth between trees and vines. I came to a rough-hewn rock bench high above a creek below and spared a few minutes to sit and enjoy the solitude. Eventually, I made my way down the path across a bridge and eventually into the creek bed. It was an easy mile in and a rough run back uphill to get out.

pizza

THE CHARLESTOWN PIZZA COMPANY

850 Main St. 812.256.2699 | www.ctownpizzaco.com

I met a trio in the ruins and immediately the Charlestown Pizza Company sprang out as the best pizza in the area. As if I need any more of an excuse to visit a good pizza place, the next bit of advice had me hooked instantly.: “You have to get the Mashed Potato Pie,” said Morgan Cooke, and I thanked her for ruining my diet because I was certain that is exactly what I was going to get. I ran extra hard off the paved path through the woods, pushing myself thinking about all those calories I was about to ingest. The restaurant sits off the square in the heart of Charlestown. The menu description is as follows: “The Mashed Potato Pie: sauced with garlic butter, then a hearty layer of mashed potato, bacon and cheddar cheese and finished with diced green onions. Served with your choice of one sauce on the side.” It is a perfect amalgamation of pizza and baked potatoes, and fell right out of comfort food heaven and into my belly.