I’ve always wanted to pack a bag and go to the airport, walk up to the counter and say “Book me on the next flight to____”. Earlier this month I had an opportunity to do just that. My first spontaneous travel adventure wasn’t anywhere exotic like New Zealand or anywhere known for excitement like Las Vegas. It was Indianapolis, Indiana. [You can stop laughing now!] Ahh the things you do for love…..someone I loved had a family emergency and they suggested I just get on a plane and fly up to be with them. My son was scheduled to be with his dad for the weekend so I really didn’t have a good reason not to do it. While there were probably about 572 other cities higher up on my list of places to go, I was still intrigued by the notion of dropping all plans I had for the weekend, packing whatever was clean and easily located in my closet, and getting on a plane with zero plans. And to add to the excitement this all came on the heels of the now infamous Polar Vortex freeze that blanketed most of the country with extremely cold temps and dumped lots and lots and lots of snow. Growing up in Dallas, Texas I’ve seen snow, but not the thick powdery kind. And living in Florida the last 20 years I was über excited about the chance to play in a winter wonderland.
After landing I just marveled at ALL THAT SNOW! As we drove to where we were staying everywhere was just covered in white. The roads had been cleared but I had never seen mounds and mounds of snow like that along the sides of the roads. Sheets of ice floated on the rivers and creeks we passed over. Once we reached the home where we were staying my first order of business was to make a snow angel!!! It was awesome (also cold and wet) but still awesome. We attempted a miniature snowman…epic fail but it was fun trying. We had a snowball fight. Then we walked around the neighborhood and came upon Frosty himself. This snowman was in a neighbor’s yard and it was almost 6 ft tall!
Indianapolis actually turned out to be a neat city. It’s home to the Indianapolis 500 and I was able to drive inside and see the speedway and the racing hall of fame. There’s a bust of Mr. Chevrolet himself. We actually stayed in Speedway, Indiana and it’s clear that this town thrives off of its history in this world-famous race. You can’t get away from it.
Downtown Indianapolis is rich with history and historical statues and Classical Revival architectural style war monuments. My favorite structures to see were the capital building, the Indiana World War Memorial, the Indiana Masonic Temple, and the famous Sailors and Soldiers Monument. I was lucky enough to get to see the “circle of lights” in its last night of the holiday season before it was dismantled. They string thousands of lights from the Sailors and Soldiers Monument to form an enormous lighted Christmas Tree. The trees surrounding it were all strung with white lights and the snow on the ground made it truly magical. The other great part about this northern town is that I didn’t have to brave the elements much to get around. A large number of the downtown hotels and buildings are all interconnected to the downtown Centre Circle Mall and the Convention Center with skywalks. The football stadium and basketball stadium are all right there downtown with easy access to the Circle Centre strip of bars and restaurants
One of the most famous of these bars is Indiana’s first bar, The Slippery Noodle Inn, established in 1850. There was blues and funk music being played by the likes of a former member of the Ohio Players and a former member of The Time. The drinks were cheap and tasty and the atmosphere was nothing but a party. If you find yourself in Indy The Slippery Noodle is definitely worth the trip. Another great hole in the wall type of bar was the Wild Beaver Saloon. Yeah……I can’t really explain this place. You just have to go and try one of their $3 shots of the day and take it all in. While out exploring we came upon quite possibly one of the best stores on this planet…a Trader Joe’s!!! The closest one to me in Florida is about an hour away and I had yet to make the trek. I could not resist being so close to one so we stopped in and I got a few tasty items and a bottle of their cheap but extremely tasty wine b.k.a Two Buck Chuck. Normally I would always try to eat something that the place I’m visiting is known for but since the trip was quick and I didn’t do any planning I can’t say that I ate anything distinctly Indy or Midwestern. I did however use fresh clean snow from the front yard (emphasis on CLEAN) and make mini snowballs to use as ice cubes in my drinks. I also stuck my bottle of Two Buck Chuck out in the yard to chill. So I say that counts!
Kudos to Indianapolis for a clean downtown, convenience, and planning the city in a way that just makes sense when the high for the day is barely 30 degrees!
Check out more pics below:
1. Spontaneity is a good thing! Sometimes you just gotta go with it and follow your heart. Throw away your plans. Forget your schedule and just be a free spirit. It will all just work itself out.
2. I needed real water proof gloves before leaving so I stopped in my local Target and found some on clearance. (yay for finding gloves while living in Florida!) Not sure what the lesson is there…Target has everything! Yeah we’ll go with that.
3. Snow is beautiful to look at but I am in no way prepared for the extra chores and consideration needed to live in those conditions. A few days was enough for me.
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”