By Leslie Radcliff
Why should you put a pin in your vacation plans and venture to the Midwest for the spring break travel season? Well, why not? Corydon is a small town that gives you some of the best of what Indiana has to offer.
Well known as the first state capital of Indiana, Corydon and Harrison County are also home to some of the most beautiful landscape found in the region. Come for the weekend or stay for the week, either way the county offers many different year-round adventures for locals and out-of-towners alike.
Outdoor activities can be found everywhere in Harrison County and offer visitors a chance to see firsthand the beauty that engulfs the Ohio-valley region. O’Bannon Woods State Park is nestled firmly within the Harrison Crawford State Forest. View a restored hay-press and barn, ride one of the many horse or mountain bike trails, fish in the Blue River, take a hike and climb a fire tower for a miles-long view, or camp in the quiet for a few days at the RV camping sites. There is no shortage of activities for all ages at O’Bannon Woods State Park.
Harrison County is home to not one but two stops on the Indiana Cave Trail. These ancient cave systems are open year-round to explorers of all ages and it doesn’t matter if it’s wet or cold, each cave is a steady 52 degrees.
Squire Boone Caverns is considered a living cave. During your visit, you can see the rushing underground streams and rare underground waterfalls as you tour the caverns. You’ll also have mine for gems, learn about frontier life, and explore the mill that has been churning out grain since the 1800s.
Part of the longest cave system in Indiana, Indiana Caverns Family Adventure Park is the place for adventure. You can take an underground boat ride, walking tour, or descend into the earth where you’ll be able to climb and crawl your way through the underground stream on their Deep Darkness tour. If that’s not your cup of tea, check out the Bat Chaser zip coaster.
Historical Learning Opportunities
We wouldn’t be able to write this article without mentioning the historical significance of Corydon and Harrison County to the state. Aside from touring Indiana’s first state capitol, there are several other sites of historical significance located in the area.
If you’re not sure where to start your historic Corydon and Harrison County adventure, we recommend a stop at the Harrison County Discovery Center where you can receive a hands-on education about the historical significance of many places on our list and decide for yourself which you’d like to check out further.
Battle of Corydon Memorial Park: Now quiet and calm, you would never guess this was the site where 450 members of the Harrison County Home Guard fought the only Civil War battle that took place in Indiana as they faced 2,400 of Morgan’s Confederate soldiers in his infamous march across Indiana.
Tours of the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site include the first state capitol building and the governor's headquarters. Explore these two buildings fundamental to the state's history.
The Constitution Elm: A true piece of history, visitors can view the preserved trunk of the very tree where Indiana’s first state constitution was penned and learn the story of how such an important document came to be written beneath a tree.
Built in 1891, the Leora Brown school was utilized during segregation as an African American schoolhouse. Learn the rich history behind one of Indiana’s oldest standing African American schools.
Other notable historical sites on the walking tour of historic Corydon include: Indiana’s first state office building, the Posey House, Harrison County Fairgrounds, Porter Law Office, and more. Learn more about them here >>
Art, Music, and More
You might be surprised to find that hidden in many small towns there are many rich cultural opportunities. For many years, artists and musicians from all over the United States have been calling our small-town home.
Open year-round, the Artisan Center hosts local artists of all types. When you step into the gallery of the Artisan Center, you’ll learn that art can be so much more than a painting or a picture. While there, check out information about the Artisan Trail where artists throughout Harrison County have come together to open their studios to the public.
The Zimmermans have been producing unique handmade glass products at Zimmerman Art Glass in Corydon for decades. See the newest generation of glassmakers at work and see why the family is known nationally for producing consistent, quality glass.
A favorite among locals, the Hayswood Theatre is a community theatre with a full lineup of productions that range from comedy and drama to musicals and standup.
Fuel Up After Your Tour
We know there’s a lot to see and do in Corydon and Harrison County and your walking tour probably left you a bit parched and with a growling stomach. Fill up at one (or more) of our local establishments!
Famous even before they were on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Butt Drugs is a pharmacy with the unique moniker has been serving up Butt Shakes from their original soda fountain since 1952.
Downtown you'll find 1816 Modern Kitchen & Drinks and Bistro on Chestnut, both of which offer elevated classics like smash burgers and chicken and dumplings.
Rita's Taco Shop will satisfy the whole family with Mexican food staples including tamales and mouth wateringly delicious (and beautiful!) agua frescas.
If you’re looking for a classic diner, look no further than Frederick’s Cafe. Here you’ll have a chance to enjoy all your favorite classics such as pancakes, eggs cooked any way you like it, BLTs, club sandwiches, and more.