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Sarah's Cheap Eats

Jul 22, 2014 by Sarah Buckner

Rosie's French ToastLike so many foodies I know, when I go out to eat, I love to keep it local, delicious, and wallet friendly. Hamilton County has no shortage of restaurants that fit this description, but my current obsession is Rosie's Place. Located on the historic Noblesville Square, Rosie's Place offers incredible breakfast and lunch options for a price that doesn't break the bank. 

Warm and inviting, this quaint eatery welcomes people of all ages - which is perfect for my two young kids and me. Looking for something fun to do on a Saturday, I recently took them for a walk around the Square, where we window-shopped before stopping into Rosie's for brunch.

We were seated quickly, and as a huge fan of eggs benedict, I ordered the Farm Style version of this classic breakfast treat. The entrée comes covered in sausage gravy and served with a side of Treats at Rosie's Placecountry potatoes. Oh my, it was so delicious, I may not be able to change my order during my next visit. Christopher is a picky eater, but is a huge fan of French toast, and ate every last bite of his cinnamon dipped, powdered sugar covered meal while Emily happily sat in her chair and munched on a hot ham and cheese sandwich.
The service was great and everything came out warm and fast, so the little ones didn't have a chance to get wiggly in their seats, which is a rare gift to all parents. Another gift was the bill; the entire family was able to eat a great, local meal for less than $30.

The only trouble that we encountered was the dessert display as you walk out the door. Finding yourself eye to eye with some of the tastiest looking homemade desserts is troublesome, even with a full stomach. SO, as we paid the bill I somehow ended up adding three cupcakes to my tab.

8 Great Things to Do the Third Weekend of July 2014

Jul 17, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

July is in full swing, and as always, there is plenty to do! Enjoy the summer weather while listening to music and spending time with friends at festivals. This is a great time to explore the area with train trips, farmers markets, and community theatre to give you a taste of local life here in Hamilton County. Read on, then check out the event calendar for more things to do!4-h Fair Animals

1. Have fun in the sun at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair! Inexpensive food and a schedule that is loaded with activities leads to a great time for all ages. See animals dressed up in costumes, listen to free concerts, or get colored green in a one-mile fun run. You may even get to walk a llama!  The fun begins July 17th.

2. Enjoy an evening of wine tasting this Saturday in the Carmel Arts and Design District at the annual event, IU Health North Hospital Art of Wine. It's free to attend, but unlimited tastings are available for just $15 in cash. Artists, wineries, and entertainers come together to create a lively atmosphere where art meets wine.  

3. Reserve your place for a spot at the prairie dinner table! During this weekend's Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, listen to "Radio Hits of the Decades" at a front row table as part of the new Prairie Plates series for adults looking for culinary adventure. Enjoy a handcrafted meal by one of Hamilton County's most popular restaurants, The Local, and enjoy craft beer from Sun King Brewery.  

4. Sit back and imagine- with community theatre! This weekend, the Nickel Plate Players put on a free event at theSotP Amphitheatre, "BEEHIVE! The 60's Musical!" a fast-paced look at the jukebox hits of the 60's. Leave time for the Carmel Community Players show, "I Married An Angel", a performance that The New York Times said will "leave you humming".  

5. Take a trip through Hamilton County and explore historic architecture, unique shops, and a variety of restaurants on a train. The Blue Arrow Train takes you through the small towns of Hamilton County while dining aboard. The Hoosierland allows for time to stop in Historic Noblesville Square or Forest Park for an outing. Find out more about these train events at the website for the Indiana Transportation Museum.

6. As always, make sure to take advantage of the free concerts happening around the county. Bring your lawn chair, snacks, and friends to Clay Terrace, Forest Park, the Fishers Amphitheatre, and Seminary Park for some great tunes at a great price.  

7. Saturday, listen to top-quality musicians in an up-close kind of way at the Hedgehog Music Showcase. The venue has hosted nine Grammy Award winners as well as impressive local talent. This intimate space in the small town of Arcadia allows for a personal connection with the music and a relaxing atmosphere. Carmel Farmers Market Corn

8. Have you jumped on the clean eating, locally grown food train yet? Find farm-grown fruits and vegetables, along with artisan specialties and ready-to-eat breakfast entrees like crepes or "walking waffles". Get these high-quality items at a reasonable price and support the locals at the Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Saxony Markets.  

An Insider’s Guide to the Hamilton County 4-H Fair

Jul 16, 2014 by Erin Vollmer

Erin Ice Cream contestJuly is my favorite month of the year because it means 4-H Fair season is in full swing! I exhibited at the fair for 12 years, then became a volunteer- so I'm going to share with you the in's and out's of having a good time at the fair. With no admission, free parking, activities, and inexpensive food, you may even want to go without hearing what I have to say!

First things first, this year's fair is open to the public Thursday, July 17th through Tuesday July 22nd. 4-H is a national organization that supports youth development through involving them in "learning by doing". The fair showcases the 4-H'ers work from throughout the year.

If you've been before, it's not just the same old, same old this year! To emphasize the "healthy living" part of the 4-H pledge, a "Color Me Green" Fun Run will be introduced and anyone can participate. There will be green paint powder, a slip & slide, and water stations to keep cool. New this year will also be a free Ice Cream Eating Contest that all ages can participate in; sign me up! 4-h Fair Animals

The food at the fair is sooooo good, but not greasy or over-priced, like you might imagine. A crowd-favorite ear of corn usually goes for $1.50 and most meals don't go much above $5. Most vendors are raising money to support youth education, so you can feel good about stuffing your face. My favorite is the fruit slush from the "Eat Healthy at the Fair" booth, but let's face it- I love it all. When I need to take an air-conditioned break, I always go to the Homemaker's Kitchen, where the sweetest people serve delicious home-style meals from breakfast to dinner at a great price.

It is always hot, hot, hot! Plan accordingly and go into the exhibition halls when you need a Erin at 4H Fairbreak from the sun. Make sure to check out the full event calendar before you go so that you don't miss your favorite activities. Apart from the events listed on the schedule, there is almost always something to watch in the main Show Arena. For ten years, I was at the fair each day, for almost the whole day, and hardly got bored.

Most of all, I love experiencing the fun community atmosphere at the fair. It's a family-friendly place where you might see people of all ages goofing around, but then turning to lend a hand. Don't be afraid to ask the 4-H'ers about their projects and animals- they've worked hard and usually love talking about them. If you are looking to get tips about baking a pie or caring for your garden- these 4-H'ers know what they are talking about. There are also always plenty of volunteers sporting 4-H t-shirts or council ribbons that will be happy to help if you have a question. So stop by and experience it for yourself. See you at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair!

Distance Learning

Jul 15, 2014 by Alan Hinds

Last summer we architected a mythical 18 hole Par 3 course among the Hamilton County courses open to all. The South nine were courses below 146 Street and the North nine, those above this dividing line. The blog was entitled "Trey Me."
This season we have a county course made up of impressive par five holes. The South nine descriptions and how to play them are offered by the host pros in this first edition of "Distance Learning". We'll offer the North nine in several weeks.

Hole 1. "Diabolical Dogleg". The 18th at Prairie View, Carmel. Off the tee there is a 90 degree corner to turn, but Sycamores left and bunker sand right guard the bend. Cut it too close and a good day's score is shot to...well, you know. A smart layup to the creek fronting the green can yield a closing birdie.

Hole 2. "Temptation". The 12th at Plum Creek, Carmel. Direction and discretion are needed off the tee with left and right trouble in view before a golfer even thinks about going for green in two. It is more of the same on the third shot to a small, water and bunker protected, undulating green (see picture).Alan Plum Creek

Hole 3. "The Equalizer". The 15th at River Glen, Fishers. Two controlled shots are needed to an approach over a creek. A white knuckler, but a well-played second strike can offer a chance for an eagle. Leaving the green, one has an equal opportunity to surge ahead or get behind.

Hole 4. "Risk-Reward". The 8th at Brookshire, Carmel. The prime real estate on this hole is the fairway's right side. Accurate and long tee shots have a chance to be on in two. Left is tree trouble and costly. As per usual in Carmel, it's location, location, location.

Hole 5, "Sneaky Seventh". The 7th at Prairie View, Carmel. After a generous open fairway, careful thought is required for the second shot. The hole deceptively waits for a pulled left or pushed right hit by a careless player. The golfer's final challenge is to a well bunked, long narrow green tucked by the White River.

Hole 6, "Albatross". The Lakes 5th at Ironwood, Fishers. A crossing creek is the first obstacle off the tee and then water bends down the right side of the hole. A sharp right turn of the fairway can present an angle for up-and-over-the-corner tee shot. What follows is a mid-iron chance for a duce and perhaps the two shot glory of an albatross.

Hole 7, "Lefty/Righty". The 1st at Gray eagle fairway- AlanMohawk Hills, Carmel. This hole comes with its own set of instructions. First favor the fairway's left center short of bunkers. Then hit to the right center for a straight in approach shot to a green with big mound shoulders.

Hole 8, "Eagles Landing". The 4th at Gray Eagle, Fishers. The best tee shots land adjacent to a unique wood carving of the American Eagle just off the fairway (see picture). The next ball flight should favor the left side, avoiding creek trouble on the right side of its two tier elevated green.

Hole 9, "Caveat Emptor". The Ridge 6th at Ironwood, Fishers. This short Par 5 is reachable in two. But beware of buying into the thrill of a big tee shot too early. It can be costly if overlooking the second shot to a narrow, well bunkered green flanked by a tree and OB. Say, who knew there were Latin scholars at Ironwood?

8 Great Things to do the 2nd Weekend of July 2014

Jul 10, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

See art exhibits, tons of live music, and so much more this weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana! Read on for eight great ideas and find countless other getaway ideas on our online calendar of events. Photography Exhibit NPA

1. Do you have an eye for beauty? Visit Aperture Stop: A Photographic Exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts at the Judge Stone House Gallery through August 30 to appreciate the talent in the Hamilton County community. This free exhibit is filled with the talented works of local photographers.

2. Did you know that there are free concerts every day of the week in Hamilton County? People even come from outside of the county to take part in the fun. Kick off the weekend tonight at Zanna-Doo as a part of the Noblesville Summer Concert Series at Forest Park. Friday, take your pick of Saxony Summer Concert Series: Toy Factory, a high-energy 8-piece R&B act from Indianapolis, or listen to Jennie DeVoe play under the stars at The Amp After Dark. Sunday, see the Indianapolis Symphonic Band at the Seminary Park Free Concerts. For only $5, find a great place to relax or dance by the stage at Cool Creek Park and see ESB this Friday as part of the Cool Creek Concert Series.

3. Summer is a great time to shop (and maybe get ahead on gifts for the year!). The Old Pickett Fence is having a Lemons & Leftovers Sale this Friday and Saturday. You will be able to find great antiques, home items, and unique gifts on sale at this popular event. Cool Creek Concert Series - Image

4. Relax on the historic hillside of Boxley Cabin and listen to the sounds of pioneer America at Sheridan BlueGrass Fever this Friday and Saturday. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to relax and enjoy the music with friends. Food will be available for sale.

5. Although this event is just north of Hamilton County, it's too fun to miss.  Demonstrations, a mini fashion show, and vendors showcasing vintage items and artisan skills, are just a few of the reasons to visit the French Market in Tipton this weekend. Held rain or shine, this free event promises a good time.  

6. Take part in the monthly tradition of enjoying the artists and culture at the Carmel Arts & Design Second Saturday Gallery Walk. This Saturday, there will be free caricatures and a scavenger hunt with prizes, along with the musical entertainment to make an exciting boost to this popular event. BoxleyCabin-4-21-08-med.res.

7. It isn't often when dancing in the street is allowed, that's why the Noblesville Main Street Annual Street Dance is always the biggest party in Noblesville. Live music by Emily Ann Thompson will be at the Pre-Party on the Patio to get you swinging for the street dance. Beer and wine will be available for purchase, along with fun art activities for all ages. Take the Noblesville Street Dance Caboose Train so that you don't have to worry about parking (plus, it's just fun to ride a train!).

8. One of the world's legendary singing groups, The O'Jays, will be performing at the Palladium this Sunday. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted group continues to thrill audiences today with their large body of work. Have dinner before at one of the restaurants only a few steps away at the Carmel City Center.

Want to make your weekend even more awesome?  Enter to win 1 of 2 prize packs: tickets to the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center OR Tickets to Symphony on the Prairie: Classic FM Radio Hits of the Decades & a Harmony Winery Gift Card.  Winners will be announced on Friday, July 11. 

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Jordan’s Eats: Dooley O’Toole’s Tenderloin

Jul 08, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Dooley Tenderloin

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 fan favorite dishes and eating challenges? Here's the first in a series of foodie fun blogs from Jordan himself- bon appetit! Dooley's Tenderloin Special Sign

My latest foodie outing was to Dooley O'Toole's in Carmel. The expectations for Dooley's and its famous breaded tenderloin were high, and I am pleased to say that Dooley's not only met them, but surpassed them. Their breaded tenderloin was incredible. It was not greasy, not overly thick and had a rich texture to the breading. It was just downright delicious!

An equally tasty side of chive fries accompanied the tenderloin. These came highly recommended from not only the Hamilton County Tourism staff, but also the staff at Dooley's. The only flaw to this otherwise perfect sandwich was the bun. It was not toasted, which I don't mind, but because of the juiciness of the vegetables the bun became soggy and began to deteriorate. It is easy to understand all the hype about Dooley O'Toole's and their magnificent breaded tenderloin sandwich!

You can go try this fabulous tenderloin sandwich for yourself at Dooley O'Toole's any time. But for Tenderloin Tuesdays (Tuesdays through July 29), you can get a "mini" tenderloin with soup and chips for just $6.95.

Outdoor Fun for Every Age

Jul 01, 2014 by Caroline Mosey

Summer is in full swing in Central Indiana. The temps are soaring almost as high as our spirits as we embrace all the fun outdoor recreation right outside our doorsteps!

Monon Trail by CarolineOne of my family's very favorite things to do together is bike the Monon Trail. On a warm summer day, we break out the sunscreen and the bikes and take to the trail for an easy cruise down to our favorite restaurants and ice cream pit stops. Don't have a bike? You can rent one easily from Carmel Cyclery, and then pedal your cares away!

My husband and I love to kayak, and we don't have to go far from home before we're peacefully skimming through the water, drinking in the natural beauty and enjoying a "non-traditional" date! It's easy to get stuck in the dinner-and-movie date rut during colder months, but now is the time for being creative and getting outside with your significant other. White River Canoe Company offers canoe and kayak rentals, or you can test your paddleboard skills at Saxony Lake before relaxing on the sandy beach.

Archery is making a comeback in a big way, and soon you can try the sport for yourself at Koteewi Range at Strawtown Koteewi Park, a first-class archery facility currently under construction. (By the way, individuals and companies that want to lend a hand or materials during the construction phase are encouraged to do so!) White River Kayak w Train

Choose from a huge variety of parks to frequent this summer, too! Whether you want to hike the wooded trails at Cool Creek Park, go fishing at Morse Park and Beach, visit the archeological playground at River Road or just enjoy a leisurely picnic at Coxhall Gardens, there's an abundance of outdoor parks that are sure to enhance the beauty of summer.

Don't forget to fuel your fun with a tasty Hoosier tradition this month! Every Tuesday from June 24-July 29, tons of local restaurants are offering specials on tenderloin sandwiches for Tenderloin Tuesday-the perfect meal to top off a fun summer day.

Come on out and play!

Speaking of outdoor fun, why not enter to win tickets to see a show under the stars at Klipsch Music Center? 

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8 Great Things to Do the Last Weekend of June

Jun 26, 2014 by Erin Vollmer

Hey June... you've gone by too soon! This has been a month packed with exciting activities and celebrations for the start of summer. The summer continues with festivals, popular concerts, and hands-on fun. Keep reading, and then check out our events calendar to find out more about the good times happening in Hamilton County! Fishers Freedom Run

1. Join the 50,000 attendees that come from all over the US each year to celebrate the 4th of July early at Fishers Freedom Festival! This free event has tons of activities for all ages each year- including live music, dances, climbing walls, vendors, a 5k, and of course, fireworks. New this year is a 220' zip line and photo booth. Visit Roy G. Holland Memorial Park all day Saturday, June 28 or Sunday, June 29 to have some fun.  

2. Grab your picnic baskets and blankets and head to Marsh Symphony on the Prairie for some rockin' orchestral music. The concerts on June 27th and 28th pay tribute to the music of The Eagles and Led Zeppelin, arranged by guest conductor Brent Havens. symphony on the prairie

3. Conner Prairie has a lot going on this weekend! On June 28, The Flying Cloud Dancers from Cincinnati will be performing dances from the 1860s and involving the audience along the way. Also on the 28th, the new additions to the Discovery Center and Craft Corner will be completed, an area for younger guests (ages 6 and under) to have more imaginative fun.  

4. Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre closes its season with a performance of the iconic Joan of Arc at the Tarkington. Buy your tickets for Friday or Saturday night's shows at 7 pm.  

5. Transport to paradise and make last minute plans to see Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band tonight at Klipsch Music Center. Or see Journey and Steve Miller Band Saturday, June 28. Both are sure to be raved about all summer long.  

Baseball Grand Park6. The Nickel Plate Arts Festival continues this weekend in Tipton! The HeART of Tipton Festival on Saturday, June 28, is the last of the month long celebration of the arts. Enjoy local art, live music, theatrical performances, and food from 9 am-5 pm, located just east of the courthouse square. Artists and quilters will be there to demonstrate their talents and talk to visitors. The local farmer's market will also be happening from 9 am-2 pm. 

7. Get a ride to the Fishers Fridays After Dark Concert Series on a train from the Steinmeier Station, a part of the Indiana Transportation Museum. This weekend's free concert presents Gene Deer and Doug Henthorn. All are welcome to bring blankets and treats to enjoy the show. 

8. Now that the Grand Park campus in Westfield is officially open, there are many opportunities for sports fans to enjoy a day at the ballpark. This weekend, Bullpen Tournaments hosts the Freedom Classic

To make the weekend even more awesome, there are tickets to see Motley Crue up for grabs!  Enter to win tickets to see them live at Klipsch Music Center on July 5.  Winner will be announced on June 27.


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Fantastic 4th Festivities

Jun 24, 2014 by Sarah Buckner

Fishers Freedom Festival foodThis Fourth of July, lather on the sunscreen, light a sparkler and head out to one of the many fun Fourth celebrations in Hamilton County, Indiana. 

Visit Fishers this weekend to celebrate the holiday during the 26th annual Fishers Freedom Festival. Taking place June 28-29, this two-day family friendly event begins with a 5k run, but also offers food, vendors, and fireworks.

As a life long Carmel resident, I have celebrated more Fourths at CarmelFest than I can count. This July 3-4, take the whole family to downtown Carmel for a parade, music by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, games for kids and fireworks.

Lights over Morse from SarahFor an unforgettable fireworks show, start up your boat or just head to the shore of Morse Reservoir. Lights Over Morse takes place July 4-6, and the fireworks show is unlike any other. If you are unable to get on the water during the weekend, hop aboard the Lights Over Morse Caboose & Fireworks Trains.

On the Fourth in downtown Noblesville, festivities include a parade, a cool car show, food, fireworks, and fun!

Experience a car show, rock-climbing wall, live music, great entertainment and a firework display makes the 5th Annual Westfield Rocks the Fourth the place to be this 4th of July. Held at Asa Bales Park, this fun event is sure to please the whole family. Conner Prairie- Glorious Fourth

At 10:30 am on July Fourth, the Town of Sheridan will kick off their celebration with a parade through town, but the fun doesn't stop there - it continues on at Biddle Memorial Park with festivities and fireworks!

Looking to travel back in time this holiday? Visit Glorious Fourth at Conner Prairie and participate in authentic Fourth of July fun from the 19th Century. After the day is done, stick around Conner Prairie as Marsh Symphony on the Prairie Presents Star Spangled Symphony. Sit back, sip wine and enjoy the music and fireworks display!

To learn more about these events, as well as information on Hamilton County, Indiana hotels, restaurants, and great shopping options, go to

Tuesdays just got tastier!

Jun 19, 2014 by Erin Vollmer

Beer Battered Tenderloin at Woodys After one bite of a crispy, but juicy breaded tenderloin, you will understand why the sandwich has become a popular Hoosier staple. With pork hanging off of the bun and stacked with a variety of toppings, it is served at over 30 restaurants participating in Hamilton County's Tenderloin Trail.

When I learned about the tenderloin's popularity, I was surprised! I always thought of breaded tenderloins as fair food, not a restaurant special. So, I started bringing up the tenderloin in conversations and almost everyone had a connection to someone in another state or their hometown that raved about Indiana's tenderloins.

I decided that I needed to get past the standard chicken entrée and try ordering a tenderloin from time to time when out to Grilled Tenderloin at Woodyseat. I love to switch it up, but as a college student, my budget doesn't allow for much culinary adventure. This is the perfect time to start my tenderloin trials, because there are 10 restaurants on the Tenderloin Trail with deals and coupons during Tenderloin Tuesdays, June 24-July 29!  

Just last week, three of us at the Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. office decided to have a "Foodie Friday" and try out three of the tenderloin varieties offered at Woodys Library Restaurant. They serve tenderloins that are beer battered, grilled, blackened, and kettle chip crusted on parker house rolls with plenty of toppings. We each ordered a different type and shared to find our favorites. 

I ordered the grilled version, but also tried the beer battered and kettle chip crusted. My favorite was definitely the grilled (probably because that's how I like most of my meat). It had so much flavor and healthful toppings that left me feeling full even without the breading.

Kettle Chip Encrusted Tenderloin at WoodysJordan's favorite was the kettle chip crusted tenderloin. He said, "The breading was fantastic. It had great crunch and was not overly greasy, which can ruin even the best tenderloins."

Emma said, "Woodys variety of tenderloin choices is definitely appealing. I ordered the beer battered version, but I think the kettle chip crusted had the crunch that I desire in a fried food. The grilled was very flavorful (and probably better for you!) and was a close second. I'd like to return to try the blackened version too!"

Nickel Plate Bar & Grill also offers great variety- including breaded, grilled, and Cajun options. Each restaurant has its own personality and flavor that you will enjoy discovering- explore the options on the Tenderloin Trail.

Start your journey with the help of interest-based travel guides and a quiz on the new site that's coming soon,, and make sure to try all of the Tenderloin Tuesday deals while they last!


Tenderloin Empty Plate



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