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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!


The Weekend is Closer Than You Think: January 29-February 1, 2015

Jan 28, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Tasty chocolate and filling Hearthside Suppers, a trio of tenors and a trio of new theater shows- this weekend is packed in Hamilton County! Read on for those ideas and check out the Visit Hamilton County online calendar for even more things to do.

Chocolate for the Spirit making chocolateChocolate Connoisseur Class
January 29
Chocoholics, rejoice! Chocolate for the Spirit has a class just for you. Master chocolatier and owner, Julie, will walk the class through the history of chocolate. Yes, the class DOES include tastings too. Make reservations for this class or one of the upcoming others.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents: The Texas Tenors
January 30 & 31
The Texas Tenors will make their big central Indiana debut presented by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra at The Palladium. The group comprised of Marcus Collins, John Hagen, and JC Fisher, got their start on "America's Got Talent" and have been performing together ever since. The talented trio of tenors are known for blending styles ranging from classical to gospel and of course adding a little dose of country charm. 

Texas Tenors

Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie
Thursdays- Sundays
Hearthside Suppers continue at Conner Prairie with new dates added. This February expands the offering of Hearthside Suppers to Thursday- Sunday evenings. Diners will not only be treated to a full 19th century meal, but also learn how to prepare some dishes as well. With entertainment and games to boot, it's an entire evening of historical fun!

Three Opening Weekends
January 30CP Hearthside Supper NEW
Three new theatre shows will celebrate opening weekends beginning Friday! The Actors Theatre of Indiana will present the mystery/comedy The 39 Steps through February 15. Returning after years of hiatus, the play Bus Stop will premier again at The Belfry Theatre. Last but not least, the three-person show Home Games will debut at The Westfield Playhouse. Pair any of these shows with dinner at a local restaurant and you've got a date night!

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The Weekend of January 22-25, 2015 is Closer Than you Think!

Jan 22, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

From cosmic bowling to seeing a bass guitar virtuoso live, this weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana has quite the variety of events. Craft your own weekend getaway with the following ideas and check our online calendar of events for even more.

Cooper's Startdust Bowling

Stardust Bowl Cosmic Bowling
Fridays and Saturdays
Head inside for some winter fun at Coopers Stardust Bowl in Noblesville. The lights will go down, the lasers will turn on and the music will go up for cosmic bowling nights this winter! What a fun idea for date night, a family outing or getting together with friends. Cosmic bowling starts at 10 p.m. Fridays and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays through March 28.

The Center Presents: Emerson String Quartet
January 23
"America's greatest quartet" is stopping by The Palladium on Friday! With 8 Grammy Awards under their belt, the Emerson String Quartet is sure to impress. The program includes Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn and begins at 8 p.m. Get tickets before they're gone!

 Cp Hearth

Baking Bread: Hearth Style
January 24
Learn to bake various types of breads at Conner Prairie this Saturday. The first class in the Prairie Pursuits series geared towards adults will teach the basics of all things bread. From traditional oven baking to old school hearth baking, this class will cover it all! Reservations are required for all Prairie Pursuits classes, see the schedule here.

Stanley Clarke Trio

The Center Presents: Stanley Clarke Trio
January 25
Electric and acoustic bass virtuoso Stanley Clarke will take over The Palladium stage on Sunday. Concert goers will be treated to Clarke's award-winning jazz fusion style. This show is a must-see for bass enthusiasts!

Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.  



Jordan’s Eats: St. Yared Ethiopian Cuisine & Coffeehaus

Jan 20, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

St. Yared logoJordan, our digital marketing coordinator, has a passion for good eats. And as a former football player, he sure knows how to chow down on lots of grub! So who better to tell you about some of Hamilton County's unique dishes and eating challenges? Read on to find out "What will Jordan eat?"

For my first Jordan's Eats of 2015, I wanted to try something totally new and different. Enter: St. Yared Ethiopian Cuisine & Coffeehaus in Fishers. This little eatery is tucked away on Fall Creek Road right by Geist Reservoir. There's a full bar, lunch and dinner menus, plus a full service coffee shop inside. Upon entering, I was greeted with bright colors and patterns and lots of Ethiopian art that served to set the mood for the meal. The menu offered up some great lunch specials and a very useful section about the history and tradition behind Ethiopian cuisine. I had never tried Ethiopian food before, but I was in for a treat! St. Yared interior

To say the least, Ethiopian dining is unique, both in the taste of the food and the way you eat it. The waitress was very helpful in explaining things to newbies, offering suggestions for what to try and helpful hints for how to eat it all. I ordered the Ye-Doro Tibs, which is described on their menu as cubed chicken breast cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and seasoned with St. Yared's special Ethiopian seasoning and served with Injera. Injera is a type of spongy bread in the form of a very thin pancake that most of the dishes are served with. Everything else is served on the Injera and you use it to scoop up the other food items, although the waitress was kind enough to offer silverware if I was not comfortable eating with my hands. The chicken was slightly sweet, spicy but not too spicy and had a unique ginger aftertaste. The veggies were served as a salad with a very light dressing. Eating the salad portion with the Injera was a challenge, but one that I took on!


St. Yared Chicken dish


My dining companions both tried the St. Yared Ye-doro Mereque (Soup) that they described as slightly spicy and packed with veggies. It was served with Ambasha bread, which was much more like a traditional risen wheat bread than the Injera. The bread came with honey and a type of fresh cheese called Ayib. I was lucky enough to sneak a sample of it and boy was it good, especially with the honey and cheese toppings.

The soup and Ambasha bread

Overall, it was a great departure from the norm. My favorite part of the eating experience was the Injera bread. The bread itself was tasty and combined with chicken was even better! I will definitely be going back to St. Yared's for more Ethiopian cuisine and tradition. Next time I'll try a combination plate so I can sample several meat and vegetarian dishes at once and maybe a traditional coffee on the side. Cheers to trying new things in 2015!

Stay tuned for more of Jordan's Eats! What do YOU think he should try next?

The Weekend is Closer Than You Think: January 15-19, 2015

Jan 15, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Winter Market ShoppingCrazy acrobats, local food and... Winnie the Pooh? Yes, all have a part in this weekend's Hamilton County happenings! It's a great weekend for families to get out and about to explore these events and more. Read on for great weekend ideas and check our online calendar of events too. 

The Center Presents: Diavolo: "Architecture in Motion"
January 16-17
Dance, martial arts and gymnastics come together for an amazing show. Throw in some moving architecture set pieces, and you have one stunning and unique show called "Architecture in Motion." Get your tickets now, there are only two nights of this show!

Winter Farmers Market
Saturdays through March 14
Over 30 vendors will be at this Saturday's morning market in Carmel. From herbs to meats, eggs and honey, market-goers will be pleasantly surprised with the winter selections. Plus prepared foods and baked goods are available if yWinnie the Pooh Dayou're hungry on the spot. The market is in a new heated location this year as well! Visit from 9 a.m.- noon at the Wilfong Pavilion at Founders Park.

Winnie the Pooh Day
January 18
Little ones will delight in this celebration of a classic story. Fishers Parks will host a day filled with Winnie the Pooh fun to celebration National Winnie the Pooh Day. Families can enjoy games both indoors and outdoors, story time and even a visit with the beloved honey loving bear himself. Check out Fishers Parks on Facebook and Twitter for up to date info about all of the fun!

MLK Jr. Day - Free/Community DayMLK Day Conner Prairie
January 19
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Conner Prairie will be open to the public free of charge. Art and craft activities honoring peace and unity will be offered along with special activities in the Create.Connect and Discovery Station indoor areas. Artists from Nickel Plate Arts will have featured works on display that feature the theme of peaceful protest.

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Creative culinary classes

Jan 14, 2015 by Kate Burkhardt

Would you rather learn how to make the perfect chocolate bar from a master chocolatier or just buy a chocolate bar from a candy store? According to a 2013 American Express survey, 72% of people would rather spend money on experiences rather than physical items. However, the rise of experiential travel combined with the "foodie movement" has cued curiosity about where food comes from and how to creatively prepare culinary concoctions at home. Hamilton County has become a destination where you can not only eat great food, but learn how to make it too.

Feast your curiosity on four Hamilton County foodie classes: Chocolate for the Spirit chocolates

Chocolatier classes - Chocolate for the Spirit
Master chocolatier Julie Bolejack offers award-winning expertise at Chocolate for the Spirit in Carmel. During a two-hour Chocolate Connoisseur 101 class, "students" explore the history of chocolate and learn to develop appreciation for the world's best chocolates through a variety of tastings. Julie's chocolates, including some of the rarest chocolate in the world, have earned multiple Top 5 finishes at the New York Chocolate Show and awards from the International Chocolate Salon. Each class costs $39 and includes items to take home!

Winemaker Wednesdays - Blackhawk Winery
Beginning in 2015, Sheridan vineyard owners and winemakers John and Deb Miller will host a variety of viniculture classes and events for a monthly "Winemaker Wednesday" at Blackhawk Winery. With topics ranging from basic winemaking to pairing wines and cheese, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the winemaking process and taste delicious local wines! Each class costs $10 per person.

Tea Tasting Evenings - Tina's Traditional Old English Kitchen
British expat and tea expert Tina Jesson opened Tina's Traditional Old English Kitchen in Carmel in October 2014 to share her passion for tea with Hamilton County and beyond. Along with serving lunch and afternoon tea daily, Tina hosts special Tea Tasting Evenings where participants can taste up to 10 types of tea, as well as learn the history, health benefits and brewing techniques for each. Tea tastings cost $25 per person and include hors d'oeuvres along with tea. Call for reservations.

Hearthside Suppers - Conner Prairie
A tradition at Conner Prairie since 1983, Hearthside Suppers allow participants to learn about 19th-century cooking Hearthside Jo Ann 2techniques and foods. Guests prepare and then enjoy an authentic, 1800's-style meal by candlelight, including Pork 'a la Normande, baked chicken with herbs, roasted root vegetables, buttered beets, dilled green beans, cornbread and more. Following supper, participants can tour the historic 1823 Conner House, learn about life in 19th-century Indiana from costumed hosts and enjoy entertainment in the house's parlor. Hearthside Suppers cost $65 for adults and $60 for kids.



The Weekend is Closer Than You Think: January 8-11, 2015

Jan 08, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Artsy and tasty would be two great ways to describe this weekend in Hamilton County! Discover culinary delights, fresh art exhibits and more throughout the county. You can even catch a classic flick on the big screen! Read on for great weekend ideas and check our online calendar of events for even more.

Collaboration: painters, poets, playwrights, singers, songwriters, sculptors and actors unite!Love Lust Poetry couple Nickel Plate Arts
January 2-31, Wednesday- Saturday

The newest Nickel Plate Arts Exhibit brings together artists of all kinds. Painters, poets, playwrights, singers, songwriters, sculptors and actors will all have a hand in this exhibit. See how each inspires one another and collaborate together in the name of art.

Fishers Culinary Tour
January 8

Taste the best of Fishers culinary and brew offerings on the brand new Small Potatoes Fishers Culinary Tour. Stops include Books & Brews, Peterson's Restaurant, Prairie Guest House and Gigi's Cupcakes. The Small Potatoes staff will escort tour-goers on a motor coach to each location. What a great idea for a unique date night or friends get together! Small Potatoes has even more tours planned in the New Year too.

Carmel Community Players present: An Enchanted CabaretCarmel Community Players
January 9 - 11

Enjoy an enchanting evening of songs with the Carmel Community Players. Hear your Disney favorites from Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Frozen plus songs from the Broadway smash Wicked. There may even be a few sing-a-long opportunities for you song lovers!

Great American Songbook Film Series
January 9

Head to the Palladium this Friday to see the classic movie Annie on the big screen. Bet your bottom dollar (ok, it's $10) that you'll have a great time reliving this classic tale with the family. While you're there, check out the Songbook Foundation exhibit on the Gallery level.

Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie
Jan 9 - 31, Friday-Sunday

Discover how to prepare a 19th century meal during Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie. After learning about recipes, ingredients and cooking techniques, diners will be treated to a full meal and entertainment. Highlights include Ossabaw hog sausage, baked chicken, several sides, plus a gingerbread dessert. All of festivities take place in the historic Conner House right on the Conner Prairie grounds.

Carmel Arts & Design Second Saturday Gallery WalkHearthsideSuppers
January 10

It's time again for Second Saturday fun in the Carmel Arts & Design District! From 5-9 p.m. the art galleries and shops will be open for visitors to browse and many will have special sales and exhibits. Don't forget to fill up at one of the unique restaurants in the area too! From pizza at Bazbeaux to fabulous pub fare at Muldoon's, there's something for everyone.

Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.


To the Theatre!

Jan 06, 2015 by Emma Diebold

DiavoloWinter is a great time to catch some indoor performances by one of the several talented theatre groups in Hamilton County. From small community theatres to touring acts stopping by The Center for the Performing Arts, there is quite a variety coming up this season! Here are some highlights:

The Carmel Community Players will present An Enchanted Cabaret from January 9-11. Attendees will be treated to songs from Disney classics like Aladdin and even some Broadway tunes. Best of all? The Playhouse is located at Clay Terrace mall so you can grab a bite to eat (or use up those gift cards from Christmas!) before or after the show.

The 39 StepsDance, martial arts and gymnastics will come together for a thrilling performance called coming to The Tarkington. Performers will present two pieces that will use actual architectural set pieces to create stories. It's rather difficult to explain, but just judging from the photo to the left, it looks like an amazing, one-of-a-kind show! Tickets are available now for shows on January 16 and 17.

Planning ahead? The end of the month brings the opening of three new shows throughout the county. Pair a performance near Valentine's Day with dinner at a local Hamilton County eatery for a unique date night.

The two-time Tony Award winning play The 39 Steps is being presented by the Actors Theatre of Indiana. Think Hitchcock plus a spy novel with a dash of Monty Python humor, and you've got the recipe for this great show. The tagline is "Hitchcock meets hilarious," after all! The show runs from January 30- February 15.

Belfry Theater

Bus Stop, a play originally produced during The Belfry Theatre's 1983-84 season will return to the stage once again beginning January 30. A bus makes a stop at a roadside diner, only to get stranded for the evening. Friendship, drama and even a little romance ensues.

Also beginning a run on January 30, Home Games will be presented by the Westfield Playhouse. This 3-person show revolves around a former Yankee baseball player, his daughter Mertle, and Mertle's new love interest. Will the former Yankee stick to his stubborn ways or allow Mertle to be with the love of her life? You'll have to go see the show to find out!


Ring in the New Year Hamilton County Style

Dec 23, 2014 by Emma Diebold

New Year's Eve is closer than you think, and it's time to secure your spot at the perfect party! Thankfully, there is a wide variety of ways to bring a great start to 2015 here in Hamilton County, from an island vibe party to kicking off your New Year's resolutions early. Mansion outside

The Traditional:
The Mansion at Oak Hill will continue their tradition of a classy party for New Year's Eve. Hors d'oeuvres, a filet dinner and lots of desserts will fill the bellies of party-goers as they dance the night away with help from a live band.

The Escape:
Escape to the Caribbean this New Year's! Ok, maybe not entirely, but Prairie Guest House will be ringing in the New Year island style with music, fruity drinks, and island fare. Extra perk? You can reserve a room so you won't have to make a cold journey home in your grass skirt. Brunch will be provided on New Year's Day, this is a bed and breakfast after all!

The Kid-tastic:
For those with kiddos in tow, you can still have a blast this NYE. Laser Flash in Carmel is extending their hours so your can start the New Year with a game of laser tag! Unusual yes, super costly no. $25 bucks gets you games of tag, bottomless fountain drinks, a party hat and a noise maker. Prairie Guest House

 The Chiller:
It may not last until midnight, but Winter Wonderland on Ice at the Carmel Ice Skadium will be open late on NYE. Skating enthusiasts or beginners are welcome to the public skate hours of 12-5 p.m. and 6-10:30 p.m. and the rink is decorated for the holidays. So grab a scarf and some hot chocolate and prepare to ring in the New Year in a cool way.

Lutz's Steak HouseThe Classic:
Raise your glass for a very special celebration at Lutz's Steak House in Noblesville. Owner Nancy will be retiring and has invited everyone to celebrate with her! Prime rib and other classic dishes will be offered along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Race to the New Year - Image

The Health Nut:
New Year's resolution? Check. All of you wishing to start the New Year on a healthy note can take part in Race to the New Year on December 27. Cool Creek Park will play host to race-goers who can walk or run the 5K through the beautiful park.


Shop local for quirky last-minute gifts

Dec 19, 2014 by Shanna Mooney

In Hamilton County, you don't have to travel far to find that perfect quirky gift for someone near and dear to your quirky heart. Of course, "quirk" is in the eyes of the beholder, but my favorite finds might lead you in the right direction. From country to chic or country-chic, budget-friendly to luxurious, it all can be found if you know where to look. Behold:

Wilson Farm Market TaffyA few weeks ago, I traveled to the far reaches of Hamilton County to visit Lisa's Pie Shop, and I wasn't disappointed. Along the way, I discovered the Wilson Farm Market, 1720 East 256th St., Arcadia. While I wasn't in the market for fresh produce or anything, I stopped just to explore--and I'm so glad I did!

This place is a gold mine of bizarre foods, locally grown items, and all sorts of stuff to make you say, "yum" or "eww," depending on your preferences. And in many cases, you can even try before your buy, such as with the vast array of Amish cheese. They have some gift baskets already made up, including a "no sugar added" one that includes jams, butters, and chocolate.

But, because of the variety, this is the perfect place to create your own Hoosier gift basket. You could go with a variety of themes. Some of my ideas:Wilson Farm Market popcorn

Amish: Cheese, noodles, popcorn--including one with purple hulls, butters (apple, pumpkin, etc.), a cookbook, and how about a large tub of powdered cheese to toss with the locally grown popcorn? I somehow doubt it's Amish, but it certainly would up the quirk factor.

Meat: Jerky (available in multiple flavors and species), snack sticks, maple bacon salt-water taffy, meat, and meat accessories.

Wacky snacks: Wasabi nuts, peas, and crackers; freeze-dried fruits and veggies; dried meat products; candy; breads; and pickles (made with everything from watermelon rind, green beans, tomatoes, beets and asparagus to--yawn--cucumbers.)

Need something more romantic? Eclectic? Beautiful? A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St., A Cornern Cottage CharmNoblesville, might be just the place. Vintage-style items are a specialty, from lacy pastel boot socks ($18) to sweet already-layered looking sweaters and slips that are so pretty they could be worn as a dress. Chunky jewelry also makes a fun gift, and here they have bracelets and necklaces with a cool variety of charms. I especially like the proud-to-be-a-Hoosier state charm necklace (also $18).

Looking for another way to sport your state spirit? Just down from the before-mentioned corner is Karisma, 859 Conner St., Noblesville. It has a TON of cool Indiana shirts. (In addition to a bunch of other modern and sassy clothes and jewelry.)

With the whole home-is-the-new-spa theme of modern bathrooms, Bath Junkie, 741 Hanover Place, Carmel (in the Carmel City Center shops), has luxurious Bath Junkie Fragrancesaccouterments in which to outfit yours to your liking. It really is a cool concept: You get to create your own scent from more than 100 small vials of essential oils. They are arranged in categories such as floral, citrus, spices, men's, etc. A menu of popular blends is available, but it's fun to wing it and create your own blend. Once you find your signature scent, you can choose from a dizzying array of products through which to enjoy it: Scrubs, lotions, massage oils, perfumes, reed diffusers, antibacterial hand wash, fabric softener, cleaners--even a line of doggie toiletries can be scented as you choose.

You can also chose the color of your product, so it can match your home spa, wedding theme, or dog bed. Shopping for a child? You can add toys and gems into a custom-created bubble bath as well.

And while it's hard to choose a scent for someone else, there are all sorts of bath crystals, slippers, robes, hair wraps, lip balms, loofahs, and other items that would pair perfectly with a gift certificate. Mass on Main Colts Shirt

Mass on Main, 110 W. Main St., Carmel, a shop that brings the best of downtown's Mass Ave to Carmel just increased our cool quotient! There you can find all manner of gifts from stores such as Silver in the City, Nurture Baby, and more. My favorite is a T-shirt that's perfect for a casual Colts fan who wants to be cute in displaying their semi-fandom. The shirt features the Colts logo bent into a heart shape!

The holidays are upon us, the malls are packed, and at this point, you'd likely have to pay extra shipping to receive items in time for Christmas. Really, is there any reason not to shop local?

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