Last weekend I had the privilege of spending the weekend with the super-cheerful, ever-accomodating staff behind Visit Hendricks County. They organized a two-day holiday-themed tour to show bloggers and travel writers some of the highlights of the place they live and work. And they should be super-cheerful, as this county just west of Indianapolis has so many cool and fun things to show off.
Maybe you remember that I did a similar tour of Hendricks county once before. That one started out super fun, but didn’t end so well. I’m a little surprised they wanted me back, but I did pinky-promise not to barf on anyone. I even got to give my sweet sister a do-over tour. I’m pleased to report that I made it through this year’s tour vomit-free, and I couldn’t wait any longer to share some of my favorite photos and highlights of the tour with you.
We started out in Martinsville (which is technically Morgan County, but whatever. The folks at Visit Hendricks County are so nice they want to show you ALL THE COUNTIES!), at the Martinsville Candy Kitchen. I don’t know how I didn’t know about this place, but I can tell you it will be a Six Family Holiday Tradition from henceforth. They’ve been hand-making candy canes, using the same copper pot and marble table since 1919. It takes them 3 hours to make 150 candy canes, so it’s truly a labor of love. They make 33 flavors of cane, but in November and December they only make peppermint and cinnamon to keep up with demand. They are beautiful and delicious.
We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing in some stores, including Mooresville Open Market Antiques. Someone thought it would be a grand idea to give us wine while we shopped. Let me ponder this for a bit … good idea?
I think yes.
We rounded out the evening with a great meal at Zydeco’s. The chef is a New Orleans native, who found himself in Indiana thanks to a girl he loved. I’m going to find myself at Zydeco’s more often, too, thanks to some fried catfish I loved – the best I’ve had since my Nashville days.
The next morning we revisited some favorites from the last tour: the 43rd Annual Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas and the Mayberry Cafe. I love the assortment of vendors at the juried market, including these German Baptist women making the most beautiful wreaths to order. And the fried chicken at the Mayberry Cafe just may be the best I’ve had in Indiana.
After lunch we were treated to a reading of Hoosier author Philip Gulley’s holiday story, “Clarence the Christmas Camel” by none other than his lovely wife, Joan. As she read, we stuffed ourselves with homemade goodies from The Bread Basket, including a French Silk pie, snickerdoodle cake, white chocolate peppermint cake, and my personal favorite, peanut butter pie.
A few miles down the road is Beasley’s Orchard, featured in Indianapolis Monthly magazine’s “50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do!” They’re best known for their Heartland Apple Festival, held in October (and site of our family’s near-breakdown in their corn maze), but they’re open year round. Looking for cut apple wood? This is your place (and it makes a great smelling fire). We also had a chance to sample their award-winning cider.
We finished the weekend in the most perfect way – sampling beers at Avon’s Cutters Brewing Company. They were new to me, but I’m happy to have another local brew to choose, whether I’m out for a pint or dropping by to fill up a growler. I was thrilled to hear they have plans to can their craft beer soon … perfect for the pool or for shower beers.
Whether you’re looking for a simple activity or a weekend full of fun, you’ll find something to love in and around Hendricks County. Keep up with all the happenings in Hendricks County by following their blog. If you have any questions, the folks at Visit Hendricks County are always happy to help. And after spending a weekend with them I can assure you they’ll whip up a perfect itinerary for you, too.
Many thanks to Visit Hendricks County for hosting me on the Ho Ho Ho FAM Tour.