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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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Spend September 6-12, 2009 by “Going Local” in Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns.

I found out from the Going Local blog that it is “Going Local Week,” which is a time to celebrate and enjoy Indiana’s wide array of fresh, locally grown foods, spices and treats.  Sounds good to me!

apple

Here are a few ways to “Go Local” in Hamilton County:

-Visit one of the four great Farmers Markets (click for details)

-Stop by the Apple Store at Conner Prairie for fresh Indiana apples

-Quench your thirst with fresh artesian water at The Flowing Well Park

-Sip wine at Ferrin’s Fruit Winery or Grape Inspirations, both in Carmel

-Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pie from Lisa’s Pie Shop or candy from Uncle Henry’s Candies

-Visit a Hamilton County Farm or U-Pick: Gatewood Vegetable Farm or Spencer’s You-Pick in Noblesville, Wilson Farm Market in Arcadia, or Sheridan’s Stuckey Farm

For more Indiana food ideas, restaurants and recipes go to the Indiana Foodways Alliance website: IndianaFoodways.com

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pumpkins

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

Headless Horseman

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In June we posted about 8 Dishes WE Crave, which was inspired by an Indianapolis Monthly article.  Well, we all love food so much and we have so many unique Indiana dining options here that we couldn’t stop at 8 items – in fact, I think we’ll struggle to stop after this round.  Either way, below are 8 MORE Dishes that WE Crave.  Enjoy!

Pie in a Jar from Lisa's Pie Shop

Pie in a Jar from Lisa's Pie Shop

1.  Between the food, the tea and the experience, Ashley can’t select just 1 goodie from the Ruby Pear in Noblesville; “Something that I always enjoy is a trip to the Ruby Pear. From the delicious soups to the dainty sandwiches, their delicate lunches are always a treat. The real treat are the scones and fat rascal cookies, I personally LOVE the vanilla cookies. I usually save the chocolate covered strawberry for a later indulgence!” 1095 Conner Street, Noblesville, 317-770-8322

2.  Our intern, Emma, craves a fried delight from Sahm’s, “Although they are not technically a dish, Sahm’s carrot curls surpass any other crunchy, fried snack I have ever encountered.  They are light, crispy, and are dusted with just the right amount of salt.  Plus carrots are vegetables, so they are still good for you… Right?” 11590 Allisonville Road, Fishers, 317-842-1577

3. As a Christmas treat a few years ago, we gave away Pie in a Jar from Lisa’s Pie Shop. The Pie in a Jar was initially created as a way to salvage pies that weren’t perfect, and then they took off!  Both the sweet filling and crust are served in the jar and makes for an unforgettable surprise.  She has a variety of flavors; Apple, Apricot, Peach, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb and Black Raspberry – my favorite is the good old fashioned Apple.  YUM. 5995 S US Highway 31, Atlanta, 317-758-6944

Continue reading for delicious details on Serendipity, Fionn MacCool’s, Bub’s Cafe, Sullivan’s Steakhouse & Keltie’s….

(more…)

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As the end of my time at the Hamilton County CVB approaches, I can’t help but look back at how much I’ve learned, in terms of both job skills and knowledge about this place I’ve called home for the past 13 years. While the former doesn’t have a place here, I can’t help but share just a few things about the latter.

1. That there are music halls in Northern Hamilton County, the Atlanta Music Hall in Atlanta, and the Hedgehog in Arcadia. Quaint towns and local music make for a different kind of evening out!

2. That Hamilton County – Westfield in particular – was a hot bed of Underground Railroad activity (although I may have learned this in fourth grade social studies and since forgotten). In Westfield there are even haunted Underground Railroad walks, a perfect Halloween activity for a history buff like me.

3. How to navigate all of Carmel’s roundabouts. In fact, I’ve come to like them, they actually do make driving easier, go figure!

4. That Hamilton County was named the #1 place to raise a family in 2008 by Forbes magazine. Good choice, mom and dad.

5. That the Atlanta Mercantile, in Northern Hamilton County, sells local and regional artisan goods, from candies and homemade foods to antiques and a wide variety of arts and crafts.

6. Just how many excursions the Indiana Transportation Museum offers. Growing up I always knew about, and even frequented the FairTrain, Polar Bear Express, and Pumpkin Train, but after a summer here, I’m excited to take a go on the Dinner in the Diner or the Dinner or a Movie too!

7. What a wide variety of quaint and unique local restaurants we have here. From an old Carnegie Library and fine Italian to coffee shops and tea rooms.

8. How wonderful a place Hamilton County is, not only for an Indiana getaway, but also somewhere to live, work and play. There’s so much to do here, leaving me ashamed that I ever spent a weekend lamenting boredom.

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If you are already planning a 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:

1. All aboard!  Ride the WFMS State FairTrain down to the 2009 Indiana State Fair. Train departs from the Fishers Train Station- Friday, August 14 – Sunday, August 23.

Watching the WFMS FairTrain

Watching the WFMS FairTrain

2. Buy sweet corn on the cob, just-picked fruits and fresh veggies at one of the local Farmers Markets.  Westfield – Friday, August 14 or Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville – Saturday, August 15.

3.  See Nickelback perform live in concert at Verizon Wireless in Noblesville – Saturday, August 15.

4.  Escape the summer heat and catch a movie at the Hamilton 16 IMAX in Noblesville.

5.  Snuggle up with a loved one under the stars while watching a Movie in the Park in Atlanta – Saturday, August 15.

6.  Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Air Mail at Conner Prairie in Fishers- Saturday, August, 8.

7.  Relax with friends at beautiful Coxhall Gardens while listening to the music of the Indianapolis Jazz Quartet – Sunday, August 16.

8.  Once you arrive back at the Fishers Train Station from the State Fair, walk to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream for a sweet treat.

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

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These past couple weeks I’ve been driving around Hamilton County’s 8 Great Towns, both for work and for pleasure.  I’ve learned a lot about the county in my four months at the HCCVB, but it took these seemingly endless miles of driving for me to realize just how many different things this place has to offer.

Having grown up in Noblesville, I always kind of took its historically charming downtown square for granted. Here, old time neighborly camaraderie mixes with modern shopping and urban flair. But, just a few miles away from the square, which houses the county seat, are both bustling cities and a quiet countryside.

The Courthouse at Historic Noblesville Square

The Courthouse at Historic Noblesville Square

Being so close to Indianapolis, the southern part of Hamilton County (Fishers, Noblesville and Carmel) definitely reflects the fact that it is a sprawling suburb. With an outdoor ampitheater, an upscale Arts & Design District, and two open-air shopping malls it’s not difficult to find a city feel in Hamilton County.

The Carmel Arts & Design District at Dusk

The Carmel Arts & Design District at dusk

As I drove northward, however, it struck me just how close the quiet of the country was to all of this hustle and bustle. Driving through Atlanta, Arcadia, Sheridan, and even Cicero and Westfield, I was amazed to find a completely different world. With Morse Reservoir, the Atlanta Mercantile, Boxley Cabin, and the Arcadia Arts Initiative, these towns are full of things to do, just perhaps at a slower pace.

Shoppers strolling outside the Atlanta Mercantile

Shoppers strolling outside the Atlanta Mercantile

From upscale art galleries to traditional art and craft workshops, from a local mercantile to an open-air mall, from history to a lazy day on the lake – Hamilton County’s 8 great towns, collectively, make it a unique place to be and a unique place for an Indiana family vacation.

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