Our favorite spot in the 1300-acre Spring Mill State Park with its caves, riding trails, inn and woods, is their fascinating Pioneer Village, a pioneer settlement featuring 20 historic buildings including an old distillery, tavern and 3-story limestone gristmill, built in 1817, that continues to grind cornmeal today.
Restored in the mid 1930s, Pioneer Village introduces visitors to early settler life as heritage interpreters, dressed in period costumes, work the old water powered gristmill and sell the freshly ground cornmeal.
Stroll through the village, stopping at the shops that comprised the commercial district of the town–the apothecary, distillery, weavers, meeting house, carpenter and blacksmith and listen to the interpreters talk about what life was like back then.
Walk through the stone arch and into the pioneer garden, lush with flowers. Leaving Pioneer village, trace the settlers’ lives in a stroll up to Hammer Cemetery where many of the village founders are buried.
Check into Historic Spring Mill Inn which offers room accommodations, dining as well as an indoor/outdoor pool.
An underground river courses through Twin Caves and the park offers 25 minute boat rides on a flat bottom boat.
Another cave at the park, Donaldson Cave, has two sections, the wet cave is only accessible to those with special permits. It is for serious spelunkers who don’t mind wading through water to view a cave.
The other part of Twin Caves is a large dry chamber where visitors can venture about 500 feet into its depths. Bring along a flashlight for exploring this cave as there are no lights. Because this part of Donaldson is a dry cave there’s the likelihood of a bat sighting, as bats prefer the dry caves to the damp.
Visit during the Mitchell Persimmon Festival for the candlelight walk to Pioneer Village.
Check out memorial for hometown hero Astronaut Gus Grissom memorial located in Spring Mill State Park, three miles south of Mitchell