Metamora, Indiana owes its beginnings to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Canal construction opened up the interior of America by dramatically improving transportation. Canal building almost became a craze in the early 1800’s and Indiana jumped on the band wagon by passing the Indiana Mammouth Internal Improvement Act of 1836. The 10 million dollar act funded a number of projects to connect the Wabash River to the Erie Canal, and the Whitewater River to the Ohio. The town of Metamora was established in 1838 to serve the Whitewater Canal. Unfortunately, the Panic of 1837 caused economic upheavals which eventually caused the state government of Indiana to become bankrupt and most of the canal digging projects were abandoned. In addition, the steam locomotive was introduced to America in 1829, and railroads overtook canals for transportation of goods and passengers.
The Whitewater Canal fared a little better than some of the other projects, and continued to carry boats until 1865. Although much of the canal has disappeared over time, a stretch of the waterway still runs through Metamora, and the town offers towed boat rides and operates a restored 18th century grist mill. The town remains much unchanged from its 19th century origins and welcomes tourists year round.
The Canal Days Festival is held each year during the harvest season to follow the tradition started by farmers and traders who gathered after the harvest to sell and trade the fruits of their labor. For the past 40 years thousands of people have flocked to Metamora during Canal Days. Along with over 70 shops and eateries found in Metamora you’ll see hundreds of outside vendors and artist selling antiques, crafts, collectibles and flea market merchandise.
Because parking is at a premium, and because it’s fun, the best way to visit Metamora during Canal Days is to arrive via the scenic Whitewater Valley Railroad which has scheduled departures from Connersville.
The trip by car to Connersville from McDowell-Nearing House is about an hour. Trains depart at 10 am and on Saturday and Sunday also at noon, with adult round trip tickets on sale for $20.
Bill and Gloria Gaither make their home in Alexandria, Indiana, just a few short miles from Muncie. This gospel and contempory Christian music writing and singing team has its headquarters at the Gaither Family Resources complex in Alexandria. There they offer a cafe and gift shop.
Next weekend the Gaither Family Fall Festival will be held on the grounds, with a “down home” picnic hosted by Gloria Gaither on Saturday. There will be live entertainment, a concert by the Gaither Vocal Band, arts and crafts on display and for purchase.
There’s a welcome chill in the air, and plenty of room for festival-goers at the bed and breakfast. Don’t miss out on a chance to visit small town Indiana for a dose of Hoosier Hospitality. For the weekend of October 1 thru 3 rooms are discounted 20 percent. Book online and mention this offer in the comment window. Your discount will be confirmed via return email.