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Posts Tagged ‘1859 Balloon Voyage’

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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Wow that is going up HIGH!

Wow that is going up HIGH!

This Friday the staff of the Hamilton County CVB will be getting out of our offices to experience the county.  A few times a year, we try to have a little get together- last year we feasted on barbeque from Big Hoffa’s and it was delicious!

This year our staff outing begins with a little friendly competition at Ben & Ari’s – putt putt if the weather is nice and bowling if it is too chilly or raining (although the forecast I just looked up shows 80 & partly cloudy on Friday).  After the putt putt/bowling winner is announced, we will chat over pizza.  We will then head over to Conner Prairie to explore the grounds – and for the first time I will ride 350 feet up in the air on the 1859 Balloon Voyage!  Wish me luck.

I will report back on the events of the day – in the meantime, I can’t wait to get out and stretch my legs with my 8 Great Towns colleagues.

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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).

2BikingMonon

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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I was reading the Visit Indiana blog when I stumbled across a post about a recent experience a blogger had at Symphony on the Prairie (including taking a ride in the 1859 Balloon Voyage).  You all should take a moment to read this post, because I found several of the statements completely relatable and totally hilarious (Fear causing you to sit on the floor of the balloon basket while it ascends 350 into the air?  Describing the Symphony on the Prairie as “sophisticated tailgating?”  Grocery shopping being considered a date night?).  All in all, I must say that the Symphony on the Prairie is a wonderful way to spend an Indiana summer evening, especially when it’s coupled with a balloon ride during sunset.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!  http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/blog/

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I can still remember going to Symphony on the Prairie as a child – I remember the warm nights, lying on a blanket in the cool grass, the sounds that floated over thousands of people gathered to hear great music.  More than 20 years later, not much has changed – with the exception that you can now fly 350 feet in the air on the 1859 Balloon Voyage to get a birds-eye view.

The 1859 Balloon Voyage

The 1859 Balloon Voyage

Before I start talking more about cherished childhood memories and new stories as an adult, I will explain the set up for those that haven’t yet experienced this.  The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has been playing at Conner Prairie since Symphony on the Prairie began in 1983 – under a small tent with just a few picnic tables scattered around.  The ISO now plays the music under an amphitheater on the bottom of a small grassy hill, and people can rent tables or bring blankets or chairs to sit on – or they can sit on the grass.  The shell is facing the west, so the sun sets behind it as the musicians play.  There are speakers set up all around, so no matter where you are, you can clearly hear every note they play.

view from the top of the hill

The view from the top of the hill

I have gone twice this season, the first time a few weeks ago, on the Harry Potter night (I left the baby at home and went with 2 great friends).  We got there right at 8, so we were closer to the top of the hill.  We set up camping chairs and a cooler filled with drinks and snacks – and since it has been a while since we could just talk- we ended up quietly chatting the whole time.  It was a blast.  I also watched the balloon go up and down, up and down, all night long but couldn’t convince the girls to go with me.

The balloon at night (photo from Conner Prairie's Flickr stream)

The balloon at night (photo from Conner Prairie's Flickr stream)

The next time I attended was this past weekend – several co-workers and our families gathered together at a table close to the front and it was a blast!  Our little guy boogied to the music of Billy Joel while my husband and I relaxed in our chairs.  One of my favorite parts of the evening was when the saxophone player came out into the crowd!

The sax player out in the crowd!

The sax player out in the crowd!

Symphony on the Prairie still has several weeks left in this season – if you are a local, you have go, and if you are a visitor, this is a must on your to-do list.

Karen captured a great close up shot of the shell!

Karen captured a great close up shot of the shell

To wrap up – I can say was as fun to experience this central Indiana tradition now as it was in 1987.  Only this time, I get to help my own child have those wonderful memories!

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If you have $250-$550 – then you have a Hamilton County 8 Great Towns Vacation!  We recently put together fun vacation packages at an affordable price – bring your spouse, best friend or the whole family for a weekend getaway filled with discoveries…  

For $250, you can start your day in Fishers at Conner Prairie, an interactive history park, for a day of pioneer fun.  Dine with the family at Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse in Westfield – where you will enjoy a delicious Big Hoffa combo meal starting at $30 (feeds a family of four).  After dinner is finished, visit Unseenpress for Historic Ghost Tour.  Retire for the evening at one of our great local hotels (we have 30 to chose from) and head home the next day!

For $350, you can experience the fun of Conner Prairie – and fly 350 feet up in the air on their new 1859 Balloon Voyage (If you see an AM/PM BP Gas Station, stop in for $5 off coupons).  Once you have seen the view from the top, make the short trip to Historic Noblesville Square for a tasty lunch at Alexander’s on the Square – don’t forget your sweet treat!  While you are in Noblesville, take an unforgettable train excursion with the Indiana Transportation Museum.  After a good night of rest, wake up in the morning and splash around Carmel’s Monon Center Aqua Park.  

For $550, after you explore the grounds of Conner Prairie and go 350 feet in the air on their 1859 Balloon Voyage – stay for dinner under the stars while listening to the tunes of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.   The next day rent bikes at Carmel Cyclery to ride the Monon Trail or rent kayaks for a scenic float at Geist Lake Marina.  

For more details on these packages, including pricing and free activities, visit us at 8GreatTowns.Com.

July09-1

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a little trip in a piece of history.  I got to experience what air travel was like nearly 80 years ago…very cool.

1929 Ford Tri-Motor

1929 Ford Tri-Motor

Donna Prather, the vice president of the Hamilton County Tourism Commission and I drove out to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport in Fishers and climbed aboard a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor aircraft. The folks at the Experimental Aircraft Association were kind enough to allow us on their media flight.

(more…)

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