Destination: Milltown

Destination: Milltown

Drive up to Blue River Valley Farms near Milltown in Crawford County and the first thing you notice as you top the hill is a flagpole with the American and Indiana State flags.

Open the car door and be met by a wet nose and a friendly nudge from one of the canine co-owners.

Look around and realize this is a working farm with goats, chickens and hayfields.

It is also a vacation inn owned by Indina State Senator Richard Young and his wife, Ashira, available as a home base for travel to attractions around the area, a weekend get-a-way or just an overnight stay.

"The reason we decided to renovate [the 100 year-old farm house] was because we had sold our home in Indianapolis within two weeks of putting it on the market and had to find a place for a home full of furniture. After we started renovating one part of the house in order to store the furniture, we had to keep going and before we knew it, we had sunk a lot of money in its total renovation. To avoid having the most expensive storage facility imaginable, it was at that time we came up with the idea of turning it into a vacation rental," says Ashira.

Looking at the gently rolling hills, proximity to the Big Blue River and acres of woods and pasture, the Youngs realized there was a future in tourism.

Thus began a marketing strategy to turn the renovated farm house into a cozy hide-a-way near a host of local attractions for the weekender, vacationer or just an over-nighter.

"We want guests to feel like this is a home away from home," said Ashira, a "city girl" who is enjoying her role as a "farm wife".

Hay is baled three times a year and Richard and Ashira have turned their interest in raising a variety of critters and vegetables into a cottage industry that supplies guests at the inn, neighbors and friends with eggs, goat meat, goat milk, goat cheese, honey and produce straight out of the garden.

Blending the agricultural pursuits of the farm with their roles as innkeepers, the Youngs invite guests to pet the animals, collect eggs from the chicken coops, fish along the mile of riverfront and enjoy free access to the garden produce during their stay.

As visitors enter the 100-year-old house, the first thing they notice is the wide-screen TV that occupies nearly one entire wall of the living room. The room is decorated in a southwest motif with original hardwood flooring. Overstuffed furniture offers a chance to sink in and read a good book or watch satellite TV.

To the left is a bedroom with early American-style bed, dresser and vanity. Outside the bedroom window is a view of the peaceful barn where goats mull in a barnyard under the watchful eyes of Max, Belle and Gracie, the Great Pyrenees watchdogs who first welcome visitors to the farm.

If it is spring, chances are a few kids (of the goat variety, that is) are mixed among the herd offering their particular brand of cute for pictures and petting.

Back inside the house, on the right of the living room is a family room complete with fireplace and french doors that open onto the yard with its gold fish pond and a view of the woods along the lower edge of the field behind the house.

The kitchen is ready to use. Just bring food, get goat milk and cheese from the Youngs, or go all country and gather your own eggs and milk a goat for a do-it-yourself breakfast.

Laundry facilities are also available. Just bring detergent.

Cabinets are filled with every dish and utensil that could ever be needed. The frig, stove and small appliances are available for use.

Climb the narrow stairs which are typical of the era the house was built and find a bedroom and a sitting room with a day bed that can double as a sleeper for that extra person.

Back down stairs and out the back door is a gas grill, hot tub and large, roofed patio that can be enjoyed even in rainy weather.

The gently-rolling hillsides offer a pleasant reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life with 120 acres of walking trails, a mile of riverfront from which to fish and even berries and apples to pick in-season.

Horse stalls are available for those who wish to trail ride through the quiet countryside without the intrusion of vehicles. Pets and children are always welcome.

A throw-back to the early days of the house is an out-house within walking distance of the back door. However, for those who like to flush and wash, a bathroom is just off the kitchen.

Step out the front door and sit on the porch with its white columns and rocking chairs and enjoy the sunset as it sinks below the horizon on the far side of a hayfield.

The inn sleeps up to six and is available year-round offering peace and tranquility to long-term or overnight guests.

For more information about reservations and costs, call 812-633-7871 or toll free, 888-375-7557.

Other area attractions that make Southern Indiana a destination for vacations include: Blue River Cafe in Milltown; Corydon, the first state capital; golf at the Old English Golf Course; several wineries, including Blue Herron and Winzerwald; Blue River canoeing, horseback riding, casinos at French Lick and Horseshoe, Bear Hollow, Patoka Lake and, of course, Holiday World.

Goat Story Gallery

What They Said...

We really enjoyed our peaceful stay at Blue River Farm.  As senior citizens this brought back many childhood memories.  We have lived in the city for 40 years and forgot the great fresh air smell.  We watched the birds at the feeder while we had morning coffee on the huge back porch.  It was a pleasure to have fresh eggs and vegetables from the garden.  The serenity while sitting on the rivers edge was refreshing.  Everything we wanted was supplied.  The full moon on our last night there was brilliant.   We have stayed in vacation rentals all over the United States and this has become one of our favorites.

Floyd and Louise
Born and raised in Pennsylvania