Indiana in the fall © Jerry
Indiana, situated in the Midwest, is known as the 'Crossroads of America', with multiple national highways intersecting within its borders. This makes it easy to travel through the state's scenic stretches of rural land. In the north, Indiana borders the tip of Lake Michigan, and the peaceful Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses sandy beaches and expanses of wildflowers. Visitors might then explore the lanes of the Amish country in the northeast, wander through the antique alleys of Wayne County, see the historic covered bridges of Parke County or drive the picturesque Ohio River byway in the south.
Perhaps because of its long history of settlers and their clashes with Native Americans, or its strength in corn and soybean production, the state's name tends to conjure images of endless farmland and the pastoral lifestyle. In fact, the nickname for Indiana residents, 'Hoosiers', may derive from the pioneers' shout of 'Who's here?' when travellers knocked on remote cabin doors. The origin remains a subject of debate, but Hoosiers are quite proud of the nickname regardless.
The Hoosier state, however, is not without action. Indiana is a powerhouse in the sports world. It is home to the Indianapolis 500, one of the world's premier racing events, and to the Indianapolis Colts, one of the most competitive teams in the NFL. And, of course there is Indiana basketball, immortalized in the film 'Hoosiers', which approaches a religion. The state has a professional NBA team, the Indiana Pacers, but Hoosiers are equally enthusiastic about college basketball, including the Indiana University team (called what else? The Hoosiers), as well as high school basketball. In education, too, Indiana is at the forefront. Top institutions like the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and DePauw University, and of course their sports teams, are located here.