Small town treasures: Enjoy the quirky, quaint community of Vevay, Indiana

In this Ohio River town with a population of just over 1,600, travelers will find history, famous breadsticks, art, the legend of Fred the Goat and more.

Halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, sits the historic and quaint town of Vevay, Indiana. Vevay (pronounced vee-vee) was settled by the Swiss in 1802 with the intention of growing grapes to produce wine. Vevay is known as the home to the first commercial winery in the U.S.

Today, it is the site for the annual Swiss Wine Festival, this year Aug. 27-30. The weekend is filled with entertainment, sampling of more than 100 of Indiana’s finest wines, grape stomping, food and more. The festival takes place on the banks of the Ohio River. Vevay’s Ridge Winery Tasting Room is a part of the Indiana Wine Trail. Its friendly atmosphere and river views offer a relaxing place sip a glass of wine.

This rural Indiana community has about everything one could ask for, except a Walmart and chain restaurants. However, all of those can be found about 20 minutes down river. The town has diners, a Mexican restaurant, a steakhouse, German food and a Japanese restaurant — quite a selection for a town this size. Oh, yes, there is an Italian restaurant, Roxano’s. People come from upriver, down river and across the river (Kentucky) for Roxano’s homemade breadsticks. Ditch the diet and choose garlic butter, cheese sauce, Mexican style or cinnamon.

This river town also has unique and interesting shops and a wonderful community art center, with works created by artists living within a 60-mile radius of Vevay. From paintings to jewelry and decorated guitars to pottery, it has a large selection of artisans’ works.

Vevay offers visitors two great museums: the Switzerland County Museum and the Life on the Ohio River History Museum. The first offers stories, relics and information about Vevay’s history, including Native American and Swiss settlers. On display is the first piano in Indiana, the actual Markland Post Office, military items, a doll collection and more. A 1860 Greek Revival Presbyterian church is home to the museum. Walk upstairs to the sanctuary and ask why it is located on the second floor.

The river history museum offers a rare variety of documents and artifacts depicting life along the river from the earliest of times of keelboats and flatboats to the era of steamboats. A collection of very detailed steamboat models crafted by Harold Patterson, a Switzerland County native, brings the historic years to life.

The historical society’s Thiebaud Farmstead was established in the early 1800s. Its claim to fame is its success after completing the construction of a hay press barn. The farmstead house, hay press barn, gardens, granary, walking and hiking trials, interpretive center and museum are open during special events and by appointment. Visit switzcomuseums.org for more information.

Staying in this historic river town is a step back in time as two bed and breakfasts, Pleasants Rose Mansion Inn and Schenck Mansion, offer a cozy, homey stay. The Pleasants Rose is an 1881 mansion sitting along the river that has been restored to replicate its early days. The Schenck is an 1874, 35-room mansion decorated with antiques and has original copper bathtubs.

Take a peek in the Switzerland County Courthouse in the heart of Vevay, built between 1862 and 1864. It is a three-story rectangular Greek Revival-style building. The original jail sits in the courtyard, and a not-to-miss six-sided brick outhouse sits behind the courthouse. The courthouse was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.

There is a walking tour mapped out for visitors to get a look at the beautiful homes and historic architecture. Pick up a map at the visitors center in the 1888 Phoenix Hotel. Can you find the house made of mud?

While at the visitors center ask about the legend of Fred the Goat.

Hint: It is best to visit Vevay Monday through Friday. The town slows down for Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information on things to do visit switzcotourism.com. For information on the Wine Festival visit swisswinefestival.org.

Published at Thu, 13 Feb 2020 10:11:45 +0000

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