The Indiana Insider Blog

Madison – Beautiful River Town

Clifty Falls State Park - Madison, Indiana

Clifty Falls State Park - Madison, Indiana

Last fall, my wife and I got away to beautiful Madison, Indiana for a weekend. We did a little research on some of the things to do in Madison and talked to some friends who have spent time in Madison. After planning for a few weeks, we headed down in early October.

In an effort to avoid the interstate, we took State Route 7 from Columbus. It was a georgeous drive. As we got closer to Madison, we drove across rolling hills and through quaint, small towns and through lush patches of trees. This was an Indiana I had never seen before.

As we got closer to Madison, we decided to stop off at Clifty Falls State Park on our way into town for a morning hike. We took Hike #5 (a “rugged” hike), which starts at Lilly Memorial, leads you through the canyon, past – or through – the tunnel (a remnant from a failed attempt to bring a railroad through the park more than a century ago – view a video of the tunnel here) and finally, to Tunnel Falls. It was definitely more rugged than we expected, but it was a great way to start the day.

After our hike, we went to Madison and checked into our hotel, which had a beautiful view of the Ohio River. We then headed into town and visited Lanthier Winery. After a quick lunch at the Downtowner (a great sandwich shop in town) we walked around town, window shopping as we went. Our next stop was at Mundt’s Candies for a shake. A few hours before we headed to dinner we stopped at one of Madison’s other wineries – the Thomas Family Winery. Thomas Family’s wines reminded me of good California wines, so we picked up a bottle of their Young Zinfandel wine- a great purchase!

We finished up our evening with a short drive out to Hanover College, just down the road in Hanover, Indiana. If you ever make it down to Madison, you HAVE to go see a sunset on the campus of Hanover. Located on a bluff above the Ohio River, you get a magnificant view. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the camera :( Check out the view here. Dinner at Madison’s ‘international’ Bistro One capped off a wonderful day.

On our last day in Madison we visited the historic Lanier Mansion. Built in 1844, it was the home of the wealthy New York businessman, James Lanier. Now a designated Historic Landmark, a tour of this home is a must-see during any visit to Madison. In addition to the Lanier Mansion, you can take tours of many of the other historic homes in Madison.

We had a great time in Madison and couldn’t believe how much there was to do! In fact, we had just missed the annual Madison Chautauqua Festival (held September 27-28, this year).

Have you ever visited Madison? If you haven’t been, the next vacation you take should be to Madison.

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