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Indiana’s Dearborn County: A Favorite for Mystery Trips

Located along the Ohio River in southeast Indiana, just west of Cincinnati, Dearborn County and its largest city, Lawrenceburg, offer a great hub for groups visiting the nearby Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, less than 25 minutes away.

The Creation Museum brings biblical history to life through 75,000 square feet of exhibits, plus special events including speakers and hands-on educational programs.

“Our location is very convenient, especially for groups coming to experience the Creation Museum or its sister attraction, the Ark Encounter, in Williamstown,” said Sally McWilliams, group tour sales representative for the Dearborn County Visitor Center. “Our hotels are some of the closest available to the Creation Museum itself.”

Easy to reach by Interstate 275, Dearborn County provides easy access to the region’s faith-centered attractions, as well as local doses of history and outdoor fun.

The county is also an excellent place to begin a tour of Indiana’s Ohio River Scenic Byway.

“There are a lot of river towns and quaint communities that are off the beaten path along the byway, and we are a great gateway to all of that,” McWilliams said.

While in the area, groups can enjoy live concerts and events at the Lawrenceburg Event Center or dinner at one of county’s many restaurants. In winter, groups can hit the slopes for skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, one of the region’s largest snow sport centers. Dearborn County is also home to miles of bike and walking trails, golf courses, and marina access to boating and water sports.

Many travel planners have designated Dearborn County as a favorite “mystery trip” destination — where attendees aren’t told their destination beforehand — simply because the community is so friendly and accommodating to groups.

“I have a lot of mystery trips year after year,” McWilliams said. “When people come, they always say, ‘This is so fun. I didn’t know you had this.’ It’s always our goal to exceed groups’ expectations, and usually, we do.”

Celebrated Home

In the Ohio River town of Aurora, the Hillforest Victorian House Museum, a National Historic Landmark, offers groups a picturesque spot to step back in time. Built in the mid-1850s, the impressive mansion, originally built for industrialist and financier Thomas Gaff and his family, sits on a hillside overlooking the Ohio River. “The mansion looks over the historic town and looks over a picturesque bend in the river,” McWilliams said.  Groups working with the CVB can arrange to have a guided experience at the museum, led by costumed docents. “They also offer three-course teas, luncheons and dinners,” said McWilliams. “It’s quite a lovely experience, and groups can choose from among many customizable options.”


Groups interested in Civil War history won’t want to miss the first-person re-enactment of the life of Maj. Jacob Ebersole. The 45-minute presentation, held at the Aurora City Hall, shares the history of Ebersole, a noted Civil War surgeon from Aurora who served in the 19th Indiana Regiment and at the Battle of Gettysburg. “The program is just incredible,” said McWilliams. “Groups always comment about how captivating it is. The local historian really lives that character.” While there, groups can also visit the second-floor council chambers at Aurora City Hall, which still bear evidence of high-water marks from the 1937 flood.


For groups looking for outdoor experiences, Dearborn County delivers. Mount Tabor Alpaca Farm in Aurora, for example, allows groups to visit its friendly herd of Suri alpacas and experience a working farm. The family-run Greystone Farm in Lawrenceburg also provides a great option for a group stop. “Groups love being able to get farm-fresh food at Greystone Farm,” McWilliams said. “Visitors can buy local honey, fruits, vegetables and, even, meat — which is why we encourage travel planners to remember to bring coolers.” Guests can also enjoy Greystone’s wide menagerie of farm animals, including chicken and pigs. “It’s what I call a freedom experience,” McWilliams said. “You’re outside, and free to explore.”


At McCabe’s Greenhouse and Floral in Lawrenceburg, groups can enjoy sampling and purchasing homemade fudge while shopping at the unique on-site gift shop. “I call it our headquarters for candy, flowers and fun,” McWilliams said. “Their home and garden shop is full of cute things to explore.” McWilliams can also help groups book a floral demonstration at McCabe’s that shows how to do arrangements in vases, foam or planters.  “Those arrangements then go home with the group, and often the travel leader will have a drawing or a game on the bus ride home to award them to three winners,” McWilliams said.