Fun things to do in Indiana

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Indiana

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    A Simple Life for the Amish in Shipshewana

    by deecat Written Mar 15, 2005

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    Twenty five miles east of Elkhart is an Amish village called Shipshewana. People flock here for a glimpse of Amish life. The shops sell Amish crafts such as quilts & furniture. Restaurants serve old-fashioned specialties that are quite delicious. My brother-in-law loves the weekly flea market at a huge auction house south of town.

    Downtown, there are more than 50 shops & eateries, and most of them are within just a few blocks of one another.

    You'll have to wait in line if you wish to eat at the Blue Gate Restaurant where amish-style specialties such as fried chicken, roast beef, &, for dessert, Shoo-Fly pie is served.

    Certain shops welcome visitors to watch the crafters at work in the studio beside the shop. One such shop is the Old World Coppersmith. It's a great place that sells handcrafted weather vanes and painstakingly hammered pots.

    In a renovated factory called The Craft Barn, there are shops with quilts, collectibles, & Amish handiwork such as rag dolls made without faces to discourage vanity! One of my favorites was a place that sold miniature horses & carriages that are accurate to the smallest detail. Mel Riegsecker makes them, & we were able to watch as Mel & a team of artisans in a workshop in the Craft Barn made them.

    There are two kinds of buggy rides to be taken: the black buggy like those the Amish drive or the white carriage with tufted red velvet seats.

    But, if you want to see a genuine glimpse of Amish life, drive the country roads around Shipshewana. The Amish live much as their sect's founders did almost 3 centuries ago. We discovered that the boxy white farm homes would often house several generations of the same family These families produce much of what they need & pass old-time skills such as quilting & cabinetry from generation to generation.

    You should go to the Menno-Hof Visitors Center south of the business district along State-5. It looks like an Amish farm with a house, barn & pond. Here, you'll discover Amish history..

    Menno-Hof Visitor's Center, Shipshewana, Indiana

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    Indianapolis: Patriot, Historian, Artist, Athlete

    by deecat Updated Apr 9, 2005

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    Although my parents lived many years in Speedway, Indiana, (which is really part of Indianapolis), I never visited downtown because at the time there was much turmoil and decline in the inner city. However, Indianapolis today is a surprisingly cultural city with some of the finest War Memorials, Historic Districts, Top-Notch Museums, & spectacular Sporting Venues.

    I don't think the locals realize what an exceptional city it has become in the last 20 years.
    I attribute sports as a major influence to the city's turnaround. While there with my friend Jill Martin in early April, 2005, The Final Four in Women's College Basketball Finals were held in INDY!

    Besides sports, the city has magnificent architecture with several historic districts that have been lovingly preserved. The homes range from German immigrant cottages to Federal/Italianate, Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, & Late Federal styles.

    I was especially fond of the Scottish Rite Cathedral with its Gothic tower, numerous stained-glass windows, and perfect proportions. The Anthenaeum, a massive German structure is also quite imposing. I was most surprised to see the Arabic-styled temple called Murat Centre right downtown in the Massachusetts Avenue Arts District.

    However, the "Crown Jewel" of Indianapolis is the Veteran's Memorial Plaza, a 5-block area with 3 separate segments. It includes University Park Fountain Monuments; Obelisk Square; & American Legion Mall.

    The city has more than 140 parks in the form of nature preserves, greenway trails, linear parks, & modern recreation complexes.

    Must See locations are the Children's Museum, one of the largest & best in the nation; the new The Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Oldfields-Lily House & Gardens, a 26-acre estate & historic home; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art.

    What a city, what a capital, what a great place to visit.

    Capitol Building in Indianapolis, Indiana
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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Visit Lawrence County to Learn About "Cutters"

    by deecat Written Mar 18, 2005

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    Remember the movie about the bike race & the "townies" in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana? It introduced me to the beautiful Indiana Limestone & the men who cut those stones, the "Cutters".

    Indiana's limestone can be seen in buildings all over the world. Did you know that The Empire State Building, The Biltmore, Washington National Cathedral, Lincoln Memorial (& 14 state capitols!), The Pentagon, Chicago's Tribune Tower, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, & New York's Grand Central Station used Indiana Limestone?

    Indiana limestone is special; it's known as Salem limestone to geologists. It's ideal for building because there are so few impurities; "it is composed of fine fossil shells the size of grains of sand held together by a cement of calcium carbonate." It's smooth & does not chip or break easily.

    This limestone comes from a strip of Indiana ground 50 miles long, a few miles wide, & 60 feet deep near the towns of Bedford & Bloomington.

    If you visit Lawrence County Visitors Bureau, you'll find that they offer several self-guided tours. They are easy to follow & make sure you don't miss important sites.

    In the town of Bedford, you can take a Walking Tour that focuses on architecture or one of the Greenhill Cemetery. Both point out the importance of the limestone.
    In the town of Mitchell, you can take a walking tour that features architectural features & interesting buildings in the town.

    Since Lawrence County is known as the "Limestone Capital of the World", the area offers a diverse range of attractions, lots of history, & a multitude of natural beauty.
    It's true that you won't see the FAMOUS BUILDING made of Indiana Limestone, but you will see limestone buildings that are beautiful, & you will be seeing the land that contributed as much as any to the appearance of so many landmarks of our nation.

    Don't miss an opportunity to see this wonderful area & learn about the "Cutters" who actually cut the limestone that is so famous.

    Tunnel made of Indiana Limestone
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    Indiana Dunes State Park

    by deecat Updated Mar 21, 2005

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    3 miles north of Chesterton, Indiana, on Indiana 49 is Indiana Dunes State Park, & it includes over 3 miles of Lake Michigan's southern shore.

    Huge sand dunes rise along the shore, thousands of yrs. ago, the lake deposited sand on the beach while the water level slowly sank. Then, winds blew in from the lake & formed these dunes. When the wind comes over the shore, plants, dunes, & hills slow the wind so that it is forced to drop its load of sand, which, in turn, creates shoreline sand dunes. A really unusual feature is the "blowouts". After many years, the sand blows away & leaves behind dead stumps of what were once living trees. See blowouts on Trail #10. It's really quite weird.

    Thank goodness, much of the remaining dune area is protected as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Additional hiking trails are found in this Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. These trails go by historic structures, wood, wet prairie, ponds, & up to Mt. Baldy.

    Mt. Baldy is one of the largest dunes on Lake Michigan's shore. It's known as a "live dune" because it is still being blown along by the wind. It moves 4 to 5 feet farther from the lake each year. I've heard it called the "smoking dune" because the sand blowing off the top looks like smoke.

    We had a family reunion there one year. From the beach, we were able to swim. Some of the family went fishing; the children built sand castles; & some of the history buffs explored evidence of Indian heritage at the Bailley Homestead.

    Some of the teenagers toured the nature center & learned much about the area, finding out that cross-country skiing is allowed during the winter months. They also found out that it took 50 years to save the dunes; this valuable area was being destroyed by industrialization. After the area was established as a protected area. that led to the acquisition of almost 9,000 acres of dunes & wetlands.

    Spend some quality time at the Indiana Dunes State Park, one of nature's real "wonders"..

    Indiana Dunes State Park
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    Small Town Indiana: Architectual Wonder

    by deecat Updated Apr 19, 2005

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    I had heard about Columbus, Indiana's wonderful architecture. Thank goodness on my Indianapolis trip, I took the time to see Columbus.
    It certainly is a small town in Indiana with some of the finest architecture ever. There are at this time 71 items on the architectual tour of this town of 35,000 people

    Photo is of the St. Peter's Lutheran Church (1988), Gunnar Birkerts, Architect

    Start your visit at the Visitors Center; it's quite an architectural feat itself! It's a landmark, combining buildings of 3 eras. It was built in 1864 and renovated most recently by Kevin Roche.

    Here you can see a video that showcases several of the prominent designers whose buildings stand throughout the city: Kevin Roche, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, and L. M. Pei.

    Columbus is a showcase for American Architecture. It is ranked 4th in the nation in architectural achievement right after New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

    It's known as the "Athens of the Prairie" because it's the only place in the world where one can "look at an Eliel Saarinen church through a Henry Moore arch as you stand in front of an I.M. Pei library"

    Thank goodness for J. Irwin Miller, the president of the Cummins Engine Company because he is the one who now hires great architects from all over the world to design the buildings in Columbus.

    It was The Christian Church (1942) by Eliel Saarininen who started the town's fine architectual reputation. Then there's the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library by I.M. Pei.

    The County Jail is an architectual wonder. I could not figure out what it was from a distance so I ask a local. My mouth was hanging open when she informed me that it was a jail.

    Several other churches have been designed by architect of distinction as has the bridge leading into town. It seems that everywhere one looks, there is another delightful architectual "gem".

    So, if you are ever in the area, make sure you visit wonderful Columbus, Indiana

    St. Peters Lutheran Church
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    Indiana's Clifty Falls State Park

    by deecat Updated Mar 15, 2005

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    For all the people who think that Indiana is flat, just visit Clifty Falls State Park, one mile west of Madison on Indiana 56.

    Clifty Falls has been called "one of Indiana's greatest beauty spots". For me, one of the most beautiful sights was seeing all the Beech & Maple woods that surround the waterways.

    This state park is about 1,4000 acres & has an inn and a swimming pool. There are also tennis courts, shelters with fireplaces for picnicking, concessions, & a playground for children.

    But, what makes Clifty Falls State Park so special is the view that it provides. Visitors are able to see the Ohio River & the Kentucky hillside at one time. Walkers & hikers are able to explore multiple trails that lead to waterfalls, a boulder-strewn canyon, and fossil beds. The canyon "sees" the sun at high noon only.

    Furthermore, it's a great place to go in the winter. If you love birds as I do, you'll be interested in knowing that this is the spot to see winter vulture roosts. It's really quite amazing. (The Inn is open year round.)

    The waterfalls of Clifty Creek & Little Clifty Creek are lovely. To learn more about these waterfalls and the wildlife, you are able to visit the nature center.

    Clifty Falls State Park
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    Indiana Children's Musuem

    by pabertra Updated Oct 7, 2005

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    The Indianapolis Children's Musuem is a state of the art facility with the world's largest water clock. It is also the world's largest children's musuem. Their are tons of fun activities for kids of all ages. This is sure to be a hit with the kids!!!! Don't miss the new $28 million dollar expansion, which includes the Dinosphere exhibit....it is supposed to be unlike anything in the nation!

    A dinosaur exhibit
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    The Circle / Soldiers and Sailors Monument

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    Indianapolis is known as the Circle City, because of the circle that was once the heart of the city. The circle is a bustling area of activity and the main attraction is the intricate Soldiers and Sailors monument that lies in the center. This monument is made of limestone and stands 284.5 feet tall, which is only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty! It was built in 1902 by Bruno Schmitz of Berlin. The four statues at the corner of the monument represent the infantry, calvary, artillery, and navy. This is a must see area for any visitor to Indianapolis! During December they string Christmas lights from the monument to make a huge lighted Christmas tree.

    Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Circle
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    Indiana World War Memorial

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    The memorial is similar to 5th century Greek architecture with its tall stately Ionic columns. The memorial is engraved with this message which perfectly explains its purpose: "To commemorate the valor and sacrifice of the land, sea and air forces of the United States and all who rendered faithful and loyal service at home and overseas in the World War; to inculcate a true understanding and appreciation of the privileged of American citizenship; to inspire patriotism and respect for the laws to the end that peace may prevail, justice be administered, public order maintained and liberty perpetuated." Check out the inside which houses things such as a Korean War helicopter, military firearms, and a Navy Terrier missile to name a few.

    Indiana World War Memorial
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    The Canal District

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    This is one of my favorite places to go in all of Indy. The canal runs through the West side of downtown. This is a really romantic destination with lots of fountains and flowers and places to spread a blanket and have a picnic. Take a walk and enjoy the scenery.The canal leads under some small romantic bridges and through a really nice segment of downtown. It is just a fun place to take a walk and hang out and relax. Also, for a limited period of time, you can take a gondola ride down the canal. Other options include renting a peddleboat or a 4 seater bike that is lots of fun to ride (great for families). This is part of one of the six cultural districts highlighted in my travelogue.

    Cityscape from the Canal
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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    Indiana State House

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    The Indiana State House was built in 1888 and houses representatives of all 3 branches of the government. The State Supreme Court and the Indiana Court of Appeals are housed here. Their are chambers for the Senate and the House of Representatives here as well. The building was designed by Edwin May an Indianapolis architect in the shape of a Greek Cross. The ground level holds the governor's and other executive and administrative offices. The second floor holds the chamber for the House of Representatives on the east, balanced by the Senate chamber on the west. Offices and other rooms surround the open atriums, and the Indiana Supreme Court is located in the north end. You can arrange a tour here if you call (317)-233-5293.

    Indiana State House Walking by at night
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    Veteran's Memorial Plaza

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    This plaza was completed in 1930 and really seems like a large park with its peaceful grassy areas and large shade trees. The heart of the plaza is the large obelisk made of black granite. Near the base of the obelisk are 4 brass panels that represent law, science, religion, and education. Another highlight of the plaza is the display of 51 flags: the American flag and one for each of the 50 states. The plaza is used for many large outdoor events including the annual 4th fest celebrating Independence Day.

    Obelisk Fountain in Veteran's Memorial Plaza
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    White River State Park

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    This park lies right in the middle of the city and has spectacular views of the skyline, is close to attractions such as the NCAA Hall of Champions, Victory Field, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana State History Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, and has access to both White River walkway and the canal. This is a trendy and scenic place of town that the whole family will love.

    View of White River from park Sculpture in the park
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    Scottish Rite Cathedral

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    This beautiful building only gives a hint of the opulence that lies inside. From the elegant lounge to the over the top ballroom and gorgeous tiler's room everything about this place is luxurious! If you are lucky enough to find an unlocked door duck your head in and take a peek.

    Scottish Rite Cathedral
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    University Park

    by pabertra Updated Jun 8, 2005

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    University Park was set aside in 1821 to be the site of the state's first university, thus its name. The university was never built, but the property did hold the state's first high school. In 1876 the state turned the property into a park. The center of the park holds the Depew Fountain. The fountain shows children playing and has a woman draped in a toga at the top. The park has several sculptures, including one, of the only president from Indiana, President Benjamin Harrison.

    Depew Fountain in University Park
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Indiana Things to Do

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