A native Hoosier and proud Purdue alumnus, Christy and her family live in Indianapolis. A 15-year veteran of community development and tourism in Indiana, she believes the strength of a community is determined by the imagination and persistence of its people.
We just missed the peak of fall colors in southern Indiana. But the landscape of rural Indiana was beautiful just the same as I drove the kids to my parents’ house for an overnight visit. My trek began in Indianapolis where I grew up and now live. Located in the center of a triangle made by Bloomington, Vincennes and Terre Haute, it takes just over an hour to get to Bloomfield from Indy.
I like to take I-70 to the Cloverdale exit as we did to get to my grandma’s house when I was growing up. I remember stopping at the Clover Queen drive-in for soft-serve ice cream on the way home. It has morphed into commercial storage units now. As we continue down S.R. 231 toward Spencer, we pass the Hill Top Restaurant. It’s a nice meeting place for my very large family. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed many family-style dinners atop the hill that overlooks the Owen Valley.
As we drive into town, I picture it as the one-horse kind of town it might have been before the highway went through. Bookended by a bustling McDonalds to the north and Wal-mart to the south, Spencer’s main claim to fame is a few miles north at McCormick’s Creek State Park, where a hike to Wolf Cave is a must.
As we turn off the main road and cross the town square, I chuckle to myself as I always do when we pass the sign for Juliebob’s Antiques. While no connection to the store, it carries the name of my younger siblings. Once I cross the bridge over the White River, I know I have 12 miles of twisting, turning, dipping back roads and several one-lane bridges to pass along Pottersville road. Yes, we really do go over the river and through the woods to get to grandmother’s house. This is the best part of the trip for me. With no stops, but one, and few other cars around, I can really ride the open road. Even in a less-than-stealthy minivan.
Once we arrive, I can relax and take in the beauty of my parents’ 110-acre property. A century-old log cabin – rumored to once be a hideout for famed gangster John Dillinger – still stands to greet us as does the barn that’s not as old or as sturdy. What’s left of the color on the trees is reflected in the pond next to the house which causes me to reflect to myself, it’s good to be back home again in southern Indiana.