In between languid Indiana summer afternoons and the dreaded snow comes what some call their favorite Indiana season: fall. That’s the time when something spectacular happens: a parade of red, yellow and orange foliage begins (depending on the weather) from the end of September all the way up until early November. Where are the best places in Indiana to see the color claim its stake? I asked Hoosiers for their favorite places to watch autumn cover the state, and they gladly shared.
Brown County was the most frequently mentioned spot in Indiana to watch the leaves turn. While the County’s website says that due to the weather affecting the time when the leaves change it cannot predict the optimal time to visit, they have the next best thing: the Leaf Cam! Yes, the website will activate their “Leaf Cam,” a video camera trained on some of the prettiest spots to see the leaves turn, in September. That will allow you to judge for yourself when you’d like to visit. Watch it yourself at: http://www.browncounty.com/leaf-cam, and plan your trip accordingly.
Nature preserves and parks are ideals place to watch the colors change in silence. Tim Brauch shares his best loved spots to view the event: “I’m hesitant to say, since it is a rarely visited location, but ACRES Kokiwanee Nature Preserve and ACRES Hathaway Nature Preserve at Ross Run, both are near Lagro.” Debra Lynn cited Turkey Run State Park as her personal favorite. Other parks to consider are Salamonie and Fox Island. Try the ones nearest your home, or take a drive and make a day of it.
University campuses and colleges made the list. An alumna who is perhaps a wee homesick for her alma mater’s campus, Catherine Lange named Manchester University in North Manchester as her favorite spot to view the changing of the season. A shout out was also given to Anderson College. Actually, college and university campuses about the state make great places to view the change as such sites seek to replicate home for students including trees and park benches.
French Lick Resort, a four hour drive from Fort Wayne, is adjacent to the Hoosier National Forest, making it an ideal fall getaway. You can see the yellows, oranges and reds by train at the Indiana Railway Museum, by boat on Patoka Lake or by horseback at the resort.
“The best view, of course, is high atop Mount Aerie with our Pete Dye Course. It’s the second highest point in Indiana and on a clear day you can see for 30 miles,” says Dyan Duncan, PR manager for the resort. “A lot of our guests like to head out on our new hiking trails, hit the mountain bike trails or take in the scenery on one of the resort’s 36 horses.” Some prefer a more bird’s eye view. Amy Harris enjoys seeing the leaves from an airplane. Kayleen Reusser sees the top of the fire tower in Oaubauche Park in Bluffton as ideal for watching the leaves begin their blaze.
Mandy Hoff watches the leaves via canoe, traveling either the Eel or Wabash River on slow weekend afternoons. Shirley Comer agrees that “Anywhere along the Wabash, particularly Terre Haute,” makes a delightful place to enjoy the scenery. She also cites the dunes, a place often too soon forgotten after summer’s fun on the beach.
Marion, with its showy, glowing red maple leaves swaying gently. Wabash’s yellow oak leaves holding on tightly in a stiff breeze. Any drive home from work can turn from a mundane happening to a show during fall with simply a watchful gaze.
While observing the leaves change can be as informal as happening upon them, it can also be fun to plan for it. Choose a location, either your own favorite or one of these. Arrange a time to visit it, maybe on a Saturday afternoon. Armed with a camera and a journal, record your observations.
Talking to Hoosiers about favorite places to watch fall creep in, one thing becomes clear: while we may all have different opinions of the best place to watch the seasons change, we all have a favorite. This year, let’s take more time to indulge in enjoying that place.