Settled nine years before the Civil War by Dr. George Story, Story, Indiana, nestled at the edge of the Hoosier National Forest, was once the largest community in scenic Brown County.
But by the early 1970s, the last store closed its door and the last resident moved away. All that remained were a handful of buildings and two Gold and Red Crown Standard gas pumps in front of the Story General Store where menu items included pickled boloney and Nehi soda pop.
Even the road west, which had once connected Story to Bloomington, home of Indiana University, dead ended after the land was flooded to create Lake Monroe. It did appear to literally be the end of the road for this little town.
But now, the old general store, built at the beginning of the 1900s, has been transformed into the Story Inn, a delightful restaurant and inn.
The town’s other buildings, like the old grain mill and Doc Story’s grand Victorian house which sits on the highest rise in town and overlooks a pasture where horses graze are now guest cottages.
Story’s extensive gardens produce vegetables for their destination restaurant as well as the outdoor Summer Kitchen which is the place to be on wonderful summer days.
Those who are brave can ask for the Blue Room and hope to see the ghost. Fortify for possible other worldly encounters in the basement bar, known as the Story Still Tavern after the still confiscated by local police in the 1930s. After dinner, wander the town and listen to the sound of the crickets and watch the fireflies flickering above.
Oenophiles should be sure to check out the inn’s monthly wine dinners, Victorian Christmas dinner, Hoosier Hops in September and the Indiana Wine Fair held each April in Story.
In the fall, visitors to Story considered to be the best surviving example of a pre-civil war small Indiana town in existence, can canoe in the creeks, mountain bike, horseback ride or walk down the country lanes and through the miles of woods of both Brown County State Park and the Hoosier National Forest, view of the homestead of famed artist T.C. Steele now a historic site, the House at Stone Head or travel to charming Nashville, Indiana.
For those who love spirits other than ghosts, check out Bear Wallow Distillery and Brown County Winery in nearby Gnawbone and Big Woods Brewery in Nashville.