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There is a place that we motor through often on our way to somewhere else, seldom pausing to appreciate what it has to offer. But we decided to take some time to explore more thoroughly, and oh my, what we found was a land rich with discovery! That place is “Honest to Goodness Indiana.” 

Known as the Hoosier State, we will discover great destinations from the shores of Lake Michigan to the banks of the Ohio River. Mostly a rural land of pastoral farms, wooded hills, lazy rivers, back-in-the-day main streets, and warm hospitality. Indiana is a diverse state full of opportunity, whether it be verdant vineyards, captivating historical sites, unique and appealing lodging, graceful scenic views, or charming local restaurants. Picture hometown shaded streets lined with front porch swings and American Flags lined up like a parade.  We will be making memories for a lifetime – made naturally. Long before Farm to Fork Dining was a nationwide trend, it was par for the course in Indiana. 

No matter what adventure or activity, we will be greeted with Hoosier Hospitality

That is Honest to Goodness Indiana. 

 

 

Day 1 – Home to Schererville, IN

This is a travel day through Wisconsin and Illinois, “stretching our wings” a little to get all the way to Indiana. Our reward for being such diligent travelers is our welcome dinner done in style at Tiebel’s, one of our longtime favorite family restaurants!

Included Meals: Dinner 

Hotel: Hampton Inn 

 

Day 2 – Schererville to Middlebury, IN

A candy store first thing in the morning? You bet! Especially when it’s The Albanese Confectionery! This place is the most amazing candy store experience you’ll ever have. We have to stop! Just down the road is another incredible spot: The Railway Garden at Taltree Arboretum. An outdoor garden scale model train that tells the story of America’s steam engine and its impact on America’s history. Operating trains travel along intricate landscapes of prairies and mountains while passing through historic battlefields, cities, industrial sites, along rivers and over elaborate trestles. A trainmaster will interpret it all. Our included lunch is at Doc’s Soda Fountain before another fascinating experience. The Hesston Steam Show is not your typical stuffy museum. We will walk right into an era long past, a simpler time where big machines did work, powered factories, moved mountains, fed the country, moved people or just entertained us. You will actually have the opportunity to ride a miniature steam powered train! The Studebaker! Remember those? We’ll experience it again at the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend. Come nose to nose with the famous 1950 “Bullet Nose” Champion, enjoy the era of romantic pre-war cars from ragtops to hardtops or discover the very carriage that President and Mrs. Lincoln rode to Ford’s Theatre the night of his assassination. In the same complex is The History Museum and the Amazing Cabinet of Curiosities, keepers of history of 150 years. The next two nights is an inviting and lovely home-away-from-home at the Essenhaus Inn in Amish Middlebury. Essenhaus is a place of relaxing atmosphere, charming décor, expansive manicured parklike grounds, and comfortable elegance. You will love this place! Our homecooked dinner feast is served at Das Dutchman Restaurant. A special treat will be a live theatre performance at Essenhaus’s own Heritage Hall.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Essenhaus Inn (2 Nights) 

 

Day 3 – Shipshewana Amish Country, IN

A wonderful breakfast at the Inn prepares us for a full and fascinating day. (You also can visit Das Dutchman Bakery just across the way, if you’re still hungry!) Just a few blocks away is Jayco, America’s premier motorhome and RV manufacturer where we are treated to a tour of their luxury 5th Wheel Manufacturing plant. See it Made in the USA! Our next stop is the Dutch Country Market, an Amish Family store with homemade everything: such as noodles, honey, jams & jellies, pickles, ciders, etc, etc, & more! We will have ample time in Shipshewana, the heart of Amish Country, for shopping Amish products, included buggy ride tours, and lunch on your own. This afternoon we visit Annie Oakley Perfumery in Ligonier, the only perfumery in the US! We enjoy a factory tour, sample natural fragrances, create our own Home Spray, and browse the gift shop. This has been rated as a top 15 Destination by National Geographic Traveler! Ligonier is called the City of Murals as a total of 34 line the towns streets, some as large as a half block long! Well if Annie Oakley’s didn’t exactly excite the men folk, this next stop will! The Mid America Windmill Museum is a collection of 53 mills of all sizes, eras and designs. You’ve never seen anything like it. One can’t be in Amish Country without a family style dinner at The Blue Gate Restaurant! You’ll lay your head back this evening thinking, “Wow! Can it get any better than this?!” Each day is a blessing!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

 

Day 4 – Middlebury to Muncie, IN

Departing our lovely spot we journey south to Kokomo, home of Grissom Air Base and the Grissom Air Museum. Proudly named for Indiana native Gus Grissom, the museum is a 13 acre air park featuring 24 military aircraft and a security tower. There is a great variety of aircraft displayed, from a B58 Supersonic Bomber to an A10 Warthog! We’ll be delighted at our included lunch spot, McAlister Deli – fresh & delicious! Our next stop is just totally Fun!! The Popcorn Café featuring over 50 flavors of gourmet popcorn and gourmet candy. Now over to little Alexandria, hometown of world famous and legendary gospel songwriters and musicians, Bill & Gloria Gaither. We will be treated to a private tour of the Gaither Headquarters complex and recording studios, site of the well known Gaither Homecoming videos. We will have time to browse their incredible gift and music store. A very special treat will be coffee and a piece of Vestal’s Coconut Cake or Gloria’s Raspberry Cake! All of this in “little ol” Alexandria! Just a few miles away is Fairmount, hometown of another legend, iconic movie star James Dean. We’ll have a guided tour including his boyhood home and the remarkable James Dean Gallery. An absolute delight for dinner this evening is at Grains & Grill, a local favorite microbrewery/dinnerhouse. Rest comfortably tonight at the Hampton Inn in nearby Muncie.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Treat, Dinner 

Hotel: Hampton Inn 

 

Day 5 – Muncie to Greenfield, IN

Just 20 miles away in the small town of Dunkirk is a truly marvelous but somewhat hidden secret. The Glass Museum! Featuring over 8,000 glass creations from 110 factories around the world. Enjoy the heritage of America’s oldest industry. Why here? Natural gas was discovered here in 1896 and dozens of glass factories were soon in operation right here. Changing pace, we head to Winchester and Wicks Pies. That’s right! We tour a pie factory! A family run operation starting in 1934 is still using grandmother’s recipes today, producing over 10,000 pies and 30,000 shells a day! We will stay for lunch, which of course includes a piece of your favorite pie. Keep in mind we travel the backroads from place to place and now they take us to Fountain City. As conductors for the Underground Railroad, Levi & Catharine Coffin helped more than 1000 freedom seekers to safety. Hear & see their miraculous story. The Levi Coffin Home is a National Historic Landmark site. Abbott’s Candies in Hagerstown is another family owned and operated masterpiece where they have been creating candies for over 100 years. We will watch them hand making their delectables, complete with samples offered. You will be able to purchase their fine chocolates and famous caramels. The Father of Flight was an Indiana native as well. Our next stop is the Wilbur Wright Birthplace in Millville, with a life size replica of the Wright flyer on display, his boyhood home, and a Main Street set as in 1903. The 1986 blockbuster film “Hoosiers,” captured the fancy of generations of movie fans. It tells the story of a small town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. We will now visit the Historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown where that movie was shot! If you’ve seen the film this will bring back nostalgic memories. More will be coming on this later in the tour. This has been a full and rewarding day, so we’ll rest easy this evening at our cozy hotel.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express 

 

Day 6 – Greenfield to Madison, IN

We travel through more peaceful small Indiana towns arriving in Greensburg, a city famous for its town square and particularly the beautiful courthouse. The courthouse made famous by the TREE growing out of its roof!! Trees have been growing out of the roof ever since 1870 and is still as much a mystery today as it was back then. You can say you saw it on an R&J Tour! Next, the little burg of Oldenburg, known as the Village of Spires for the multiple church steeples that punctuate its skyline. Few communities embrace their heritage as visibly as Oldenburg, where its German influence is unmistakable. Notice its bilingual street signs, fire hydrants as works of art, and an Old World charm reflected in the architecture. Well known for it’s pubs, we enjoy an included German lunch at the Brau Haus. Now back to the “Hoosiers” saga. We arrive in Milan, the small town high school that really won the Indiana State Tournament in 1954 and was the basis for the fictional town of “Hickory,” of the movie. We visit their Hoosier Museum and see the old water tower still touting “1954 State Champs.” Madison, Indiana is recognized as “The prettiest small town in the Midwest” by Ladies Home Journal. Well preserved, there are over 133 blocks of the city on the National Register of Historic Places. Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, Charles Kuralt called Madison “The most beautiful rivertown in America.” We get a locally guided tour of this enchantingly lovely community, including the Lanier Mansion, the best example of Greek Revival architecture and the “Crown Jewel” of Madison. You’ll have time to stroll one of the best preserved and complete Main Streets you will ever see! The Clifty Inn is billed as one of Indiana’s best kept secrets but we found it! Settled in the wooded bluffs overlooking the Ohio river, the Inn offers superior lodging, down home cooking, warm hospitality and a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. The Inn is located in Clifty Falls State Park, so named because of its beautiful waterfalls. A sumptuous dinner is included this evening at The Falls Restaurant right at the Inn. Enjoy a very relaxing evening void of irritating distractions.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: The Clifty Inn 

 

Day 7 – Madison to New Harmony, IN

The breakfast at Clifty Inn is truly a hometown wonder, so don’t miss it! We linger at The Inn awhile before we journey along wooded backroads to the old river cities of Jeffersonville and New Albany, just across the Ohio from Louisville in far southern Indiana. The historic old rivertown mansions of this area are incredible, so we’ll visit one, The Culbertson Mansion. Wow! Some people actually lived like this!! By the way, this is Sunday, so what better place to have Sunday dinner than at Gospel Bird Chicken! For real! Afterwards we actually travel the freeway for a while to arrive at our next stop on time. You’ll enjoy the drive through the very beautiful wooded hills along the Ohio River. Then taking ample time, we visit Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home National Park. Abe lived here 14 years from 1816 to 1830. The Living Historical Farm is a working pioneer homestead with the cabin, outbuildings, split rail fences, animals and gardens. An insightful look back to the pioneer building blocks of our Nation, this is a very special place! Next is New Harmony, Indiana. Ever heard of it? We hadn’t either until we found it as we explored. We’ll definitely have to traverse the backroads to get there. New Harmony is a gentle & unique town located in the very southwestern corner of Indiana. We are guests of the New Harmony Inn Resort, a charming hotel decorated in the uncluttered style of the Harmonist. Here you can rest, relax and rejuvenate. We are dining this evening at the Red Geranium Restaurant. They specialize in seasonal American cuisine prepared with the freshest ingredients. The Red Geranium Restaurant is one of the best kept secrets in the tristate area!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: New Harmony Inn Resort 

 

Day 8 – New Harmony to W. Baden Springs, IN

Continental breakfast is served at the Red Geranium before we must depart our serene spot and continue on. Arriving in Vincennes we find Grouseland, William Henry Harrison’s Mansion. Called “The Whitehouse of the West,” Grouseland was the first brick home in the Indiana Territory. Built on a knoll overlooking the Wabash River, it occupies an important place in American history as several treaties were signed here in the Council Chamber. Just a couple blocks away is the boyhood home of another American icon: Red Skelton, the classic comedian we all grew up with. The Red Skelton Show graced the TV screen for almost 20 years from 1951 to 1970. His life and career is amazingly well chronicled at the Red Skelton Center of American Comedy. Relive fond memories of Junior, the “Mean Widdle Kid,” country boy Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sheriff Deadeye, Boxer Cauliflower McPugg, and Freddie the Freeloader once again. Our world famous home this evening is the West Baden Springs Resort! You will be in awe at what you see! Considered to be the 8th wonder of the world, it was built in 1902 and is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Its atrium was the largest free span dome until the Houston Astrodome was built. There is no word to absolutely describe it but: AWESOME! Our evening dinner will be a treat as we dine in splendor and grandeur at the French Lick Springs Hotel. You have the evening free to scout out this lavish resort or just relax on the veranda.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: West Baden Springs Resort 

 

Day 9 – West Baden Springs to Nashville, IN

Breakfast is served in magnificence at Café Sinclair’s Restaurant at the hotel before we resume our travel. Our next adventure is a Mystery River Voyage through the Blue Springs Caverns. Discover the natural wonders of the world below as you float along the timeless waters of Myst’ry River. See native blind fish living in a world of eternal darkness. A light jacket is preferred for the constant 54 degree temperature. Afterwards, lunch will be included at Smokin Jim’s BBQ. The Oliver Winery & Vineyards, Indiana’s oldest and largest, is next on our agenda. A tour and wine tasting is in store at this pristine and delightful place. The backroads now lead us to the quaint village of Nashville (Indiana)! You’ll have time to stroll the welcoming sidewalks with hundreds of craft, antique, art and gift shops interwoven with bakeries, coffee and ice cream bistros. This evening we will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the mystical blue hills of Brown County State Park. We are special guests at the Abe Martin Lodge. Enjoy the aesthetic rustic atmosphere while experiencing the modern luxury conveniences we all appreciate. The lodge boasts a 12,000 sq. ft. Aquatic Center, featuring a zero entry pool, water channels, fountains, slides and a whirlpool with a waterfall, all designed with folks our age in mind! We’ve arranged for dinner to be included, at your convenience, in the rustic charm and quaint elegance of the Little Gem Restaurant in the lodge.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park 

 

Day 10 – Nashville to Bloomington, IL

Breakfast is at Little Gem Restaurant before our leisurely departure. We are in Bloomington, the home of Indiana University, so we’ll take a few minutes to drive through the campus. (Then you can say you’ve been there!) Making our way along some REAL backroads, we arrive at the little hamlet of Bridgeton. This is not on the way to anywhere…but Bridgeton! We are honored to be given a tour of the oldest and longest continually working mill from the family that started it in 1823 and rebuilt it in 1870. The mill sits beside Bridgeton Bridge, the most famous and most visited covered bridge in the USA – truly inspiring! Picnic lunch on the grounds is provided while we enjoy this serene and peaceful view. Motoring on we may see another covered bridge and some interesting small towns before our arrival in Crawfordsville. This is the home of General Lew Wallace. Who? You ask. General Wallace was a lawyer, Union General in the Civil War, governor of New Mexico but most well known as an author. General Wallace is the man that wrote Ben Hur, the famous novel that became an epic movie. You can actually sit under the tree in the very spot where Wallace wrote much of the novel. Leaving Crawfordsville we will soon be exiting Indiana on our way home. We’ll stop for dinner at one of our favorite eateries, Jacks Café in little Le Roy, before arriving at the Holiday Inn Express in Bloomington, IL.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express 

 

Day 11 – Bloomington to Home

Our travel day takes us through Peoria, Moline, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Clear Lake, Iowa as we make our way home. Reflecting on the glorious days we spent in Indiana, we can say, now we know the real “Honest to Goodness” Hoosier State!

Included Meals: Breakfast

Motorcoach Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $2,749
Single: $3,479
Triple: $2,499
Quad: $2,349

Motorcoach Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $170
Single: $219

Travel Bucks

$40 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$100 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 30 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed

No

Tour Pace

Moderate Walking

Price Includes

26 Meals plus Treat, Hotels & Activities as stated, Luxury Motorcoach



The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 81°
Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
85°
Minneapolis, Mn
83°
Backroads of Indiana: Honest to Goodness Indiana
Motorcoach Departure Date:
06/04/2018
Motorcoach Return Date:
06/14/2018

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Tour Map


Tour Highlights

Albanese Confectionery
Railway Garden at Taltree
Hesston Steam Show
National Studebaker Museum
Heritage Hall Theatre
Jayco Manufacturing Tour
Annie Oakley Perfumery
Mid America Windmills
Grissom Air Complex
Popcorn Cafe
Bill & Gloria Gaither Hometown & Gaither Studio Tour
James Dean Hometown
The Dunkirk Glass Museum
Wicks Pie Company Tour
Underground Railway
Wilbur Wright Birthplace
Historic “Hoosier” Gym
Oldenburg “Village of Spires”
Madison, Indiana & Lanier Mansion
Clifty Falls
Lincoln’s Boyhood Home & Farm
New Harmony, Indiana
Red Geranium Restaurant
Grouseland
Red Skelton Center of Comedy
French Lick Railway
Blue Springs Caverns & Mystery River Voyage
Oliver Winery & Vineyards
Nashville, Indiana
Bridgeton Mill



Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
85°
Minneapolis, Mn
83°
Backroads of Indiana: Honest to Goodness Indiana
The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 81°
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