It's been a while since my last blog. Between work and Covid travel has been difficult however, we were finally able to get away and explore Indianapolis, Indiana for four nights. Our original plan was to go and run in the Indy Mini Half Marathon, but the race went virtual about a month ago. Dave and I decided to make the trip anyway and do the virtual race in Indianapolis on our own.
After an almost 3 hour delay and a terribly turbulent plane ride from Ft. Lauderdale our amazing pilots safely landed us in Indy. We then went straight to our hotel, the SpringHill Suites downtown. The hotel was in the perfect place for us and our room had a great view of the city (not the view from the picture, that is from Canal Walk). Directly across the street from the SpringHill Suites is the Indiana State Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions.
A short half a mile walk away is the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Sitting right in front of the stadium is a statue of their hero, "The Sheriff" Payton Manning who played with the Colts from 1998-2011 and is credited with bringing Indianapolis and Indiana their first major World Championship. Indianapolis appears to thrive on their spots scene and it is unfortunate that they haven't been able to fill their stadiums and arenas due to the pandemic.
Even though our hotel provided breakfast we started our first full day off at Yolk where I had the breakfast mac and cheese and Dave had the pot roast benedict. There was a short wait since they were not seating at full capacity yet but we ordered a cappuccino and sat outside while we waited. After breakfast it was off to the Speedway.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Racing Capital of the World, was built in 1909 from the vision of Carl G Fisher. He, along with his three partners (James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler) are responsible for the creation of the track. Coincidentally, Carl Fisher, although an Indiana native is the same man responsible for developing the city of Miami Beach down here in Florida. We took the "Kiss the Bricks" tour which included museum admission for a total of $25 each. We boarded a small bus along with an informative tour guide and friendly bus driver who took us for a ride around the 2.5 mile track. The track was originally built of bricks which is how it got it's name the "Brickyard" or "Yard of Bricks". In 1938 the track was paved over in asphalt except for the middle portion of the front straightaway. Then, in 1961 the straightaway was paved, leaving a 3 foot strip of bricks going across the width of the track by the finish line exposed. This was where our bus stopped and we were able to get out and take pictures. The tour lasted about 25 minutes but was super informative. We learned about the "kiss the bricks" tradition, the "winners drink milk" tradition along with many other interesting and random facts like the very first race to be done at the speedway was a gas filled balloon race.
Our tour bus dropped us off at the rear of the museum were we entered through a private door. The museum had an awesome display of many of the Indianapolis 500 winning racecars. Pictured above is the first winning racecar from the 1911 inaugural race. It was interesting to discover that many of the first racecars had two seats: one for the driver and the other for the mechanic. Number 32 only had one seat. The driver received criticism over this single seat and in response he rigged up a mirror believed to be the first rearview mirror on a vehicle.
The next day, Saturday, we ran our virtual half marathon making it state number 42 on our quest to run all 50. As tradition demands we went brewery hopping afterwards. Our first stop was Metazoa Brewing Co. Since it was a beautiful day, 50's and sunny, we decided to sit outside and enjoy the weather. Metazoa Brewing Co. donates 5% of their profits to animal and wildlife organizations. It was like a meeting place for dogs who decided to bring their owners, they even had a dog park in the back. Next, it was on to Sun King Brewing the second largest brewery in the state of Indiana. On our flight we had their orange vanilla flavored Sunlight Cream Ale which tasted just like a creamsicle pop. Then it was off to St. Joseph's Brewery and Public House. A converted church that was built in 1878 this brewery was unlike any other that we've been to yet. The brewery was established in 2015 AD, it says so on the sign. The brew tanks are in the front of the church where the alter would have been and there is even access to the balcony that probably housed the organ. Some of their beers include Hops & Prayers, Confessional IPA and Testament Tripel. They also had a full service restaurant where we ordered a delicious pizza. On Sunday we also visited Chilly Water Brewing Company and Upland Brewing Company. where we enjoyed flights from both places. Upland had a full kitchen where we ordered some tasty spinach dip and spicy still crackling chicharrons. Scroll through the picture below to see what I'm talking about.
Saturday night we headed to the town of Carmel approximately 25 minutes north of Indy. Carmel's Arts & Design District has many locally owned stores and restaurants as well as a variety of art sculptures lining the sidewalks that we had some fun with.
We dined at the town's original public library now restaurant named Woody's. Not realizing that it was Mother's Day weekend we didn't think ahead to make a reservation. Woody's was completely booked however there was room downstairs in the basement to sit and eat. And might I say everything was delicious!
After dinner we did a wine tasting at Peace Water Winery . It is actually a California winery owned by an Indiana family. Fifty percent of the winery's net profit goes to 8 different charities that were each picked by the owner's 8 kids. The town of Carmel is also home to the Monon Rail Trail, a 26 mile popular walking or biking route. There is even a counter as the trail passes through downtown Carmel that counts how many walkers and bikers had been on the trail that day and year.
On Sunday, our last day in Indianapolis we visited the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, which is actually his house. Benjamin Harrison was our nation's 23rd President and the only one to hail from Indiana. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, President William Henry Harrison, our 9th President. Although he was originally from Ohio, Benjamin Harrison moved to Indianapolis to begin his law career in 1854. In 1874 Harrison bought two adjoining lots just outside the downtown area and had his 10,000 square foot house built, moving in in 1875. We took the first tour of the day starting at 12 noon and although the tour was supposed to be only a little over an hour long we were lucky to have a tour guide that led us on a 2 hour journey of this amazing house. Harrison lived in this house both before and after his presidency.
He gave over 80 speeches during his campaign from the front stoop of his house. The porch seen in the photo above was added in 1896, 3 years after leaving the presidency. First Lady Caroline Harrison is the only first lady to design their own White House China which is also pictured above. The silverware pictured is the original White House silverware. If you look carefully you are able to see the engraved "H". The second to last picture is a gift given to Harrison while he was president. It is of workout equipment made by Spaulding, I thought it was interesting. The last picture is of the Harrisons' bedroom, Benjamin and his second wife Mary, and the same bed that he died in in 1901. During his single term as president Harrison accomplished a lot to include: Signing the Pension Appropriation Bill (veteran pensions), initiated the crusade to fly the American flag over every schoolhouse, signed the Sherman Anti-trust Act (promoting economic fairness by preventing monopolies), he set aside more then 13 million acres of public domain for future national parks among many other achievements. During his presidency 6 states were admitted into the Union.
After we toured the Harrison house we took a trip to Crown Hill Cemetery to visit his gravesite. He is buried next to both of his wives as well as his son.
As we were leaving the cemetery we observed a sign noting that we were in a section where many significant racing legends were buried. One of those legends was good old Carl Fisher! You can see his mausoleum in the distance behind the sign.
The city of Indianapolis is a beautiful city and we were lucky enough to discover a lot during our short 4 day stay. Indianapolis is a very patriotic city, it is second only to Washington DC in the number of war monuments. There is much to explore and we only touched the surface. That might have been because we spent a lot of time at the breweries. One place I wish we would have been able to visit was the State Capital Building. It's pictured below with the statue of President Washington right in front.
If you're ever in the Indianapolis area be sure to check out some of the places I highlighted in this blog, you won't regret it!
Until next time...