Last month my fellow Indiana Insider blogger Erik wrote a post about Mitchell, Indiana’s plans to celebrate Gus Grissom’s 50th anniversary in space. The events all take place this weekend (Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24). Family commitments are keeping my family from visiting Spring Mill State Park, one of the event hosts, for all the festivities this weekend, but we had a chance to go last weekend and had a wonderful time. I was amazed at all there is to do at this state park.
A real highlight for us was a walk through the Pioneer Village. The village, originally established in 1817, is beautifully restored and centers around a fully operational grist mill. If you time your visit right, be sure to catch a demonstration of the mill in action. You can even pick up a bag of ground corn meal for $2. There are 20 other buildings you can tour, including a leather shop, nursery and tavern.
If you need to cool off, and everyone in your party is older than 3, a tour of Twin Caves by boat was highly recommended to me (alas, our little man is only 2… maybe next year!) From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can ride a boat 500 feet into the cave. Tour times vary and tour availability can depend on weather conditions, so call the park in advance of your visit to be sure(812.849.4129).
In keeping with the area’s pride as the hometown of astronaut Gus Grissom, the park features the Grissom Memorial. Here you can see his space suit and the Gemini III space capsule, among many other items from NASA. The memorial is adjacent to the park entrance gate.
Like several other Indiana state parks, Spring Mill has a beautiful inn that’s open year round. While we didn’t plan for an overnight stay, we did eat in the inn’s restaurant and loved all the homemade comfort food served on the buffet. My son gave two thumbs up to the chocolate cupcakes.
In addition to all these wonderful attractions, each of which is worthy of a visit to the park, you’ll also find campgrounds, an Olympic-size outdoor pool, 8 hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, picnic areas, fishing, and bike rentals.
As a first-time visitor, I was disappointed we didn’t get to experience all there was to see and do at Spring Mill in the few hours we had there. I loved the unique mixture of natural and cultural elements that the park offers guests. I’ll just have to return again soon! You’ll find Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County (3333 State Road 60 East, Mitchell, IN).
Photo courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.