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Trail Map to the Rescue

Apr 23, 2015 by Robert Annis

Unlike many of my friends, I was not born with an internal compass. In other words, I get lost a lot. If you see me pedaling solo on unfamiliar roads, the look on my face usually ranges from confused to mildly bewildered. My paper maps are usually well worn, haphazardly refolded and hanging precariously from a jersey pocket as I constantly pull it out seeking my bearings. 


Biking in park

That's why I love the new PDF map on the new Hamilton County Trails site. Routes are named and include the exact mileage, so if you're a little less fit or you're rushed for time, you know you should stick to the 8.2-mile Dillon Park Loop in Noblesville, rather than Westfield's 33.3-mile Northwest Border Loop. The map also includes amenities, such as nearby parks and shopping, as well as QR codes that can be scanned with your phone. Scanning the code for Carmel brings up the city's Biking in Carmel web page that gives you a ton of great info about riding in the city. I was able to read Carmel's bike ordinance, download safety videos, and find additional maps.

2015 Hamilton County, IN Trails

I'm already using the map to plot my next ride through Fishers, with stops at the Nickle Plate Bar & Grill and other local watering holes. Be sure to keep an eye out for me; I'll still be the same funny-looking cyclist, just a little less confused.

Your April 23-29 Getaway is Closer Than you Think!

Apr 22, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

What do dainty fairy houses, trees and sheep have in common? They are all being celebrated in Hamilton County, Indiana! Not to mention tons of sporting events to attend for lovers of baseball, golf and beyond. Discover these fun things to do below, plus check out our online calendar for even more ideas.

Welcome to Fairyville Fairyville Trail
April 22-25
Noblesville, Indiana

Nickel Plate Arts is hosting a variety of fairy fun events! Partake in fairy crafts, attend a fairy tea party and more. Definitely don't miss the Fairyville Trail. Fairy houses made by local artists will be on display in the gallery and throughout downtown Noblesville and all the way to Forest Park. These adorable mini homes are all hand crafted with mostly natural materials and are a sight to behold.

Arbor Day Celebrations
April 24-25
Various Hamilton County locations

Celebrate trees this Friday at several events across the county. Stop by Conner Prairie for a "treerific" time learning about how trees grow in Indiana and how they are used in the carpentry shop in Prairietown. Flock to the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater to see a flock of decorated flamingos on the lawn. Vote for your favorites and learn about tree sponsorship in Fishers. Or save your celebrating for Saturday at Earth Day Arbor Fest in Noblesville's Forest Park and hear tree tales from Appleseedz while getting your own tree seedlings.

Booth Tarkingon Civic Theatre presents: Monty Python's Spamalot
April 24-May 9

CP Aril AnimalsCarmel, Indiana
If one of your favorite films is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this musical is for you. Take a hilarious musical journey with King Arthur, his knights and several silly characters. While attending the show, be sure check out the 100 Years of Civic exhibit in The Tarkington lobby that's celebrating Civic's 100th anniversary.

Shear Fun
April 25-26
Fishers, Indiana

Learn about all things wool and sheep at Conner Prairie this weekend. See the process of how sheep's fur is transformed into a blanket! Watch sheep being sheared and even try your hand at spinning the wool and weaving with it.

Museum of Miniature Houses Attic Sale
April 25
Carmel, Indiana

Discover tiny treasures at the annual Attic Sale hosted by the Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections. Miniature furniture, dolls, mini-homes, kits and miniature-making supplies will be for sale. Stop at the museum for even more trinkets and to see the latest exhibit.

Sports in Hamilton CountyThe Fort Hole #18
April 24-26
Various locations

From Big 10 Women's Golf at The Fort to an all-ladies Crossfit competition, this weekend is packed with sporty events. Families will love Baseball Opening Day in Fishers and soccer enthusiasts should take a trip to Grand Park for a college soccer showcase. Find all of these events and more on the Hamilton County Sports Authority calendar.

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Your April 16-21 Getaway is Closer Than you Think!

Apr 16, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

From sporting events to ideas for sprucing up your home, the calendar is packed with unique happenings coming up in Hamilton County! Plan for a family outing to cheer on marathon runners or catch a movie under the stars. Find even more upcoming events on our online calendar of events.

Follow the North Star
April 17-25Follow the North Star CP
Fishers, Indiana

This moving program suitable for children ages 12+ puts attendees in the role of a fugitive slave on the Underground Railroad. Learn about this pivotal period of history by working together with your group to navigate to freedom. You'll encounter slave hunters, fellow runaways and helping hands along the way. Reservations required.

Movies in the Park
April 17
Fishers, Indiana

Catch the very first movie in the park of the season at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater this Friday. Weather pending of course, movie-lovers can enjoy Maleficent on the big screen for free. Pack a picnic or take advantage of the concessions available. Movies will continue every Friday through May 29.

Carmel Marathon
April 18
Carmel, Indiana

Welcome runners! It's time for the fifth annual Carmel Marathon where thousands of runners will take to the streets of Carmel. Cheer on participants in one of the many running events or do a last minute sign up to participate yourself. Fun fact: the Carmel Marathon was named one of the top marathon races worth traveling for! See maps of the courses and road restrictions here.

GLVC Prairie View Blurb

2015 GLVC Men's Golf Championships
April 19-21
Carmel, Indiana

Cheer on the best of the best of the Great Lakes Valley Conference men's golf teams as they IDC Chandeliercompete at Prairie View Golf Club. A total of 36 holes are played Sunday, April 19, followed by 18 holes Monday, April 20. The semifinals and finals of match play will take place Tuesday, April 21. That's a lot of golf to watch!

Vintage Marketplace
April 19

 Carmel, Indiana
Browse through booth after booth of vintage styles for your wardrobe, home or collection at the Ritz Charles this Sunday. It's the perfect place to find something for a spring spruce-up. Vendors have to be invited to participate, so you know that there will be some good finds. 

Interior Design Workshops for the Public
April 21
Carmel, Indiana

Coats-Wright Art & Design will host the next installment of design workshops for the public. The theme of this workshop is "Live with What You Love" and will show participants how to personalize your home. Modify current trends to meet your needs and desires and keep your home looking spectacular. Workshops are free and registration is appreciated.

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A Fun Place To Play: Urban Chalkboard

Apr 14, 2015 by Sarah Buckner

Urban Chalkboard treeNew to Carmel is Urban Chalkboard, a fun place for preschoolers and their busy parents. Set along Carmel Drive, Urban Chalkboard is half coffee shop, half play space - with an open and relaxed environment.

I took my four-year old daughter, Emily, to meet with three of my girlfriends and their kiddos. The moms spent the morning at one table, chatting with each other and watching the little ones play. A toy kitchen, train table set, tons of books, and a giant chalkboard kept the kids constantly content -all safely within view of our seats. Next to our table was an infant play area, keeping the bigger kids away from my friend's little crawler.

Every hour or so, the staff would round the kids together into the side room (which was open to us with glass walls, so we could still clearly see all the action) and have a dance party or music time or create a fun craft. When we were there, all of our bigger preschoolers were delighted to take home a handmade a giraffe mask.

Urban Chalkboard making masks

I looked around the room and saw parents working from laptops, interacting with their kids, sipping coffee, or relaxing with a book. Urban Chalkboard EmmyFor parents of young kids, it can be difficult to find time to get everything done. Urban Chalkboard is a fun place to go and watch your kids have fun while you reconnect with a friend or just look at a magazine.

Hours & Admission:
Monday-Friday: 9am - 3pm
Tuesdays they stay open late: 9am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 2pm

Day Pass: $8 for first child, $6 for each additional child
3-Punch Pass: $21 for 3 admissions
Monthly Membership, Unlimited Visits: $69 for first child, $10 for each additional child.

For more information, including menu items, rules, and a calendar of their events, visit Urban Chalkboard's website.



Your April 9-15 Getaway is Closer Than you Think!

Apr 09, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

This weekend is all about family time here in Hamilton County, Indiana. Get together to play sports, see a theatre show or check out some cool art. Discover those ideas below and be sure to check our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

See Two New Theatre Productions ambassador house 2
April 3-19
Fishers and Westfield, Indiana

Theatre buffs, rejoice. This weekend you can catch two productions from talented local theatre groups. See The Civil War at the Westfield Playhouse through April 19. Or check out the original production Death of a Piano Man: Who Killed Billy Joel? presented by the Nickel Plate Players at The Historic Ambassador House (pictured above) this weekend.

"Family Fridays" at Grand Park Sports Complex
April 10
Westfield, Indiana

Have you ever wanted to experience playing on the beautiful sports fields of Grand Park? This is your chance! Bring your own equipment to play games, partake in special activities and kid-friendly fun. Attendance is free. The action is taking place on the synthetic multipurpose fields and parking is available in Lot C.

Carmel Arts Design Gallery Walk
Second Saturday Gallery Walk
April 11
Carmel, Indiana

Get out and explore the Carmel Arts & Design District this Saturday. See what's new at the 9 art galleries and many shops. Plan to participate in some of the special events too! There will be a scavenger hunt, free caricatures, a wine and painting class and more.


Autism Awareness DayDiscovery Station Emmy CP
April 11
Fishers, Indiana

From 9-10 a.m. guests with autism and sensory or developmental challenges will be welcomed to Conner Prairie free of charge. Guests can enjoy the prairie at one of its quietest times with a smaller crowd. Extra quiet spots and sensory kits will be available as well.

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Finding a Group Ride in Hamilton County

Apr 07, 2015 by Robert Annis

Riding solo can be fun, but sometimes you want to ride with some other people. Luckily it's not that hard to find a group ride in Hamilton County.

Bike Line Group RideOver the last decade, I've ridden most of the established group rides in the county. It's a great way to get a great workout, meet new people and become a better cyclist. I've learned so much from other riders noticing things I was doing wrong.

A quick word of warning: If you haven't ridden in a large group before, either go early and talk to the ride leader or ask some tips from a more experienced friend. Group rides - particularly the faster ones - depend on everyone working together efficiently and, more importantly, safely.

The best place to find group rides is the Central Indiana Bicycling Association's website,, looking under the repeating and non-repeating rides. The rotating weekend CIBA rides are often held in Hamilton County, so it shouldn't be hard finding one nearby. I love doing these rides because there are enough people riding that you can always find people riding at your pace, and the support stops give you all the bananas, trail mix and water you need. As someone who has gotten more than my share of icy stares in truck stops when I stop for Gatorade and a Snickers bar, those SAG stops are awesome. 

If you're starting out, Nebo Ridge's Thursday night ride features a no-drop, fun and fitness ride. There's a pretty committed group of regular riders who show up every week and give guidance to less-experienced pedalers. If you're still rocking a hybrid bike, but considering upgrading to a flashier drop-handlebar road bike, this is your best bet. You can ride as little as 17 miles, or as many as 36.

Another good ride for cyclists Smoky Row Group Ride- from Bri Clarkwho want to enjoy the experience is the CIBA breakfast ride that starts in the Cool Creek Nature Park parking lot every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Riders pedal 11 miles to Lincoln Square Pancake House, then after a quick bite, goes another 5 to 32 miles, depending on how fueled you are from the morning's flapjacks. The average speed usually hovers between 15-20 mph.

More experienced riders might want to check out both Motion Cycling's Saturday morning ride and Bike Line's rides Tuesday and Thursday. I've ridden the Bike Line ride several times; it can be a 22-plus mile hammerfest. It's a great alternative to riders who feel uncomfortable with the massive number of people riding the Nebo loop. I haven't ridden Motion Cycling's Saturday ride yet, but I plan to this spring. The route isn't marked, but riders regroup several times along the way. Average speed is 20-22 mph, so be ready to go fairly fast.

Aspiring racers need to hop into the Smoky Row ride, based out of Smoky Row Elementary School. But beware, the fast group is a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners ride. If you get dropped - and trust me, you will get dropped - no one is going to sit up and wait for you. Luckily, according to my friend Bri, a couple of other pace groups have formed as well, so you can always ride in with one of them.


Your April 2-8 Getaway is Closer Than you Think!

Apr 02, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

From First Friday fun to learning how to celebrate Easter with the residents of Conner Prairie's Prairietown, this weekend sure will be a festive one! For adults, a trip to the theatre is in store with the opening of some new productions. Read on for those ideas and find even more things to do in Hamilton County, Indiana on our online calendar. Historic Noblesville Square

First Friday
April 3
Noblesville, Indiana

A lasting tradition, Noblesville's First Fridays are not to be missed. Enjoy dining and shopping around the historic square and partake in special events from 5-8 p.m. This month's theme is Kids and Candidates and will feature a meet and greet with Noblesville's mayoral candidates. Check for more details!

Young Artists Exhibit
April 3-25
Noblesville, Indiana

Head to the First Friday Open House to catch the first glimpse of the latest exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts. The Young Artists Exhibit will feature the talents of Noblesville elementary students and will include creations of all kinds. Come explore the works of these talented local kiddos!

Superhero dance theaterGregory Hancock Dance Theatre presents: Superhero
April 3-4
Carmel, Indiana

"Superhero: the Story of a Man Called Jesus" will be presented at the Tarkington this weekend. The show is a modern ballet portrayal of the last week of the life of Jesus and shares the big and small events of his final days. Set in "anytime" and "everyplace" the story comes to life in a new and unique way like you've never seen it before.

The Belfry Theatre presents: Noises Off
April 3-19
Noblesville, Indiana

It's opening weekend for Noises Off at The Belfry! Don't miss this hilarious comedy that's a play within a play. The play's three acts chronicle the dress rehearsal, backstage happenings and the performance of a mediocre group of actors led by an ambitious director. Hilarity ensues!

Easter on the PrairieCP Aril Animals
April 4
Fishers, Indiana

Make reservations to enjoy breakfast with the Easter Bunny this Saturday at Conner Prairie. Enjoy a tasty buffet and a visit with the big bunny. Afterward head outside to Prairietown for Easter on the Prairie where citizens will be preparing for their own 1800s Easter celebrations. Partake in egg dyeing, bonnet decorating, egg crafts and more!

Winemaker Wednesday: Wine and Cheese
April 8
Sheridan, Indiana

Are you a self-proclaimed wine aficionado? Even if you don't fancy yourself an expert, it's still fun to sip it! Head to Blackhawk Winery to learn about the art of pairing wines with cheese. Wines will be paired with locally sourced cheeses for this tasty class.

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Jordan’s Eats: Irish Inspired Fare

Mar 31, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Jordan, 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?"


Boxty at Mo's

The month of March always puts me in the mood for some Irish eats! Rather than the standard shepherd's pie, I decided to try something new this March.

Mo's Irish Pub in Noblesville offers the classic Irish dish, the boxty. I consider this concoction to be an Irish burrito. The potato pancake is generally wrapped around some sort of meat and topped with a sauce or dressing. Mo's went the extra mile and created the Reuben boxty, which I could not help but try. The meat was corned beef and the sauce was Thousand Island and a mix of creamy cheese. Sauerkraut was also included in the filling. It is like eating all of the best ingredients of a hearty sandwich and presenting them all in a tasty potato blanket. What's not to love? I would order this again and again any time of year!

Danny Boy Beer Works

The Reuben boxty left me a little parched, so I decided to try another Irish staple: a stout beer. I found a new favorite at the newly opened Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel's West Clay. They have over 50 beers on tap, including several of their own creations. I highly recommend the Rock 'n' Rolla stout. It's a dark Irish stout that touts 100 IBUs (that's International Bittering Units for you non beer connoisseurs out there). It's a pretty strong brew, but there are plenty of other options if stouts aren't your style. My other favorites were the Training Day and Black IPA. Danny Boy is a pretty cool brewery that's housed in a fire station-type building and staffed with brewers and beer experts who will be sure to find a beer that suits you.

Next time I won't be waiting until March to try my new Irish favorites in Hamilton County!

Trail Etiquette

Mar 26, 2015 by Robert Annis


Family on Monon

As everyone emerges from their winter hibernation, trails like the Midland Trace are likely to be packed with users. It can be a little frustrating playing a real-life game of Frogger on the trail, but having a little patience and knowing the proper trail etiquette can go along way to making everyone's experience enjoyable.

1. Walkers have priority on the trails, followed by folks on skates, and lastly, cyclists. (Think wheels yield to heels.) If you want to pass a slower trail user, wait until the coast is clear in front ofTrail Etiquette Robert you, then announce your presence with a ding of a bell or a simple "On your left!" Pass cautiously, as some walkers can get spooked and get their directions a little messed up.

2. If you're traveling with children, keep them close at all times. Little ones are easily distracted and have been known to run into the opposite trail lane where danger may be around the corner. I can bunny-hop a curb OK, but your three-year-old toddler?

3. If you're traveling with a dog - or your prized pet pig, you never know - keep it on a fixed leash and away from the opposing lane of traffic. And if it poops, please clean it up. I can speak from experience that it sucks to pull over to change a flat tire, only to step in a pile of Fido's droppings.

4. Cyclists should ride at an appropriate level of speed for the trail. If there are plenty of people on the path, slow down. I personally love showing off how fast I am on the bike, but on busy days, I take advantage of the opportunity to exercise my core and lung capacity by sucking in my gut and trying to look better in my tight lycra cycling kit. Robert Monon Trail Union Brewing

(Oh, and there's never an excuse to wear a time-trial helmet on a bike path. Never.)

5. When you get to an intersection, stop. Only cross if it's safe. There are a few spots on the Monon Greenway, among others, where it can be difficult to see vehicle traffic until you're practically at the intersection.

6. By all means, have a snack, but throw the wrapper (and any other trash) in an appropriate receptacle. If I see you littering on the trail, I will chase you down.

A Getaway is Closer Than You Think – March 26

Mar 25, 2015 by Hamilton County CVB

Looks like everyone has a case of spring fever! Thankfully, it is fully treatable with a trip to Hamilton County. Learn about a selection of upcoming happenings here on our blog and find even more things to do in Hamilton County on our online calendar. Conner Prairie CP Blurb

Opening Weekend at Conner Prairie
March 26-29

Fishers, Indiana
The birds are chirping, the breeze is warmer and the baby animals are romping about. This means its time for Conner Prairie Interactive History Park to open its outdoor grounds for the season! Explore Prairietown, the Nature Walk, the Civil War Journey, the new Balloon Voyage and much more. The indoor exhibits will remain open as well for science and craft corner lovers.

Springtime in IN5th Springtime in Indiana Art, Craft & Gift Showcase
March 28

Noblesville, Indiana
Head to the Noblesville 4-H Fairgrounds this weekend to explore booth upon booth of arts, crafts and gifts. Find the perfect piece to spruce up your home for spring or pick up a gift for an upcoming birthday or event. There's a little bit of something for everyone! (Enter to win tickets below!)

West park CarmelSpring Fever
March 28

Carmel, Indiana
Carmel Clay Parks is hosting an event at West Park to celebrate all things spring. Little ones can enjoy an egg hunt, kite flying, crafts, music and more. Admission for adult companions is free! Don't forget to bring your Easter basket for egg collecting. Can't make it on Saturday? Enjoy an indoor concert for kiddos on Monday instead.

Parade a BullParade A Bull
March 28

Carmel, Indiana
Love pups? This event at the Monon Community Center is just for you. It's a celebration of all things "bully breed." Despite the name, all well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome to attend with their owners. There will be a parade, vendors, food (the human and puppy kind) and much more.

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