Mansfield has grown from a mill town into a major festival center for the fall (October) Covered Bridge Festival. There must be 15 if not 20 acres of vendors on the 2 weekends of the festival. There is plenty to do, even if you're not interested in the covered Bridge.
Mansfield CB is a double span Burr Arch. b The roof was blowen off during a spring 2006 storm and it has just been restored in the fall of 2006. For pictures of the interior, see my Mansfield CB travelogue.
Turkey Run State Park is divided by Sugar Creek. At both the east boundary and the west boundary, there are covered bridges. The east bridge, known as the Narrows CB is actually in the park. It is one of the most viewed bridges because of it's proximity to the park and the use of Sugar Creek as a canoing paradise.
Narrows CB is a Burr Arch built in 1882 by J.A. Britton. It spans the river at it's narrowest location and is built on solid rock. Well sandstone, which is as solid as it gets in this area. The bridge is 121 ft (37.2 m) long. It was removed from use in 1960.
The 1930's style bridge replaced the Covered Bridge when it was no longer able to carry the traffic on this road.
The Cox Ford Covered Bridge crosses Sugar Creek at the west boundary of Turkey Run State Park. Built in 1913 by J.A. Britton, it is 176 ft (54.2 m) long. Previously there had been a iron bridge that was destroyed by a flood in 1912 or 1913. The crossing originated as a fording place, as the banks are low on each side and the river bottom is sandy and firm.
Britton used arches from a bridge near Armies burg, which was washed out in 1913 as the basis for this bridge. Therefore, the arches are 60 years older than the rest of the structure. The bridge is built on raised abutments to keep it above any potential flood on Sugar Creek. It appears to have been raised once by about 6 ft (2 m). Since it is still in use today by vehicles, it appears the builder got it high enough for the last 90 years.
Billie Creek Village is a central Indiana historic town. You can walk through the past during the summer and visit a mid-century (19th century) shop, blacksmith, and other stores. Step into a home and see how laundry was done or the meal prepared.
Billie Creek is also the center of the Covered Bridge Festival and includes three covered bridges.
Beeson CB is a Burr Arch and is the entrance to the village.
Billie Creek CB
Leatherwood Station CB
Both the Philips Covered Bridge and Sims Smith Covered Bridge are easy to get to and just off US 36 in the west side of the county.
Sims Smith is a Burr Arch Bridge.
Philips is a Kings Post, meaning that it is one of the shortest bridges still standing.
A covered bridge is a special type of bridge built during the days of the pioneers. The unique feature of these bridges are the fact that they not only have the bridge itself, but they also have sides and roofs! Most of these bridges are red on the outside walls, with a black roof. On most of the bridges, at each end, is printed the name of the bridge and the date which it was constructed. The best thing about these bridges is that they are located throughout the county, so you get to see nature while you are here.
This spring and summer I'll be taking pictures of individual bridges and puting info about them on here, along with directions to them.
While you are traveling throughout our county, admiring the bridges, you are likely to find a most unusual contraption traveling on the road with you. It's a horse and buggy, driven by a man wearing black pants and a plain-colored shirt. If it's cold outside he'll have a black coat on over the rest. He'll be wearing a black hat and he'll have a long beard. With him you'll find a woman dressed in a black dress, with a plain colored shirt and black shoes. She'll have either a black bonnet on her head or a white lace thing covering her hair, which is always pulled back in some way. In winter, you'll find her wearing a black cape over this. They are called Amish people, and belong to a religion that believes in being seperate from the rest of society by not accepting modern technology. In the summers they set up stands throughout the county to sell fresh produce and baked goods. Often you'll see signs on the highways advertising fresh produce, and the signs usually point to Amish farms where the produce is grown.
If you're in town during it, you should definately visit Billie Creek Village during the Civil War Days. Here they reinact Civil War battles, and also they have a dance one night where the women dress in period ball costumes. You can also buy all types of civil war and period items here. Definately a lot of fun!!!!
During the Maple Fair ( WEEKENDS ONLY; late Feb, early Mar) there is one place you absolutely MUST stop! Foxworthy's Maple Syrup camp has something for everyone. You can go back to see where they make the syrup, and they are actually making the syrup to be bottled as you watch them. You can learn how they tap the maple trees to get the sap out. You can buy homecooked food and deserts in an authentic old schoolhouse (no idea how old that place is), and make sure to try the chicken & noodles if they have it that day. And if you catch him on a good day, Archie Foxworthy, the patriarch of the Foxworthy family, will play you a tune on his fiddle that will make your day!
Check out this site for more details: http://www.insideonline.com/site/epage/2076_162.htm
One of the best parts about Turkey Run State Park is the Suspension Bridge. You can swim in the water under it but watch out for snakes. You can look for Indian Beads in the rocks on the beach.
The Suspension Bridge is the first place you get to when you start to walk to the trails. You have to go over it to get to almost all of the trails. But don't worry, I have a major phobia of water and heights and even I can cross the bridge!
Trail 3 at Turkey Run State Park is a local favorite place for locals to hike. The hike isn't particularly beautiful but it IS beautiful. You go through places such as the "Devil's Icebox" (a low canyon-type place, that is cool even in the hottest days) and see places like the Punch Bowl. But the MOST fun is when it has been raining a lot in the weeks preceeding your visit, and the trail is slightly flooded. There is a place where you have to hike down rocks, and when it's rained the water going over the rocks is no longer a trickle, but a little stream. At the top of the rocks, sit down, push off, and you have a natural waterslide!!!!