Small Town Sunday: Madison Indiana

FROM WLKY.COM: Copy and paste the link above to watch the video.

Madison, Indiana, is the largest city along the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Louisville.

At 12,000 people small, the town has a tight-knit feel with a strong grasp of its roots.

Whether you're traveling there by boat or by bridge, Madison is a town people continue to fall in love with.

Velicia Crisafulli and her husband fell in love with the town and decided to retire there.

"We were able to buy a home here on Main Street. We walk or ride our bikes everywhere. It's an immensely walkable town," she said.

After many visits and an 11-year stint in Washington, D.C., the Crisafullis couldn't be happier with their decision.

"We also really appreciate the art scene here, the live music, there's always something going on. We like the restaurant offerings, all of those amenities you're looking for when you retire," Crisafulli said.

Paul Nicholson and Janet Harding also ended up in Madison, but in an accidental manner. They were on their way to Vevay, Indiana, but they never made it there.

"We fell in love with this town overnight. We stayed up all night in the motel trying to think of a business that we could bring here and we were surprised there was no place to take a boat ride between Cincinnati and Louisville." 

They now operate Rockin' Thunder Jet Boat Rides.

There are only 15 boats in the world like the Jet Boat they use.

When asked about Madison, Paul said, "It's so refreshing to have people say 'Hello' and talk to you on the street. Even if they don't know you, they always wave to you and smile and I can't imagine living somewhere else."

With a rich history dating back to 1809, Madison has big-city amenities in a small-town setting.

"Madison has both. It's a small town feel because you run into the same folks time after time and you know the banker and the bank teller and the check-out person at the grocery store. But there's so much going on," said John Staicer with Historic Madison Inc.

Nearly the entire downtown is on the National Historic Landmark list.

It's a big draw for tourists from around the world.

Mayor Damon Welch grew up in Madison.

"We also have what we call North Madison, or the Hilltop, that expanded over the years where you have McDonald's and Wendy's and shop at Walmart, so we feel like we have the best of both worlds," said Welch.

Madison is home to neat restaurants, a school system, art scene and proactive, positive residents.

It's less than an hour and a half from three major cities: Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinatti.

"Some people say it's a best kept secret. We don't want that to be anymore," Welch said.

Welch is ready for the secret to get out. With the new Milton-Madison bridge open, it's easier to get here than ever before.

"We like to consider this not only a gateway into Madison, but a gateway into Indiana," said Welch.

As for Crisafulli and her husband, they're hoping other people will visit and stay, just like them.

"We're very happy and we do our best to tell other people about it. It's just a great place," she said.

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