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Mitchell, Indiana has quite an interesting history. It is the birthplace of an infamous villain named Sam Bass, a 19th-century outlaw and train robber who, according to local legend, managed to steal $60,000 from a gold train in San Fran before he was shot to death by the Texas Rangers the following year. Can you imagine the days of legendary Sam Bass as he robbed stagecoaches at gunpoint?
Scary villains may be part of the history here, but thankfully, Mitchell's Wild West days are long behind it. The town was also home to Gus Grissom, the astronaut who died on the launchpad during a fire of the Apollo 1. You can even see his childhood home while you're in town.
Your pup probably doesn't care about any of that, though! When Fido needs some fun, take him over to Spring Mill Park and tour the monument that honors Grissom's contributions to the space program. The park has other amenities as well so the whole family will have a blast. If you want, you can even explore the caves! With over 1,000 acres, there is plenty of room to run and play without feeling crowded. This park is the pawfect blend of history and nature and is a great place to relax after an adventure.
Less than twenty miles from Mitchell lies the even smaller town of French Lick. This is one of the few places in the country where you and Fido can hop on an old-fashioned train and embark on an adventure. Along your journey on French Lick's Scenic Railway, you'll pass through Hoosier National Forest and the Burton Tunnel, and you'll also enjoy breathtaking views of natural limestone formations. Then, when you get to Cuzco, you can get out and take a break, grab a snack, and then come back! Not all of the cars are dog-friendly, but two of the four are. You may also want to call ahead to let the staff know you'll be bringing a pup passenger.
Speaking of trains, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has established the pawfect trail in Bloomington where you can walk your pup! This national non-profit converts abandoned railways into pet-friendly walking trails that the whole family can enjoy. The Clear Creek Trail is only about two miles long, but you can find access points to other trails along the way. You'll also pass a scenic bridge which makes for a furrific photo op with Fido! You will need a leash to walk this trail. Remember to bring plenty of drinking water, since there aren't any fountains on the trail. As always, remember to clean up after your pet.
If your pup is more of a couch pup-tato than a hiker, paw on over to Bedford, located ruffly 10 miles from Mitchell. Here, you'll find plenty of dog-friendly activities to keep you and your pup occupied all day. If you want a treat -- and let's be honest, Fido probably does! -- head over to Jiffy Treet in the center of town. The short drive is well worth it for the variety of ice cream flavors on offer here! You will need to keep your puppy on a leash while you enjoy your favorite cone. Doggie dessert lovers are welcome at the outdoor seating area.
If you're in Bedford and you're hankering for a heartier meal, then you simply must go to Buffalo Wings and Rings. You can grab any of the ten outdoor tables with your dog, who will, of course, need to be on a leash. The menu options change with the season since many of the dishes are sourced locally. The portions are hearty and the atmosphere is fun and upbeat -- you and Fido will pawsitively love it! You can even order your dog his own plate, but just make sure to bring his food dish and water bowl if you plan on sharing your grub.
If you're in need of a good old-fashioned dog park, you'd be barking mad not to make the trip to the outskirts of Bloomington, near Kirby. This is where you'll find Karst Farm Dog Park, the only leash-optional dog park in the area. You can let your dog off their leash safely within this fenced space. The park provides water and doggie waste bags, so you don't have to bring anything except plenty of energy! You will have to register and pay to play, but there are visitor and day passes if you are just visiting. The best thing about this park is that there are always friendly dogs to play with!
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