Why just buy a house when you can buy a whole town? Loaded with preserved 19th-century history in the middle of America’s heartland, Story, Indiana is for sale. A perfect change-of-lifestyle option for those who have had their fill of the high pressured city life, this charming town and tourist destination business is just what the doctor may have ordered. Dating from 1851, 173 acres of land was granted to Doctor George P. Story by President Millard Filmore. Doctor Story developed the town on 17 acres into a thriving community, which with expansion of the railroad, new highways and the Great Depression, eventually fell on hard times. Today, it is prosperous again attracting tourists from nearby Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati for its gourmet farm-to-table restaurant, general store, bed-and-breakfast, saw and grain mills and neighboring 15,776-acre Brown County State Park famous for its colorful fall colors. Also a friendly ghost known as the Blue Lady. Now for sale, Story is priced at $3.8 million.

During Doctor Story’s lifetime, the town became one of the most popular small towns in southern Indiana, largely due to its well-stocked general store. Farmers and their families would come to peruse drygoods and the newest farm implements, take care of their blacksmithing needs, see the doctor, take their grain to the grist mill and even attend services at the local church. When the state government started buying up farmland around the time of the Great Depression, farmers were happy to leave. It had been a hard life trying to work the hilly, rocky land. When they left, they left in droves almost like scenes in a John Steinbeck novel. The general store, however, kept the town viable until 1950 and continued to stay open with diminishing trade through the 1970s. Since 1978 the town has had two owners and a year-round spirit, the Blue Lady, seen occasionally by employees and guests of the bed-and-breakfast portion of the Story Inn. Today, former residents’ homes have been turned into guest houses, the old general store is now a popular restaurant with creaky wooden floors and pot-bellied stove and the big barn is a favorite wedding venue.

Be mayor of your own Indiana town surrounded by state parks for guests to explore by foot or on horseback, where they can spend the night, have breakfast, lunch and dinner in one of the most charming spots in the Midwest. And who knows? You might even get to see the Blue Lady, trailing blue ribbons in her wake. Story, Indiana is now for sale, priced at $3.8 million and is listed by Christopher Cockerham of Bloomington Realtors, Bloomington, Indiana.

This story first appeared on TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

Photos: Michelle Pemberton