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.
TELL CITY POUR HAUS
706 Humboldt St. | Tell City
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
We 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.
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.
510 Main St. | Tell City
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.
THE POST RESTAURANT AND BAR
516 Main St. | Tell City
812.547.4700 | www.thepostrestaurantonline.com