Mad About Madison Indiana

Madison, IN is a Gorgeous River Town

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What's not to love about Madison Indiana? Mary and I believe it very well could be the last best small town in America. Nestled along the Ohio River, Madison is picturesque, quaint, and best of all, has lots of beautiful porches.

Charles Kuralt called this amazing town "The most beautiful river town in America." But don't take Charles' word for it - see it for yourself. Mary and I discovered its secret - idyllic porches and of course, the people who live there!

two beautiful front porches in Madison IN
Madison Indiana front porches in spring

Eleftherios Karkadoulias fountain in downtown Madison Indiana
Eleftherios Karkadoulias Fountain

steam rising on the Ohio River at Madison Indiana
View of Ohio River from Madison Indiana
logo for madison indiana We arrived on a cold and rainy December day and still marveled at not only the myriad of porches but also the warmth of the community. Call it the intangibles, but there's just something about Madison that makes you feel good!

As a special treat, our good friends Al and Jan Shutt who told us about this special small town after they visited one spring are allowing us to share their photos with you too!

Madison Indiana Porches

Here are just a few of the many wonderful porches in Madison. You can walk down any street and find hidden gems from beautiful architecture, gardens, and porches.

green metal porch roof on home in madison indiana
Green standing seam metal roofing on mansard-style roof
Note the beautiful stone balustrade. Metal roofs work well on almost any porch; long lasting with almost no maintenance required, metal roofs come in a wide variety of colors too.

craftsman style front porch columns on home in madison indiana
Craftsman-style porch columns and exterior house trim
Note the dentil molding above the porch columns. Installing exterior house trim (which is easy to do) can add additional charm. Also note the "split" columns adjacent to the home's siding giving the porch a finished look.

small front porch with gable roof and red door
Gable roof over front stoop on shotgun house
Often times it is difficult to create charm for small front stoops, but not for this inviting home. The gable roof with the corbels, orange-red door, and transom window with stained glass above the door definitely adds loads of charm to this home.

The porch expansion to the right of the porch is perfect for a little bistro table and chairs. For more ideas for expanding a porch check out our patio porch section complete with ideas, photos, and tips.

shotgun house with exterior house trim
Charming open porch with exterior house trim and gingerbread
The "shotgun" style home above features "gingerbread" or exterior house trim and a nice porch swing!

Shotgun houses are narrow (approximately 12 feet wide)having rooms aligned one behind the other with doors at each end.

Although their historical origins are not definitive they were most popular in the southern U.S. from the end of the Civil War into the 1920's but can also be found throughout the country.

porch and patio combination on home in madison indiana
Relaxing porch and patio combination
We really like this most relaxing porch and patio combination; the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors. Note the larger square porch columns with trim that is painted to reflect the home's trim colors. The outdoor wall art adds additional charm.

mansard front porch roof under home's gable roof
Mansard roof extension under gable roof
This is a great example of installing a mansard porch roof under the home's gable roof. We are often asked about porch roof options when faced with this similar issue. The mansard roof, unlike a shed-style roof, allows for more porch depth.

Note the more contemporary porch balustrade and copper covered newel posts.

Lanier Mansion in Madison Indiana
Lanier Mansion in Madison, Indiana
Madison has many historical homes like the Lanier Mansion above. The mansion (and porch) strictly adheres to the Greek Revival architectural style. One way to tell is that the right door on a pair of doors opens only into a wall so that the left door would have a match.

Although perhaps not having the most aesthetically pleasing front porch, the Lanier Mansion became a state historical site because it's owner, James Franklin Doughty Lanier, loaned the Indiana government over 1 million dollars during the Civil War to help outfit troops which was eventually repaid.

If visiting Madison, be sure to take a tour of this magnificent home and grounds along the Ohio river.

street scene with porch stoops in madison indiana
Quaint Madison Indiana street
You'll find street after street lined with aesthetically pleasing architecture, foliage, and porches and stoops of course! There are hidden gems everywhere - a fun place to take a stroll.

Christmas in Madison Indiana

Mary and I had the pleasure of visiting Madison in December and wanted to share some of the sights of that special holiday. Our porch photos are perfect from which to glean some neat Christmas decorating ideas for your own front porch.

Video: Christmas Porches of Madison Indiana

Please watch our video of our visit to Madison in December

front porch decorated for christmas in madison indiana
Victorian front porch decorated for Christmas - Madison Indiana

simple evergreen garland and bows on porch railings for christmas in madison indiana
Simple evergreen garland and bows make for a charming display

porch decorated with christmas trees, wicker furniture with plaid blanket, and santa wreath
Vintage Christmas decorations
Hanging objects like the sled above adds height to the holiday display.

whimsical christmas display on front porch
Whimsical Christmas display
Using whimsical decorative items in your holiday display adds fun for all!

evergreen swags with Christmas bows on porch railings
Evergreen swags with colorful holiday bows
Strategically placing evergreen swags like these can add immense curb appeal.

old wagon with evergreens on porch for Christmas
An old wagon (or use a new one) and evergreens combine
to make a wonderful display

tree stand for bird houses on porch
Bird house tree stand
A unique way to display bird houses on your porch!

Madison Indiana Up Close

Although we love their porches, Madison has so much more to offer. Whether you enjoy the arts or love the outdoors, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the number and frequency of major events and activities available in Madison for all ages.

Here are but a few of the many opportunities available to visitors and residents alike.

Vibrant Downtown Madison

picture of downtown Madison Indiana 2016

ditto's restauarant in madison indiana street scent in madison indiana

maggies country store in madison indiana the attic coffee shop and store in madison indiana
Madison Indiana's Vibrant Downtown
It's not often that you see such a vibrant downtown in a small town anymore, but Madison surely is an exception. Their downtown is a go-to destination for residents and visitors alike. We enjoyed stopping by many of the shops there and got to meet some wonderful people.

You Gotta Regatta in Madison

Whether you are a race fan or not, bring the entire family to see the worlds fastest race boats race deck-to-deck in the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing series. It is a weekend filled with lots of fun for the entire family, from 4th of July fireworks to music, food, and much more.

Sit on the bank of the Ohio River to see and hear the thunder and feel the shake of these super-charged hydroplanes.

two hydroplanes racing in Madison Indiana Regatta
200-mph-plus competitors!

Explore Madison

Madison can boast it has one of the country's largest National Historic Landmark Districts comprising more than 133 blocks. You'll find 8 house museums along with scenic routes like the Chief White Eye Trail, the Underground Railroad Driving Tour, and the Ohio River Scenic Byway.

historic lanier mansion in madison indiana
Historic Lanier Mansion

Recreation in Madison

Like the outdoors? Enjoy Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, a 50,000-acre nature preserve, or hike in Clifty Falls State Park (below). Enjoy what the Ohio River has to offer or take a bike ride along the many area bicycling routes. Whatever your outdoor pleasure, we are sure you'll find it in and around Madison!

waterfalls at clifty falls state park
Clifty Falls State Park


Festivals and Events Galore

Big things come in small packages! Madison has a myriad of events and festivals year-round to celebrate almost every occasion. From a very popular spring garden tour to food and music of all kinds, you'll want to return again and again.

band playing at river roots festival in madison indiana
River Roots Festival Band

Listen to Our Audio Programs with Linda Lytle and Trevor Crafton

For more information about Madison Indiana, we encourage you to visit both the Madison Indiana Visitors Bureau and the Madison Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

And please enjoy the lively audio programs about Madison that we did with both Linda Lytle, Executive Director of Visit Madison Inc., and Trevor Crafton, Executive Director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

Listen to Our Visit with Linda Lytle

Listen to Our Visit with Trevor Crafton

madison logo
madison chamber of commerce logo

More Small Town Porches

porch in Abingdon VA
Be sure to see the porches of Abingdon, Virginia

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On the Road with Front Porch Ideas and More

If your town has attractive porches, then please let us know. You never know...we might stop by.

If you'd like to know how we travel around to charming places and get paid to look at beautiful porches, we're happy to share.

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