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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
CHAUTAUQUA 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.
CLIFTY FALLS STATE PARK
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.
THE 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.
LANIER 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.
NIGHTS 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.
SOUP 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.
MADISON MAIN STREET LOFT TOUR
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.
BEAUTIFUL 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
INDIANA WINE TRAIL FALL HAUL
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.
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, gleaming 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 life, 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 along 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 a 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.
I am your mother
I am a women
standing into the “winds of change”
expected to be strong
expected to be better
yet not reflect
that I know
I am good
the words force me
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.
HOWARD STEAMBOAT MUSEUM
1101 East Market St.