Trip Idea

Parke County: A Sunday Drive to Take into Monday

As the covered bridge capital of the world, Parke County is the perfect setting for sightseeing.

Trip Idea Summary

Type of Trip: Rural Destinations, Art & Culture

Region: West

Destinations Included: Parke County Inc., Mansfield Roller Mill, Rock Run Café & Bakery, Sandlady’s Gourd Farm, Hobson’s Farm, The Beef House, Covered Bridge Country Visitor Bureau, The Inn at DePauw, Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Old Jail Inn Parke County

Duration: 2-3 days

About this trip idea

Allow 2-3 days.

Are you thinking winding roads, pastoral settings, a bit of history and local food? Then Parke County is the place for you. Rounding a bend, you magically drive into a postcard world painted with the romance and beauty of a simpler time when, more than 100 years ago, the villagers of Parke County constructed covered bridges with the sturdy poplar and oak native to the area. Painted signs cautioned horse-drawn wagons to "cross at a walk." You'll want to take your time, too.

Parke County a destination 12 months a year
Whatever season you visit Parke County , be sure to take the driving tour of the 30 covered bridges – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – in nine communities. When you’re at the Mansfield bridge, stop in the Historic Mansfield Roller Mill to see it in operation. Across from the Roseville bridge, grab a bite to eat at the Rock Run Café & Bakery   in Rosedale. Once owned by Tex Terry, a Parke County native who was the bad guy of old b-western movies, it’s known for its pizza straight from the brick oven, tenderloins and bbq ribs.

Parke County offers great festivals year round, with the highlight being the 10-day Covered Bridge Festival each October. Visitors come from all over the country and beyond to see the beautiful autumn foliage and shop for food, art, crafts, antiques and treasures galore in each charming community. Love the allure – and taste – of morels? Try to find the biggest mushroom during the Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival in April. Taste the goodness of real maple syrup during the Parke County Maple Syrup Fair in February and March. 

And in any season, see what small-town treasures you can find in the studios and antique stores. There are also countless ways to take home the harvest from the fertile countryside. Visit Sandlady’s Gourd Farm in Tangier for seeds, gourds and art made from gourds. In the fall, pick your pumpkin and get lost in a corn maze at Hobson’s Farm . During festivals pick up jellies, canned and baked goods, and seasonal produce.

Hungry? Just 40 miles north of Rockville is Covington’s The Beef House , where steaks are cooked to order on an open-hearth charcoal broiler, the salad bar is bountiful and the hot rolls are truly worth the drive!

"Lock yourself up" at the Old Jail Inn Parke County in Rockville for a one-of-a-kind overnight experience. It's the only county jail in the world that's been transformed into a tourist destination. The bed and breakfast features cells turned into comfortable rooms. Be sure to visit the Drunk Tank Winery in the inn's basement.

Relax and rejuvenate country style
Nearby Putnam County also has a driving tour of its nine covered bridges. Explore the countryside and small town of Greencastle, home to DePauw University. Then, finish your day at The Inn at DePauw in one of 54 rooms with modern conveniences and relaxed country charm. Enjoy dining in one of the Inn’s restaurants: The Fluttering Duck Bar & Grill or 2 West Bistro.

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Parke County Inc.


Mansfield Roller Mill


Rock Run Café & Bakery


Sandlady’s Gourd Farm


Hobson’s Farm


Covered Bridge Country Visitor Bureau


The Inn at DePauw


Old Jail Inn Parke County


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