Thank you Visit Hamilton County for sponsoring this post.
As always, all opinions are completely my own.
Last year we visited Carmel, Indiana, which is only half an hour away from the state’s capital and we loved the close-knit community, passion for the arts, and adoration of locally sourced foods and handcrafted drinks we found in Hamilton County. This year we returned to explore more culinary and cultural delights and we found even more wonderful food, beverages, art, and experiences to share with you. Check out some of what we did below, and head to VisitHamiltonCounty.com to plan your own visit to the area.
Hamilton County consists of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, Atlanta, Arcadia, Sheridan, and Cicero. Spring is a fantastic time to visit the area, especially if you’re from a bit farther north, because everything was beginning to bloom, there were flowers sprouting up everywhere, and many of the trees had big, beautiful foliage already. Back home in Michigan we barely had buds on our trees, and it was noticeably warmer farther south, so it was a very welcome change.
Where to Stay
We loved our stay at Prairie Guest House, because it was so peaceful, relaxing, and inviting. I actually looked forward to returning after each night exploring Hamilton County, because not only were there plants decorating the entire house (which I LOVE), but also because the decor was either inspired by or designed by local artisans, so it was great fun to explore and learn about the work of locals. Reminiscent of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, each room was uniquely appointed and had a very cozy vibe to it.
Yoga is available daily and is taught by the owner’s wife, and breakfast is served in accordance with each guest’s needs and requests (it was delicious by the way!). There are also plenty of spaces to relax outside or in the common areas, and they have lightening fast wifi which is great if you’re in the area for work, or if you’d just like to stream a movie.
If you’re looking for a comfortable place to set up camp for a romantic couples weekend, bachelorette party, or family reunion, learn more about your options for staying here, by clicking here.
Where to Eat
Caffe Buondi in Carmel, IN
If you’re in the mood for fresh juices & smoothies, and wholesome breakfasts handcrafted from locally sourced produce, eggs, and accoutrements, I can’t recommend Caffe Buondi enough! The owners of Carmel culinary staple Convivio (located next door) also own Café Buondi, and once again they’ve given their all to one of the best places to eat in the state of Indiana.
We Recommend: The Monica Omelette, Lemon Marscapone Waffle & Veuve Clicquot Mimosa
St. Yared Ethipian Cuisine & Coffee House in Indianapolis, IN
Meals at St. Yared consists of massive portions of traditional Ethipian cuisine, and they’re perfect for sharing. The spices and herbs used in each of the dishes are sourced from Ethiopia by the owner’s cousin and are flown in straight from Ethiopia to your table. Be prepared to eat with your hands, and to chat with the owner & his family – they’re the sweetest people, and the food is incredible! St Yared has an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu as well.
The owners really made us feel like family and taught us a bit about Ethiopia and her culture, and we were so thankful for their hospitality.
We Recommend: Ye-Misir Wot, Kik Alicha, & Djimma (Mother of All Coffee)
Wheelers Café & Market / Mercantile 37 in Atlanta, IN
This is one of the most fascinating stores I’ve ever had the chance to explore. The owner, Nick, works to create one of a kind reclaimed wooden furniture from sources like Detroit and Chicago, and also uses his space to support other artisans from around the state of Indiana that specialize in unique home decor. Attached to the market is a café by the same name that serves up delightful sandwiches (any of them can be made gluten free), pastries, drinks, and more.
If you order a hot drink from the café, you’ll be enjoying it from a mug handcrafted by Nick himself – he holds a masters degree in ceramics!
We Recommend: The Veggie Artisanal Panini on Gluten Free Bread, The Big Cheese, and Maple Lapel
Field Brewing in Westfield, IN
This brewery is a fantastic place to meet with friends and sample eclectic cuisine like the Beer Steamed Mussels, Tuscan Kale Salad, and Ricotta Gnocchi pictured below. The atmosphere is fun and inviting, and the staff were so helpful and full of excellent recommendations for us. They also have a large outdoor seating area complete with lawn games to play while you sample the more than a dozen house made brews that have made Field Brewing famous.
We Recommend: Beer Steamed Mussels, Tuscan Kale Salad, and Ricotta Gnocchi with Salmon
What to Do in Hamilton County
Visit Conner Prairie Museum
My husband is a big history buff, so he loved learning about the area’s history and how the brave citizens of Hamilton County helped fight in the Civil War and subsequent wars as well. Here visitors can ride a tethered hot air balloon, explore what life was like more than a hundred years ago, and learn about famous families who moved to the area more than 150 years ago and helped shaped the local economy, some of whom have descendants still living in the area to this day.
My favorite parts of this experience was seeing a master blacksmith at work (I think blacksmithing is just the coolest profession!), and the petting zoo area which although we didn’t participate in, I did enjoy watching the sheep and their adorable little lambs frolicking about. Even if you’re not into local history or blacksmithing like we are, Conner Prairie Museum has lots of winding paths that are perfect for walking along, so if you’re looking for a place to get out of doors, it’s a great option. I think there’s something for everyone here!
Ride the Nickel Plate Express
This scenic train ride was a great way to meet the locals, because people were absolutely hyped for this train ride, and they were ready to talk about their love for it. Over the course of about 1.5 hours, the Nickel Plate Express takes riders on a countryside tour with a twist. Each ride has some sort of theme, whether it’s a sunrise train ride with coffee and pastries, a chocolate themed ride, or something a little more booze-y, this train is where locals and visitors alike come to unwind, have fun, and enjoy local specialties. We we’re able to chat with a few locals who gave us some excellent recommendations for our next visit, and even met a couple named Patrick and Sharon who have ridden on the train more than a dozen times in the past year because it’s where they first met due to their love of trains and beer.
This experience would be particularly enjoyable for young adults (on the non-alcoholic rides, of course), those looking to meet new people, or anyone with an interest in transportation and its local history.
Shout-out to Grant for making us feel exceptionally welcome and giving us the low-down on the local hot spots!
Explore more of what Hamilton County has to offer in my previous post about Carmel, Indiana.
Have you ever visited Hamilton County? If so, what are your favorite places to eat?
Do you have any recommendations for people visiting the area?
Let me know in the comments below.
As always, thank you for reading!
Until next time!
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