We’ve decided to do something a little different for this piece. Instead of a Lonely Planet, information forward 3rd person article, we decided to make it personal. Our romantic weekend in Hamilton County was a much-needed escape from kids returning home from college and the craziness of the world today. We needed to find a place where we could completely relax and unwind.
For a moment, let’s travel together in our minds to a hypothetical coffee shop. We’re sitting at a lovely table on the patio (with plenty of social distancing). Your authors, Jenn and Ed, are sipping their vanilla lattes while you nurse your favorite beverage. You find out we just got back from Indiana and want to learn more about planning a romantic getaway to Hamilton County.
What Is There To Do in Hamilton County?
Jenn’s eyes light up as she forms her answer. She finishes her sip, places her cup on the table, and starts speaking in an excited voice.
“Hamilton County is so much fun. My first trip to Indiana ever was a couple of years ago for a blogging conference, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. During that trip, I went to the Strawtown Koteewi Park ropes course. It had some easy routes, but it also had some of the most challenging elements I have ever experienced, and I’m a bit of a ropes snob. I also rode a little bit of the Monon Trail, but the water was too high to canoe on White River. I wanted to take Ed back ever since and show him all the fun.”
What is the Monon Trail?
Ed, the aerospace engineer, chimes in, never passing up an opportunity to drop facts. “The Monon Trail is a 27-mile long paved rail-trail that runs from Indianapolis to Sheridan that was inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2009. It connects Indianapolis, Broad Ripple, Carmel, and Sheridan. Although, technically, there was construction just outside of Sheridan on this trip, so we didn’t ride the entire thing (we missed a few miles on the north end), just about 60-miles of biking over two days.”
Jenn knows her cue when Ed starts dropping ‘actually.’ She pats his leg and jumps in. “I haven’t ridden much this spring, so I was glad that I had my female-specific hybrid with me this time. Day one, we biked Carmel north toward Sheridan, which is about a 20-mile route if you include the Westfield Trail. The pavement was perfect, and this was a smooth and flowing ride.”
“The next day, we headed south to Indianapolis. It was Saturday, so there was a farmers’ market and lots of people in Downtown Carmel. The leg from Carmel to Broad Ripple was beautiful, and Broad Ripple was as cute as everybody says it would be. The ride from Broad Ripple to Indy was perfunctory at best. They are building a new bridge over 38th Street and have a 7-million dollar improvement project scheduled for the trail from 39th Street to 65th Street. It should be nice come summer 2021. Once we reached downtown, we took the Cultural Trail to explore downtown Indianapolis, which was super cute and fun.”
How Was Kayaking on the White River?
Ed grins a mischievous grin and says, “We took solo kayaks so Jenn missed her opportunity to be my boat princess.” Jenn’s eyes shot daggers, but her voice didn’t miss a beat – “there is a reason they call tandem kayaks divorce boat. Besides, I was the one who was a whitewater guide.”
“The river was easy to read. It was mid-summer, so I had to look for the main water flow to avoid the low spots. I loved seeing the Potter Bridge from the water, and it was a chill and fun way to spend three hours on the water. The White River Canoe Company did all the work with the shuttle and launch/take out. We just paddled back to our car at the take out.”
Where Do You Stay in Hamilton County?
Jenn was in the middle of a long sip, so Ed jumped in “We stayed at the Prairie Guest House in Fishers. It’s a romantic B&B across from the living history museum and gardens of Conner Prairie. The beds were comfy, breakfast was delicious, but social distancing rules suspended the Saturday yoga classes. I loved seeing the prairie plants, like Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflowers, in the gardens too.”
What is There to Eat in Hamilton County?
Ironically, Ed had just taken a bite of banana bread for this question. Jenn doesn’t miss a beat and jumps in to prevent awkward silences or Ed talking with his mouth full. “There’s were so many choices. Hamilton County is a stealthy foodie destination. I loved the honey Brussel sprouts and gourmet pizzas at Rockstone. Their Papa Spinaka with fresh basil pesto, roasted garlic, mushroom truffle spread, goat cheese, roasted redskin potatoes, and fresh spinach was delicious too. I didn’t know how potatoes could go with pizza, but they were perfectly spiced to add a creamy bite of flavor when you reached one.”
“I also loved the turkey burger and steak salad at Four Day Ray (FDR) Brewery in the Nickel Plate District in downtown Fishers. Even though we were stuffed, we had to try a slice of sugar pie for dessert; it is Indiana’s state pie after all! Our absolute favorite meal, though, was the Chef Featured Tour Boards at Divvy in Downtown Carmel! Our dinner at Divvy begun our most romantic evening we had in Carmel.
What’s the Most Romantic Thing To Do in Hamilton County?
Jenn chuckled and hardly missed a beat as she continued. “Without a doubt, it’s a Saturday night on the town in Carmel. Carmel always cute, with its bronze statues depicting idyllic life of a bygone era, when times were simple, and people were just plain nice. Only, it hasn’t changed, even post virus.”
“Our evening started by picking up a bottle of local Indiana wine at Vine and Table, then heading to Divvy. It was all we could do to finish the Dips and Spread Tour Board and the Savor Tour Board. Each one featured small bites of five of their favorite dips or savory food. After dinner, we walked the Carmel Arts and Design District and enjoyed the live music in the air from the Second Saturday Gallery Walk before retiring to our B&B to finish our bottle of wine. Of course, this only works for people who like delicious food, live music, and walking hand in hand through a romantic arts district.”
Do You Have Any Hints for Planning a Hamilton County Romantic Getaway?
Ed has finished his banana bread and jumps in to offer a few tricks and tips. “I grew up in Central Ohio (Go Bucks), which has similar weather to Central Indiana. There’s one thing I always said about Ohio weather – if you don’t like it, all you have to do is wait a day, and it will change. That’s a long-winded way of saying check the weather report before you go. We got so lucky with a cool spell heading through town during our visit. While Alabama had its hottest day of the summer, we had overnight lows in the 50s and could play outside all day.”
“While you’re planning ahead, check out the Hamilton County Events Calendar. We happened upon the Carmel Farmers Market and Second Saturday celebration. One of Jenn’s favorite bands, Phish, was scheduled to be in town that weekend too, but that was canceled for social distancing reasons.”
“On that subject, Hamilton County felt super chill. Everybody was naturally distanced and polite. Even the driving was easy with smooth traffic flow through the roundabouts and ample free parking. It felt nice to be on the road, and not worrying about the hustle, bustle, and stress of major tourist destinations.”
Finishing the Hamilton County Romantic Getaway Coffee House Chat
We look around the coffee shop in our minds. Our drinks are long finished, and the banana bread is completely decimated. We get up from our table and head our separate ways, hoping that you remember Hamilton County when you’re looking for a small-town romantic getaway. If you love good food, outdoor adventures, and chill vibes, then you’ll love Hamilton County, especially if you’re close enough for a road trip.
As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.
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