Summer is upon us, and there are plenty of places to visit. Let us know your favorite summer activities and places to see.

While visiting southeastern Indiana for a family member’s 70th wedding anniversary, we wandered through Versailles State Park and the campground. That brought back many memories of my family’s camping adventures at the park. It was really fulfilling seeing the families having fun and getting away from it all while there. There still is not a better smell than a campground campfire. Just east of the main park entrance is a newer part of the park –  Natural Area. If you are looking for an easy hike through woods, wetlands, and prairies, check out this interesting part of the park.  We enjoyed our hike.

After our family visited Osgood and Versailles, our next venture was to travel along the windy, curvy roads of Ripley County to Friendship. Ever heard of this place? Look it up! They have the muzzleloading shoots twice a year, and several other unique events, and it is just a nice little place way off the beaten path. I wish we had had some extra time to go to the local eatery.  It looked like my kind of dive.  On another note, SR62/Chief White Eye Trail travels through town. It is a very scenic roadway, but I suggest taking Cave Hill or Friendship Roads to get into town.  All of these options are wandering at their best. 

So, what is your typical Memorial Day celebration? Do you attend the BIG RACE? Do you go to graduation parties? Do you cook out and share the day with family and friends? Whatever you do to celebrate this long weekend, remember those who have given us the freedom to enjoy these activities.  Celebrate those who have given and have served our country.  Our typical weekend is listening to the race on the radio and spending time with family and friends all three days.  I hope we will bring back our camping trips in the future as well.

While visiting Muncie this past week, I had the opportunity to take in Summit Lake State Park.  That is State Park #10 to visit this year so far.  I ran/hiked trail #2, a fairly easy trail that follows along the lake and is found within the campground.  On the way home, I stopped at Wilbur Wright Fish & Wildlife Area.  Typically, this is not a place for those who hike or bike.  These types of areas are more for fishers and hunters.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the Wilbur Wright Trail on the park’s east side. This 2-mile-long paved trail extends into New Castle and goes to the YMCA. I love finding new places! That is what wandering does.

Our team at Banning Engineering has worked on two different trails that are moving forward and will add to the Indiana trail connection that has taken off.  The Monon Trail in Sheridan/Hamilton County had a groundbreaking and small community gathering.  The Sheridan Monon will extend further the trail that originates in downtown Indy. 

The Monon South Trail project in southern Indiana continues to move along as well.  Bids have been received, and construction will start soon.  This significant project will connect many communities in southern Indiana with trailheads and amenities. 

Speaking of trails, the B&O Trail recently held its fundraising Bike Ride. This has been a long-running way of promoting the trail and raising funds and awareness for this corridor. This former rail corridor continues to expand, and I look forward to it being connected up through Hendricks and Marion Counties. My lunch at Big Woods in Speedway a couple of weeks ago could one day be a bike ride away on a beautiful trail. 

Last but not least, the Vandalia Trail continues to expand. The next piece of the puzzle will be in Hendricks County in the town of Clayton. There are still gaps in the trail, but we are getting closer to closing those.  I can’t wait to get from my house to Greencastle on this trail. The time is coming. 

Bring on the places to wander!  I have so much fun visiting places that friends share with me. 


– Jeff Banning