Tag Archives: madison

At First Blush

Madison boutique brings Paris fashions to Southern Indiana



Blush on Main, one of Southern Indiana’s premier boutiques, hosted “Paris Couture,” a fashion show, March 2 at Rembrandts Gallery & Wine Bar in Madison.

The annual fashion spectacular featured runway-worthy styles, including imported Milan styles. The sold-out show has become known for its music, fashion and fun, and garners rave reviews.

Blush on Main, which is owned by Mary Beth Boone, sells upscale clothing, Derby hats , accessories and gala gowns with spot-on style sessions and offers a unique experience through its sister company, The Fashion House, an attached AirBnB. This allows for the ultimate shopping destination, particularly if you opt to stay for the weekend. Guests have the opportunity to be pampered by a stylist and choose from several services at the on-site salon, and enjoy meals prepared by a chef and fresh flowers from French Tulip Florist.

Blush on Main

113 W. Main St. Madison
Facebook: @blushonmain

Finding Balance in Historic New Harmony



Late last fall, my husband and I hopped into the car and headed west. Destination: The southwest corner of Indiana and the former utopian society of New Harmony. 

Settled in the early 1800s by the Harmony Society – a communal religious group – under the leadership of George Rapp, the wilderness on the edge of the Wabash River was a perfectly isolated spot to await the second coming. Less than a decade after building the town, the Rappites returned to Pennsylvania and sold the town to industrialist and social reformer Robert Owen, who envisioned a new moral world of “happiness, enlightenment and prosperity through education, science, technology and communal living.” 

Renamed New Harmony, the experiment quickly failed for a variety of reasons but has become a center of national significance due to the early introduction of a group of artists, educators and scientists that arrived on a flatboat named the “Philanthropist” or the “Boatload of Knowledge.” New Harmony’s unique beginnings and rich history are well documented at the Atheneum, the starting place for our adventure and the official visitor center of New Harmony. 

Driving into the town, one of the first things we noticed was the presence of golf carts zipping through the streets. We asked one of the drivers and were directed a few blocks down “to a building that looks like it doesn’t belong.” The stark white and super modern Atheneum sits just on the edge of the quaint town near the Wabash River. Designed by Richard Meier, the model and drawings of the building now reside in the New York Museum of Modern Art and have won numerous design awards. The Atheneum is where you can watch a film about the history of the town, schedule tours, pop into the gift shop for a postcard (which they will mail for you!) and rent golf carts, too. For such a small town, big adventures await you. There are so many things to see and do. Here are a few of the ones we enjoyed:

We met a couple of friends in town at Sara’s Harmony Way for a quick cup of coffee to take on our cart excursion. Set right on the corner, Sara’s is much more than a coffee shop. The space is a full-service restaurant-coffee shop on one side and a wine ’n‘ craft beer bar on the other. The coffee was a perfect start to the day and kept our hands warm scooting around town on the golf cart.

New Harmony’s downtown boasts numerous antique stores, gift shops and art galleries. The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art was split into two sides. The first was a showcase of contemporary and craft artisans from Midwestern artists. The space is full of art, sculpture, prints, blown glass, jewelry and craft. It was the perfect spot to affordably buy a thoughtful handmade gift or make a purchase for your personal art collection. We walked to the other side of the gallery and into a unique, beautiful installation in the large open space. The installation was called Nature Morte and housed a massive collection of nature specimens and archival photographs that tell the story of the town through the carefully-catalogued creatures that inhabited it. 

Next door, the Mason-Nordgauer Fine Arts Gallery had such a unique and impressive collection of post war/contemporary art from all over the world. The gallery showcases collector pieces from huge names like Roy Lichtenstein, Marc Chagall and Diana Kahlo to cutting-edge contemporary artists from New Harmony to Louisville and beyond. The gallery has put huge QR codes on the walls next to the works of art allowing patrons to scan with the camera on their phones and automatically link to information about the artist. It made the exhibit interactive and an amazing way to connect with the art.

We couldn’t resist a stop in the New Harmony Soap Company, the smells spilling out onto the sidewalk drew us in. The soap makers create natural plant and herb-based soaps, lotions, men’s grooming gear, pet shampoo and all kind of balms and ointments. The store is packed with smells and accessories. Our olfactory senses were in overdrive. We sniffed our way around the entire store and brought home a favorite scented patchouli bar.

New Harmony’s beginnings as a spiritual sanctuary are evident in the labyrinths and sacred gardens of the town. The Cathedral Labyrinth sits near the Atheneum and is a beautiful, peaceful garden with benches and a water fountain surrounding the stone labyrinth. The pattern replicates the original Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth near Paris and was completed in 1997. 

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, you are the navigator, you choose your own path, but some suggestions are to use quiet voices in the space. The labyrinth is a place to reflect, find serenity, count your blessings and find peace in yourself. 

Lauren Artress, Episcopal priest and author, describes labyrinths as: 

Paths of prayer

A walking meditation

A crucible of change

A watering hole for the spirit

And a mirror for the soul

Jon and I walked the labyrinth in silence, grateful for all the opportunities and love we have in our lives.

We quietly made our way back to our golf cart and headed to the Harmonist Labyrinth on the south side of town. Constructed in 1939 and restored in 2008, the labyrinth is made up of nearly 5-feet tall hedges winding to the stone grotto in the center. Its massive size would ideally make for a long meditative journey. Unfortunately, there were kids doing what any kid would do when set to run free in a “maze,” and we found ourselves in the midst of a giant game of tag. Mom and dad missed a teachable moment and maybe some peace and quiet as both took the opportunity to make phone calls and, presumably, update their Facebook statuses while walking in opposite directions as their kids. It was unfortunate for all of us, and we couldn’t figure out how they missed the giant park and playground across the street. Luckily, the labyrinth was outfitted with gates making access to the exit closer than winding our way back out. 

We returned our golf cart and with some time to kill before dinner, we made our way to Harmonie State Park just outside of town. We enjoyed a colorful drive through the park to the edge of the Wabash River. The leaves were at the height of their splendor, and the secluded woods and rushing water gave us the meditative peace we missed on our last stop. The signs at the campgrounds claimed they were full, yet we saw not a soul and fully enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings. We hiked along the banks of the river until the sound of the trees rustling and water rushing were drowned out by our bellies grumbling and made our way back to the car to set out in search of dinner.

We stopped at MaryScott’s Kitchen for dinner. The restaurant provided not only sustenance for our bodies but an overall experience. Everything on MaryScott’s menu is made to order, fresh and locally sourced when possible. There is no freezer or microwave, and the food is prepared by scratch, which diners can watch as they sit. The restaurant was warm and inviting, romantic and colorful. Each table was hand painted, ours with a fleur de lis, and the walls were adorned with vibrant paintings by regional artist Homer Duke. Jonny had perfectly seasoned and cooked salmon; I had the Bolognese. As usual, we retained our status as masters in the clean plate club and finished off every delicious bite.

We made our way out of New Harmony just as the sun was setting and marveled at how much we still wanted to see. Jane Blaffer Owen, wife of a descendent of Robert Owen and philanthropist responsible for much of its preservation, said this of the town, “My greatest hope for New Harmony is that this be a place of healing and reconciliation. … This is not to say there won’t be conflict, because there will always be conflict and difference of opinion, but we must use tools to resolve conflicts, so that there is no violence.” New Harmony offers that and much more.


Heading to historic New Harmony? Be sure to put these stops on your itinerary.



401 N. Arthur St.




500 Church St. 




506 Main St.




510 Main St.




512 Main St.




301 North Street


1239 Main St.


3451 Harmonie State Park Road



518 Main St.



Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop vs. Shipley’s Tavern

And the winner is…everyone


By D. Todd Applegate

Photos by Christian Watson


The latest Extol food excursion took me to two iconic establishments in Madison that you simply must try: Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Shipley’s Tavern.


Of the two, Hinkle’s is more well known to outsiders, but both are well known to locals. I’ve been to Hinkle’s many times over the years and, in fact, it was considered another food group during my college years at Hanover. If you like slider-type burgers at all, or old-school diners, you will love Hinkle’s as well.


But what about Shipley’s Tavern?


Shipley’s is a pub in downtown Madison, but that’s about all I knew about it. Ironically, and unrelated to this review, a few weeks back, I spoke with a trusted fellow foodie who was born and raised in Madison, and brought up Hinkle’s and cheeseburgers. “So, you would pick a Hinkle’s cheeseburger over a Shipley’s cheeseburger?” he asked, his choice (competitiveness?) evident in his tone.


With that in mind, I decided to focus on the obvious: Who has the best cheeseburger.


Hinkle’s and Shipley’s both serve up good eats and are just around the block from each other.


Hinkle’s is quintessential diner food done right since 1933 when Winfred Hinkle opened his restaurant at 204 West Main St., the same location you find it today. Not fancy and largely unchanged, but with a personality, a following and community presence all its own. Hinkle’s started out as an ice cream parlor idea in Bloomington in 1930, expanding to Columbus, North Vernon and then Madison in 1933. And Winfred Hinkle added small burgers for 5 cents that people could afford during The Depression. Madison is the lone location that remains today. Thankfully.


Shipley’s, meanwhile, is a local pub serving your favorite libations and good pub grub in a friendly atmosphere. It was derived and has survived as a tavern and meeting place for locals and visitors alike since 1867. It is perhaps the original “Cheers” of Madison.


While, the food and its role has evolved, what hasn’t changed in 151 years is the “come in, everyone is welcome here” atmosphere of this local watering hole.


Think about this: For 85 years, Madison stalwarts Hinkle’s and Shipley’s have been making their burgers and doing what they do from a mere 132 steps apart. Kudos to all involved.


But, back to searching for the best cheeseburger in Madison.


To compare cheeseburgers as the focus simply wouldn’t tell the whole story. To begin with, their cheeseburgers are too different. And – this was delightful albeit surprising – after talking with employees from both locales, each emphasized they have never viewed the other as a competitor. Rather, they see themselves as unique with totally different businesses and histories but with a shared love of doing business in downtown Madison, and each one respects the other’s longevity and place in the community.


So much for the contest idea. But left up to my own culinary devices, the only way to settle this was to go and find out for myself.  To this end, on a recent Friday night, I did my culinary and historical research on both.


And here’s what you need to know:


Hinkle’s: Hinkle’s has two entrances. The door on the left is for tabled seating (added in the mid-70s). The door on the right steps into the original counter seating from 1933 with 11 rotating stools. I recommend the counter seating, but don’t be in a hurry, especially during busy times. While you wait, step back in time and order a milkshake (there are 43 flavors to choose from).


I ordered a large chocolate shake, and it was the best shake I have had (at least since the last time I had one there). Choose from thick, diner-style large ($3.59) or small ($2.09) shakes. Take off the lid, place a straw in the middle and it won’t move. Exactly as it should be.


I also ordered the obligatory cup of chili ($2.09 or bowl for $3.09). Just diner style goodness from the ground beef and onions from the griddle, with beans and spaghetti added to a rich and thick chili-mac base It’s good hearty, diner chili.


Then came the infamous slider-style cheeseburgers ($1.70 ea.) and fries ($2.09) – crisp, but maybe needing a little more salt. Two Hinkle style cheeseburgers on this day, hot off the grill, came served with fresh, handmade beef patties, grilled onions, American cheese melted perfectly and dill pickle slices. Just like they were served up in 1933. Condiments are on the counter if you prefer, but they aren’t necessary. I don’t know what nostalgia tastes like, but you will know you are eating it here.


While not the original slider as we know it – as White Castle opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921 – Hinkle’s has a winner.


Yes, there are other things on the menu at Hinkle’s, including breakfast (be sure to order the hash browns), but you won’t find alcohol on the menu or a fancy interior. And you won’t need them.


Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop

204 W. Main St.



6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday

6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday

24 hours Friday and Saturday




Moving on…


To get to Shipley’s, exit Hinkle’s, turn left, walk 75 steps east on Main Street to the light at West Street. Cross Main Street and walk 57 more steps and you will arrive at Shipley’s Tavern, 322 West St.


Shipley’s Tavern is unmistakable with the harvest gold painted brick and large black awning.  In the daylight, the south side harvest gold façade makes a 2-story canvas for a spirited mural painted 5 to 6 years ago by a Hanover art student.


Entering Shipley’s, you sense you might be stepping into a time warp. The narrow and dark (even at noon) entry opens into a cavernous single room with a bar that seems to run the length of the building. Except for the big screen TVs above the bar, you imagine it could be 1867 or 1933 or 1967. But it’s not.


You can immediately tell that the bar is the focus here. It faces mirrored walls, various bar lights and memorabilia, and appears stocked with pretty much any possible libation you might be interested in.


The left wall is adorned with movie posters and framed pictures and caricatures, many with comments and autographs of past and current patrons, presumably some celebrity types. You can sense the history of river boat voyagers, regatta patrons, filmmakers and actors from movies shot in Madison, musicians and others who have made this a stop over the years.


I perused the menu but ordered the large ½ lb. cheeseburger ($10.95), fries (included with burger or $3.95 a la carte) and a bowl of chili ($3.95).


The locals and my server suggested that the chicken breast ($7.95), pork tenderloin ($7.95) and fried pickles ($5.95) – “you can’t go wrong with those” – but this was a burger competition. So…


The beefy goodness, handmade daily, was enveloped in melting American cheese. You can order it dressed (lettuce, tomato, onion) or undressed – like me – with just dill pickle slices, and a lot of them I might add, and condiments.


NOTE: Don’t be in a hurry. If you want fast, there are other places that will accommodate. This isn’t necessarily one of them. It takes time to prepare greatness. I (impatiently) relaxed, took some notes and watched my burger being prepared on the surprisingly small grill within view. But finally, my burger and hot crinkle cut fries arrived. So worth the wait! And as if the burger wasn’t enough, the chili was excellent.


Shipley’s Tavern

322 West St.



Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight

Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight




So, after this match-up, who is the winner of Madison’s two mainstays? Hinkle’s and Shipley’s both win. Madison wins. And you win when you visit.


Tastefully, Todd




Explore | 9 Reasons You Should Make Plans to Visit Madison

Nestled on the Ohio River, Madison is a beautiful town that also boasts the largest contiguous historic district – 133 blocks – in the United States. Whether you’ve never been or need inspiration for a return visit, here are nine reasons why you should make plans to visit this fall.

By Sarah Prasil | Photos by Cameron Tichenor were taken on a recent trip to the river town

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-10-55-50-amCHAUTAUQUA FESTIVAL OF ART & OLD COURT FALL DAYS

Enjoy Southern Indiana’s premier open-air juried fine arts and crafts show featuring artists and craftsmen from across the nation. More than 240 vendors will line the streets from Broadway to Vine Street. The Old Fall Court Days will line the streets around the Jefferson County Courthouse with vendors as well. Add the above with the already great shopping in Madison and you have plenty to see and do. Grab the girls and make it a day of shopping. The event is Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. There will be food, entertainment and a children’s activity tent. No admission charge. For more information go to www.madisonchautauqua.com or www.visitmadison.org.


Whether a scenic drive through the park or an adventure to hike the trails, Clifty Falls State Park is the perfect picturesque leaf season at its best. There are four wondrous waterfalls to gawk at and make for a great selfie with your loved ones. The fall foliage at Clifty is simply breathtaking. Don’t forget to stop in the Falls Restaurant and get some delicious award winning sugar cream pie.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-10-58-51-amTHE BELLE OF LOUISVILLE CRUISES

There are two ways to cruise on this great paddle wheeler on the Ohio River: A public cruise will be available Oct. 23. The cruise, which lasts more than an hour is $15 for adults/seniors and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. On Oct. 24, The Belle will be offering a Fall Foliage Cruise from Madison to Louisville. Transportation will be provided back to Madison. The cost is $97.20 per person. For more information on either cruise, call 502.574.2992.


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-10-59-19-amLANIER MANSION & MADISON GHOST WALK

The first stop on the Ghost Walk will be the Historic Lanier Mansion. A costumed guide will take guests throughout the house, including its eerie basement, and recount stories about spirits that many believe inhabit the home. Then, the group will take to the nearby streets of downtown Madison and stop outside three other locations that are rumored to be haunted. Guests should be prepared to go up and down stairs and walk on uneven surfaces. Tickets for the walk, which will be held regardless of the weather and is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 21, 27 and 28, are $15 per adult and $7 per child (18 and under). The number of tickets for each group is limited. Call 812.273.0556 to get yours.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-10-59-10-amNIGHTS SPIRITS AT LANIER MANSION

Come enjoy Nights Spirits at Historic Lanier Mansion 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 20. Costumed actors portray “spirits” dramatically telling true, 19th century stories of disastrous events that occurred in the beautiful mansion. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $5 for children under 18 in advance or $7 at the door. Reservations can be made by calling 812.273.0556.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-11-00-57-amSOUP STEW CHILI & BREW

Soup Stew Chili & Brew is Madison’s favorite fall festival. The event features delicious food, fun activities, live music, shopping, and beer and wine gardens. Nestled in the heart of one of America’s Best Communities, the festival takes place right on Main Street. Soup Stew Chili & Brew is organized by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce and serves as a fundraiser for many area nonprofits. Come have some soup, some stew, some chili and some brew 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14.


See how the upper half lives as you explore eight historic lofts within Madison’s National Historic Landmark District. While on this self-guided walking tour, you will see spaces in varying stages of development, and even get to visit the highest point in Madison. The tour takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7. Feel free to take your time and enjoy all that downtown Madison has to offer. Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased at one of the following downtown locations: Bad Apple Mac’s, Blush on Main, Madison Visitors Center, and Village Lights Bookstore.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-11-01-06-amBEAUTIFUL FALL LEAF AND FOLIAGE SEASON

Enjoy the charming river town during leaf season. The fall foliage is beautiful. Make it a part of your trip to Madison while enjoying other


What better reason to get the girls together than for an adventure on Indiana’s Wine Trail Fall Haul event 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 4. This is an annual presentation at each winery to kick off the fall season. Visit each winery and enjoy special wines, fun recipes prepared with wines and big discounts. Don’t forget the beautiful fall sceneries along the way and of course stocking up for the holidays! Visit all seven wineries to complete your wine trail passport and receive our 2017 Wine Trail Glass. For more information visit indianawinetrail.com.

Writer Sarah Prasil is director of marketing and advertising for Visit Madison, Inc.