Resort and 900-Slip Marina on Bloomington’s Lake Monroe
More than 260 miles of hiking and horseback trails wind through Hoosier National Forest. The 200,000 acre preserve spans nine Indiana counties and houses several historical sites, such as the Lick Creek African American Settlement and the Pioneer Mother’s Memorial Forest, filled with virgin old-growth trees. Across the park’s wooded hills in Bloomington, Indiana, is Lake Monroe, the state’s largest lake, encircled by limestone bluffs. Fourwinds Resort and Marina sits along the lakeshore; nearly every room here has a view of the lapping waves.
A brick-lined promenade lines the resort’s marina, where boats bob in more than 900 slips. Some of them—such as jet skis and party barges—are available for rent in warm weather. The grounds are also home to newly resurfaced outdoor tennis courts, a sloping mini-golf course, and an indoor-outdoor pool that’s open year-round. Even Fourwinds’ indoor gym keeps the outdoors close to heart with its views of the lake.
Nearby, practice your swing at one of several PGA golf courses, such as the championship-grade Eagle Pointe, or tour the Oliver Winery. Afterward, you can dine on baja fish tacos ($11.99) and jamaican jerk pizzas ($16.99 for a 16-inch) at Wind Jammer Grill, one of Fourwinds’ two restaurants. In double rooms or suites, you’ll find pillow-top Heavenly beds, flat-screen TVs, and free WiFi.
Bloomington, Indiana: College Town with a Vibrant Cultural Scene
Nobody’s quite sure where Indiana’s “Hoosier” nickname comes from—popular theories include the sound of an olden-days accent calling, “Who’s here?” when visitors knocked—but everyone knows where Hoosiers themselves come from: Bloomington. Home to Indiana University and its powerhouse Big Ten teams, the city also has a vibrant cultural scene that elevates it above a typical college town.
Music labels such as Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar are based out of Bloomington, where they produce tunes by Antony and the Johnsons, Bon Iver, and other indie darlings. Several professional and amateur theater companies make their home here—venues such as the Buskirk-Chumley Theater regularly draw acclaimed acts such as Emmylou Harris, TED Talks, and contemporary dance troupes. And the scenic city, noted for its abundance of trees and blooming flowers, was once the site of the Academy Award–winning film Breaking Away.
Bloomington’s restaurants run the gamut from pizza to ethnic food, and there are plenty of bars lining the streets. There, locals and students alike can be found consuming cold beers during bouts of Sink the Bismarck—the university’s cult-favorite drinking game. The nearby Upland Brewing Company, based in Bloomington since 1998, serves ales, lagers, and sours that have appeared on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation.