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Hamilton County, Indiana’s spring bucket list

Apr 28, 2016 by Kara Baber

Have you heard the news? Hamilton County is where you want to be this spring. Why? Because there's so much to do! Don't believe us? Check out the top 10 items on our 2016 spring bucket list. 

What's on your bucket list? Check out and check off items on our bucket list for spring:

1. See Conner Prairie from 350 feet in the tethered, helium balloon
Enjoy the best bird's eye view on the 1859 Balloon Voyage. Relive history when you step into the newly renovated and reimagined William Conner Homestead.

2. Dip a spoon (or two!) into divvy's famous corn crème brûlée

Bring your friends (age 21+) to this unique dining experience. Choose from an extensive menu of delicious sharing plate creations.

3. Pick fresh strawberries at Spencer Farm

Don't miss u-pick strawberry season at this local farm. Be sure to pick up recipes for pies and muffins in the shop before you leave.

4. Hit it longer on Indiana's premier golf courses

Take advantage of Stay & Play package rates and play beautifully manicured public courses located within minutes of each other.

5. Select local produce & food souvenirs at farmers markets

Shop around the farm markets in each city to find raw honey, fresh salsa and egg rolls, a wide variety of fresh vegetables and meet the farmers.

6. Rent a bike and cruise the Monon Trail

Pick a cruiser or trike for a scenic ride on the Monon. Pack a snack to stow in the bike basket.

7. Visit Nickel Plate Arts and attend a First Friday opening

Nourish your appetite for local culture. Tour the galleries and meet the artists at the opening reception for the month's featured exhibits.

8. Sip on history with the Bicentennial Brew Tour

Sit back and enjoy the ride (through May 22) to visit local breweries and sample brews with historical ties. From squirrel stampedes to haunted legends, you will learn quirky bits of history while enjoying local craft brews.

9. Get spooked on a ghost tour of Noblesville or Westfield

Hear stories of spirited affairs and haunting legends and folk tales. Both Nobleville and Westfield are rich with haunted histories.

10. Ride the mountain bike trails at the new Flat Fork Creek Park

Quench your thirst for adventure on five miles of mountain bike trails. Traverse single track and progressive trails with a variety of ramps and technical features.

Summer concert season at Klipsch Music Center has not started yet, but it's not too to early to make plans. Headlining music performances and concert dates have been announced and tickets are already available for some.

Fabb Four Giveaway

Hamilton County Happenings - April 27

Apr 27, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

From flamingos and sheep,to bicentennial celebrations, find it all in Hamilton County! Whether you are visiting the county or have friends and family who are, there is plenty to see and do! Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

Flock to NPD
Let's Flock the NPD!
April 29
Fishers, Indiana

Flock to the Nickel Plate Amphitheater to see lots of flamingos in the return of the flamingo decorating contest. Stay for the FREE movie showing of Pixels.
Holmes-Hart
Danika Holmes and Jeb Hart
April 29
Noblesville, Indiana

Danika and Jeb are an outstanding duo from Nashville, Tennessee. Jeb's clean, sophisticated style of playing along with Danika's smooth, soulful vocals creates a unique blend of acoustic.
Tree of Hope
Bicentennial Tree of Hope Ceremonies
April 29-30
Carmel, Westfield, Atlanta and Cicero, Indiana

Ten "Trees of Hope" to commemorate Indiana's Bicentennial will be dedicated in parks throughout Hamilton County.
Founders Park
Exploration Celebration
April 30
Carmel, Indiana

Grab your magnifying glass and join us for a day of nature exploration and hands-on learning about plants, bugs, fossils, animals, and the beauty around us.
Shear Fun
Shear Fun
April 30-May 1
Fishers, Indiana

How do you start with a furry sheep and end up with a blanket? At Conner Prairie, discover the process and learn how sheep are cared for as you watch skilled staff shear their coats.

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.  

Mother's Day in Hamilton County, Indiana

Apr 26, 2016 by Sarah Buckner

MOMMom, Mama, Mum, Madre, Mommy - no matter what you call your Mother - Mother's Day is almost here and it is time to celebrate. To help create memories that last forever, we have a gift guide to please any mama.

- Pick up a beautiful bouquet from locally owned Seven Sisters Florist in Cicero, or create your own from the stems you'll find in the market at Oberer's Flowers in Carmel.

- For the mother with a sweet tooth, take home a delicious cupcake from Gigi's Cupcakes in Fishers or Westfield, or Flying Cupcake in Carmel.

- Indulge her in relaxing spa services from Woodhouse Day Spa.

- Stroll through Forest Park, then find a quiet spot and enjoy a picnic

- Visit Bath Junkie in Carmel to design a unique set of bath goodies just for her!

- Kayak, canoe, or float down the White River with White River Canoe Company

- Get her on the green and play 18 holes at one of Hamilton County's premier golf courses

- Slowly sip mimosas over brunch at Matt the Miller's, Bub's Café, or the Lazy Frogg (also offers beautiful water views).

Mother's Day is a wonderful time to show your mother, wife, friend, or grandmother that you appreciate all that she does! Make it special with one of the ideas suggested above - or visit our online calendar for more ideas!

Hamilton County, Indiana Outdoor Bucket List

Apr 21, 2016 by Luis Ruvalcaba

Hamilton County has a lot to offer by way of outdoor activities. Some of them are pretty obvious and others are the types of memories that you treasure for a lifetime. So without further ado here is the Hamilton County outdoor adventure bucket list!

fishingStarting with the traditional, Hamilton county offers some amazing fishing holes and waterways to discover.

-Purchase an annual fishing license for $17. This license is good for one adult, and children are permitted to fish with their licensed adult present!

-Find a new favorite fishing hole. There are plenty to choose from running down the White River, but there are also great fishing spots at Morse Park and Beach. These also have nearby playgrounds that excellent for kids.

-Ride the river or take a dip. If the warming weather has you feeling extra adventurous, take a break from fishing and try a ride on the river with the White River Canoe Company or leap into a lake at the Morse Beach Aqua Park.

fieldDouble knot your Nike's or grease up you gears; Hamilton County's trails have you covered.

-Pave your way through the County. When it comes to paved trails, the HC has you covered! The Monon Trail is a great option for running and biking that takes you right through the entire County from Sheridan to Westfield to Carmel. It's a safe bet with a paved trail that is miles and miles long.

-Take the trail less traveled. If you're looking for something a little more "out in nature" check out Strawtown Koteewi Park. You can explore the larger trail that's perfectly navigable for strollers, but if you're looking for something more wild there is an off the path trail that runs along the White River and creeks. That creek path is perfect for the next item on our bucket list.

Make a splash this spring by letting everyone have good clean (or not) fun!

-Surfs up in Indiana? As summer approaches Carmel Clay Parks and recreation will open it's flagship Waterpark. Check this adventure off your list last. Starting May 28 you can surf the FlowRider or soak up some sun in the private cabanas.

-Stomp yourself silly. Creek stomping is a time-honored tradition for children dating back to... I don't know...forever? Put on your rain boots and take the family out to Cool Creek Park to make some awesome memories! Make sure you take photos; those splashy pics will keep you smiling all through the next winter. Will it be a mess? Sure. But some messes are worth making.

balloonSpeaking of photos don't miss all of Hamilton County's excellent outdoor photo ops!

-Snap the perfect pic. From the barns highlighted at the beginning of the movie Hoosiers to the railroad tracks that run through picturesque woods, there are tons of great places to snap some photos. Heading out in the evening just before sunset will give you perfect light. All you have to do is bring your perfect subjects. Want to know the best view or background in town? Check out the view from Conner Prairie's helium balloon as it reaches its peak.

-Pic while you pick. Lastly, you're not done truly exploring the Hamilton County outdoors until you've picked and brought home your very own wildflower bouquet. From the parks up north like Boxley Cabin to the sides of the White River at Heritage Park in Fishers, you can find many species of wildflowers. The gorgeous blues, pinks and yellows will make your photos pop and will bring the love of the outdoors into your home.

Enjoy your time outdoors with your family or on your own. Make sure you share your photos with us on Instagram @VisitHamiltonCo and use #RecHC.

Hamilton County Happenings - April 20

Apr 20, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

From a trail of fairy houses to bicentennial celebrations, find it all in Hamilton County! Whether you are visiting the county or have friends and family who are, there is plenty to see and do! Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

Fairyville
Welcome to Fairyville
Apr 20-23
Noblesville, Indiana

Embrace the fairy whimsy at Nickel Plate Arts, walk the Fairyville Trail, vote for your favorite fairy house, make crafts and attend a tea party.
Follow North Star
Follow the North Star
April 22-23
Fishers, Indiana

Take on the role of a fugitive slave traveling along the Underground Railroad in this nationally acclaimed program.
 Trees of Hope Bicentennial Tree of Hope Ceremonies
April 23
Arcadia, Fishers, Noblesville, Sheridan and Westfield, Indiana

"Trees of Hope" to commemorate Indiana's Bicentennial will be dedicated in parks throughout Hamilton County.
Museum of Minis
Hoosiers in History told in Miniature
Through May 29
Carmel, Indiana

This special Bicentennial exhibit at the Museum of Miniature Houses showcases Indiana's history in miniature form. See replicas of Levi Coffin's home, Major Taylor's bicycle and more.
Forest Park
Explore Hamilton County Trails
Throughout Hamilton County

Get out and go! Looking for a trail to stroll or a new street route to ride your bike? Check out the Hamilton County Trail Guide, that opens more than 300 miles of outdoor fun. Download the outdoor recreation app to find parks and other outdoor adventures.

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.

5 Ways to Rock Roundabouts like a Pro

Apr 19, 2016 by Andrea Davis

When it comes to roundabouts, I've turned the corner. So to speak.

Carmel fountainOnce upon a time, I made a concerted effort to avoid the much-maligned traffic circles while behind the wheel. I had seen the panic-stricken faces of my fellow motorists as they approached these new-fangled intersections, and I scoffed at the assertion that they were safer than stop signs or traffic lights.

Then I started working in Carmel, which has more roundabouts than fast-food restaurants-its 100th is expected to open this year. And it turns out they're easier to navigate than a double drive-through lane.

Now I find myself grumbling when my progress is slowed by a red light, especially if I have to wait a full cycle for just one or two other cars to pass. If you know what you're doing, roundabouts are the way to go.

Here are some tips for navigating roundabouts like a pro:

Keep your eyes on the road. It sounds obvious, but distractions abound. When you're in roundabout country, it pays to pay attention to the signs that let you know what lies ahead. They provide a literal roadmap to which lanes go where, so you can get (and stay) in the right one.

Look left, not right. When you're preparing to enter a roundabout, forget the look-both-ways edict you learning in driving school. Since traffic moves around the central island in one (counter-clockwise) direction, you only need to worry about vehicles approaching from the left. Remember, they always have the right of way.

Keep your foot on the gas: Once you're in the roundabout, keep moving as long as the cars in front of you are moving. One of the advantages of these intersections is that traffic slows but rarely stops. And if you miss your "exit," you'll have another chance on the next lap.

Roundabout signUse your turn signals: Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, using turn signals is not the vehicular equivalent of a "kick me" sign. I look at the practice as a courtesy, a way to communicate my plans for the road I share with other motorists. In a roundabout, that means I signal a right turn before I exit, so drivers approaching the intersection know they don't have to wait for me to pass.

Watch your speed: It turns out roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections, in large part because vehicles aren't flying through them at 55 mph. Carmel officials say roundabouts have reduced the number of personal-injury accidents by about 80 percent, and the total number of accidents by about 40 percent. Speed limits vary depending on the angle of the curve, but rest assured they're not just an idle suggestion.

Carmel has been building roundabouts since the late 1990s, and the rest of Hamilton County is jumping on the bandwagon. More than 150 intersections have been converted countywide already, and dozens more are on the drawing board in Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers and beyond.

Since discovering my love of roundabouts, I've only encountered one that has presented a challenge - the five-pronged behemoth just east of Interstate 69's Exit 210. Despite several attempts to get to a Taco Bell located nearby, I always seem to end up in a hospital parking lot. Maybe the traffic gods are trying to tell me something.

Indiana’s Bicentennial Tree of Hope

Apr 14, 2016 by Sarah Buckner

When Indiana became a State in 1816, almost 20 of Indiana's 23 million acres were covered with forests. 200 years later there are only 4.7 million acres, and only about 2500 acres are untouched forests. Forests provide a vital habitat to many of our unique species of animals, insects and plants.

To celebrate Indiana's rich history and exciting future, Sustainable Indiana partnered with the state on the Tree of Hope. In April, trees will be planted throughout Hamilton County as a living reminder to future generations to use our resources and land wisely.

Hamilton County is resolved to make the next 200 years of Indiana's relationship with forests better through protecting old-growth forests, planting trees in every community.

For more information on the trees locations and tree dedication ceremonies, visit the Tree of Hope site.

Finally, the Hamilton County Tourism Bicentennial Committee would like to acknowledge Nick Svedsen, his family and Troop 107 for all their hard work on bringing the Tree of Hope to Hamilton County. The Tree of Hope would not have been possible without Nick - and his involvement represents a new generation of Hamilton County leaders.

Hamilton County Happenings - April 13

Apr 13, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Movies under the stars, culinary experiences, and ghost walks are filling the calendar in Hamilton County this April. Whether you are visiting the county or have friends and family who are, there is plenty to see and do! Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

 Prairie Plates April Prairie Plates: Prohibition Party with Repeal Restaurant
April 17
Fishers, Indiana

Celebrate the farm-to-table food and craft drink movement with unique dining experience at Conner Prairie, featuring a regional top chef and gourmet artisan.
Good Dinosaur
Movies in the Park - The Good Dinosaur
April 15
Fishers, Indiana

Families are encouraged to arrive early and secure their seats at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater. The movie will begin at dusk.
Carmel Marathon
Carmel Marathon
April 16
Carmel, Indiana

Welcome runners! It's time for the sixth 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. The Carmel Marathon Expo is free for all to attend on Friday.
Westfield Ghosts
Westfield Ghost Walks
April 16
Westfield, Indiana

See a haunted fire station and a parsonage with extra spirit on the Haunted Union Street Ghost Walk. Take a walking tour filled with stories of ghosts and modern-day gangsters on the Historic Underground Railroad Ghost Walk.

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. 

Secrets to enjoying Hamilton County's outdoor offerings

Apr 12, 2016 by Luis Ruvalcaba

BruceSpring has finally arrived! In an effort to prepare you for all the time you'll be spending outdoors Bruce Oldham, Hamilton County's resident outdoor expert, shared some of his secrets. These are secrets which he developed through his long history scouting, his education at Ball State University and his long history of working for more than one of the Parks and Recreation Departments in Indiana. Currently, he is the regional parks operations manager for Hamilton County Parks and Recreation. Here is what he had to say:

In your experience when is a good time to book the season's first camping trip? How about the first day fishing trip?

White River Campground opens our gates on April 15th every year, this is just about always when spring is taking off and you don't have to worry about too many sub-freezing nights. As far as fishing goes, I believe like many that you can fish year round. There are ample opportunities throughout the county to ice fish (when conditions are right) and move right into more traditional fishing as soon as the ice disappears.

If I'm new to Hamilton County, which parks or campgrounds are absolutely "can't miss"?

SKPWhite River Campground is a premier camping destination for the entire country, our visitors that camp all over year round report that we are in their top three nationwide. Cool Creek Park has been our flagship park for years and plays host our Nature Center, Concert Series, a huge Playground, sports fields and ample woodlands to romp through. Of course, Strawtown Koteewi Park is our largest park with over 800 acres to explore and find your perfect spot.

What would you say is the bare minimum a person needs to enjoy a day outside in Hamilton County?

Bare minimum requirements would be a smile and a sense of adventure. Everyone feels comfortable in different ways, and our parks are set up to offer something for everyone. I encourage everyone to first visit myhamiltoncountyparks.com and take a look at all there is to do, then pick your thing and head out the door for a new adventure... you never know what awaits you. The beautiful thing about nature is that it is always changing, so the same park from day to day or week to week or season to season can hold something new and exciting.

Hey, um, is this poison ivy? How can I tell what is ok to touch and not touch?

Kid in parkFirst off, we encourage all of our visitors to follow this simple moto: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, throw nothing but compliments. There are also a couple saying related directly to poison ivy that you can remember as well: Leaves of Three Leave me Be, and Hairy Vine no Friend of Mine.

If you were going to be stranded in a Hamilton County park for a weekend with only three items, which items would you take and which park would you hope you're stranded in?

That's a good one. If only for a weekend I would have to say that Strawtown Koteewi Park would be my choice of parks, as it is the largest and has the most resources. My three items would be my wonderful family to spend a quality weekend away from the world together, a fishing pole, and a nice big wool blanket!!!!! All rest the good Lord and my skills will provide.

Thanks Bruce! There you have it, head out to the parks! Don't forget to take tons of pictures and tag us @VisitHamiltonCo and #VisitHC.

Hamilton County Happenings - April 6

Apr 06, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

From the performing arts to visual arts, this weekend sure will be full of excitement! Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

Jazz Photos  Jazz Photography Exhibit
April 8-16
Carmel, Indiana
Photographs from Mark Sheldon's recent exhibit, The Naptown Scene, featuring images of Jazz musicians in Indianapolis will be on display.
Taft Law Jazz  Taft Law Jazz Series SFJazz Collective: The Music of Michael Jackson
April 8
Carmel, Indiana

The Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate Indiana's Bicentennial and the artistic riches of our state by highlighting Hoosier artists and songwriters who continue to create and influence art in Indiana and around the world, including SFJazz Collective.
CBD  The Belfry Theatre presents: "Cheaper by the Dozen"
April 8-24
Noblesville, Indiana

Cheaper by the Dozen tells the story of the Gilbreth family, and is an extremely funny and heart-warming tale. Don’t miss the laughs as well as the touching moments of this wonderful play.
Gallery Walk  Carmel Arts & Design Second Saturday Gallery Walk
April 9
Carmel, Indiana

Head to downtown Carmel for some artsy fun this weekend. Pop into galleries to see special exhibits and enjoy special entertainment and activities.
GJBC-PP
Indiana on Tap presents: Bicentennial Pours & Pints at Grand Junction Brewing Company
April 9
Westfield, Indiana

You don't want to miss this beer-tastic celebration of Indiana's Bicentennial. Try a signature Grand Junction brew and enter to win prizes from Indiana on Tap, Hamilton County Tourism and Grand Junction. Be sure to tag your photos with #HCbrews16 for even more chances to win.
Trails  Explore Hamilton County Trails
Throughout Hamilton County

Get out and go! Looking for a trail to stroll or a new street route to ride your bike? Check out the Hamilton County Trail Guide, that opens more than 300 miles of outdoor fun. Download the outdoor recreation app to find parks and other outdoor adventures.

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.

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