Archive for the ‘Indiana Family Vacation’ Category

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

If you are already planning a weekend getaway to Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns or want to take a last minute Indiana vacation, here are 8 Great Things to do in Hamilton County, Indiana this weekend:

1.  Discover your inner rock star during the Kings of Leon concert at Verizon Wireless in Noblesville  – Friday, September 25.

2.  Listen to beautiful music as Micheal Feinstein joins the Carmel Symphony Orchestra for a one-night only performance – Friday, September 25.

3. Play putt putt at Ben & Ari’s or ride the 1859 Balloon Voyage at Conner Prairie (both in Fishers) and see the 8 Great Towns staffers there! – Friday, September 25.

4.  Visit the Museum Of Miniature Houses in Carmel to celebrate the 5th Annual Smithsonian Museum Day. Before you go, be sure to download a Museum Day Pass at smithsonian.com – if you do, you will be given free admission – Saturday, September 26.

5. Unwind while watching a Movie in the Park at West Park in Carmel – Saturday, September 26.

6. Experience “National Take a Child Outside Weekend” at Conner Prairie – Saturday, September 26 – Sunday, September 27. UPDATE: Conner Prairie is also honoring the Smithsonian Pass mentioned above – Take advantage of this great deal!

7.  Visit the small town of Atlanta for the 36th Annual Atlanta Earth Festival (and ride the EarthFest Train there!) – Saturday, September 26 – Sunday, September 27.

8.  The Carmel International Arts Festival is back! Attend this free event that showcases talented artists of all kinds – Saturday, September 26 – Sunday, September 27.

*Visit us online at 8GreatTowns.com for more details on the activities above and other weekend fun ideas!


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Enter to Win a Fall Getaway Giveaway to Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns!

To celebrate fall, we are having an online contest giving away fall getaways so that you can experience the fun that Hamilton County, Indiana has to offer.  The packages listed below will be given away September 16 – October 9. Packages vary but include 1-night accommodations, a dining gift card and tickets to attractions and/or upcoming festivals.  To win, visit the following link: 8GreatTowns.com and fill out the form, winners are drawn at random (drawing dates are also listed below)!  Good luck and enjoy your Indiana getaway!

Getaway Packages

Arts & Entertainment

Giveaway drawn on September 16


•  Old Town Carmel Bed & Breakfast

•  Carmel International Arts Festival

•  Delicious dining gift cards and other Hamilton County treats

Package based on two adults.

History Comes Alive

Giveaway drawn on September 18, 23, 25


•  Overnight at a Hamilton County hotel

•  Tickets to Fishers Renaissance Faire and Conner Prairie

•  Delicious dining gift cards

Package based on family of four.

Hamilton County Family Fun

Giveaway drawn on October 2


•  Overnight at SpringHill Suites Fishers

•  Tickets to Conner Prairie, an interactive history park

•  Delicious dining gift cards

Package based on family of four.

Hoosier Park Package

Giveaway drawn on October 9


•  VIP experience at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino

•  Plus an overnight at Hotel Indigo

Package based on two adults.

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Pumpkins from the Stonycreek Farm Pumpkin Festival

Fall in Hamilton County, Indiana is ushered in with the leaves changing to bright colors, crisp air and weekends filled with train rides, haunted hayrides, tasty treats and of course festivals and fairs.  Below is a guide to some of the festivals this season, pick just one or come to them all – you surely won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy your 8 Great Towns weekend escape…

The Apple Store at Conner Prairie September 1- November 1 – Conner Prairie’s 18th annual Apple Store is filled with fresh, hand-dipped caramel covered apples, cider slushies, apple butter, candy and seasonal home decorations.  Take the treat with you or if you can’t wait relax outside on one of the picnic tables – I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a fall afternoon…

23rd Annual Tour of Historic Homes September 12 Enjoy a September stroll through the storied structures & residences of Noblesville.

Art in the Park September 19 – Visit the Municipal Center of Fishers where musicians, dancers and other performers will entertain you while you browse and shop through the one of a kind jewelry, pottery, paintings and more on display.

Art in the Park - Photo from FishersArtCouncil.org

Art in the Park - Photo from FishersArtCouncil.org

Country Fair September 19-20 – Country Fair is all about celebrating Indiana’s Farm Heritage!  The 1886 Agricultural Fair has been re-created so that visitors can see a bearded lady, have their fortune read and play a historic game of base ball.

Stonycreek Farm Pumpkin Harvest Festival September 26-October 31 It is a local tradition to kick off fall at Stonycreek Farm!  Hayrides, a pumpkin patch, farm animals and beautiful fall colors will greet you when you arrive at the Pumpkin Harvest.

Carmel International Arts Festival September 26-27This free event offers artists exhibiting in watercolor, oil, 2D, 3D, jewelry, photography, wood, sculpture, pottery and more.  The art is then coupled with tempting food vendors, outstanding restaurants and local shops within the Arts and Design District.

Carmel International Arts Festival

Carmel International Arts Festival

Atlanta New Earth Festival (take the Earthfest train!) September 26-27 Visit the small town of Atlanta for the 36th Annual New Earth Festival.  Over 80,000 people come for the fine arts, food and crafts.  Start the day at Forest Park in Noblesville, where you can hop aboard the Earthfest train to make the journey to Atlanta.

10th Annual Potter’s Bridge Festival October 3 More than 40 arts & crafts booths plus a climbing wall, food, live music and kid’s activities will be featured at this free, fun annual event!

Fishers Renaissance Faire October 3-4 Held on the grounds of historic Conner Prairie, the 5th Annual Fishers Renfaire offers visitors the opportunity to experience: jousting, archery, sword fighting, period music, Shakespeare vignettes, pirates, Queen Elizabeth’s court, demonstrations of period craftsman, falconry, parades, AND provides for a unique food and shopping experience. There is also a dedicated children’s game area and much, much more!

Princess - Rich

Fishers Renaissance Faire

Sheridan Harvest Moon Festival October 3-4 This weekend long event kicks off with a classic car show and is non stop entertainment of food, music, arts and a “Pumpkin Chuck” contest.

Autumnfest October 10 This free fall celebration is held in the quaint downtown of Arcadia.  Join in for a festival of arts, crafts, food, pumpkin decorating, antiques, collectibles and more!

Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie October 16-18, 21-25, 28-30 Hop on a haunted hayride tour of Conner Prairie, but be on the lookout for ghosts as they warn you about the Headless Horseman….  Stick around for ghost stories, campfires and music.


Headless Horseman

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If your family is in need of an Indiana weekend getaway, look no further than Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns.

Day 1 begins at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, where your family will be transported back in time.  You will be guided through history with the aide of Interpreters as your family visits a pioneer village, a working farm and a Lenape Indian camp.  See a Headless Horseman, exhibits, rare animal breeds and theatre performances.  Ride 350 feet into the air on the 1859 Balloon Voyage.  Don’t leave without eating a hand dipped caramel apple at the Apple Store – and don’t deprive yourself of the sweet, tasty cider slushy…

The 1859 Balloon Voyage ready for take off! Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/connerprairie/

The 1859 Balloon Voyage ready for take off! Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/connerprairie/

Once the day is done at Conner Prairie and you are ready for a good, affordable dinner, stop by Alexander’s on the Square in Noblesville.  Alexander’s is a local family friendly restaurant with great food, delicious ice cream and it won’t hurt your wallet.  Drive back to the hotel (need ideas on lodging in Hamilton County?  Click here: Where to stay) and get plenty of rest – because your weekend is not over!

Start the next day with breakfast at Bub’s Café (try the Cinnamon Croissant French Toast, wow).  As a family, take a walk or a bike ride under the trees of the Monon Trail (bikes can be rented down the road from Bub’s Café at Carmel Cyclery).


Biking the Monon

Once the group is ready for lunch, drive straight to Big Hoffa’s Barbeque in Westfield.  The food is amazing and prices range from $4.50 to about $10.00 (you can also split a larger combo meal between the whole family).  After the feast is complete, drive a few minutes east to Forest Park in Noblesville.  Settled into the park setting is the Indiana Transportation Museum – where you can tour trains or take a train ride.  This fall, you’ll want to hop aboard the Pumpkin Train.  The train takes you through the countryside of Hamilton County and let’s you off at a local farm so that you can search for the perfect pumpkin.

The Pumpkin Train

The Pumpkin Train

In the late afternoon, the train will bring you back to Forest Park to depart.  Grab dinner on the Historic Square before you head back to the hotel to call it a night!

For a detailed, printable map of these activities, visit: http://8greattowns.com/content/view/39/78/

Enjoy your fall Indiana family vacation!

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If you are already planning a weekend getaway to Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns or are looking to take a last minute Indiana vacation, here are 8 Great Things to do in Hamilton County, Indiana this weekend:

Explore fire trucks, police cars, dump trucks and more at "Things That Go Rodeo" Image from www.ci.carmel.in.us

Explore fire trucks, police cars, dump trucks and more at "Things That Go Rodeo" Image from http://www.ci.carmel.in.us

1. Learn about Chinese landscapes at Chen Hao’s Chinese Art Exhibit: Urban Landscape– Friday, August 28 – Saturday, August 29.

2. Check out cool cars from all eras at the Fishers Community Car Show (all profits will go to benefit Prevail, Inc). – Saturday, August 29.

3. Check out Carmel’s “Things That Go Rodeo” for a fun, free way to entertain the kids. – Saturday, August 29.

4. Wrap up summer in Arcadia with the “Summer Windup” celebration. – Saturday, August 29.

5. While in Arcadia on Saturday night, visit the Hedgehog Music Showcase and watch a variety show that features a wide variety of entertainers and musical genres.

6. Take your taste buds to another time at Conner Prairie’s “Taste the Past” event.  Come hungry because you will be feasting on authentic food from 1816, 1836 and 1886. – Saturday, August 29 – Sunday, August 30.

7. Choo! Choo!  Ride the caboose shuttle to and from Forest Park.  While there, take a walk in the park, spin around on their carousel or enjoy a picnic lunch. – Sunday, August 29.

8. Close out the weekend with a free concert in Noblesville’s Seminary Park.  – Sunday, August 30.

*Visit us online at 8GreatTowns.com for more details on the activities above and other weekend fun ideas!

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Summer is coming to an end and before you know it fall will be over here, leaving us little time left to enjoy the great outdoors of Hamilton County – or at least while it is warm!  Before the season passes us by, we want to have a contest to encourage you to see another side of Hamilton County, Indiana.

Strawtown Koteewi Park - Photo from MyHamiltonCountyParks.com

Strawtown Koteewi Park - Photo from MyHamiltonCountyParks.com

The idea is simple – pack up your family and camp out under the stars in beautiful White River Campground.  Start early the next morning with a hike or leisurely stroll at Strawtown Koteewi Park (if it is late fall, sit back and watch the leaves change colors).  Take in one of the many interpretive programs the staff offers before heading back for lunch at your campsite.  Don’t miss Potter’s Bridge or check out one of the many free fall festivals in the area.  After the busy day, slow things down with an ice cream cone at Alexander’s on the Water.  The next day take everyone to Geist Lake Marina and rent kayak’s for a day of fun on the water.  If you are in need of a fun Indiana family getaway – look no further!

Here are the details:

PRIZE: A gift certificate for 2 FREE overnight stays at White River Campground in Cicero, a $20 gift certificate for Alexander’s on the Water in Cicero (can also be used at the Noblesville Square location) and 2 gift certificates for buy one kayak rental, get one free from Geist Lake Marina.  Entrance to and programs at Strawtown Koteewi Park are free!

How to win: Answer the following question in our comment section (I will keep comments turned off until the contest is over).  I will throw all the names of the people that correctly answer into a hat and randomly select the winner!


QUESTION:  Koteewi is a Miami Native American word meaning what?

Good luck to all!

hint: http://www.co.hamilton.in.us/parks_details.asp?id=2932

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This past Saturday my boyfriend Marc and I had our first opportunity this summer to do whatever we pleased…  no weddings, parties or other plans.

Photo from BubsBurgersAndIceCream.com

Photo from BubsBurgersAndIceCream.com

With a free day ahead of us, we decided to dress in comfy clothes and head out to explore the county.  We started the day at Bub’s Café in Carmel.  As a self diagnosed coffee junkie, I was delighted to see that they had fresh brewed coffee for those waiting to be seated.  I drank 4 cups of the hot, fresh roasted brew!  Marc and I then ate a selection of delicious breakfast delights.  He ordered the biscuits and gravy (which I stole bites of throughout the meal), while I ordered the granola, yogurt, and fruit dish, along with a side of fried potatoes (I was ½ way healthy..ha!).  What I noticed the most was that with the fun decor, great location (right on the Monon Trail) and delicious food, Bub’s Cafe is a truly unique Indiana dining experience.

After enjoying the scrumptious breakfast, we decided to walk the Monon Trail to work off the calories we had just consumed!  We walked south on the Monon Trail down to the area where the Regional Performing Arts Center is under construction.  It was Marcs’ first time to see the site, and he was really impressed and he cannot wait to enjoy live performances next year when it is completed.

After a good workout, we headed out to run errands (grocery shopping, the bank, etc.) around Hamilton County and before we knew it, it was Saturday evening!  We wanted to do something enjoyable and fun, but still inexpensive.  We decided to go putt-putting at Ben & Ari’s in Fishers.  The competition of who would be champion began and due to a hole in 1, I beat Marc by 1 stoke -even after losing my ball twice in the water!

All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing day spent in Hamilton County.  Who knows when we will have another day to just explore, but when we do there are so many places I cannot wait to discover!

Ben & Ari's in Fishers

Ben & Ari's in Fishers

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