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Naturally Indiana

Surrounded by water on all four sides, with myriad lakes and rivers in between, the Hoosier State is made for boating.

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Cafe Max in downtown Culver
Cafe Max in downtown Culver.

Historic Culver is located on 1,864-acre Lake Maxinkuckee — the name comes from the Potawatomi word Mog-sin-ke-ki, meaning big stone country — Indiana’s second largest natural lake. It’s known as having some of the best walleye fishing in the Midwest. Long a draw for vacationers, such as the Vonnegut family, including author Kurt, it’s also where Henry Harrison Culver founded the Culver Military Academy in 1894. In an interesting side note: Since 1913, the academy’s Black Horse Troop has ridden in 15 Presidential inaugural parades. Lake Maxinkuckee buzzes year round, with ice fishing in the winter, but the real fun is spring, summer and fall for sailboat races, swimming and watercraft fun.

You can’t miss a wood-fired pizza or the daily bison special made from bison raised on the chef’s own farm at Corndance Café, or the chance to hoist a glass of Maxinkuckee Mist, a handcrafted microbrew made from local lake waters at the Edgewater Grille. There’s also golfing at Mystic Hills, an 18-hole Pete Dye-designed course on Lake Maxinkuckee. And while in Culver, be sure to stop for a meal at Café Max, named as one of the best diners in Indiana.

Tie up at Culver Marina, with slip rentals up to 24 feet for $35 a night. It features pontoon, fishing boat, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals, plus wakeboard and wakesurfing lessons at its Maxinkuckee Wakeboarding School. There’s also a marine store and lively Boardwalk Bar & Grill.

Mark your calendar for the Culver Fall Fest on October 19 and 20. Activities include a Lake moonlight kayak and paddleboard ride, pet costume parade, pony rides, beer garden, bake sale and handcrafted items by local artisans.

Visit nearby Rentown, the name of the area and the general store selling Amish goods. The area offers one of the best opportunities to see day-to-day Amish life — from horse-pulled plows to women wearing bonnets hanging clothing out to dry. Follow the Marshall County Barn Quilt Trail, sighting 50 giant quilts painted on the sides of barns, residences and public buildings throughout the county.

What's Missing?
No story on boating in Indiana would be complete without mentioning Lake Monroe. Spanning 10,750 acres in the southern part of the state, it offers great marinas, resorts, fishing and more near the town of Bloomington and the campus of Indiana University. Nashville, Ind., is just 30 minutes away and features art galleries, shops, restaurants and Brown County State Park. Read more about Lake Monroe in our May 2012 issue.

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