Hendricks County: Holiday Fun & Then Some

Danville, Indiana

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.

Martinsville Candy Kitchen Candy Canes

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?

Mooresville Open Market Antiques

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.

Zydeco's, Mooresville, Indiana

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.

Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas

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.

The Bread Basket 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.

Beasley's Orchard Apple 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.

Cutters Brewing Company Beer

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.

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Holidays on the Prairie {Conner Prairie Ticket Giveaway}

One of the greatest perks of living where I do is that I’m just minutes away from Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. It’s been a part of my life since I was a girl, and it’s such a joy for me to make new memories there with my kids all year long.

I have to admit, though, that of all the seasons of wonderful things to do at Conner Prairie, the holidays are my favorite time of year to visit. There’s just something about it around Christmas that makes it super special. I love the feeling of going back to a time when the holidays were simpler, and feeling that simplicity in my bones – even if it’s just for a few hours.

Holidays at Conner Prairie

I love the snow falling softly on the historic grounds.

Holiday Adventure Conner Prairie3

I love the sound of real sleigh bells.

Gingerbread Cookies Conner Prairie

I love the smell of gingerbread, from a recipe that’s stood the test of time.

Gingerbread Village Conner Prairie

There are so many wonderful activities you can participate in over the holidays, including Outdoor Holiday Adventure, Conner Prairie by Candlelight, Breakfast or Dinner with Santa, Winter Fun Days, and (our favorite) Gingerbread Village. We make good use of our membership all year long, but it gets a lot of use in December and January!

Because I want you to make your own Conner Prairie holiday memories with your family, I’m giving away a Family 4-pack of tickets to Conner Prairie that are good for either the Outdoor Holiday Adventure (December 7, 14 and 21) or Winter Fun Days (December 27- January 5). Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  1. Leave a comment telling me either what you’re most excited to do at Conner Prairie or your favorite holiday Conner Prairie memory.
  2. For additional entries, tweet and/or share this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook.  Leave a comment below telling me you did so.  Please note, a tweet or Facebook share counts as one entry.  If you choose to do both, leave 2 separate comments so both of your shares count as an entry!

The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.  Winner will be notified via email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Winner will receive 4 tickets to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, good for admission to either the Outdoor Holiday Adventure or Winter Fun Days.  Good luck and thanks for reading!

This post is not sponsored by Conner Prairie.  I received complimentary tickets for attending an event and wanted to share them with you!

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Hittin’ the Turf: Indianapolis Colts Women’s 201

angiecoltsfieldYou may recall a post I did last year recapping my experience at the Indianapolis Colts Women’s 101 workshop. I had such a good time at the event that I knew I couldn’t let this year go by without attending Women’s 201.

This year I convinced my sister to go with me. She’s a big Colts fan as well and I knew she’d have a blast. Where Women’s 101 is geared toward learning the basic rules and plays of the game, Women’s 201 is all about getting sweaty on the same field where the Colts practice.

Indianapolis Colts Practice Field Angie Six

After they fatten you up and slow you down with a big spread from Abuelo’s, they lead you into the practice facility. We were divided into smaller groups where we rotated through five stations, each manned by current Colts staff and players as well as alumni players. We tried our hands and feet at speed drills, running routes, sacking the quarterback, snapping the ball, and playing quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts Practice Facility

Just a few things I learned about myself in Women’s 201:

Agility dummies are dumb. Or I’m not agile. One of the two. I nearly tripped, tripped, and/or rolled my ankle on them several times. If I were an NFL player I’d be the guy who broke his ankle on the first workout of training camp.

Don’t make fun of Darrius Heyward-Bey just before you attempt to run a route and catch a ball yourself. You will catch a ball right in your windpipe and feel like a dork in front of the Colts staff guy who suddenly has a laser-rocket arm.

It’s really hard to think of a sack dance on the fly. I wonder how much time these defensive players spend in front of a mirror perfecting their signature moves?

I couldn’t snap a ball if my life depended on it.

I couldn’t line up to receive a snap without giggling inappropriately if my life depended on it.

Khaled Holmes has absolutely no faith in me to follow directions, nor should he. But he was still game for a photo.

Indianapolis Colts Khaled Holmes

It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard or had so much fun.

What I love about the 101 and 201 workshops is the group it brings together. The players and staff are so enthusiastic and fun to work with. They’ll answer any questions, no matter how silly you (or they) think they are. The women who attend come from all different backgrounds, ages and athletic ability, but they’re all there because they love football.

Indianapolis Colts Daniel Adongo

Daniel Adongo, who up until July was a professional rugby player from Kenya. He joked that he was learning how to play football right along with us.

The sessions are over this year, but I can’t encourage you enough to look into them next year. Look for information on colts.com in late summer of 2014. If you love football as much as I do, it will be the best $70 you ever spend. Just don’t forget to invest in some ice packs and Aleve for the day after!

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