Take a Step Back in Time in Memorable Metamora

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Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

Looking to escape the city for a summer getaway? Halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, you’ll find Metamora, an unincorporated village often referred to as “Indiana’s Canal Town.” The quaint town offers plenty of history as well as outdoor activities and summer events sure to keep everyone happy.

For History Buffs

If history is your thing, you’ll find plenty of it in Metamora. The village is home to the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site, part of the Indiana State Museum system and the destination of the Whitewater Valley Railroad. The canal, built in the 1840s, served as a transportation route to bring people and goods inland and was critical to supporting local commerce at the time.

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

Today, guests can visit the historic site to view some of the original canal structures, including various locks along the route, and the Metamora Grist Mill, built in 1893 to utilize water power from the canal to grind grain. The mill still produces cornmeal and grits, just as it has for over 100 years, and is a popular tourist destination. At the eastern edge of town, check out the Duck Creek Aqueduct, the only wooden covered bridge aqueduct still in operation in the United States.

“One unique feature of the Metamora area is that it is home to two overlapping National Register Historic Districts, one for the Whitewater Canal route from the Laurel Feeder Dam to Brookville and the other for the town itself, which encompasses a collection of late-nineteenth-century commercial and residential buildings,” says Gail Ginther, secretary of Historic Metamora.

See more: Soak Up Summer in Jay County

Fun Under the Metamora Sun

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

If you’re looking to stay active outdoors on your trip to Metamora, you won’t be disappointed. The Whitewater Canal Trail provides hikers and cyclists access to most of the authentic canal features. It has trailheads near the Grist Mill and Duck Creek Aqueduct in Metamora.

Visitors can even step back in time and travel down the Whitewater Canal in a boat reminiscent of the originals used in the mid-1800s. The horse-drawn boat, named Ben Franklin III, runs from May to October, offering afternoon rides from Wednesday to Sunday.

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

The summer is also a great time to take a trip along the Whitewater Valley Railroad. The railroad is operated and maintained exclusively by volunteers and offers excursions from Grand Central Station in Connersville to Metamora. The railroad also offers a dinner excursion from Connersville to Laurel, as well as special events, including a murder mystery dinner scheduled in August.

Outdoor enthusiasts may also enjoy horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch west of Metamora, canoeing on the Whitewater River, or zip lining in nearby Brookville. The Brookville Lake Reservoir is a popular destination for campers, boaters and anglers, and incorporates the Whitewater Memorial State Park in Union County.

Immerse Yourself in Local Culture

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

The charm of Metamora can’t be denied, and it’s is one of the main reasons visitors flock to the town each summer. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit some of the unique restaurants and food offerings in and around the town.

The Martindale Tavern in Metamora is housed in a canal-era structure and offers a family-friendly environment for food and beverages during the season. Next door, explore Mr. Fudge Confectionery, where you might catch workers making fresh fudge or nut brittle. If ice cream is your thing, Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor serves it up in waffle cones made on site. It also features the world’s largest collection of cookie jars, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Fried chicken is the specialty of the area, and visitors can eat their way through the Fried Chicken Trail, which features many restaurants in Franklin County and surrounding communities.

“There are no corporately-owned businesses in town, so individual business owners set their hours, which can vary day-to-day. Visitors should plan ahead to ensure that they’ll be able to do and see everything they want to while they’re here,” recommends Ginther. In addition, many businesses in Metamora have both Facebook pages and websites where visitors can find more information.

See more: History Meets Modern in Madison, IN

1 Comment

  1. George Ginther

    May 15, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Great article.

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