Covered bridges in Indiana? If you are from the state, I bet the first place you think of is Parke County. I know I do.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that less than an hour from Indianapolis, Rush County has a long history of covered bridges.
Originally there were 23 covered bridges, but today only six remain. As part of my Explore Indiana project, Rush County was on my list of places to visit. With a free afternoon, my 12-year-old son and I took off to see if we could find those remaining six bridges. We found four and had a delightful time looking for them and enjoying Rushville, IN.
The first bridge we found is called the Moscow Bridge. It’s located in Moscow, Indiana, and was one of two we were able to get out and walk around. It is very nicely preserved and at 334 feet the third longest one in Indiana. It was originally built in 1886 but was destroyed by a tornado in 2008. Luckily it was rebuilt in 2010 using as many of the original materials as possible.
Our next covered bridge was a bust. Although we followed the directions on Google Maps when we “arrived” there was no bridge to be found.
Feeling like a snack was in order, we headed over to the largest city in Rush County, appropriately named Rushville, and decided to check out a local favorite, Stagg’s Dairy Treats & Restaurant. This restaurant is exactly the kind of place I enjoy finding in small Midwestern towns. With an affordable and fun menu and delicious ice cream treats, it was a perfect little pick-me-up. We only tried the ice cream, but looking at the food coming out of the kitchen I imagine the burgers and sandwiches are delicious!
After our break, we headed back out to find the two bridges just outside of Rushville. Both of these (the Smith Covered Bridge and the Norris Ford Covered Bridge) were easy to find but impossible to stop and walk around. There really wasn’t a place to safely put the car, so we just drove through them and looked at what we could. Both bridges cover sections of the Flat Rock River – which I’m sure will be explored in future Indiana adventures.
I’ve discovered through the years, that my kids will happily indulge me in exploring historical sites, hiking, etc. as long as I break them up with things they enjoy. So we headed back to Rushville to check out the downtown. Sadly, the Historical Society Museum was closed (its open hours are Monday and Thursday from 9-11), but we did get a chance to walk around a bit and explore quite a few shops.
Downtown Rushville has quite a few nice boutiques and antique stores. We enjoyed poking around several as well as checking out the impressive murals. My favorite was the one at the Farmer’s Market location – I would love to check this out someday – maybe a return trip will be in order. My son was a fan of the large mural of Wendell Lewis Willkie. He was the 1940 Republican nominee for President – a new fact for both of us. Every year, the town hosts a festival called Willkie Days in September.
The afternoon was fading and with two more bridges to find, we decided to knock one off the list as it would take us further away from home, so we set off to find Offutt’s Ford Covered Bridge. I enjoyed this bridge as we were able to park the car and get out to walk around a bit. It was built in 1884 by the Kennedy Bros (as all of the bridges we found were), and it is currently closed to traffic as it’s being restored.
Our last stop in Rush County was a delightful surprise – a delicious stop for sushi. Located just around the corner from the Historical Society Museum, Sakura has a wide variety of Japanese, Chinese and Thai-inspired dishes. We shared a few sushi rolls and savored freshly brewed green tea. The sushi was fresh and beautifully presented and hit the spot before we began the drive home.
On our way home, we picked up some fresh Indiana sweet corn to enjoy later this week. Our latest obsession is making Mexican Street corn – we’ve been enjoying it for a few weeks now and Indiana sweet corn makes it extra tasty.
For a small county that I’m not sure I’ve ever even driven through and had definitely never heard of, I was pleasantly surprised at how much we discovered. It was a perfect summer afternoon full of everyday adventures and fun. It also felt good to cross another county off my Indiana Counties list – I’m feeling hopeful that the rest will be just as enjoyable!
Insider Tip: This was such an unusual way for us to spend the day that when I got home I looked to see if there were more covered bridges in Indiana and I discovered a great resource on Amazon: Indiana’s Covered Bridges. If this sounds like a fun afternoon, I suggest you check that book out or just search on Amazon “Covered Bridges of xxx” to see if there are books highlighting them in your state.
To see other fun places to visit in Indiana, be sure to check out this post – it’ll be updated regularly as I explore the state!
Stagg’s Dairy Treats & Restaurant; 1010 W. 3rd St. Rushville, IN
Historical Society Museum; 619 N. Perkins St. Rushville, IN (765)932-2492
Sakura; 732 N. Main St. Rushville, IN (765) 938-1883
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