Southern Indiana's ice cream trail serves up treats, towns - InfoNews

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Southern Indiana's ice cream trail serves up treats, towns

August 14, 2020 - 9:01 PM

BEDFORD, Ind. - Double dips, triple scoops, twirly cones and root beer floats.

The Discover Southern Indiana Ice Cream Trail is giving ice cream lovers with a wanderlust spirit a taste of southern Indiana towns that are off the beaten path.

Launched July 4, the trail is an invitation to sample ice cream at 14 different shops and restaurants in eight counties. The trail covers about 250 miles, taking participants from Jiffy Treet in Bedford and the Dairy Bell in Mitchell to the Super Burger in Paoli, the Happy Hive in Marengo, Yoho General Store in Solsberry and several more stops.

Participants take an Ice Cream Trail passport with them and get it stamped each time they make a purchase at one of the participating businesses. A free T-shirt is the reward for turning in the completed passport.

Blaine Parker, director of tourism and quality of place for Radius Indiana, developed the idea for the trail. Initially, expectations were modest. But in these current times, when people are urged to stay close to home, the Ice Cream Trail is the perfect escape. To date, 32 people have completed the trail and judging by how quickly ice cream shops are running out of passports, dozens more are working on the trail.

“Honestly, we thought 50 people total would do it, so to have 32 already is blowing our expectations,” Parker said.

Jim Sowders of Bedford and his grandson K.J. Mack, 11, have spent the past few weeks on the trail. They were drawn to the concept because “we both love ice cream,” Sowders said.

They’ve turned the trail into a series of day trips, picking out something to do or some place to visit at each destination.

“That’s what’s great about the trail. In most of the places, there is something else you can do that’s close by,” Sowders said. “On the way to French Lick, we went to Bluespring Caverns. We went to Bo Mac’s in Shoals and stopped to look at the Jug Rock. We went to Yoho’s and it’s close to the Tulip Trestle so we went there and took pictures.”

A trip to Marengo Cave was a natural after the two stopped at the Busy Bee for ice cream in Marengo.

Sowders said he and K.J. have enjoyed exploring southern Indiana.

“K.J. loved Bluesprings and Marengo Cave,” he said.

For the countless times Sowders said he had driven through Shoals, he had never stopped to look at the geological feature known as the Jug Rock. Venturing to the Yoho General Store in Solsberry naturally led them to the nearby giant Tulip Trestle, which is the longest railroad viaduct in Indiana.

On the way back from Lexington, Kentucky, where K.J. lives, they visited Stephenson’s General Store in Leavenworth.

“It’s near the Overlook Restaurant. I’d never been there, and we sat and watched the barges go by on the Ohio River while we ate our ice cream,” Sowders said.

“I’m sure their goal was to increase tourism and we’ve done that,” he said with a laugh.

Remy Schickles, owner of the Dairy Bell on East Ind. 60 in Mitchell, said the trail has been good exposure.

“One day a group of five people came together who were doing the trail,” she said. “It’s a good idea and good for business.”

Parker said one nice feature of the trail is people can complete it at their own pace. The trail will run through the end of the year.

“As popular as it is, we’ll do it again next summer and change up the shirts,” Parker said.

Sowders and K.J. expect to finish the trail this week. They are planning a trip to Holiday World and will stop at two places in Dubois County — Zax Creamery in Jasper and Windmill Chill in Holland — and the Superburger in Paoli.

Parker said most of the completed passports are from southern Indiana residents but the trail is picking up followers outside the Radius region with passports coming in from Bloomington, Ellettsville, Louisville and Illinois.

Parker said idea for the trail came about because of a grant that targeted projects that connected communities. The grant never materialized, but the Radius board loved the Ice Cream Trail concept and decided to fund it on its own. She modeled the passports on a successful doughnut trail in Ohio.

Sowders said whether you’ve lived in the area for years or are just here to explore, the Ice Cream Trail is a great way to see some hidden gems.

“Southern Indiana has a lot to offer and I don’t thing we realize how much we have to offer and how beautiful the area is,” he said. “The stops on the trail are short trips and are a great way to get out and enjoy our area, and the people you meet are nice, too.”

And one more thing, he said. “There’s no such thing as bad ice cream.”

Source: The Times-Mail

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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