The Swiss Wine Festival
Wine plays a big part in the history and culture of Vevay. The town was founded in 1802 by Swiss immigrants who were looking specifically for a place to grow grapes and produce wine. They didn’t waste their time: the first commercial winery in the USA was located in Vevay. Wine and Vevay’s Swiss heritage mix in the annual Swiss Wine Festival, held toward the end of August. The celebration is the epitome of a joyous Midwestern fair, with something for the entire family. Adults can enjoy the beer and wine gardens, but there’s much more. Children will love the grape stomps and the ferryboat rides on the Ohio River. There are arts and crafts vendors, car shows, a variety of pageants and contests, and carnival rides. It all ends with a spectacular fireworks display on the river.
Museums in Vevay
The contributions made by Swiss immigrants to the culture of Vevay and Indiana in general are celebrated in two Vevay museums, the Switzerland County Historical Museum and Life on the Ohio River museum, both located on Market Street. They are run by the Switzerland County Historical Society, a very active group that presents a lively roster of lectures and events throughout the year.
Market Street Walk
Vevay has been the county seat of Switzerland County since 1814, and boasts a number of beautiful old buildings that make a walk through the center of town, down historic Market Street, a real treat. You’ll see some beautiful old homes such as the Benjamin Franklin Schenk House, now a bed and breakfast, and the U.P. Schenk mansion. The Hoosier Theater, built in 1837, is just off Market on Ferry Street. Don’t miss the stunning Switzerland County Courthouse with its classical pillars and lovely grounds.
Musee de Venoge
The whole family will love this beautiful little cottage on display not far outside of Vevay. Built by French-speaking Swiss settlers at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the house has been preserved and lovingly restored to provide a living image of life in those days. Particularly interesting is the beautiful kitchen garden planted with flowers and vegetables.
Drive in the Country Around Vevay
There is no more beautiful rural scenery than that around Vevay, with its sturdy old barns, brick houses, and sometimes even Amish buggies. Garage sales, farmers’ markets, small antiques stores, and curiosity shops will give you good reason to stop and enjoy the countryside.
This blog post is a guest contribution from Schenck Mansion, a bed and breakfast in Vevay, Indiana.