A weekend away full of new experiences, taste treats, and good people is good for the soul. We were fortunate to experience exactly that a few weekends ago on a fun quick getaway to Hamilton County, Indiana, which includes communities such as Carmel and Fishers. It was our first visit and we quickly discovered 10 reasons to love Hamilton County, Indiana.
Microbrews that welcome families and serve delicious food
Family-friendly breweries exist, and there are several of them in Hamilton County, including the bright and airy Field Brewing in Westfield. They’ve struck a lovely balance of being welcoming to both adults and kids. The breweries often have space where kids can hop around while you talk about hops with the brewmasters. And while the beer may be great, don’t underestimate the food, either. Also, pork tenderloin is a *thing* in Hamilton County and you should try it. Pretty sure you’ll thank me.
Almost every restaurant has a game on the table or a shelf full of them in a corner. You’re welcome to help yourself. My husband and I played Battleship while enjoying the tastiest pork tenderloin sliders at Sun King Spirits, which is a food hall and distillery.
I was delighted to discover Books & Brews. It’s a bookstore that had live music on a Saturday night and beer named after famous books, including a Clifford Irish-style Red Ale and Cream and Punishment. That would be enough to delight me, but they also had a ton of games and we had a great game of Trivial Pursuit, which as a former Jeopardy! contestant made me crazy happy.
As a history buff, there were several options for traveling back in time. Hop aboard the Nickel Plate Express to experience what rail travel was like in 1956. They have a variety of different rides, including an adorable Reindeer Ride Express at the holidays. My husband and I had a great daytime date on the Ales & Rails Express that included tastings of beer and popcorn. All the seats are on the top level, so everyone has a cool view of Hamilton County.
The Conner Prairie, a Smithsonian Institute affiliate, is a very interesting place to explore Indiana history. It explores a few different periods in history and hosts some great special events. In the warmer months, there’s also a hot air balloon experience. I’m so going back for that.
At three hours from Chicago, it’s the perfect road trip distance. Enough to crank up some tunes and feel like you’re going somewhere, but not so far that you spend all your time in the car, either. The same would be true from a variety of locations.
We liked that it felt like its own destination, but it’s also close to Indianapolis if you need to catch a Colts or Pacers game or if the college basketball lover in you has a hankering to see Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler University campus.
Awesome art scene
The Carmel Arts and Design district is full of public art, from fun murals to sculptures.
You can enjoy walking around on your own on any given day, but Second Saturday Gallery Walks and art festivals are fun ways to see more in the galleries and shops.
If performing arts are more your thing, the Palladium, a state-of-the-art 1,600-seat concert hall in Carmel, has a beautiful exterior that hosts stunning performances inside. It’s part of the Center for the Performing Arts and if you’re in the area, you’d be wise to check out their calendar. There are at least a dozen performances I wish I could return and attend.
Once you’ve tasted a slice from the award-winning Lisa’s Pie Shop, you’ll understand why baked goods alone made the list. If you don’t need a whole pie, check out the pie-in-a-jar. Be sure to have cash on hand, they don’t take credit cards.
If you’re gluten and/or dairy free, head to No Label at the Table in Carmel. Not only are their items delicious, it’s staffed by individuals on the autism spectrum.
Tina’s Traditional Tea Room has amazing scones. Tina makes them using a recipe from her native Britain and they so much better than the American version in my opinion. High tea there is full of taste treats.
After all those fun treats, a bike ride, walk, or run may be in order. The Monon Trail is pretty famous and even if you only travel just a portion of its 18 miles, it’s easy to see why.
I love a community that knows how to celebrate holidays well, so it’s no surprise I was happy in Hamilton County, Indiana. We got to check out Carmel Christkindlmarkt on its opening night and it was a fun, festive event with food, music, ice skating, vendors selling homemade goods.
Fabulously Friendly Folks & Midwestern Charm
People there are so nice. Really, really nice. All of them. There’s a lot of Midwestern kindness and Midwestern charm to be found in the towns of Hamilton County, Indiana.
It was named for Alexander Hamilton, and frequent readers know I love him and the musical about him. I have to think that he’d appreciate a weekend in Hamilton County as much as I did.
Disclosure: We received no compensation for this post. VisitHamilton County.com hosted us on a press trip and all opinions are our own.
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