Illinois has a next door neighbor that is next on our alphabetical list. It's Indiana and that is where I'm going this week. Grab a cold one. Since it's still pretty hot out here, I'm still trying to keep cool. I've got a nice cool spot here under this shade tree by the creek, so we should be comfortable planning this trip. As usual, I have everything we need right here. Visitor's Guide, web sites... yep, all here. Ready?

The Hoosier State is the 19th state of the Union. The state river is the Wabash and the official tree is the Tulip Tree. Much of the limestone used in the United States for building is from Indiana. It is a large producer of coal, crushed stone, cement, sand, and gravel. Industrial areas include Gary which is all but connected to Chicago.

Indiana has 24 miles of beaches along Lake Michigan. Add all the other waterways in the state and there is no limit to exploring in or on the water. At Patoka Lake, you can rent floating cabins that are actually floating on the lake. They rock like a houseboat but there is no motor noise. Other water fun includes sailing, swimming, white water rafting, canoing, pontooning, kayaking, water skiing, and jet skiing. You can ride on a 3/4 sized replica of a canal boat at Wabash and Erie Canal Park. At Bluespring Caverns there is a guided boat tour on America's longest underground river. Or maybe you'd enjoy a leisurely stroll along the water.

I always like to see how people in any area live. A good way to do that is to visit a small town or two. Take a walk through the town. You can get a good feel for life in the region. Small towns often have a town square or another place where townsfolk gather to relax from daily cares and exchange gossip. Wandering through residential areas, you can see what types of architecture are popular. Lawns and gardens express the tastes of their owners. Even the fact that many streets are unpaved makes one feel at home. Pick a small town and try this. I think you'll like it.

Gardens are a large attraction in Indiana. One of the most appealing is the Quilt Gardens that simulates patchwork quilts. The Warsaw Biblical Gardens display only plants that are mentioned in the Bible. There are antebellum gardens at the colonial mansion that is now Whitehall Bed and Breakfast. Gardens are everywhere. Beautiful.

Hikers will be happy to know that there are trails all over the state. McCormick's Creek State Park has ravine trails that take you to views of limestone and waterfalls flowing over it. At Twin Swamps prepare to get muddy. And beware of biting bugs. But the trip is worth it to see spiderlilies and listen to the songbirds. There are 15 miles of trails at Shades State Park. They range from easy to rugged.

Indiana has ziplines, caves, caverns, balancing rocks, waterfalls, geo caches, and observatories. Whatever your interest, you can probably find it. When you do, let me know all about it. I'm always up for a new adventure. Check the links below for ideas too.


Indiana Travel Guide
Indiana Official Site
Visit Indiana
Indiana Department Of Natural Resources
National Parks Service
Offbeat Tourist Attractions


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