Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, this Nashville so resembles its namesake town that the area is called “The Little Smokies.”
About an hour south of Indianapolis, this Nashville has its own commercial appeal-a huge outlet mall in nearby Edinburgh and myriad antique stores, artist galleries and flea markets.
But the real draw here is nature, which you discover the minute you drive over one of the area’s famed wooden covered bridges into Brown County State Park, the largest park in Indiana, which has miles of horse trails (bring your own horse), mountain bike trails (Indiana is hilly here) and hiking trails (including one wheelchair-accessible trail).
In addition, there are nearly 1,000 campsites, cabins large enough to sleep eight, two fishing lakes, a tower to climb, a waterfall, dam and nature center.
Abe Martin Lodge sits in the center of the park and has the charm of a rustic lodge, the amenities of a modern family-friendly hotel (including a brand new indoor water park small enough for little ones but big enough for everyone else) and the quality service of a five-star hotel. The lodge is booked two years in advance for the fall foliage periods of September and October.
Don’t miss the fried biscuits at the lodge’s Little Gem Restaurant breakfast buffet. They’re a doughnut-like pastry, deep fried and rolled in sugar. Bad for the waistline. Good for the soul.
• Brown County, Ind. www.browncounty.com • Brown County State Park www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm • Abe Martin Lodge www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/inns/abe/dining.html