Jet Boat Dinner Rides

Rockin’ Thunder Jet Boat Rides LLC is now taking riders from Madison Indiana on Friday evening dinner trips on the Ohio River. The ride is 57 miles round trip with a dinner stop at Jo Jo’s Bar and Grill. Captains Paul Nicholson and Janet Harding added this Dinner Trip to the Rockin’ and Scenic rides they offer from May through October.RTJBcorrect-1

“So many visitors asked us to add a trip with a meal. We looked until we found just the right place” said Capt. Paul. “The dinner stop had to be a place we could feel good taking anyone to eat. Jo Jo’s Bar and Grill fits that perfectly with great casual food, low prices and a scenic river side setting. We loved Jo Jo’s from our first visit and want to share that with our riders” said Capt. Janet.


The 3-4 hour Dinner trip is perfect for someone that wants to see some of the hidden sights along the river. Departing Madison at 5 PM every Friday and heading down river past Hanover and Bethlehem through one of the most scenic stretches of the Ohio River. “Along the way we stop at historic spots and explain events that took place when the Ohio River was the gateway to America’s frontier. We see a variety of wildlife like Bald Eagles, Blue Heron, Muskrats, Deer and more. You never know what animals will be spotted. It makes every trip that much more fun” said Capt. Janet.

The tour returns just as the sun begins to set and the river and Madison are the prettiest. “So much of the early history of this country took place along the Ohio River. We help people get an up close glimpse of the river, an understanding of how vital it has been to the United States for over 200 years and we have a fun meal along the way” said Capt. Paul.

The price is $59 per person. Meal cost is not included in the boat fare. Reservations are required.

Rockin’ Thunder Jet Boat Rides LLC offers tours of the Ohio River from late May through October on the only New Zealand Jet Boat in the Midwest.

For information call 812-701-1155 or click. Highly rated on

US Coast Guard Licensed and Inspected


Lately, as the Visitor Center Intern, I have put together several videos, some with the help of the other interns and local businesses and sites in town.  They highlight some of the activities and places in Madison.  They can be found on the Youtube channel MadisonINVideos.  So far, I have put four up highlighting some of my experiences this week. I’d also like to extend special thanks to the people and places that were featured or helped in the videos in Madison.

Stained Glass Walking Tour

First Christian Church Stained Glass Window in Madison Indiana

First Christian Church Stained Glass Window in
Madison Indiana

Hello, Madison Readers and Visitors.  My name is Katie and I work in the Madison Visitor Center. I am working on an exciting new project putting together a brochure about the stained glass windows in town, and some of the histories of these windows in local churches.  To do this, I have spent a great deal of time visiting each local church, talking to local pastors, ministers, and congregational members, and getting a feel for the community.  This brochure, which will soon be done, will reflect this research, showing pictures of some of the windows, some church history for each site, and a fun map to walk to each site.  If you like visiting unique architecture, unique antique historical churches, and other sites-or just like pretty colors-this tour is for you.  The brochure will guide pedestrian visitors on a path covering several churches and businesses in town through a world of color, art, artistry, and architecture in some of Madison’s gems.  Best of all, it will be done soon!  Drop by the Visitor Center later in the year to pick up one, and begin your trek soon!

Education and Fun at History Camp



I have been taking my 6-year-old daughter to History Camp this week, and she loves it. We are fortunate enough to live in town that is rich with examples of natural history and human history. Our unique situation on the river allows us to view the fossil rich limestone beds of the river and well-preserved examples of 19th Century architecture. Our unique history as a riverboat town that once boomed with excitement but now sleepily charms visitors, presents residents as wells as tourists with plenty to learn from.

Director of Education JoAnne Spiller understands the value of our location and opens up the Jefferson County Historical Society to kids each summer. Children ages 6 and up can spend two hours a day with JoAnne and her assistants, doing activities inspired by our fascinating past learning about early immigrants, and life forms that used to occupy the ground we walk on. On the first day of camp, my daughter went fossil hunting at the riverbank, just a short walk from the Society’s First Street location. After collecting specimens, the campers made their own plaster casts of common fossils such as horn coral. She is also weaving on her own scaled-down loom and tasting new foods.

Fossil Making

Fossil Making

Other activities lined up for the week include, making old-fashioned toys and games, churning ice cream and riding Madison’s own trolley. Although I think it was the promise of ice cream that convinced my daughter to sign up, she’s having a blast being outside, enjoying the treasures that make our town special.

- Angela Elles

New Tasting Event on the Riverfront in Madison Indiana

logo colorMadison Riverfront Wine, Stein & Barrel makes its debut along Madison’s beautiful riverfront on June 21, 2014 from 5-9pm. The event revolves around tasting regional wines, craft brews and bourbons. Event goers will have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of vintages, styles of craft brews and bourbons/whiskeys. When they find a favorite, they can purchase a glass and settle in with friends and enjoy local music and the great view. Appetizers will be served on the half hour and each will be different. Guests will also find plenty of muchies on the tables.

Both VIP and General Admission tickets are available: VIP is $55 and General Admission is $40. The VIP choice allows guests one hour (5pm) early admission into the event, 25 tasting tickets, appetizer buffet and a special Bourbon Presentation. General Admission begins at 6pm and ticket holders will receive 20 tasting tickets. All attendees receive a commemorative tasting glass, appetizers, music and the opportunity to bid on auction items. Tickets are limited and can be purchased on line at or by calling 812-265-2956.

“This event benefits Riverfront Development,” said Margaret Bridgeford, Event Coordinator. “We hope to provide a fun, elegant summer evening along the riverfront and begin an annual tradition.”

Participating Indiana wineries are, Ertel Cellars, Batesville; Ridge Winery, Switzerland County; Holtkamp Winery, New Alsace; Lanthier Winery, Thomas Family Winery, and Madison Vineyards, all of Madison.

Craft beers available for tasting are from Sun King Brewery, Indianapolis; Quaff On, Brown County and Upland Brewery, Bloomington. Bourbon & whiskey tastings include selections from Indiana Whiskey Co, South Bend; New Holland Brewing, Holland Michigan and Angel’s Envy, Louisville Kentucky.

Art lovers will be able to bid on items from sculpture to painting. Art pieces were donated by Hanover College Public Art 2014 students and Lou Knobble. “We’re hoping for lively bidding,” Bridgeford said. “There are wonderful sculptures, etched acrylic panels and Lou Knobble’s painting – something for everyone.” There is also a selection of silent auction items to tempt the crowd. Must be 21 & over to attend.  Ids will be checked at the gate.