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. Northern Indiana is particularly beautiful, bordering Lake Michigan and encompassing the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with sandy beaches and expanse of wildflowers. Other scenic routes include the lanes of the Amish country in the northeast, the alleys of Wayne County, the historic covered bridges of Parke County, or 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 proud of the nickname regardless.
The Hoosier state 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. In education, too, Indiana is at the forefront. Top institutions like the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and DePauw University, and their sports teams, are located here.