What to See and Do in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne – A Recap of My Trip Home!

You know that feeling you get towards the end of vacation where you crave getting back into the rhythm of your routine?  That’s exactly how I was starting to feel last week despite all of the wonderful food, activities, and downtime Brian and I enjoyed with our family while visiting Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

The funny thing is, now that I’m back into my daily grind (I’ll admit, the hard workouts and veggies FEEL good!) I am missing my family back home…I guess there is just no winning!

Our visit home was absolutely wonderful.  It was full of friends and family and just what Brian and I could have asked for 🙂  Here is a look at some of the highlights!

Indianapolis

Brunch at Milktooth

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

This trendy breakfast and brunch spot popped up in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis after we had moved to Denver.  I feel like our Facebook feeds are constantly filled with old friends visiting the eatery, so we were excited to dine there with Brian’s parents!

First of all, let me compliment the wait staff!  I have been labeled “the question master” for good reason, and this title really holds true when we go out to eat.  I simply asked our waitress what she recommended from the menu and she carefully described menu items that were sweet, savory, decadent, and light answering any question before I had the opportunity to ask it!  Let’s just say, this dining experience was off to a good start before we even tasted a bite.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

The restaurant is not very big, and it fills up fast.  Insider tip:  get there a few minutes (like 15) before they open for brunch.  They are open earlier for coffee and pastry service, so we showed up expecting to sip on a latte before being seated and they happily sat us right away.  This was key, because we beat the crowds.

The food was fresh, flavorful, and innovative and we ALL enjoyed every morsel that we ordered.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Another insider tip:  order a donut to share with the table if you are with a group…you can thank me afterward 🙂  We did this per recommendation of a friend and it was easily the best donut I have ever tasted in my life.

They also make a hazelnut cashew milk that is to die for and PERFECT in a latte.

Sip on Kombucha from the Kombucha Bar at Natures Pharm

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

I used to frequent Nature’s Pharm when we lived in Indianapolis because it’s a smaller local health-food shop that carries unique items that aren’t always carried at traditional grocery stores.  Recently, they opened a kombucha bar inside, so I was excited to check it out.  There were several flavor options to get as a drink to sip on or put in a growler to take home.  Another great thing is that they let us sample flavors before deciding on which one to get a cup of!

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Dine at Scotty’s Dawghouse on Butler University’s Campus

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Brian and I make a point to visit Butler University each time we are in Indiana, even if it is just for a quick drive through.  Since we graduated, there have been so many changes to campus including new dorms, parking garages, and new restaurants like Scotty’s Dawghouse.  It’s really fun to reminisce as we drive through campus, but it’s also exciting to see so many new changes.

For lunch on Tuesday, we stopped by the old stomping grounds so we could check out Scotty’s Dawghouse which only opened up earlier this year.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

The food was “bar” food, but it was super tasty and they were happy to make changes and accommodations when I asked 🙂  Also, the margaritas were on special…so we took advantage of the vacation mentality and sipped on some margs while we enjoyed our lunch.  This would be the perfect place to gather to watch an away Butler basketball game…I can’t imagine how busy it will be during basketball season!

Run or Walk along the Cultural Trail

While workouts were definitely not the focus of my week while I was traveling in Indiana last week, I couldn’t go a full week without getting any sort of challenging movement in.  To solve this problem, I connected with my old running group from when I lived in Indy and we ran along the Cultural Trail just like old times.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

The Cultural Trail is a path in downtown Indianapolis that connects many different districts/neighborhoods.  Bikes are allowed on the path as well as walkers and runners.  It’s a great way to tour the downtown area on foot!

It was really great to see familiar faces and catch up with old friends but I’ll be honest…HOLY HUMIDITY!! Running in the humidity made running at altitude seem like a breeze.  My body is definitely not acclimated to the heat that comes with Indiana summers.  Despite the hot, sticky weather it was still a blast.

Coffee and a Pastry (or Energy Bite!) at Open Society

I’ve mentioned it before, but sipping coffee in Denver has made Brian and I (shamefully) coffee snobs.  When it comes to coffee, we typically like it from a local cafe or coffee shop that really prides themselves in coffee and things like the art of cupping, and pouring a latte.  In Indianapolis, Open Society is THAT place.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

I thought they won me over with the house made cashew milk on the menu, but when I realized that they served energy bites alongside their in-housemade pastries…I knew Open Society had my heart.

There were plenty of tables, but not too many so it did not feel overcrowded or too busy.  It felt like a great place to hold a meeting over coffee or get some blog work done.

Open Society also serves Brunch, Dinner, Wine, Cocktails, and Beer…! Obviously, Brian and I will be checking this place out again on our next visit to Indy.

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Fort Wayne

Lunch on the Plaza

Brian, my mom and I spent some time exploring new shops in downtown Fort Wayne.  I’ll get to that in a minute, first I want to talk about our lunch!

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Every Thursday in the summer (June-August) food trucks meet in downtown Fort Wayne from 11:30-1:30.  I’ll be honest, I think food truck fare is fun and tasty but I really didn’t know what to expect.

All of our lunches seriously blew my expectations out of the water, mine being my favorite!

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

I opted for Vietnummy, an Asian-fusion food truck, and I selected the rice bowl with lemongrass chicken.  Seriously guys, this flavor combo was unreal.  The veggies included carrots, cabbage, greens, mint, cilantro, and jalepenos.  All of this blended together with jasmine rice, peanuts, and lemongrass chicken was a fresh and filling lunch.  I think I may try to recreate this for you!

Brian opted for a po boy from Ragin’ Cajun and mom got a sandwich from Who Cut the Cheese.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

We all agreed that our meals were D-lish!

The Find 

The Find is an adorable boutique right in downtown Fort Wayne that just opened up in June!

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

The shop had clothes, jewelry, accessories, dog items, prints, accessories for guys, bags, notecards, and just about anything cute.  Seriously, I wanted EVERYTHING in the store.  It’s a good thing we were flying home with suitcases that were already packed to the brim, otherwise I would have purchased a few too many things 😉

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Not only was the style totally up my ally, but the owners were SO friendly.  I can’t wait to go back when Brian and I visit for Christmas!

Kayak in the Rivers

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Fort Wayne is known as the city of Three Rivers because it is built around…three rivers.  If you ever visit, you’ll notice everything is called “Three Rivers.” Despite this little-known fact, I never realized that we could actually use the rivers for recreation.

Right in downtown Fort Wayne, we went to Fort Wayne Outfitters to rent kayaks for a couple of hours to enjoy the little city from the water.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

While there were spots that could have used a bit of clean up, the overall experience was super enjoyable. My mom was even able to bring her little (and I mean little) dog along for the ride.  I’ll be honest in saying that prior to moving to Denver, I didn’t realize how much I truly LOVE being active and moving my body outdoors.  This was a great way to soak up some outside, family, AND activity time all in one.

Uncorked at Two EE’s Winery

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

A childhood friend of my family’s recently opened up a winery with her husband called Two EE’s.  We’ve checked out the winery in the past and really enjoy many of their wines, but we heard that the action was in the summer at an event called Uncorked with live music, food trucks, and wine slushies.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Friday night, Brian and I spent the evening sipping on slushies and listening to fantastic music at Two EE’s as the Indiana sun set.  It was a pretty perfect way to spend a Friday night 🙂

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

There were several tables on the porch area of the winery, but there was also a grassy area where people could bring blankets and chairs.  It was a very family friendly event, and a fun way to celebrate summer nights.   OH…and the wine slushies are very tasty 😉

Walk Through Eagle Marsh

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

Another hidden gem that I NEVER knew existed in Fort Wayne (the city I grew up in) is Eagle Marsh.  Eagle Marsh is a large wetland nature preserve in Fort Wayne that has over ten miles of trails going throughout various habitats in the marsh.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

It was definitely a different type of hike than our Denver mountain hiking, but it was really enjoyable.  The flowers were pretty, there were many different types of plants and animals, and there were also quite a few informational signs so that hikers can tell what type of plants or wildlife they are looking at.

Our one complaint is that it appeared that some of the trails may not be finished.  We attempted to follow the map and hit a dead end, but it was no big deal!  We simply turned around and went another way.

Ice Cream at West Central Microcreamery

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

There are quite a few delicious ice creameries in Fort Wayne, but West Central Microcreamery was a new one for my family!

They have a location in New Haven and one in downtown Fort Wayne, and they make all of their ice cream (including a couple of coconut based vegan options!) at the New Haven location.

What to do in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis

(The blue one was mine!!)

This adorable ice cream shop is seated in a downtown Fort Wayne neighborhood called West Central.  The homes are gorgeous and mature, so it was really fun to walk up and down the streets taking in all of the unique house designs and decor.  Brian and I love checking out older neighborhoods like this, so I have a feeling this will be a stop on our next visit home too!

It meant so much to spend 10 wonderful days with family and friends.

Until next time, Indiana.

Your Turn:

  • Do you ever find hidden gems in your hometown or the place you currently live?
  • Do you live in a humid climate?  How do you cope when you want to do outdoor exercise/activities?!

Comments

  1. Sounds like so much fun, Tara!
    I heard about Milktooth a lot and I had to give it a try, so I did! I enjoyed everything there specially their dutch pancake! 😉 Btw, I like the black top you were wearing in the pics vising the winery! Can you tell me where you got it from? 🙂

  2. Indianapolis sounds so yummy! I’m really digging that Open Society with cashew milk and energy bites on the menu. And, I too, am a “coffee snob” – there’s some great coffee in SF and now even some good local cafes in Los Angeles.

    • Tara Deal Rochford says:

      It gets yummier every year, Lauren! And yes..I’ve been to SF and the coffee there is fantastic!

  3. Wow, you had so many great eats (that donut..OMG!) and did so many fun things! And yes, I totally know that feeling towards the end of vacation 🙂

  4. So I hate to admit this since I live in Indiana and have grown up in Central IN, worked downtown Indy, but I haven’t been to any of the Indy places other than walking the trail…I am soooo happy to have these recommendations as they are great date ideas!!

    • Tara Deal Rochford says:

      Well, it looks like you have your work cut out for you 🙂 Let me know if you give any of these things a try!

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