Ahh, the whine of the engine, the click of the valves and the growl of the exhaust note. If you crave twisty roads, they’re just minutes away from Nashville ... Nashville, Indiana, that is.
A happy little tourist town 60 miles south of Indianapolis, Nashville is located in the heart of Southern Indiana. Encircled by steep forested hills, Nashville is nestled in the valley where Routes 46 and 135 meet. It's home to one of Indiana's best motorcycle rides.
On Saturdays from May to October, motorcycles line both sides of the streets. Riders relax, eat and shop between rides to Bloomington on Routes 46 and 45, or explore back roads with names like Greasy Creek, Grandma Barnes and Bear Wallow.
Nashville has ample overnight accommodations and entertainment options. It’s a few miles from the Bill Monroe Music Park and Bluegrass Hall of Fame, the Little Nashville Opry and Bean Blossom Drag Strip.
The county is also home to Brown County State Park, the state’s largest. The park is fun to putter around in while viewing the lush landscape.
One of the best Brown County rides is Route 135 south from Nashville to Salem. As soon as Route 135 splits from Route 46, there are 25 miles of curves — sweet, beautiful sweepers, S-curves and chicanes.
For the first five miles, the road runs through a deep valley following a small creek. Many homes dot this stretch of road and the traffic can be heavy, but the road becomes less populated south of Stone Head at Bellsville Road. There the road turns west and hugs the northwestern edge of a large farm valley following the wavy contours of the hillsides.
The next town is Story, and as soon as it disappears from the mirror, the road comes alive. The next 15 miles is a real roller coaster, as the road snakes back and forth, and up and down.
As Route 135 leaves Brown County, the road climbs to the top of a ridge and the landscape changes. The features becoming less sharp with more rolling hills. The next 30-mile section, from Freetown to Salem, is less technical riding, but the countryside is beautiful and the ride is inspiring. What more could you ask for in a motorcycle ride?
From Indianapolis — 60 miles south
From I-65 — 16 miles west
Where: Nashville, Ind., 16 miles west of I-65 on Route 46.
Why: Twisty roads, Brown County State Park and the Lake Monroe Reservoir.
Best-Kept Secret: The tenderloin sandwich at the Food and Fuel, Gnaw Bone, five miles east of Nashville. Their sandwiches have been featured on the Today Show and in Gourmet Magazine.
Scenic routes: Take Route 135 55mi south to Salem. The loop from Nashville to Bloomington is also a great ride: Go east on Route 46, west on Route 45 and south on Route 135 for 45mi of fun. Riding through Brown County State Park is also very scenic. The main entrance is two miles east of Nashville on Route 46.
Avoid: Beware of foreign-made knick-knack souvenirs. Many shops feature items made by Brown County artists and artisans.
More info: Nashville, Indiana.com