Tiny Rising Sun has become a growing destination when it comes to arts and culture. Located on the Ohio River Scenic Byway and the Indiana Wine Trail, the community has worked hard to develop its burgeoning artist community, assisted by revenue from the Grand Victoria Casino.
The town’s historic downtown features a variety of art studios and craft shops—even a harp maker—housed in nineteenth-century storefronts. The Pendleton Art Center, located in a former hardware store, anchors the community’s arts district. The Center features “First Fridays and Second-Look Saturdays” studio walks the first weekend of every month.
Rising Sun packs a lot more into a small space, including the highly interesting Ohio County Historical Museum, located in the former Clore-Whitlock plow factory. Exhibits cover local history, industry, even natural oddity (check out the stuffed two-headed calf, born on an Ohio County farm in the 1980s). Heritage Hall, in the restored 1832 First Presbyterian Church, hosts frequent concerts, lectures, dinners, and plays.
When hunger strikes, enjoy a meal in historic surroundings at the Courtyard Café, housed in the c.1827 Shadrack Hathaway House. The café anchors a succession of early nineteenth-century row houses joined to form an unbroken wall. A wide brick arch, built nearly 140 years ago, gave access from the street to the interior wagon yard. Today the wagon yard is the Courtyard Café’s outdoor dining area, a pleasant place to dine on the restaurants steaks, seafood, and gourmet burgers. Beneath the restaurant, the Underground Pub—reputedly an Underground Railroad stop—offers microbrews and live entertainment on selected nights.
If it’s all too much to pack into one day, you can plan an overnight stay at the c.1816 Empire House Hotel, or the Walnut Street Inn—both admirable landmarks. Before heading out for more shopping and sight-seeing, refresh yourself at the Rising Sun Wellness Spa, located in a historic Queen Anne-style house.
Each October, the Rising Sun Navy Bean Festival draws visitors from across the region for fall foliage and entertainment along the Ohio River. The two-day event features art displays, craft vendors, stage shows, antique tractors, and homemade bean soup and cornbread.