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May 23, 2013 by Hamilton County CVB
Enjoy the holiday weekend in Hamilton County! Whether you're visiting from out of town or are a resident, there's plenty to see and do. Splash in newly opened pools, shop local ‘til you drop, and take in some art and history too! Read on for those ideas and more. As always, our online calendar has even more things to do!
1. Freshen your home décor for the summer season with some shabby chic new furniture. The perfect stop is the Upscale Barn Sale today through Saturday at Prairie Guest House! There will be vintage finds, restored antique furniture and much more. For even more treasures, hunt at shops along the square in Noblesville like A Corner Cottage, Old Picket Fence and Logan Village Mall.
2. Take advantage of all that Conner Prairie has to offer for the holiday weekend! Make crafts at the Craft Corner and learn to load and fire a reproduction Civil War musket at Bang!. Take part in the May theme of "Invaders" and see the newest indoor exhibit TreeHouses: Look Who's Living in the Trees. On Memorial Day, all water play areas will be open for the season as well!
3. Speaking of slashing around, there are several places to do so in Hamilton County! Head to the Forest Park Aquatic Center that will be open all weekend including Memorial Day from noon-7pm. Float in the lazy river or surf on the FlowRider at The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center that opens Saturday and will also be open on Memorial Day from 11am- 7pm. Morse Beach provides a more natural setting and opens this Saturday as well and will be open on Memorial Day from 11am- 6pm.
4. Get your dose of art with Nickel Plate Arts this Saturday. View the exhibit on display, Artist Free For All Exhibit, from 10am- 5pm. Or sign the kiddos up for the Greeting Cards Galore Class from 2-4pm. But whatever you do, don't miss the first Umbrella Sale of the season! Artists will "pop-up" umbrellas and sell their artwork outside on the patio and you can "pop-in" to buy art.
5. Kick back and take in some live music. The Hedgehog Music Showcase will host a CD release concert for Diamond Hill Station Bluegrass on Memorial Day at 7pm. Louie's inside Pinheads will also have live music and a chance to take over the stage yourself during Karaoke!
6. Stock up on local goodies at the 3 area farmers markets that are now open for the season. New to the lineup this week is the Fishers Farmers Market that opens on Saturday from 8am- Noon. The Carmel Farmers Market and the Noblesville Farmers Market are both on Saturday morning as well.
7. Gather golf knowledge from our site and plan a great day of golfing in Hamilton County. Be sure to call and reserve tee times! Read some of our golf expert's blog posts to help plan your day or trip of golfing.
8. I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream! Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a sweet treat in Hamilton County. Grab a cone at Bub's, relax by Morse Reservoir with a treat from Alexander's on the Water, or get a decadent Handel Pop at Handel's in Carmel. For a full list of where to find treats, browse our sweet treats page.
May 22, 2013 by Alan Hinds
The scorecard of Fishers' River Glen Country Club notes its reputation as "Nature's Golf Course." It's not hard to see why it earns this accolade as it runs adjacent to the White River in an arboretum-like setting. As such, golfers share the fairways with many woodland critters that hop, creep, crawl, dash or fly across the course much like the variety of golf shots I hit on a recent visit.
With its origins dating back to 1940, today's River Glen routes a well-conditioned 18 hole, Par 71 course with four sets of tees starting at 5,106 yards and extending to 6,847 yards. Head professional Scott Casey runs a well-stocked golf shop and directs a variety of golf programs popular with all ages and genders. Course superintendent Dan Kaar broke the code on enjoyable golf with his cutting the rough to a ball-finding length. Yes, it is an off the fairway length but with none of the frustration and fatigue of searching and searching.
Greens are large, elevated, contoured back to front and set to be 10 on the stimpmeter. They are smooth, consistent and once the speed of the greens is felt, putts tend to go where pointed and good reads are rewarded. As with a parkland course, it has many trees, but in most respects these border fair, generous fairways. Trees and shrubs, more often than not, tend to guide rather than grimace the golfer. As an added bonus, they also colorfully paint the seasons at River Glen.
The gentle dogleg turns of the fairways sparks a player's interest on the tee and all the way to the cup. Seven holes draw to the left and seven fade to the right. You might say it is a balanced routing no matter how you slice it. Ponds border several holes and a meandering creek must be crossed at various times but one has to work hard to put a ball in the White River.
Casey tags the par 4, 4th with a tee shot strategy to an elevated green in a grove of trees as a front-side signature hole. He also contends the 9th, a par 4, as being one of the county's top sneaky tough doglegs. The back nine's par 3 14th, aptly nicknamed Swan Island, starts a stretch of holes that require thoughtful tee placements and approach shots over hazards.
My favorite is the 15th, a sweeping dogleg right par 5 to a crest of a hill that curls down to a benign looking stream and bunker protecting one of the original greens. After our side by side layups, my playing partner Joe Rhodes and I placed a friendly closest-to-the pin wager on our 66 yard pitch shots to the green. Thirty minutes later, I was buying the drinks at the club's Red Tail Tavern served by its gracious hostess, Bernadette.
All in all, I finished with one nine under 40 and the other over and was consistently engaged on all 18 holes with both the beauty and subtle challenge of the course. If you like the natural setting of a parkland course, River Glen County Club is sure to be a pleasant choice for you and other nature lovers.
"Now on the first tee: Audubon, Perkins, Hanna and Gibbons."
May 21, 2013 by Caroline Mosey
Farmer's market season is in full swing in Hamilton County, and there's no shortage of seasonal bounty to choose from these days! Plenty of local restaurants are taking cues from the market and stocking their menus with homegrown dishes. Case in point: Rosie's Place, perfectly tucked into Noblesville's town square.
This adorable café keeps bellies happy with healthy, divine breakfast and lunch offerings-many built around local ingredients. Local tomatoes become rich roasted tomato soup, green tomatoes are fried and layered inside BLT's, tender asparagus is mixed into quiche, and Indiana corn transforms into tangy relish. "Being involved with the Noblesville Farmer's Market gives us access to the Amish farmers just north of us," says owner Debbi Bourgerie. "We even have a small farm right in the middle of Noblesville that one of our employees and her husband just planted to supply us with fresh greens and herbs this summer!"
The sunny café interior and patio seating make the perfect spot to usher in a morning of fun and exploring in Noblesville. Named after owner Bourgerie's grandmother, Rosie's Place strikes the ideal balance of friendly hospitality and irresistibly spot-on cuisine. (And bring the little ones along-there's a terrific kids' menu and the staff was more than happy to pass out crayons and paper during our family's visit!)
Guests crowd the café each morning, many with one thing on their minds: the gooey butter cake. "It's our signature bakery item here at Rosie's," shares Bourgerie. "It's a St. Louis coffee cake. Every bakery in St. Louis has their own version of this heavenly treat," she says. "The legend of the cake's origin began when a baker used the wrong batter for a cake recipe and the cakes came out ‘gooey.' The owner tasted one and decided to sell them. They were a hit!"
If you've never tried this St. Louis secret hidden away in Noblesville, you're in for a gooey treat. The best way to describe it? "Think cream cheese, vanilla, and buttery gooeyness!" says Bourgerie. "But hurry, because we run out every day."
May 16, 2013 by Hamilton County CVB
Hunt for history, nibble on local produce, or splash in the pool this weekend here in Hamilton County! Read on for great activity ideas that are perfect for a little weekend getaway. As always, below is just a selection of the many events happening this weekend. For a full list, check out our online calendar of events.
1. Gather at the new Nickel Plate District Amphitheater in Fishers for a free movie on Friday night. Depending upon weather of course (follow @FishersIN on Twitter for weather updates), the movie Brave will begin at dusk. Bring blankets, chairs, and snacks for a family night out on the cheap!
2. Ride the rails to the annual Arcadia May Fesival in downtown Arcadia on Saturday and Sunday. First, head to the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville to board the Mayfest Train. Then enjoy a train ride through Hamilton County before arriving in Arcadia to partake in the Mayfest! There will be arts and craft booths, a flea market, food, entertainment, and a car show too. Then simply hop back on the train to return to Noblesville.
3. It's finally Farmers Market time! Enjoy the fresh local goodies of the season here in Hamilton County. The Carmel Farmers Market begins Saturday at 8 a.m. and goes until 11:30 a.m. at the Center Green in front of the Palladium. The Noblesville Farmers Market is also on Saturdays and goes from 8 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Both offer a wide variety of produce, baked goods, and prepared foods to tame your hunger while you shop.
4. Be immersed in history at Conner Prairie's Civil War Days this Saturday and Sunday! Visit with Union and Confederate soldiers, see reenacted battles, shoot a Civil-war era reproduction rifle and much more. On Saturday only you'll also be able to end your day of Civil War history with the patriotic sounds of the 38th Infantry National Guard Band at 4 p.m.
5. Head to the pool. Yes, the pool! Forest Park pool in Noblesville is opening to the public this Saturday at noon. Splash in the Olympic-size swimming pool or kiddie pools and enjoy the spray park too. With only a 30% chance of rain, there's a good chance you'll still be able to enjoy a first swim of the season!
6. It is the month of May here in Indiana, and we just can't get enough cars. Matteo's Ristorante Italiano is celebrating the Italian way with their annual Ferrari Festival this Sunday! Enjoy a buffet lunch of delicious Italian food and then stroll around Matteo's on the Noblesville Square where Ferraris and other classic cars will be on display for gawkers and car lovers.
7. Get back into the swing of golf (pun intended). Our blogger Alan recently did a little digging into our Stay & Play program in his latest post. He determined that not only are they a great value, but participants get to experience some of the best-designed courses in the state! This Sunday avid golfers can also participate in Fox Prairie Golf Course's Free Golf Demo Day where there will be contests, custom club fitting and great sales on golf equipment too.
8. Explore Hamilton County history in unconventional way this weekend. Trains were a major part of shaping Hamilton County's transportation and industrial history. Today you can hop aboard the Blue Arrow (formerly the Pizza Plus Express) for a train trip that will drop you right at a dinner spot with three restaurant choices. Trains depart from the Indiana Transportation Museum and reservations are recommended. Discover facts about Hamilton County's involvement in the Underground Railroad during a ghost walk in Westfield. Maybe even catch a glimpse of a ghost too!
May 15, 2013 by Shanna Mooney
You win some, you lose some. Or, perhaps more accurately when it comes to geocaching, you win some and you simply never find some. Still, if you're in search of a hike with a cherry on top, geocaching is the perfect activity--and there a ton of them hidden throughout Hamilton County.
If you aren't familiar with geocaching, visit Geocaching.com for all the details, but basically, it's a worldwide treasure hunt, with items (caches) hidden in parks, and even some surprisingly urban areas that you look for via GPS coordinates. Back in the olden days (actually, like 2 years ago), you had to use a GPS made for hiking or otherwise able to be removed from your car's dashboard. Today, as with everything else, there's an app for that. And that makes it a vastly more accessible activity and enables families to turn a vacation rest stop into a spontaneous and fun way to do more than simply stretch your legs.
Some caches are tiny and you simply search for them for the thrill of the hunt, others are filled with tiny toys that thrill the younger members of your family and give them a reason to be excited about a walk in the woods. And it gives parents a method of repurposing those Happy Meal toys that may otherwise clutter the backseat. That's because if you take a treasure, you leave one for the next person.
As a family, we started doing this to entice our toddlers to enjoy hiking more because we needed a fun and free hobby. But it's become so much more! Through geocaching we have learned how rich Hamilton County is in, among other things, parks, trails and people who actually use and enjoy them! Sure, we've gotten a few nervous glances from "Muggles" (people unfamiliar with Geocaching-a term delightfully borrowed from Harry Potter) as we step off the Monon and dig around tree stumps and such. But we've met just as many people who joyfully say, "We love geocaching too!" as they pass by or stop to chat about memorable finds.
For a list of caches located in Hamilton County, simply search Geocaching.com with "Hamilton County Indiana". As you can see from the map below, there are quite a few to choose from! And Hamilton County has so many unique areas to enjoy while also partaking in Geocaching: refill your water bottles from the artesian well at Flowing Well Park; see round barns, a surprising number of which are scattered about our county; go back in time at Connor Prairie; grab an ice cream or lunch in downtown Carmel or Noblesville; meander the Monon Trail; or cool your toes along the banks of our rivers, creeks and lakes. You will be delighted at the many wonders-as well as treasures-you can find here while following that shifty little arrow on your GPS.
May 14, 2013 by Alan Hinds
Hamilton County has a love affair with golf. You cannot drive across this golf enthusiastic county without seeing a flag stick somewhere along the way. And our local golfers are willing to share the tee box! It is easily done with 14 public access and seven private courses that distinguish our county. Midwesterners from all over take advantage of our area's golfing hospitality. The Hamilton County Visitors Bureau describes it well. It is called Stay and Play...and so many golfers do.
Special rates for lodging and golf are provided to visitors and your tee times are automatically set up by area hotels. Warm accommodations, variety of area restaurants, noteworthy courses, and collegial pro shops all make for or wonderful golf get-a-way. Courses like Noblesville's Purgatory Golf Club, ranked among America's top courses for women; Carmel's upscale Prairie View Golf Club and Plum Creek Golf Club; Westfield's Wood Wind Golf Club; Cicero's Bear Slide Golf Club; and River Glen Country Club in Fishers are often packed together for a golfing destination. Nearby Indy courses such as the Fort Golf Resort and Brickyard Crossing can also be added in the packages. You have as many choices as the clubs in your bag. Check our golf directory at IndianasPremierGolf.com.
Our terrific courses did not just happen. It was by design! Architects such as Robert Trent Jones Jr., Pete Dye, William Diddle, Jack Nicklaus, Dean Refram, Arthur Hills, Gary and Ron Kern, William Newcomb and the legendary Tom Bendalow have all put their signatures on county layouts. You will find our courses highly rated in such publications as Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, Great Lakes Golf, and Golfweek. It is no surprise our county has become a destination point for golfers everywhere. In Hamilton County, when you can combine golf with just about any other attraction in our eight great towns, you see why our golf Stay and Play is also called the Perfect Parley.
You're more than welcome to join us on the first tee.
May 09, 2013 by Caroline Mosey
Hamilton County is bursting with spring flavors, and what better place to taste test than Westfield's The Local Eatery and Pub? Chef/owner Craig Baker opened this ultra-local bar and restaurant with a vision for serving the area delicious dishes made with ingredients from nearby farmers and artisans. The result? Fresh, fantastic, and highly seasonal fare that satisfies even the most diligent of locavores.
The menu contains a mouth-watering lineup of salads (try the Caesar with housemade pickled onions), burgers (there's a version using freshly ground meat from nearby Viking Lamb with tzatziki and feta!), and an alternating entrée list showcasing local beef, chicken and vegetable dishes prepared in a dizzying variety of ways.
For the perfect al fresco lunch, one of The Local's must-try creations is a veggie burger. "We always have one on the menu," says Baker. "We find that not everyone wants meat all the time. This burger offers a lighter option, and yet it's still high in nutritional value." (Hint-swap out the house bun for a gluten-free bun to make it a gluten-free meal). Below, Baker shares the recipe for his current veggie burger.
The Local Vegetable Burger
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 C Cilantro
1/2 a red onion chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups oats (you can also use gluten-free oats)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder or minced garlic
2 tablespoons flax
What you do:
1. To begin, add quinoa to pot with water, and bring to boil. Cover and simmer until done, about 15 minutes. Put jalapenos, carrots, celery, onion, cilantro into food processor. Grind into small bits.
2. When quinoa is cooked, put beans, veggie bits, and oats into same bowl and squish with a big spoon. Add spices and garlic.
3. Add flax, and mash all ingredients together. Form into patties. Cook in oil until golden on each side.
Keep up the local theme and wash it down with a Sun King or Upland brew, or a cocktail mixed with local spirits from Heartland Distillers.
May 07, 2013 by Hamilton County CVB
Mom deserves the best for Mother's Day right? Treat her to a trip to, a bite to eat in, or a gift from Hamilton County! We've compiled ideas that are sure to make mom smile this Mother's Day. Many of the events below require reservations, so don't forget to make them!
1. If your mom loves tea and gardening, Rita's Backyard Garden Center & Tea Room is the place for her. They are holding a Mother's Day Brunch at 11 a.m. right in their own finished barn. The brunch offers tasty selections and tea of course!
2. For moms who prefer a more formal tea, the historic R.L. Wilson House Mother's Day Tea will do the trick. Enjoy chatting with mom at an elegant table with fresh flowers. A five-course tea will be presented along with special tea pairings for each course. A delicious dessert from Heavenly Sweets will be an elegant finish to this tea fit for a queen (aka mom)!
3. Let mom ride in style on La Bella Donna train presented by the Indiana Transportation Museum! Treat mom to a train ride from Noblesville to Tipton where you can enjoy the Mother's Day buffet at the Elk's Club before returning back. Moms will also receive a lovely long stem rose during the train journey.
4. Does your mom love history? Conner Prairie is hosting special Mother's Day events including their annual Mother's Day Heirloom Plant Sale. Special varieties of veggie, flower, tomato, and herb plants will be available for purchase May 10-12. If you also plan to enter Conner Prairie during Mother's Day weekend, there will be special activities like helping a Civil War soldier send a letter to his mother, making family trees and much more!
5. For a traditional Mother's Day brunch with a twist, head to Mo's A Place for Steaks at Clay Terrace Mall. They will have several culinary stations in addition to a Bloody Mary bar. There are also special offerings for kiddos too.
6. Treat mom to a toe-tapping good time at the Mother's Day Show at the Hedgehog Music Showcase. Thom Bresh, a singer-song writer- guitarist- impressionist-entertainer extraordinaire will perform live. He's the type of performer you'd expect to see at the Opry in Nashville, but you'll be able to see him in the intimate setting of the Hedgehog!
7. Take mom to the Second Saturday Gallery Walk if she enjoys art. This month's walk includes special Mother's Day offerings at Soori Gallery and special exhibits at Magdalena Gallery, Eye on Art, and Renaissance Fine Art & Design. There will also be a chance to paint your own masterpiece and participate in a fun scavenger hunt!
8. Hit up a local Hamilton County shop for a special gift or treat for mom. Gallery 116 has everything from jewelry to local art, mix a special blend of her favorite scents at Bath Junkie, or browse for a unique vintage find at A Corner Cottage. Or if your mom has a sweet tooth, treat her to a cupcake from a local bakery! Even more ideas can be found on our shopping page.
May 06, 2013 by Alan Hinds
My concern was real. A Wall Street Journal article reported the icing was off the cupcake craze citing a big downturn in the stock of a major cupcake company. Having read that cupcakes were on their way out, I wondered if these popular indulgent pastries were going the way of traffic signals in Carmel.
Curious, I contacted several cupcake shops in Hamilton County to ask if there was any slip here with the trendy delight. My answer came quickly...the owners were all too busy making cupcakes to talk. However, after some persistence they dusted their hands of flour with their aprons, stopped the swirl of batter in arm held bowls and laid down icing covered spatulas to share their thoughts. Downturn? Not happening in Hamilton County they replied. Thank goodness. It may be a case on Wall Street but it's not a happening on Main Street.
I have found a consensus in describing cupcakes as an "economical extravagance" having both a popular and practical side. The flavors and imaginative frostings are liked by adults and kids alike. Who doesn't smile at a decorative cupcake or like to roll their fingers across the icing. Um-m-m is cupcake language spoken by all.
Interestingly our ice cream preferences tend to be the same one or two selections. However, for cupcakes, there seems to a sweet misery of choices on each visit. Often, we'll choose different ones and our choice just may depend on our imagination or a whimsical mood. Later on that particular subject.
Carmel's Flying Cupcake notes red velvet, strawberry, and a caramel butter as top sellers. In Cicero, SugarBean says its customers like vanilla, lemon, and peanut butter. GiGi's in Fishers finds red velvet, wedding cake, and a white and dark blend hard for customers to resist. For Heavenly Sweets in Noblesville it is salted caramel, strawberry and wedding cake that top the list.
If you have a practical side, cupcakes are even more attractive. The cost is nominal to buying the whole cake. There are no slices, plates or forks to handle. You are not tempted with leftovers. Talk about convenience for on the go, these treats come in their own travel cups. And for many of us, calories don't really count in small indulgences. In summary cupcakes are portion perfect.
Recently I brought home white almond wedding cupcakes from Heavenly Sweets. My wife seemed charmed by my "Hello Cupcake!" greeting and was delighted with her white icing pastry. Fondly remembering a wedding cake afternoon in 1976, we renewed our vows over cupcakes. This past Sunday closed an impromptu honeymoon weekend with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/Lea Salonga concert at the Palladium.
Say, did I mention there is a whimsical side to this cupcake allure?
May 02, 2013 by Kevin Bowen
The Pete Dye designed golf course on the other side of Carmel, might not hold the prestige of Crooked Stick Golf Club but don't let that fool you. Plum Creek Golf Club is a championship level 18-hole semi-private golf coursed located just east of Hazel Dell Parkway and off of 126th street. Plum Creek is also apart of the Pete Dye Golf Trail.
Along with having one of the premier golf courses in central Indiana, Plum Creek also includes a renovated banquet room, an upscale snack/bar area, chipping and putting greens, a 300-yard long drive range, and pool/tennis facilities. The golf course is just over 6,900 yards from the back tees with demanding par threes and par fives that aren't overly long, with trouble surrounding them. Tee complexes range from 6,900 yards to 5,200 yards (the scorecard even includes a combination of gold and blue tees called the ‘member') and a wide range of ages call Plum Creek home.
Holes 1 and 9 (pictured above), along with the entire back nine, are played south of 126th street, where the clubhouse and practice facilities are located. The rest of the course is played just north of 126th street. The front nine has a little less character than the back, with holes mainly running parallel to each other and houses flanking holes 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8. Two sub 300-yard par fours on the front nine help distinguish the easier front side. Both par threes on the front nine have creeks to the left side of the green and the signature hole on the front is No. 4, with the same water hazard bisecting the fairway in two.
New ownership has made some interesting changes to the entire complex. A new back tee has been built at the long par three ninth hole. With the new tee, the hole can be stretched to up to 239 yards with a creek down the left side. The back nine remains pretty much the same as before with a new back tee built on the 13th hole, making that hole play up to 430 yards from the back tee box.
I love the added trees down the left side of the 13th fairway and management has added about 30 trees around the entire golf course in the past few months. In my opinion, the final four holes at Plum Creek are among the best set of closing holes in central Indiana. All four finishing holes have hazards that come into play with a risk/reward dynamic that creates great drama for all types of golfers down the stretch!
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