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If you have $250, you have a winter getaway!

Feb 26, 2015 by Kara Baber

Monon Community Center indoor PoolGrey skies and frigid temps have brought the on the wintery blues. With cabin fever setting in, it's time to make plans for a little getaway! Planning an escape to Hamilton County, Indiana is made easy with the trip planner and won't empty your wallet. Families will enjoy warming up indoor adventures including bowling, laser tag or swimming. Or take a grown-up getaway with your special someone or a group of friends. Fill your days with a visit to the indoor experiences at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, shopping, seemingly endless attractions and dining at locally-owned restaurants. See the sample itineraries below for great ideas that you can mix and match to create a memorable trip.

Create.Connect at Conner PrairieFamily of Four Adventure for less than $250
-Overnight accommodations including breakfast ($100)

-A tasty meal at a Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream, home of the one-pound Big Ugly burger, or Big Hoffa's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que known for tasty pulled pork sandwiches and smoked ribs that fall right off the bone ($40)

-Pick one of the following: a game of mini pin bowling and arcade games at Ben and Ari's OR a game of tag at Laser Flash, plus tokens for arcade games ($32 or $25)

-Pick one of the following: experience the indoor exhibits at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park OR splash around the indoor pool and waterslides and the Monon Center ($54 or $50)

-Delight in the world of dollhouses and miniatures at The Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections ($16)

Couples or Friends Getaway for around $250
-Overnight accommodations including breakfast ($100)

Love Lust Poetry couple Nickel Plate Arts -Stroll the Historic Noblesville Square and stop for lunch at Courtney's Kitchen OR shop for treasured finds at A Corner Cottage and stop for a sweet treat at Rosie's Place ($30)

-Meet artists in their studios and take in the gallery exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts Campus ($0)

- Select from a menu of adventurous dining choices at the farm to table restaurant The Local Eatery and Pub OR enjoy an authentic Italian meal at Matteo's Ristorante Italiano ($75 or $100)

-If weather permits, hike the trails at Strawtown Koteewi Park and stop in the Taylor Center of Natural History to learn about archeological activity in the park ($0)

Inspired? Now get started planning your perfect getaway. Get started by checking out the hotels in the area. Use the trip planner at to build your own itinerary for your winter getaway. Before you leave for your trip download our free apps available in the App Store and Google Play. The nearby feature will allow you to find what restaurants and attractions around you when you are here.

Safe travels and happy planning!


The Weekend of February 26- March 1, 2015 is Closer Than you Think!

Feb 25, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

This weekend is a great one to get the family together for a trip to Hamilton County, Indiana. Take in a theater production, learn about maple syrup and even shop for local products to take home. Read on for those ideas and find even more getaway fun on our online calendar. The Tarkington w/ logo

Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre presents: The Cat in the Hat
February 24-28

Carmel, Indiana
See the Dr. Seuss classic come to life on stage! Special matinee performances of the show are available through Saturday. Expect appearances from Thing One and Thing Two and of course the Cat and his hat.

Carmel Community Players present: August: Osage County
February 27-March 1

Carmel, Indiana
When the Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. This is the last weekend to catch this Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning play at the Playhouse! Grab dinner before the show at one of the many eateries at Clay Terrace for a complete night out.

The Bray Homestead


Maple Syrup Program at Bray Family Homestead Park
February 28

Noblesville, Indiana
Hamilton County Parks staff will demonstrate the syrup tapping process this Saturday for curious park visitors. See how the Bray Family collected syrup for the last 150 years on the property and tour the Maple Grove, Sugar Shack and Sugar Store too. Maybe you'll even get to sample some of the sweet stuff!

Winter Farmers MarketWinter Market Shopping
February 28

Carmel, Indiana
Longing for the days of local produce? The Winter Farmers Market can help tide you over with selections of locally made goods like bread, eggs, tea and more. Over 30 vendors will be available for browsing through from 9 a.m.- noon at Founders Park.

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Hamilton County: an “apportunity” for outdoor adventure

Feb 19, 2015 by Kate Burkhardt

Monon Trail CarmelWe sit at our jobs, we sit at meals, we sit while we watch our favorite television shows. Since travel is all about a departure from the ordinary, gone are the days
of sitting on vacations!

Whether you're looking for amped up adventure or urban exploration, the new Hamilton County Recreation mobile app is your personal guide to the best outdoor experiences. Download to your iPhone or Android smartphone for free guides to trails, parks, water, golf and even places to take the dogs based on your location.

Instead of coming home feeling sluggish after a weekend of overeating and under-exercising, why not spend a weekend getting up and active? Rev up your heart rate and kick-start your metabolism with an active (and delicious) weekend this spring in Hamilton County!

White River CanoeingWith more than 300 miles trails, the best way to experience Hamilton County is by bicycle or on foot. The Monon Trail, once a highly traveled railroad, runs through the heart of the Carmel Arts and Design District and all the way on to Westfield. Hikers and bikers traveling via the Monon Trail can take a snack break at Vitality Bowls, a brand new restaurant in the Carmel Arts and Design District. Hungry adventurers can "build a bowl" of healthy ingredients like berries, nuts, flaxseed and soymilk.

Float your boat on one of Hamilton County's many water features. Geist and Morse reservoirs offer a combined 3,332 acres of water awaiting boaters and fisherman. Kayakers love multiple access points to White River - which winds all the way to downtown Indianapolis. Adventure-hungry canoers can rent equipment for the journey down river from White River Canoe Company in Noblesville. Divvy selection

Hamilton County is home to 30 parks - each with unique aspects to explore! Let arrows fly at Strawtown Koteewi's new archery range or take to the trails on horseback. For some practice in serenity, choose from 72 different types of loose-leaf tea at Tea Buds Brewing Company before ducking off the Monon Trail in Carmel and into the peaceful Japanese Garden pocket park, featuring a tranquil pond and Japanese sculptures and artwork.

For a dinner that won't bust your belt, nosh on small plates at divvy, located at Carmel City Center, Divvy offers sharing plates with options for those wishing to dine vegetarian, vegan, lactose or gluten-free. Popular diet-friendly and gourmet menu items include grilled bok choy with red sea salt and lemon vinaigrette and edamame hummus with raw root veggies or baked multigrain crackers.

"Appy" adventuring!

The Weekend of February 19-22, 2015 is Closer Than you Think!

Feb 18, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

What do beer, chickens and wizards have in common? They are all somehow involved in happenings this weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana! Read on to discover how, plus check out our online calendar for a full list of upcoming events. Beer glasses

Fishers on Tap
February 21

Fishers, Indiana
Tickets always go fast for this annual beer celebration. Fishers on Tap will feature samples from local breweries, tasty appetizers, live music and more. Best of all? It's for a great cause. Proceeds will go to local service agencies that support youth and family organizations.

Nature's Inspiration Art ExhibitCool Creek
February 21- March 8

Carmel, Indiana
This annual exhibit at Cool Creek Nature Center is always a delight for nature lovers. See the work of artists who are inspired by capturing nature's beauty. From photography to paintings and amateur to professional, all types of art will be on display.

The Indiana Wind Symphony presents: Wizards, Witches & Hobbits, Oh My!
February 21
Palladium Interior
Carmel, Indiana
The Indiana Wind Symphony and the Carmel High School Wind Symphony will play selections from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Wicked and more during this special musical presentation. Admission starts at just $5 for students.

Prairie Pursuits: Keeping and Raising Chickens
February 21

Fishers, Indiana
Conner Prairie continues its series of adult learning classes with an installment about all things chicken. Learn from Livestock Manager Kevyn Miller about the best practices for keeping your own flock. Registration is required.

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The Weekend of February 12-15, 2015 is Closer Than you Think!

Feb 12, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us here at Hamilton County Tourism! Whether you are celebrating with your sweetheart, a group of friends or prefer to go stag, there are plenty of options in Hamilton County this weekend. See a movie, grab a bite at a local restaurant or even attend an Anti-Valentine's Day mixer! Find those ideas and more in this post plus check our online calendar for a full list of happenings.

Great American Songbook Film Series
February 13
Carmel, Indiana
Here's your chance to see classic films on the big screen once again. Heartland Film and The Great American Songbook Foundation have teamed up to bring these movies back to life. This Friday enjoy a showing of The King and I for just 10 bucks.

Love Lust Poetry blurb

Valentine's Day Date Nights

February 13-14
Noblesville, Indiana
This weekend brings options for Valentine's Day fun at Nickel Plate Arts for singles, couples and even families. Singles can make art, not love at Friday night's anti-Valentine's Day mixer. On Saturday families are welcome from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. for crafts and sweet treats, then beginning at 6 p.m. is a celebration of love with everything from live music to cupcakes.

Carmel Arts & Design Gallery Walk

Carmel Arts & Design Second Saturday Gallery Walk
February 14
Carmel, Indiana
Art lovers, this perfectly timed gallery walk is for you. Special art shows, activities and even carriage rides will be happening in the Carmel Arts & Design District for the monthly gallery walk. Grab dinner or a drink at an eatery in the District and you have one artsy Valentine's Day!

Melt the Trail 5K Fun Run
February 14
Westfield, Indiana
Get fit in the name of love! Grab your partner or a group of friends and take to the trails of Grand Park for this lovely new 5K event. Day-of registration is available, but be sure to show up early for festive face painting. Valentine's Day costumes are encouraged!

President's Day CP

Presidents Day - Free Day at Conner Prairie
February 16
Fishers, Indiana
Admission to Conner Prairie this Monday will be free in celebration of Presidents Day. Special presidentially themed indoor crafts, games and activities will be available from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

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Fighting Off Winter…With a Spoon!

Feb 10, 2015 by Caroline Mosey

OSoup making Urbal Ladlene of my favorite things about winter has to be soup. I know soup isn't entirely seasonal-I've downed my fair share of summer gazpachos and rainy day tomato bisques. But there's undeniable warmth-soul warmth-in a steaming hot bowl of soup on a freezing night.

I've been experimenting with different soup recipes this year, and while I've found a few winners I can make on my own, other types are best left to the culinary pros. Hamilton County has no shortage of soup masterminds who can make a perfect roux and handle immersion blenders in their sleep, crafting unbelievable chowders and chilis to fight off the winter chill. Here's a roundup of some local favorites, so grab your spoon!Cafe Patachou Soup

Café Patachou's Tomato-Artichoke soup will satisfy any carnivore with its meaty, delightfully artichoke-y texture and mounds of house-made croutons and shaved Parmesan. You can practically stand your spoon up in this heavenly creation, making it the perfect pick for a stand-alone meal. No grilled cheese necessary.

The Upland Carmel Tap House makes a chunky Buffalo Chili loaded with black and white beans and simmered with their own (and my favorite!) Bad Elmer's Porter. Thai Castle in Carmel makes a perfect Tom Yum soup, which marries the flavors of chicken and lemongrass. Kona Grill's Clam Chowder takes the classic to a new level with applewood bacon and creamy white cheddar (and wouldn't be complete without a healthy shower of cracked black pepper). And Fishers beloved steakhouse Peterson's knows how to cook more than just filets; their Maine Lobster Bisque is made with lump lobster meat, herb oil and chives (this "surf" is so good, you just might forget your "turf")

Urban Ladle SoupAlso on the radar is Urban Ladle , makers of gorgeous gourmet (and gluten-free) soups. Quarts are $10 and sold at the Carmel Farmers Market, Hubbard and Cravens City Center location, Moody's Butcher Shop and Joe's Butcher Shop. Take home pre-made soups like Split Pea, Butternut Squash, Chicken Tortilla and Beef Vegetable. Check their website for which soups they're offering as samples at the Carmel Farmer's Market each week!

The Weekend of February 5-8, 2015 is Closer Than you Think!

Feb 05, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Love is in the air as Valentine's Day is quickly approaching in Hamilton County, Indiana! Whether you love the theater, great eats or fabulous art, you can find it all this weekend. Read on for those ideas and check our online calendar of events for even more.

Rosie's Place serving

Devour Noblesville
February 6-12
First Fridays in Noblesville always mean something special, but Devour Noblesville will bring extra deliciousness to the mix. Over 10 participating restaurants will have special offers available through February 12. Special menu items and special pricing make for a great way to try some of the best food in Noblesville!

Booth Tarkingon Civic Theatre presents: Moon Over Buffalo
February 6-21
See Civic Theatre's latest show that opens this weekend at The Tarkington! Follow the hilarious story of George and Charlotte Hay, former acting stars. The Hays may have one last shot at making it big, but first they must overcome the fact that everything that can go wrong has indeed gone wrong.

Love, Lust and Poetry, Part TroisNPA exhibit inside
February 6-28
Enjoy the third annual Love, Lust and Poetry exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts. Opening Friday, this exhibit is filled with portrayals of the many forms of love in many different mediums. Hear local poets perform their pieces and explore the galleries to find your favorite piece with your sweetie.

Heart Hikes
February 6-7
Explore the great outdoors at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers. Heart hikes on both Friday and Saturday are open to all and are a great way to keep moving and exploring during winter! This special hike is perfect for families or even as a unique date option. Be sure to stop by the shelter in the park to warm up at the campfire.

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Valentine dates need not break the banks (but they certainly can)

Feb 03, 2015 by Shanna Mooney

While in the dead of winter, there is one day many of us warm up a little, if only due to the Hallmark-induced emotions or newly gifted sparkle or lace. I'm talking, of course, about Valentine's Day. Wine at Vine & Table

This is a day when there are no excuses; you simply must, in one way or another, declare your love for your significant other. Believe it or not, money doesn't have to be of top concern. At least for most people, it really is about the feeling and not the spending.

I offer a few ideas:

Date night in
Only you know what your love might like, or try something new. But here's a tip: if you add flame, it certainly ups the romance. So build a fire, turn on the gas log, or light some candles, AND: add some wine or cocoa, games, a movie-marathon, make dinner together, have takeout, even build a fort and have a pillow fight.

Make reservations
Hamilton County certainly has its share of romantic places to dine. But sometimes the element of surprise can be to your advantage. For example, White Castle (Yes, that White Castle, of "slider" fame.) offers a reservation-only experience that includes tablecloths, decorations, a special menu, and table side service. Call 317-269-4590 to make a reservation at the Carmel and Noblesville locations. Or how about a hearthside supper at Conner Prairie? If you'd rather do something more traditional, some eateries offer online reservations that you can make right from Lust Poetry couple Nickel Plate Arts

Mix art with--or without--love
Nickel Plate Arts has something Valentine-related for everyone this year: Feb. 13 is reserved for those both unattached and 21 and over. It includes art activities, drinks and snacks. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Feb. 14, children's activities and treats are available. Later that night, however, (6-10 p.m.) it switches to date night with the Love, Lust & Poetry exhibit. Adult art projects are available, as are music, drinks and snacks.

New Year resolution revival
Did you and your sweetie vow to work out? Get healthy? Have one or both of you slipped a bit? Why not use this day as a way to renew the resolution together? Make a walk more romantic by holding hands. Go dancing--without siting out the fast songs to make it a true workout. Sign up for yoga--together. Hit the gym (like Monon Community Center) and workout, then give each other a massage to relax your muscles.

Massage for two
Many spas offer Valentine specials or have options for two. The Woodhouse Day Spa, for example, offers a Duet Massage, where two therapists perform side-by-side full-body massages on you and a guest. Prices are $180 for 50 minutes, $250 for 80 minutes. For $460, you can book Two's Company, which includes a 50-minute Duet Massage, facials and pedicures.Valentine at Prairie Guest House

Overnight possibilities
Turn Valentine's Day into a romantic weekend at one of Hamilton County's many Bed and Breakfasts. The Prairie Guest House, in Fishers, for example, offers a 4-course dinner by candlelight for $120 per couple. That price includes a bottle of wine. Check overnight availability online here.

Roving romance
Waited too late to make reservations? Nah! You meant to do that, right?! Pick an area with easy-walking distance between restaurants and bars and sample away! (I'm thinking the downtown area of several Hamilton County cities would be perfect.) Go into the bar area of several and chose a cocktail and appetizer or items to share. Once you're almost finished, go into the final place and grab coffee and dessert. Or take it to go and head home for a romantic finish to the evening.



Skate the Winter Away

Jan 30, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Winter sports intern Chris took to the ice to bring you some options for winter fun ideas Hamilton County!

It's the middle of winter and you find yourself rather bored with your entertainment and exercise options. You may want to exercise with your family or watch an exciting athletic event, but you could spend a lot of money going to a gym or paying big bucks to watch a professional sporting event. Why not try something new? Head to one of the convenient skating rinks scattered throughout Hamilton County: The Arctic Zone of Westfield, The Carmel Ice Skadium, and The Forum at Fishers. They are all great places to go in these cold winter months!

Carmel Ice Skadium


If you want some exercise, learn how to skate or play hockey, the Arctic Zone and Ice Skadium teach group classes that meet once a week at a variety of times. Rated members of the Professional Skaters Association skating classes as well as great coaches teach people of all ages how to play hockey. The Forum has the same deal; the only difference is that Elite Skating LLC teaches their skate lessons. These classes are very convenient for all calendars so there will generally be a time that you can make it to a lesson. The lessons are very fun and kind to your wallet, as well.

The Forum at Fishers


Once you have taken some lessons and feel ready to go out and skate on your own, every rink has open skating times to show off your new skills at a very reasonable price. Check each rink's calendar to see the times of open skate, but it is generally open every three or four hours. Carmel Ice Skadium and the Arctic Zone both have cosmic skating at 7:30pm on the weekends, and the Forum has the same deal on weekends and some weekdays. Prices vary from rink to rink and from time to time, but it probably should not cost over $12 anywhere you go. These open skates are a great way to get exercise and have fun with friends!

The Arctic


If you are not the greatest athlete but want to watch some great athletes, a hockey game might be a good option. All locations are the homes rinks of some fantastic hockey teams and some even host college club teams. The Forum is the home of the Central Indiana Knights, a combination team of players all over Hamilton Country, the Lawrence Bearcats, another combination team featuring players from all over central Indiana, and HSE. The Forum is also the home to youth hockey leagues, a curling league, and Ball State's club team. The Skadium and Arctic Zone are the homes of Brebeuf Jesuit, Carmel, and Zionsville High Schools hockey teams. These events are usually free to all but be prepared to pay a small amount just in case. The games are generally on the weekend but every once in a while there might be a weekend game.

The hockey rinks in Hamilton County are great options for cheap entertainment or exercise. These are high-quality facilities and are full of fun for the entire family!



Corner your creativity for inspired home design

Jan 29, 2015 by Kate Burkhardt

IDCToo often, people focus intently on updates to waistlines and wallets at the start of a new year, neglecting to give any thought to refreshing what lies inside their own four walls. Home is a haven, an oasis for resting and recharging while business and busyness buzz outside. With the New Year in the rearview, resolve to hone in on your home-decorating skills in Hamilton County in 2015. IDC Chandelier

Kick-start your creativity with a "build your own" breakfast sandwich and a latte at Blu Moon Café, located in the heart of the Carmel Arts and Design District inside the Indiana Design Center. The Indiana Design Center is a one-stop spot of many shops for inspiration and professional expertise. The "open to the public" design center in Indiana not only boasts extensive showrooms and interior decorating boutiques, but also special classes where you can work with a pro - for free! Every third Tuesday of the month from January through April at 10:30 a.m., an IDC designer will lead workshops designed to educate on topics like kitchen design, preparing a home for the real estate market and decorating a space that both you and your spouse will love. Can't make it to a workshop? Call the IDC to set up a complimentary, 50-minute appointment with one of their "designers on call." 

Make sure take a stroll through the showrooms on the first floor of the IDC, including a stop in quirky Rogue Décor Co. and chandelier wonderland Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting gallery. Don't forget to snap some photos of items that inspire you!

If you're searching for inspiration as well as restoration, several antique shops nestle with their wares on the Historic Noblesville Square. The sprawling Logan Village Mall is comprised of 40 independent vendors selling everything from antique knick-knacks to local art to repurposed furniture. For more whimsical home additions and handcrafted items, visit Whimzy and A Corner Cottage for new twists on old items, as well as gifts and plenty of free ideas for crafts to try at home!

NPA Studio Artist

Finish gathering some inspiration at Nickel Plate Arts in the historic Judge Stone House to browse the current first floor exhibition of local art and see artists at work in their studios on the second floor!

Finally, try your freehand at Kiln Creations in Noblesville and exercise your artistic skills painting pottery. Make anything from a decorative plate to a vase and have it shipped to you once it is finished!

Find what inspires you in Hamilton County and your home will thank you!


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