The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Spectacular view of Madison and the Ohio River from the inn
and restaurant at Clifty Falls State Park (where I had dinner).
I explored the large park some, even spotting a wild turkey
and two frolicking deer. Also ran into a Red Hat Ladies
convention at the inn. Talk about wild life! 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time in Madison, Indiana, a town along the Ohio River about a two-hour drive northeast of St. Meinrad. I was there to give a conference to the chapter of oblates in the city who are affiliated with Saint Meinrad Archabbey (the topic was "Living in Gratitude: Reflecting on the Rule's Caution Against Grumbling"). The chapter was very gracious and hospitable toward me, as all our oblate chapters are.

After the meeting, I took some time to look around the town before driving back to St. Meinrad. The last time I had been to Madison for an oblate talk (about two years ago), I had failed to do that and was roundly (but good-naturedly) admonished by many of my confreres. "It's a lovely town," they said.

Broadway Fountain -- one of only four
like it in the world. You don't often see
fountains like this in small Midwest towns.
I'm glad I listened this time, because Madison is certainly a very lovely town, nestled along the Ohio River and surrounded by steep hills and cliffs with waterfalls offering outstanding views. The Ladies Home Journal, according to the Madison Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, calls it "The prettiest Small Town in the Midwest," and Charles Kuralt once called it "The most beautiful rivertown in America." Those are some pretty impressive testimonials.

Settled in 1809, Madison became a prominent city with the arrival of the steamboat and river trade. It now boats the largest historic district in Indiana with 133 blocks (!) on the National Register of Historic Places, three National Historical Landmarks and a National Historic Landmark District designation. There is some very well preserved and functioning architecture throughout the town exhibiting a number of different styles--both private homes and public structures. I've never seen anything quite like it for a town its size (about 12,000 population).

I thoroughly enjoyed my short visit, and have posted a few photos for your enjoyment. If you ever have the chance -- definitely worth it!

Gorgeous gorge wrapped in solitude at Clifty Falls State Park.
Could have stayed in this spot all day. Alas......

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