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I'm not officially in Hoosier land, but I'm 10 miles north of the border and I-69 runs through the eastern edge of our City. I will go on the record saying that up here it absolutely sucks.
They've done the portion in and around the City during the past few years and it's improved, but go 3 miles up and it's horrible. Unfortunately, that is the road that I need to take to my parents, so I have to deal with it on occasion. But I think MI is notorious for having crappy state highways, so this is par for the course.
INDOT wasn't very smart when they decided to run the preferred route through Sen. Richard Lugar's family farm.
The preferred route is a new terrain route generally following IN 37 to Bloomington and then taking off cross-country (see this map .)
The project is being billed as providing an economic development stimulus for the Crane Naval Warfare center and Bloomington (although people in Bloomington generally seem not to want the interstate.) My impression is that the I-69 extension is generally not needed, although I'm sure our friend in Evansville probably wouldn't agree
Well, I am a Hoosier, but I'm currently living out of state. So, I don't know all the latest and greatest news.
But, they've been talking about this for a long time. Last I heard, that had finally chosen the preferred route from three choices, and we'e proceeding from there.
Southern Indiana is very much like Kentucky (which is just across the Ohio River) and most of it is rural and small town, especially in the southwestern area where you're farther away from Louisville and Cincinnati. The new Interstate 69 connecting Indianapolis and Evansville will change many rural areas and small towns. For the better or for the worse? I dunno.
The biggest rumblings I've heard have come from the Bloomington area...though admittedly, I haven't been following all of it too closely. As a relatively unschooled observer, it seems to me that by making Indy more accessible to the SE part of the state, it's likely to create an influx of people in that direction. So I wonder if the protests are, at the root, a case of regional NIMBY-ism.
Having grown up in southern Indiana, I'd have to say that the Bloomington/Nashville areas are some of the most scenic in this rather un-scenic state. Plus those communities and others in the area have a unique character, ranging from artsy-liberal to antiquey-country, with bluegrass, art and harvest festivals. Put that within commuting distance to Indy....people are going to want to locate homes - and eventually - businesses there.
off topic -
hey de-bug, my DH and I are going on an anniversary weekend this fall, and one of the places that we are thinking about is Brown County/Nashville. Is that something you'd recommend then? Is it super touristy?
Nashville is touristy, but Brown County State Park is beautiful, especially in the fall. That's definately worth the trip.
For non-touristy, I'd recommend the French Lick Springs Resort in French Lick. Beautiful old resort hotel in rural southern Indiana. You can also tour the neighboring West Baden Springs Hotel. It's the "Eighth Wonder of the World" and features the world largest freestanding dome, or at least it was before the Houston Astrodome was built. After being abandoned for several years, the Historic Landmarks Foundation is rehabing it. French Lick and West Baden are great places for a romantic getaway.
Brown County is touristy - especially in the fall, but it's worth it. Very pretty scenery and a good mix of activities from hiking to shopping. You can really make a nice long weekend of it if you visit Columbus and Bloomington as well. Bloomington has IU, and a thriving downtown square. Scholar's Inn and Bakehouse has wonderful food, and the city is also home to one of the few authentic Tibetan restaurants in the nation. Columbus, on the other hand, has amazing architecture...it was "voted 6th among U.S. cities in architectural quality and innovation. Only Chicago, New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Boston were ranked higher."
I've always thought that a great weekend to do that sort of trip would be when Columbus (my hometown) holds their ethnic expo. Great food and music in the evening after a day of seeing the architecture. BTW, my dad's one of the tour guides there.
I'd second a recommendation for Columbus. It's been a few years since I was there (other than the interstate) but there's a great ice cream parlor downtown that's not to be missed.
I'd also recommend Madison, IN right on the Ohio River. A really beautiful old town. http://www.visitmadison.org/ And Clifty Falls state park is nearby, if you're looking for the natual thing
Brown County is too touristy for my blood, but the House of the Singing Winds, home of Indiana's best-known artist, T.C. Steele is an interesting state historic site. And the state park is nice, if heavily used.
I'll second Madison- it is gorgeous, and there are lots of nice places to eat, bed and breakfasts, that kind of thing. Indiana Dunes is also a cool place to visit. Mt. Baldy is a fun climb with an amazing view.
See, there's more to Indiana than corn and highway controversy. And racecars.