Oh 2020. What a year! We’ve had so many cancelled plans, trips, adjusting to a “new normal” and slower pace of life while trying to stay home as much as possible. This year has taken a toll on everyone, I think. My husband, Jeremy and I were looking at each other a few weeks ago and realizing that we really needed a little couples trip.
My parents decided somewhat last-minute to come out and visit during the kids scheduled fall break. Since our original fall break plans were cancelled this year and we had willing grandparents to watch our kids, we decided on a quick two night trip. Truthfully we didn’t care too much where we went. Anything would have been a nice break but we did have a short list of criteria: keep it short (our son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this spring and we still don’t feel comfortable being away from him for long periods of time), socially distant, good food and fall colors (if possible).
As much as I love to bake (one of my favorite pastimes), I also love to travel and plan travel (planning is half the fun of the trip in my opinion). I immediately scoured Tripadvisor, VRBO and googled places that had availability. We found a cute little cabin that was only a 2.5 hour drive away in Brown County, Indiana. After googling a few photos of the area and checking out a few local menus, we booked our cabin and were set to go. The kids were so excited to have alone time and be completely spoiled by their grandparents. We were excited to have some quiet alone time after being “on call” for seven months of a stressful pandemic. It was high time for a little couples getaway.
Brown County, Indiana
Brown County State Park, the largest Indiana State Park, is located right outside the small town of Nashville, Indiana. The state park is home to over 15,000 acres of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking and much more. Brown County has beautiful winding roads for country drives, craft markets, antique shops and a very cute downtown Nashville. It is especially known for beautiful fall leaves and is the perfect destination for anyone wanting some peace and quiet. It is the perfect spot for a two-night fall getaway.
Here’s Our Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Brown County
After driving for two and a half hours through fields of horses, cows and barns and watching the trees changing into beautiful hues of yellow, green and red, we stopped for brunch in the cute little town of Story, Indiana. I’m not even sure I can call it a town as it is basically an Inn and restaurant with a few little houses, all oozing with charm. We poked around a bit and enjoyed a delicious brunch at the Story Inn (the dinner looked wonderful as well) with local lettuces from the backyard garden. Definitely worth a stop for a good meal. We loved meandering around the gardens afterwards.
After our late afternoon meal, we drove to pick up the keys to our little cabin. We originally found the cabin on VRBO, but with a quick search we found it cheaper on the cabin’s rental website. It is often cheaper to book with the cabin directly, so keep that in mind when planning or booking a trip. We picked up our keys and headed to our cute little cabin in the woods.
Stonehead Ridge Log Cabin
This was the perfect cabin for a couples getaway. It was a bit big for us with two bedrooms and a large living area. We would have booked something smaller but didn’t have as many options as we were booking about a week before arrival. The cabin had a large kitchen and was decorated with fall decor. It was impeccably cleaned and they even left us masks, encouraging us to social distance while there. Stonehead Ridge Log Cabin was very private, and we enjoyed soaking in the hot tub surrounded by beautiful trees and nature. A perfect spot to get away from it all.
Stonehead Nature Preserve
After relaxing and settling in, we went for a short walk at the Stonehead Nature Preserve that was literally a stone’s throw from the cabin. This is not a place that I would necessarily go out of my way to go to, but if you happen to stay in a cabin nearby, it is worth a visit. Quiet, peaceful and beautiful trails, it was the perfect spot for a little walk as the sun went down. Neither of us were hungry for dinner with the memory of our very filling late brunch on our minds, so we headed back to our cabin and stayed up late watching a movie.
Day 2: Nashville and Brown County State Park
Brunch in Nashville, Indiana
After a leisurely morning and sleeping in for the first time in many months (no four-year-old to wake us up at 6:30 AM), we headed into the cute town of Nashville for another amazing brunch. We enjoyed our Eggs Benedict with fried green tomato gravy and breakfast burrito at the Bird’s Nest Cafe. Everything on the menu looked delicious. After brunch we poked around the cute town of Nashville with all of the craft shops, boutiques, candy stores and fall decor. It was such a cute little town and we definitely could have spent more time window shopping.
Brown County State Park
We picked up some “make-your-own” charcuterie at the local grocery store before heading into the park, as there aren’t many food options there. The fee to enter the state park is $9 for out-of-state guests. If you are an Indiana resident, it is only $7. It is nice to note that you can come and go as you please throughout the day, just show your receipt to get back in the park.
Throughout the park, you can pull out to see beautiful views and the park advertises its “7 Vistas Challenge” where you can earn a sticker for taking and posting pictures at each vista. One of our favorite spots for a view was Hesitation Point. Picnic tables abound, so bring a lunch to enjoy an extended time at one of these vistas. We also loved seeing all of the playgrounds for kids scattered throughout the park and the fun mountain biking trails. We are already planning a return visit with the kids.
We spent most of our time hiking around the beautiful Ogle Lake. The fall colors were exquisite and the lake itself provided beautiful views. We hiked trail 7, 4 and 5 making a large loop through a nature preserve and around Ogle Lake. It was breathtaking and definitely worth a visit. With younger kids, I would probably only hike trail 7, but with older kids and adults you could definitely add in the larger loop. No swimming is allowed in Ogle Lake, but we did see people fishing on the banks and enjoying being out in nature.
We enjoyed some scenic driving around the rest of the park after our hike and stopped at a little lookout to enjoy some of the snacks we had purchased earlier in the day. After spending a good 4-5 hours at the park, we decided to head out of the park and come back later for the beautiful sunset. We wished we had brought bikes to bike some of the amazing mountain biking trails. Trails range from easy to difficult. This park looks like a great spot for mountain biking. We will be back!
Hot Caramel Pumpkin Sundae
By this point in the day we had worked up an appetite for something sweet, so we headed to Fearrin’s Ice Cream shop for a hot caramel pumpkin sundae with nuts, whipped cream and a cherry on top. It was basically all of the best things fall has to offer in one beautiful cup. Plenty of hot caramel and absolutely delicious pumpkin ice cream. I’m still dreaming about it. Apparently they offer this sundae year round, so don’t miss it if you are passing through Nashville, Indiana.
Sunset at Hesitation Point
After a little nap back at the cabin (no kids meant we got to nap!!!), we headed back to Brown County State Park to enjoy the sunset. Hesitation Point didn’t give us a direct view of the sunset, but we could still see the beautiful colors of the light from the setting sun against the fall leaves. It was the perfect end to a relaxing, nature-filled day.
Day 3: Checkout and Drive Home
Bean Blossom Covered Bridge
We woke up late, again (vacation) and were checked out by around 10 AM. We didn’t want our trip to end yet, so we took a little drive up north of Nashville and drove through the rustic Bean Blossom Bridge. The setting was idyllic and this beautiful bridge built in 1880 was full of history and charm. Definitely worth a little stop if you are passing through.
Lunch at Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room
We continued our drive through more beautiful fall foliage and came to our last foodie experience of the trip, the Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room. This little cafe is set outdoors in a beautiful flower and herb barn. We sat outside on the cute little patio with eclectic chairs and tablecloths. It was the perfect fall morning and we enjoyed a fizzy herb barn lemonade (milk lemonade that was absolutely delicious) along with fresh garden salads and yummy fried green tomatoes. After our beautiful lunch we walked through the gardens and greenhouse area. Such a little gem and definitely worth a stop for lunch or dinner.
Then it was back to grown-up reality! We drove the 2.5 hours home feeling refreshed and excited to see our kids (and bring them back here one day) and ready to get my hands into some sourdough. Nashville, Indiana and Brown County State Park would be a fun getaway any time of year, but fall is just magical with the changing of the leaves. If you live within a couple hours drive and are looking for a little getaway, this should definitely be considered!
What are some of your favorite fall getaways? I’d love to hear in the comments.
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