Here are my top five things to check out this spring in Southern Indiana. A few of them I have visited before, but the others are all on my calendar for March and April.
Check out the info below to see some ideas for family trips, date days or just a fun weekend idea.
No. 1: Dogwood Festival — Orleans
Let’s start with one I’ve never been to before. The Orleans Dogwood Festival celebrates the blooming of the dogwood trees — which the community is known for — each spring. This year, they celebrate 52 years of the festival.
Based on my research, there’s really nothing to dislike. It has pageants, baby contests, a silent auction, amusement rides, a pet parade, arts and crafts and more! One of the most exciting events to me is the Dogwood Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre they have slated for parade weekend.
The festival is held April 18 through 25, with the parade weekend Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26.
I’m excited to go for the first time and I really encourage you to go! It looks like it will be a great family outing with something to do for everyone. Plus, the trees will be beautiful.
No. 2: Xscape Theatres — Jeffersonville
If you love movies as much as I do, then you will understand the extreme enthusiasm I have for this theater opening in April.
There is currently an Xscape Theatre in Louisville off of Blankenbaker Parkway. My mother insists that it be the only theater we go to when we see movies together. She is spoiled by the reclining seats, giant screens, tray tables and cushy chairs. Plus, the space in the aisle is awesome. You don’t have to worry about saying “excuse me, sorry” every time you get up to go to the bathroom because you can just walk right by.
I’m excited for this theater not only because it’s on this side of the river, but also because it happens to be about five minutes from my house. The theater will also have a wider variety of snacks, and who doesn’t love movie food?
Follow them on their Facebook page (search for “Xscape Jeffersonville 12”) to keep up, but they’re currently planning to open this spring.
No. 3: Blue River — Milltown
My mom grew up in Milltown, so we frequently take drives there to see her childhood home. One of the places that has been on my list for a while to see is the Blue River.
I have been canoeing several different places, mostly on lakes, and I’ve been kayaking a couple of times. The Blue River is framed with trees and seems like it would be the perfect place to spend a relaxing day canoeing downstream or even a half-day and then having lunch in town.
Cave Country Canoes is the place through which to schedule any trip you want to take. Half-days are two- to four-hour trips, full days are five- to seven-hour trips, and there’s even a two-day trip with a campsite.
Their website features a map of the river with route layouts — starting from a 7-mile trip and going up to a 14-mile trip.
If you need more reason to go, check out the photos on their website: cavecountrycanoes.com. I can’t imagine a more peaceful place to spend a morning or afternoon. Cave Country will open back up in April with the beginning of the season.
No. 4: Scenic 62 Yard Sale, Edwardsville
This next one is one I have on my calendar, even though it inches closer to summer than spring.
The Scenic 62 Yard Sale, set for May 1 and 2, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a series of yard sales down State Road 62 from Edwardsville all the way to Leavenworth. Placed throughout the route are yard sale signs so you know when and where to stop and shop.
It started as a community sale in Lanesville and then incorporated more towns in 2015. As you drive across this 30-mile stretch, you’ll travel through Edwardsville and Leavenworth, along with Lanesville and Corydon.
The website thisisindiana.org can help you find the best places to eat along the way. Whether you’re a yard sale junkie or you’d like to sell stuff yourself, check out scenic62yardsale.com. There are some permit requirements if you’d like to sell.
Half of my home furnishings have come from yard sales, thrift stores and antique malls. I’m excited to make several stops in one pretty drive.
No. 5: New Harmony
Let’s end on one of my favorite places in the world. When I was in concert band, my parents and I would stop in New Harmony on the way to and from solo/ensemble competitions. It was the best place to feel better if I did badly, or to just spend a good afternoon.
New Harmony is a tiny, historical town near Evansville. It has classic charm and clearly retains its roots. There are bookstores, cafes and antique shops galore.
It also has a really cool visitor center named the “Atheneum” after a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. The center offers a film on the town’s history, a gift shop and beautiful views of the town. It’s also strategically laid out, so by the time you’ve finished learning, you walk right out into the town.
There was a big, gray inn that was for sale for a long time and I always said how nice it’d be to buy that and live in a small, quiet place like New Harmony. Ch
eck out Main Café and Firehouse Antiques, or take a walk in the Cathedral Labyrinth.
Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the quiet and the spring weather. It’s a place that makes me happy for no other reason than I can’t help but be happy when I’m there.
There are so many spring activities in Southern Indiana, whether it’s one of these listed above or just heading to downtown New Albany or Jeffersonville and taking a walk around town. There has been so much growth in the past few years, there’s bound to be something new you can check out. •
For more information, check out orleansdogwoodfestival.com for information on the Orleans Dogwood Festival, cavecountrycanoes.com for information on canoeing in Milltown, visitnewharmony.com for planning a trip to New Harmony, and scenic62yardsale.com for information on the Scenic 62 Yard Sale.
Story by Darian Eswine // Photo by Michelle Hockman