The seat of Morgan County, Martinsville was once known as the “Goldfish Capital of the World.” Martinsville loves furry pets as much as scaly ones, and you’ll find plenty of canine convenience here. There are two veterinary practices in town plus a major pet supply chain, along with four city parks. Victory Park is your spot for a quick stretch on the south side of town, while Mulberry Street Park is convenient for north-side pups.
Martinsville is easy to explore on paw. The 1857 Morgan County Courthouse and a number of nearby buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Stroll south from the Courthouse through the Martinsville Commercial Historic District and then a few blocks east to the East Washington Historic District, a neighborhood of homes built in the 1870s-1930s.
Is your pup a trailblazer? The Hoosiers Hikers Council is headquartered in Martinsville and always eager for volunteers to help with events and maintenance. Get the inside scoop on the dog-friendly trails winding through the countryside surrounding Martinsville. For instance, the 42-mile Tecumseh Trail starts 5 miles south of town and leads all the way to remote Brown County. This wild backcountry trail requires plenty of planning, so get a trail map and bone up before leashing up.
If your pups prefer urban adventure, Martinsville is only 30 miles from Indianapolis; many residents commute each day. Considering Indy's 166 pet-friendly restaurants and beautiful parks (our favorite is peaceful Glenns Valley Nature Preserve on Bluff Ave), commuters will be watching the calendar for Bring Your Dog to Work Day.
A day in Martinsville should start in City Park, a 40-acre playground for your pups on the northeastern edge of downtown. With a walking trail through the rolling terrain, plus athletic facilities and picnic shelters, there’s plenty to see and sniff. The restroom facilities and water fountain will make sure you’re comfortable, but bring a bowl for your pup’s water, especially on hot days. The adjacent residential streets are also worth exploring. If you head east into the Wolff neighborhood, traffic is light and walking is safe among the affluent homes despite a lack of sidewalks; stay on Grassyfork Lane to make a loop around the pond. If you head west, you'll arrive in the downtown historic districts in about 10 blocks.
Morgan-Monroe State Forest is 24,000 acres of wilderness on the southern edge of Martinsville. The forest is dotted with camping areas and crisscrossed with trails; you’ll never have to take the same hike twice. Mason Ridge is a fangtastic starting point. Catch the Three Lakes Trail from Cherry Lake or the Mason Ridge Camping Area and follow it south. Unless your pups are easily spooked, take the side path to historic Stepp Cemetery. The trail forms a 10-mile loop, but a shorter round-trip follows Forest Road east to the Mason Ridge Trail for the return to home base. The Low Gap Trail offers another 10-mile loop through the forest, but if you’d rather work your brain than your legs, try the 0.6-mile Tree Identification Trail at the Scout Ridge Nature Preserve.
The nearest off-leash dog park is Ferguson Dog Park in NE Bloomington, 18 miles from home and part of the Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. With 19 acres, three large fenced areas, agility equipment, toys, a waste station, dog-height water fountains, and even kiddie pools and sprinklers for summer, it’s amazing that Ferguson Dog Park is free and open to the public. There’s almost always some furry friends to sniff out, but note that the park is closed for maintenance on Tuesday mornings. You can continue your workout on-leash by following the Cascades Park Trail south to the Lower Cascades Park, about a mile away, and take a tour of the ballfields, picnic areas, and playground before returning up the trail. (You might also want to use the restrooms at Lower Cascades, as Ferguson Dog Park has only a portable toilet.)
Bloomington is a college town heavy on bars and breweries, and a pet-friendly pub crawl seems like a great excuse to explore downtown. Upland Brewing Company on 11th Avenue welcomes dogs on their patio, and the friendly staff is happy to bring water for your buddy. A few blocks away on North Walnut, your dog can join you in the tap room at Switchyard Brewing Company throughout the week except Thurs-Sat 7 pm to close. Then, it’s east to The Tap Brewery on N College Avenue, where we suspect your pup will want to split a Supreme Carnivore Pizza. By this point, you'll need to walk off the indulgence. Fortunately, the B-Line Trail is just a block away. This paved and well-lit walking trail extends for over 3 miles, running southeast from Adams Street.
There are two main reasons to visit Nashville and neither is country music. Nashville, Indiana is the gateway to the 16,000-acre Brown County State Park, known as the “Little Smokies” for its stunning mountain views. The park has 12 hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties, from the flat, paved Friends Trail to the rugged 3-mile Taylor Ridge Trail. To learn as you go, download an audio tour of the historic Abe Mountain Lodge area from the park’s webpage (under “Activities”) and get your buddies a workout while soaking up the local lore. What's the second reason to visit Nashville, you ask? Just north of the park is Bone Appetite Bakery, a custom treat shop with wholesome and delicious doggy delights you can order from the friendly baker herself.