Photo: Courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
One of the surest harbingers of spring is the brief appearance of morel mushrooms, those hard-to-find, undeniably tasty fungi with the distinctive honeycomb-like caps. This weekend in Brown County, Indiana, the Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival offers a celebration of all things morel. The weekend includes guided hunts for beginner and advanced mushroom seekers, lectures on mushroom cuisine, craft beer from the Big Woods Brewing Company, and bluegrass concerts throughout the weekend. Events kick off with a hunt at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 19, with a guided foray into the woods, and culminate at noon on Sunday, April 21, when the State Championship Morel Hunt will be held (anyone can enter to vie for the cash prize and bragging rights). Tickets for the weekend are $35 in advance, $45 at the gate; day passes $25.
GO Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival at Bill Monroe’s Memorial Park and Campgrounds, 5163 State Road 135, North Morgantown, Indiana. 812-988-8800, morelfestival.com
While You’re in the Area: With 90 percent covered in forest, Brown County include portions of the Hoosier National Forest and Yellowwood State Forest and all of Brown County State Park. Which means that in addition to the small town’s myriad galleries (impressionist painter T. C. Steele established an art colony there in 1907), there are ample opportunities to hike, ride horses, and bike. For info, 800-753-3255 or browncounty.com
Where to Stay: The Cornerstone Inn Bed and Breakfast (54 E. Franklin St., Nashville, 888-383-0300, cornerstoneinn.com) has 38 guestrooms, including several cottages, convenient to shops, galleries, and parks; rates start at $149 a night. The Hesterhouse Inn (190 N. Jefferson St., Nashville, 812-988-1751, hesterhouse.com) has four guest rooms, three with Jacuzzis, in a refurbished 158-year-old Greek Revival mansion originally built for Brown County’s first circuit court judge; rates range from $139 to $169 for two nights.
Where to Eat: The Pine Room Tavern (51 E. Chestnut St., Nashville, 812-988-0236, pineroomtavern.net) offers seasonal beers on tap and a menu with surf, turf, and vegetarian entrees. The 19th Hole Sports Bar at the Salt Creek Golf Retreat (2359 State Rd. 46 E., Nashville, 812-988-7888, saltcreekgolf.com) has pub food and views of the golf course.