That chill you feel in the air is the first sign of Fall. Soon the days will grow shorter, the nights will get chillier, and the leaves will turn every shade between crimson and gold. Then suddenly you’ll find yourself wanting to carve a pumpkin or taste a pumpkin pie, to be scared witless or enjoy a family-friendly fright. And if a haunted house, some live music, and a delicious fall meal should be involved, well, you certainly wouldn’t say no.
That and more is on the docket an hour west of Cincinnati in historic Batesville, Indiana. Not only is it home to a nationally renowned haunted house, it also boasts an escape room, pumpkin carving events, a pumpkin festival, and a restaurant and hotel that celebrates the Bavarian roots of the area. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:
THE BATESVILLE FEAR FACTORY
Startling horrors await at the old Batesville Coffin Company, which the folks at Cosmopolitan ranked the best haunted house in Indiana last year. Scene after bone-chilling scene unfolds as you wade through twisting, dimly lit hallways. The sounds are titanic and horrifying. They mask the cruel patter of approaching footsteps until they’re right behind you Then it’s too late.
All that is achieved in 30,000 square feet of factory space injected with strobes, black lights, enormous speakers, costumed actors, and everything else that makes a haunted house great. You’ll feel that thrilling rush of panic. Odds are you’ll be genuinely scared. And, of course, you’ll have lots of fun.
If you want the thrill the fun minus the scares, there’s the Fear Factory Escape Room. Puzzles, games, teamwork it’s got everything you want in an escape room, but none of the spooks and startles of the haunted house.
The Batesville Fear Factory and Escape Room is located at 7 South Eastern Avenue (47006). The attractions are open Fridays and Saturdays in October. Ticket proceeds are used to provide fun, drug-free entertainment choices for the youth of Batesville.
THE VOGT FARM PUMPKIN FESTIVAL
Vogt Farm is a small family farm three miles outside Batesville. In other seasons it’s the site of such enticing events as May’s Hanging Basket Festival and June’s Blueberry Festival. But come fall, it’s all about the pumpkins, just as it has been for 23 years.
Today the Pumpkin Festival attracts nearly 12,000 to the Vogt Farm every year. Twenty of the farm’s 80 acres are set aside for pumpkin growing, and they’ll be ripe for your selection. Otherwise you can take a horse-drawn trolley ride, try out family-friendly games and crafts, get lost in the corn maze, or visit the petting zoo. As for food, there’s homemade pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin rolls in addition to BBQ pork sandwiches, chili, curly fries, and ice cream. (Wow!)
Vogt Farm is located at 12115 State Route 129 (47006). The Pumpkin Festival is held September 22-23 and 29-30 as well as October 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21.
Need help honing your jack-o'-lantern skills? Or maybe you think you can carve with the best of ‘em. Either way, Weberding Carving Shop’s fifth annual carving fest seems like the place to be. Cash prizes are handed out totaling $150 for traditional and advanced pumpkin designs. Pumpkins and carving tools will be furnished for the competitors, and refreshments and door prizes will be available to everyone else.
Who are the Weberdings? In many ways they track the history of Batesville, which grew famous in the 19th century thanks to RomWeber Furniture. RomWeber brought master carvers like the Weberdings over from Germany to help create baroque and highly intricate designs. Then, in 1942, young William J. Weberding established his own carving shop. Years later his sons have sustained its reputation for German craftsmanship and community involvement. The pumpkin carving is a testament to both.
Weberding Carving Shop is located at 1230 State Road 46 (47006). WebFest is held Saturday, October 20 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
No day-trip is complete with out a great meal, just like no two-day trip is complete without a comfortable hotel. The Sherman offers both. Just like the Weberdings, it shines with Batesville history. It’s also the place to be if you’re looking for live music and good beer on the weekends.
Built in 1852 by German immigrant Johann Brinkmann, The Sherman is one of the oldest buildings in Indiana. It was named in 1865 to honor General Sherman and the 83rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry who marched under him in the Civil War. Beloved by locals and travelers alike, it gained a reputation as one of the finest lodges in the Midwest.
Now The Sherman is fresh off a renovation and it’s never looked better. The new Biergarten and Black Forest Bar build upon the historic charm of the German Tudor-style building. Meanwhile the restaurant menu is eclectic and exceptional with everything from fresh fish to delectable steaks. The 22 guest rooms are top-notch too, featuring every modern convince without sacrificing that boutique feel.
The Sherman is located at 35 South Main Street (47006). Check out the menu or book your stay today.