Welcome to “my” southern Indiana! It sometimes amazes me, as I travel around the diocese, just how few people have been to the southcentral part of the Hoosier state. With Diocesan Convention in Jeffersonville and New Albany this year, you have a great opportunity at an especially beautiful time of the year to explore some possibilities that are new and fun. So, consider staying an extra day or two and bringing your family. As a long-time resident of the community, I’ll keep adding to the list as the time for Diocesan Convention draws near, So, check back often. And, submit your own ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org See you here!
Coordinator of Communication and Evangelism
Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
Free and Close to Diocesan Convention
Falls of the Ohio State Park
Just a mile from the Kye’s convention site is the Falls of the Ohio State Park. The 390-million-year-old fossil beds at the falls are among the largest naturally-exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world. You can take a free guided hike out on the fossil beds, which have the fascinating feeling of a mysterious moonscape. This is a must-do for fossil lovers. Kids can even dig for real fossils in some small piles of rock and silt adjacent to the trail and parking lot. (So, bring those kid shovels!) Just contact fallsoftheohio.org and let them know you are part of the Episcopal Diocesan Convention and would like a free guided hike out there.
For a small additional charge, you can visit their newly-renovated interpretive center, which has some great displays and areas for bird watching. You may see herons, eagles, gulls, and other types of birds you may normally expect to see near much larger bodies of water. They are attracted to the fossil beds as a source of food. By the way, the area around the falls also marked the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. A statue commemorates that milestone as you near the interpretative center.
The Big Four Bridge
Attention walkers, runners, and cyclists—The Big Four Bridge (Big Four Bridge on Facebook), also in Jeffersonville, is an always-open, free, beautiful pedestrian bridge that crosses a mile across the Ohio River to Louisville. There’s always something fun and festive going on. Didn’t bring a bike? There is a great spot along Riverside Drive (ask anyone) called The Widow’s Walk where you can rent regular or tandem bikes, as well as enjoy coffee in a nice coffee shop overlooking the river OR have some wonderful ice cream at an ice cream stand in back.
The Clark County Museum
A very nice little new and free museum (Clark County Indiana Museum on Facebook) about a mile uptown from Kye’s. (Tell them I sent you and ask for Jeanne Burke!) There are artifacts from early Indiana, including the steamboat era. Jeanne is a walking Indiana history resource and a superb storyteller (hint: ask her about the time an elephant escaped in Jeffersonville!) There are some other nice museums nearby, too, including the Vintage Fire Museum across the street from the Clark County Museum and the Howard Steamboat Museum, near St. Paul’s, Jeffersonville.
In Nearby Louisville, Kentucky
A big tip: You are just five minutes away from Louisville KY when you are at Kye’s, the primary site of Diocesan Convention. If you get across the river, be sure to wear your Diocesan Convention name tags wherever you go. I’ve shared with the convention folks there that some of you may be coming over for a look and, with that all-important Episcopal Diocesan Convention name tag, you will be awarded discounts at many attractions and restaurants!
If you go, don’t miss…
5,000 artisan hand-carved lighted jack o’ lanterns in the woods along a quarter-mile walking trail in a park. Need I say more?! This is one of the premiere Halloween attractions in the entire U.S. How lucky are you to be here just at the time of year when it is happening?!
Has displays dedicated to Ali’s incredible career and educational activities around the values and vision he supported throughout his life.
Lots of not-so-scary fun and a special treat for young children.
A fun, interactive museum around the greatest two minutes in sports—the Kentucky Derby. If you love horses, sports, or even celebrities and fashion, this very hi-tech take on the event will dazzle you.
Attention: Geeks, cosplayers, and comic book connoisseurs—Convention weekend is also Comic Con weekend in Louisville at the Exposition Center
Something free and interesting…
Across the Ohio River and down Louisville’s Broadway for about another mile is the exquisite Cave Hill Cemetery, where you can view some amazing sculpture and garden settings, as well as the grave sites of some famous locals including Muhammed Ali, Colonel Harlan Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame—ask me for my personal stories about him!), and George Rogers Clark.
NEXT UP: Restaurant and winery suggestions, as well as the Bourbon Trail. Keep watching this space!