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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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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….

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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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After a fun Saturday working the 2009 US Senior Open, I took time away from the office yesterday.  I decided to make the most of my day away and took my little guy, Christopher, out to breakfast.  We went to Bub’s Cafe in Carmel and nibbled on cinnamon French toast topped with strawberries and bananas.  I also had one of the most delicious Chai Lattes ever – just sweet and warm enough to make for a great morning “pick-me-up.”  The day was nice and the weather was warm, so we sat on the porch.  Christopher really enjoyed sitting out there – he got to watch the walkers, runners and bikers go by on the Monon all while filling his tummy.

Eating a syrupy strawberry from the cinnamon French toast

Eating a syrupy strawberry from the cinnamon French toast

After we were full, we decided to work off the breakfast.  I loaded him into his wagon and started to stroll along.  Christopher greeted every person that passed us by with an eager “HI!” – a new word he has learned.  He would squeal with delight when people would smile and wave back to him.  Finally, he wanted to roam on his own, so I let him out of the wagon.  He walked… and walked…. and walked…  He was in heaven with the trees, animals, people.

It was such a fun way to spend the day – a great breakfast, a shaded walk and perfect weather – I highly recommend it.

Christopher finding his way along the Monon Trail in Carmel

Christopher finding his way along the Monon Trail in Carmel

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This past week I had the pleasure of taking an Indiana State Tourism blogger, Amy, and her family on a tour of Hamilton County, Indiana.  The day was fun and relaxed – we had a delicious breakfast at Bub’s Cafe, strolled the Carmel Arts & Design District, window shopped in the Carmel Antique Mall and toured the Museum of Miniature Houses.  I was sad to leave her and her family, but I wanted them to continue on their 8 Great Towns family adventure without me tagging along!

I have anxiously been awaiting her blog post on recapping the morning – and was so happy to see they had fun.  Visit the link below for details on everything from the chocolate covered donut holes to the little bitty houses:

http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/blog/

Inside shots of Bub's Cafe in Carmel, Indiana

Inside shots of Bub's Cafe in Carmel, Indiana

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We recently started working with an ad agency and now it feels like we have extended our staff (who just happen to be in another building).  Our new “co-workers” now share with us the fun things they do within the 8 Great Towns of Hamilton County – and so were delighted to be greeted with the following announcement from Dan Myers on the wall of our Facebook Fan Page

Went to Bub’s in the Great Town of Carmel yesteday. I tackled the Big Ugly (22 ounces of joy). Best (and largest) burger I have had in ages.  I ate the entire thing and got my picture on the wall.
Below is a picture of Dan’s burger – off to the side you MAY see the burger his wife had for dinner.  Go to Bub’s Burgers in Carmel, Indiana for a meal you won’t soon forget!
The Big Ugly Burger

The Big Ugly Burger

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1. “Pioneer Hill Sunsets” will play a free outdoor concert in Sheridan-Friday, May 29.

2. Sneak away for a local overnight getaway at the Old Towne Carmel Bed & Breakfast.

3. Ride the Nickel Plate Limited train through Fishers & Noblesville -Saturday, May 30. 

4. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Bub’s Café in Carmel. 

5. Attend the Carmel Farmers Market Opening Day – Saturday, May 30.

6. Find hidden treasures while browsing racks of the Atlanta Mercantile (open Monday – Saturday). 

7. Sip coffee at Noble Coffee & Tea on the Historic Noblesville Square. 

8. Take a guided Pre-History Tour through Strawtown Koteewi Park in Cicero – Sunday, May 31.

*Visit us online at http://8GreatTowns.com for more details on the activities above.

Enjoying a cup of coffee outside of Noble Coffee & Tea.

Enjoying a cup of coffee outside of Noble Coffee & Tea.

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