VISIT SUGAR CREEK

For fans of the books, a trip to Sugar Creek in Indiana can be very enjoyable. Between Paul's boyhood home and the town of Thorntown, there is a nice campground on Sugar Creek called Old Mill Run. This is a great place to camp and enjoy the area that Paul wrote about. Click on the picture below for more information about the campground. There are no hotels in Thorntown, but there are some in Lebanon, which is only ten miles away.

Sugar Creek is actually a river, and you can canoe down it. The best time of the year to do this is late spring and early summer, after the flood waters have receded but before the creek gets too shallow and sluggish. If you are staying at the Old Mill Run campground and you have your own canoe or rubber raft, you can put in at the campground and paddle right through the setting for the books. This trip will take you past the swimming hole, the old north bridge, the island, etc. This section of Sugar Creek is not maintained, so you will probably have to portage around a few fallen trees.

If you would like to rent canoes on Sugar Creek, you can do this further downstream in the town of Crawfordsville, which is 20 miles west of Thorntown. Clements Canoes offers trips that will take you through the lovely scenery of Shades and Turkey Run state parks. Click on the picture below to go to their web site.

If you're in Thorntown on a Sunday, I highly recommend that you attend a wonderful service at the Sugar Plains Friends Church. This is the little Quaker church that Paul's family attended, and that he later included in his stories. Their Sunday morning service starts at 10:30. Note: I am a Methodist and I was not familiar with the Quakers, but I found their services to be very similar to other Christian denominations.

Thorntown is a small village, but it has shops, restaurants, a museum, and an art center. It also has a very nice library. Back when Paul Hutchens was a boy, there was a large fountain on main street with a statue of a woman pouring water out of a pitcher. This fountain is mentioned in the book "The Cemetery Vandals." Recently a smaller replica of the fountain was built in front of the library. It is called "Helen at the Well."

The library has a nice display about Paul Hutchens and the Sugar Creek Gang books. The display includes a model of the Gang's neighborhood, based on my map from this site. Click on the picture below for more information about the library.

The biggest event in Thorntown is the Festival of the Turning Leaves, which is held every year on the last full weekend in September. This festival has been going on for many years, and features a variety of shopping and music. Click on the picture below for information about this year's festival. The bottom half of the picture shows the Truitt family performing with other musicians at the bluegrass jam.

There are many other things to do outside of Thorntown. Indianapolis is only 30 miles away, where you can visit the speedway, the zoo, etc. West of Thorntown, Sugar Creek runs through Shades and Turkey Run state parks. These parks feature beautiful waterfalls and rock formations and many great hiking trails. This part of Indiana also has many covered bridges, including 30 in Parke County. Click on the pictures below for related web sites.
City of Shades Turkey Run Covered
Indianapolis State Park State Park Bridges

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