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Mar 06, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB
From a beach-inspired bash to celebrating local art, this weekend in Hamilton County has a bit of something for everyone. It's also one of the rare times that you can enjoy First Friday and Second Saturday festivities in the same weekend! Find those ideas and more below, plus check our online calendar for even more weekend getaway ideas.
1. Ladies, kick off your weekend with an evening of fun this Thursday in downtown Noblesville. The annual Diva Night encourages shoppers to explore the Noblesville square. Stop at participating shops for sales, specials, and more. At 8 p.m., join the after party at the Copper Still for prizes and drinks!
2. Try a new restaurant this weekend during Northside Nights Restaurant Week! Participating restaurants in Hamilton County and Indianapolis' north side are offering special menus with special lower prices through March 16. For a list of participating restaurants and their menus, check the website here.
3. Women welders? Yes! The newest exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts features the art of local women welders. These talented ladies who work with molten metal will share some of their pieces in the gallery space.
4. Chase the winter blues away at this month's Noblesville First Friday that has a tropical twist. The theme will be Jimmy Buffett Beach Bash and local restaurants and shops will be supplying lots of fun! Stop at a local eatery for unique versions of "cheeseburgers in paradise" and don't miss the exotic animal program at The Wild bookstore from 6-8 p.m.
5. Visit the Carmel Arts & Design District for the Second Saturday Gallery Walk this weekend. Celebrate the opening of a new gallery, see special displays at Eye on Art Gallery and Magdalena Gallery, participate in a scavenger hunt, plus get a free caricature!
6. Have a little girl who loves science or computers? Don't miss Passport to Hi-Tech at Conner Prairie this Saturday! You can learn about careers in science, engineering, biology, and more by chatting with real-life female professionals in those fields. Plus check out special interactive science exhibits too.
7. If you, like many of us, are very ready for spring, consider a trip to the Hamilton County Art Center. The first exhibit of the season is just what you need: "It's Time for Color!" Talented local artists will have their spring inspired pieces on display through April.
8. It's hard to believe it, but golf season is almost here! If you're in the Michigan area and love golf, you have the opportunity this weekend to visit our booth at the Michigan Golf Show. There we'll have our 2014 Travel & Golf Guide, plus we are giving away a Stay & Play package! If you're not in Michigan, our website is packed with info to get you into the golf season spirit.
Mar 04, 2014 by Emma Diebold
Opting to skip the expensive beach vacation this Spring Break? Consider a getaway (or staycation!) to Hamilton County where you can make a splash for less cash. Here's a list of ideas to get your trip ideas flowing!
Family Getaway to Hamilton County
- Treat the family to a trip to the Monon Community Center to experience their indoor pool area, complete with water slide.
- On March 27, the outdoor experiences at Conner Prairie open for the season, as does the newly expanded Create.Connect indoor science exhibit.
- Rent tandem bikes (or plain single seaters) from Carmel Cyclery for a ride on the Monon.
- Visit the Museum of Miniature Houses & Other Collections (perfect for little girls!).
Plan a fun Spring Break getaway tailored just for you with the trip planner on VisitHamiltonCounty.com. Don't forget to take advantage of available special deals too! Hotels are offering great discounted rates for Spring Break trips and you can find deals for dining and more on the Special Offers page.
Feb 27, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB
An acoustic guitar virtuoso, the Cat in the Hat, and "Stormy Weather" are all making appearances in Hamilton County this weekend! Read on for fun ideas for your weekend plans including those and more. Our online calendar of events is updated all the time, so check there for ideas too!
1. There are so many things coming up at the Center for the Performing Arts! Take the kids to see "Blue! The Mediterranean Sea" or enjoy classic tunes performed by The Temptations and The Four Tops. Saturday brings a show especially for kids: "The Center Presents: Peanut Butter & Jam: Celtic Music."
2. Make your reservations now for the final month of Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie! There is limited availability for this popular program, so reserve today. Read our previous post all about this wonderful historical dining experience.
3. Longing for the farmers markets of summer? The Winter Market is as close as you can get! Saturday morning from 9 a.m.- noon you can browse through local vendors offering meats, poultry, baked goods, teas, vegetables, eggs and more. Plus you can pick up an already prepared breakfast to snack on!
4. Beat the winter blues with a fun kid-friendly outing. See "The Cat in the Hat" presented by Civic Theatre at the Tarkington this weekend. Then head to Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream for a classic burger and a hand-dipped milk shake or check out another family-friendly eatery with kid approved dishes.
5. Acoustic music lovers, rejoice! Internationally acclaimed acoustic guitar player Beppe Gambetta will be taking the stage at the Hedgehog Music Showcase in Arcadia this Sunday. He'll be playing everything from American roots music to song in his native Italian style.
6. Catch a flick this weekend. On Friday, gather a group for a showing of the Heartland Truly Moving Picture: "Stormy Weather" at the Palladium. Or see the latest blockbusters at the Hamilton 16 IMAX in Noblesville.
7. Pamper yourself this weekend. Everyone deserves some pampering sometimes! Create your own bath products at Bath Junkie, visit Herbal Arts to purchase Indiana Artisan quality soaps, or make an appointment at a locally owned spa.
8. Mark your calendars now for Northside Nights Restaurant Week! It begins on Monday, March 3 and continues through the 16th. This popular event allows people to try 3 courses for $30 at most participating restaurants, plus lunch specials and vegetarian options too. See the menus and more on the Northside Nights website.
Feb 25, 2014 by Sarah Buckner
As mom to two small kiddos, Chris & Emily, going out to eat is not always the easiest thing to do. However, I still love to sit down at a table and enjoy a great meal that I did not have to prepare. In my six years of parenting, I have found a few favorite local places that manage to make going out to eat with children a wonderful experience.
Just off the Monon Trail in Carmel is Bub's Café. Open for breakfast and lunch, Bub's Cafe has quickly become one of our family favorites. Inside, the restaurant is bright, colorful, and cheerful - so my kids are smiling from the moment they walk in the door. The food is easy, yummy, and inexpensive - but best of all for me, they serve mimosas!
Overlooking the water in our small lake town of Cicero is Alexander's on the Water, a seasonal outdoor ice cream and food eatery. What started as a place to go for special treats has turned into a weekly must have each summer. We sit in the shade, stare out at the water, and gobble up the soft serve.
Also in Cicero is a tiny, small town diner called Erika's Place. Filled with local residents and delicious down home food, Erika's makes you feel like you're sitting in grandma's kitchen. No matter the time of day, my kids ask for the Mickey Mouse pancakes and are thrilled with they are brought out to them, covered in sprinkles, syrup and whipped cream. Every time I go, I get the ham and cheese omelet with shredded hash browns - and eat every. single. bite.
I also asked a few friends if I was missing anything from my list. Here are a few suggestions from other parents.
- Jan's Village Pizza is a local favorite of my family... The staff is friendly and great with the kids. Jan herself takes time to visit with us, she tell us stories about Westfield and even demonstrates how they create their delicious pizza. To top it off, on Thursdays they have a magician and live music on the weekends! - Laurissa, mom of Ava, age 11 and Sophia, age 1
- I love Courtney's Kitchen in Noblesville! They have great food, wonderful service and a family friendly environment. They are customer focused and even remember their regulars names and orders. Not to mention the price is great! - Katie, mom of Danica, age 8 and Zach, age 6
Feb 20, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB
Can it be? It's already the last weekend of February! There's plenty of fun to be had on this milder weekend here in Hamilton County. From beer tasting to seeing local talent shine, there's something for everyone. Read on for 8 great ideas and check our online calendar for even more ideas.
1. Kick off the weekend a bit early with a trip to Prime 47 this Thursday evening. They offer a selection of $5 martinis plus live entertainment. Can't make it on Thursday? Friday they offer select bottles of wine for ½ price- perfect for date night!
2. Enjoy a local theater production! Talented folks will be gracing the stage to perform "Steel Magnolias" with Civic Theatre at the Tarkington. Also this weekend, the Carmel Theatre Company's show "The Dining Room" opens.
3. Or broaden your theatrical and music horizons with a trip to see a national act. Frank Ferrante will be presenting "An Evening with Groucho" on Friday and Saturday that's fun for the whole family. Or see Lee Greenwood live at the Palladium this Friday.
4. Love to try new beers? Don't miss Fishers on Tap this Saturday! 8 Indiana breweries will be serving up samples of their various beers. Plus for those who prefer grapes to hops, Chateau Thomas Winery will be on hand dishing out samples too.
5. There's always something new to learn at Conner Prairie! This weekend there's a historic trade class called Keeping and Raising Chickens where you can learn all about this skill. The Prairie's Livestock Manager will teach class participants about new and old breeds of chickens and how to care for them.
6. Spring is trying its very best to show itself here in Hamilton County! Warmer temperatures may have you in the mood for summer produce, and the Winter Farmers Market is as close as you can get. Seasonal veggies, plus meat, eggs, baked goods and more are all available this Saturday morning at the Indiana Design Center.
7. See the stars of tomorrow perform this weekend at the Carmel Arts Council's Young Performers Showcase! Over 100 mini-musicians will take to the piano stage to perform (and some for the first time) and compete. The winner will take home a hefty scholarship prize.
8. Make your reservations for upcoming activities at Nickel Plate Arts so you can shake off the winter blues and learn a new skill or have some artful conversation. Monday Night Drawing Classes are offered through spring and are open to all skill levels. Or if you're better versed in the art of conversation, RSVP today for the next Stone Soup Supper that will be held on February 27. Not only will you get tasty soup, but also a chance to chat with several local artists.
Feb 18, 2014 by Shanna Mooney
When I first started not eating meat at the age of 10, my mom kind of panicked. She didn't know how I was going to survive in part because she didn't know what to fix me for dinner. Fast-forward an amount of years that shall remain vague to when my babysitter, now a high school student, decided to go vegetarian. Her mother took a different approach by buying peanut butter and bread in bulk and not sweating it. Suffice to say, we both thrived.
Still, however, when it comes time for my friends and I to choose a restaurant, some worry there won't be any vegetarian options for me. I want to allay everyone's fears: People who shun meat do not need to eat at any special restaurant designated as acceptable by some pretentious vegan association. (Although if one is vegan, the options will dwindle rapidly.) Most of us can find something just about anywhere. Of course, some places have more of a variety than others, and I find ethnic restaurants typically have more to offer, such as:
Amber Indian, 12510 N. Meridian: I love their palak paneer and vegetable samosas.
Thai Castle, 19 East 126th & Rangeline: While a bit disappointed in their pad Thai, which is one of my favorite dishes, I enjoy their crispy tofu appetizer and chef Nikone is just a fun person, so I love going there.
Sichuan, 11588 Westfield Blvd.: Their lunch buffet is a vegetarian paradise.
My current favorite place, which is Italian, is Crust Pizzeria Napoletana, 12505 Old Meridian St. in Carmel.
It's cozy, warm and inviting. "Cozy" and "warm" are due in large part to the large stone hearth oven. Kept glowing at 700 degrees, it perfectly bakes their superb pizzas, which are topped with your choice of fresh (local and organic when possible) ingredients. And, oh, the options. For the carnivores, Amish chicken (from a small Hoosier farm), prosciutto, Italian sausage and homemade meatballs are choices alongside the standard pepperoni. For those of us who prefer pizza without a face, there is no need to limit yourself to cheese alone, although the Quattro Formaggio (mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola and ricotta cheeses) is a pleasant, but slightly bland, option. We thought it might benefit from the addition of mushrooms or onions.
Other tasty meatless options:
Margherita: fresh mozzarella, basil, and homemade pizza sauce
Four Seasons: Roasted peppers, roasted mushrooms, artichokes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella.
Vegetarian: Roasted peppers, artichoke, zucchini, eggplant, squash, and fresh mozzarella.
Sicilian: Eggplant, roasted tomato, goat cheese, olives, and fresh mozzarella.
The Atlantic: Smoked salmon, capers, and cream cheese topped with arugula. (Yes, I know, it has fish, which I also eat. Because you know, it isn't meat. It's fish.)
Pizzas are 12" and prices range from $12 to $16.
My suggestion, however, is to come hungry. Your meal will begin with complimentary hummus. But by all means, that should not stop you from also ordering the amazing baked goat cheese appetizer ($8) Yes, it's a simple dish, but many of the best things are. The pungent, bubbly cheese and warm homemade marinara are just about the tastiest things you could ever spread on garlic bread. And it isn't the only vegetarian appetizer option. There's also bruschetta ($8), mac and cheese ($8), and spinach artichoke dip ($9). Salads are the vegetarian standard, and Crust has plenty from which to choose. Prices range from $6 to $9. Panini as well are a great choice with a couple of meatless options that move beyond the standard tomato, black olive and onion mixture you might be served at other pizza places. Prices are $9 to $9.50.
But don't skip dessert, either! We loved the Nutella, ricotta and coconut calzone. Other options, all priced at $5, include gelato with amaretti cookies , tiramisu and cheesecake.
Feb 11, 2014 by Caroline Mosey
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about overpriced flowers and dinner reservations booked weeks in advance. It fact, it shouldn't be! There are too many amazing opportunities for a fun date night in Hamilton County to get caught up in a Valentine's Day cliché.
My husband and I have three small children, and finding time (and energy!) to head out for dates isn't always easy. We've gradually let go of the notion that dates are reserved for evenings, or always involve movies and long meals. We've learned to be creative and flexible with our alone time-grabbing a sitter for weekend mornings to have a brunch date, slipping away for a pre-dinner cocktail while the kids play at the neighbors' house, or even at-home dates with fresh pressed coffee and dessert after bedtime. It turns out, there are endless possibilities for romantic outings, including on Valentine's Day weekend!
This year, why not swap dinner and a movie for cocktails and appetizers? Finding a couple of chairs at the bar is much less of a hassle than remembering to book a table for dinner, and still gives you and your sweetie a nice evening out. Peterson's may be known for their steaks, but have you tried their oysters Rockefeller? They're creamy and rich, and taste just right with a glass of champagne (Why not? It's Valentine's Day, right?) Or head to Petite Chou in Clay Terrace for a French Martini and a few different sweet crepes. Better yet, celebrate on Saturday morning instead and head there for brunch-complete with bubbly mimosas! Pick up your favorite truffles at Simply Sweet Shoppe and pair them with coffee or cocoa for an at-home date, or visit Vine and Table for the perfect combination of cheese and wine to tuck into during a Netflix marathon at home!
This year, my husband and I stopped in Pizzology for a quick-but very delicious-date. We shared a steaming bowl of in a just-spicy-enough broth (you'll want to order extra breadsticks to mop it up, trust me). For cocktails, we decided on the Pimms Cup and the Vesper, both with bright, crisp flavors that cut through the spiciness of the mussels. I have yet to meet a Neal Brown creation I didn't instantly love. Take full advantage of the fact that we have a James Beard Award nominated chef right here in Hamilton County!
For another change of pace, visit Nickel Plate Arts! They'll be offering a Valentine's Day Date Night from 6-9pm featuring poetry readings, the new Love, Lust & Poetry exhibit, live music, beer, wine and desserts.
Whatever you do this Valentine's Day, make it creative and unique!
Feb 06, 2014 by Jo Ann Klooz
This winter is a cold, snowy mess that makes you ache for beaches and fruity drinks. Well, embrace it I say. What better way than a Hearthside Supper at Conner Prairie? This candlelight dinner done 1830s style was a great way to really enjoy the cold weather and eat some fantastic comfort food cooked over a fire. We were quickly welcomed inside the Conner House kitchen where a roaring fire complete with a bed of glowing coals perfect for cooking awaited us.
My sister and nephew came along and we learned that our father's use of the word ‘receipt' rather than recipe is true to history. I was put to work making biscuits and learned how to mix and shape dough using only a wooden spoon and paddle. My sister was busy putting apple black-cap together, measuring the nutmeg in her hand. My nephew proudly ground the coffee that was served with our rice pudding at dessert.
After we finished helping with dinner preparation, we got a tour of the Conner house that included details of how daily life, including sleep, was different then. Beds were shorter because people slept in a propped up position to help them with their smoke-induced breathing ailments. But-back to the dinner. It was like a Thanksgiving feast with popcorn, cheese and sausage (from the Ossabaw pigs that are raised at Conner Prairie) with hot cider. That's just the appetizer menu.
Dinner began with onion soup with soppets, and continued with rump of beef with forcemeat (a type of bread dressing), roast chicken with herbs, mustard potatoes, carrots the Dutch way, brandied peaches and of course, the apple black-cap and biscuits that my sister and I helped prepare. We used flatware from an 1800s pattern with forks that were only used to hold food as it was cut. Spoons were only used for soup. So how did we eat? With the back side of the broad blade knife, of course!
After dinner we played a flirtatious game of ‘Question and Answer' that had my young nephew laughing out loud. By the time we were served our rice pudding with tea and coffee, we were stuffed-both with food and the experience itself. It was still cold outside as we left the Conner House, but we were warmed inside and out with a wonderful evening at Conner Prairie that made us forget about winter for just a little bit.
Feb 04, 2014 by Alan Hinds
What used to be a man's enclave, the golf course, is now a more shared world with wives and girlfriends. It is called couples golf and our Stay and Play courses host its many occasions.
It is often said that our play on the golf course shows our true nature. Our inner self is revealed in how we play; react with others, and to both the good and bad shots we hit. This observation might be applied to existing and future golf couplings.
Practicing psychology without a license, I set out to inquire how this might play out in the popularity of Hamilton County's couples golf events.
Ladies surveyed from area courses seemed to affirm that yes indeed, the time spent playing golf with their spouses was rewarding. While significantly in favor of couples golf, some comments came with a bit of qualification. With most starting golf later in life, women enjoyed their play most when the male was more a partner than hovering coach.
Some pointed out the four hours together was more than just golf. Mentioned were the fashions, outdoor settings and the chance to be "a sporty competitive gal" that men find attractive. That sentiment was seemingly confirmed in a men's survey comment, "There is nothing more charming than a pretty girl on a golf course."
The drinks and conversation back at the clubhouse extend the bonding event. "That's all good," said one woman, it blasts the "we don't talk anymore" bogey like a well-played sand wedge. Observing couples at the 19th hole suggests this socializing together-away from busy careers, home chores and kids-adds even more.
The survey of the men on the subject seemed to be a bit more guarded in comments. A central theme was concern on the level of the lady's playability on courses shared with others, perhaps forgetting their own golf beginnings.
"It is a matter of give and take," said one..."do give support to the taking of lessons from a professional." Along this line was the perceptive counsel that play with one's own gender and peers only enhanced the fun when joining together in Mr. & Ms. golf.
"Don't just make couples golf the primary time one plays," suggested a long time golf partner. "Also make use of practice facilities," he added.
Those men that played golf with spouses, and enjoyed it, voiced the same social positives as mentioned above. Interestingly, the benefit of playing more golf and enhanced vacation trips was cited by both our local and Stay and Play golfers.
For existing couples the benefits of golf together can be a shared love of both the person and the sport. It can be a perfect parlay. For Singles looking for compatible love, golf can provide a new approach. With so much of the true person revealed on the golf course, they might best ignore eHarmony or Match.com and sign up for a tee time at the nearest Hamilton County course instead.
Jan 30, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB
Can you believe February is arriving in Hamilton County? Despite the cold temperatures, there's still plenty to do, see, and try this weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana. Plan a Valentine's date, try a new dish, or shop for unique items. Read on for those ideas and more, and check our online calendar for even more!
1. Forever Plaid opens this Friday at the Studio Theater! The Actors Theatre of Indiana is presenting this fun show that's packed with 50's tunes.
2. It's the last chance to see Teacher Creativity Fellowship Exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts. Talented teachers from Noblesville High School have works on display in the exhibit area of the Judge Stone House. The show is open Thursday- Fridays 12- 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. through February 8th.
3. Shop early for your sweetie or yourself at the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace this Saturday. On hand will be tons of vendors with cute items, including Retro 101!
4. The Winter Farmers Market continues this week at the Indiana Design Center. Swing in this Saturday for deals on everything from produce to prepared breakfasts. Maybe even find ingredients for a new recipe!
6. Start planning the perfect Valentine's Day a little early this year. It's only a few weeks away! Use our online calendar to scope out fun events, select a local Hamilton County eatery where you can share a nice meal, plus order some flowers from Seven Sisters Florist before the February 14th rush.
7. Try one of Indy Monthly's latest Swoon List dishes right here in Hamilton County! Two tasty dishes from local eateries made the list: the Mozzarella con Prosciutto starter at Ristorante Roma & 10 West's take on grilled cheese & tomato soup as an appetizer.
8. Scope out the shows happening at Klipsch Music Center this summer, tickets for most of them go on sale soon! The line-up is filling up fast with great acts from all genres. Motley Crue will play its last tour ever, the ever-popular Dave Matthews Band will take to the stage once again, plus a different country artist will be playing nearly every month. Browse the line-up by month here.
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