Having visited Hendricks County several times over the past few years, I’ve noticed how different the various areas of the county are. Within minutes you can drive from a city-like atmosphere to a rural setting, and each area offers its own brand of adventure, culture and fun.
No matter your preferences for a fun way to spend a getaway, there will be plenty for you to enjoy in Hendricks County. Here are seven suggestions:
1. Take the Rural Routes to Main Street Cultural Trail
The Rural Routes to Main Street Cultural Trail, leads to art galleries, artisan shops, and restaurants through Hendricks County and neighboring Morgan County. On the second Saturday of each month the Cultural Trail offers even more.
For instance, glass artist Lisa Pelo offers a sample lesson in glass art design at Hot Blown Glass. On our visit, we watched Lisa take a project from beginning to cool down and admired her many beautiful finished art pieces.
2. Take in some nature
Two parks that we have visited are the 210-acre Sodalis Nature Park in Plainfield and the 232-acre McCloud Nature Park in North Salem.
At Sodalis Nature Park we hiked some of the 3.5 miles of trails.
McCloud Nature Park has 6.5 miles of hiking trails through woods and grasslands. I particularly enjoyed the restored iron truss bridge that crosses Big Walnut Creek in the park. The bridge is over 100 years old. The park’s nature center includes a bird viewing area, where you can watch birds feed.
3. Go horseback riding
To add more adventure to your nature experience, take a guided trail ride on horseback at Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg. Natural Valley Ranch also offers riding lessons and birthday parties.
4. Watch a thrilling auto race
If you prefer a stadium seat to a saddle, attend a race at Lucas Oil Raceway. Hendricks County’s top tourist destination, Lucas Oil Raceway has three racetracks: a paved oval, drag strip and a 2.5 mile road course with 15 turns.
5. Attend a festival
It seems Hendricks County is always celebrating, from tribal dancing at the National Powwow in July to a live Nativity during Christmas on the Square. We attended Mayberry in the Midwest festival this past May. Tribute artists portraying the Mayberry crowd were a real hoot! The weekend of mostly family-oriented fun included so many events, including a parade, live entertainment, basketball game between the tribute artists and Hendricks County folks. One of my favorite events, though, was the adults-only Mayberry after Dark, a pub crawl followed by a comedy show at the local Royal Theater. During one part of the event, our guide took us through the basement of the old county jail and locked us up.
6. Beer, wine and dine
Hendricks County has no lack of great independent restaurants, many of them part of the Indiana Foodways Alliance culinary trails. We enjoyed the Bread Basket Cafe and Bakery in Danville for breakfast so much on our first visit that we made a second visit just for a slice of pie.
Another popular Danville option is the Mayberry Café. It’s easy to spot the restaurant on the town square. It’s the building with Sheriff Taylor’s car parked in front of it.
A restaurant that we recently discovered is Pit Stop Barbecue and Grill in Brownsburg. We proclaimed their smoky meats to be the best barbecue we’ve had north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi River.
The brewery craze hasn’t passed by Hendricks County. The Black Swan Brewpub in Plainfield takes both brew and pub food to a new level. Co-owner and brewmaster D. J. McCallister typically has eleven or so of his own craft beers on tap. As for the food, ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible without compromising quality. It was here that I first tasted poutine, the Canadian appetizer dish of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. As with most dishes here, Black Swan puts its own spin on it with beer gravy.
If you prefer wine over beer, hop over to Chateau Thomas Winery, also in Plainfield, since 1984 when Dr. Charles Thomas, an OB-GYN turned his winemaking hobby into a business. Try several wines at the tasting bar or order a glass of your favorite to sip in the seating area. Enjoy light entertainment on Saturday afternoons or on occasion, larger outdoor entertainment during summer months.
Hendricks County has an amazing number of small, independent shops with unique items for sale. Just on the Danville town square, you’ll find Confection Delights (their chocolate shoes are as beautiful as they are tasty); Janes on the Square (a resale boutique); and Gallery on the Square (selling art produced by Indiana artists and artisans), to name some. On my last visit I discovered Rader’s Fabrics, located just off the square. Rader’s Fabrics is packed full of drapery and upholstery fabrics. I know where I’m going for my next home décor project.
There are plenty of other shops throughout the county, including Who North America in Camby, a store specializing in Doctor Who goods.
If you visit Hendricks County
Hendricks County is located just a few minutes from the Indianapolis International Airport. For a full list of things to do in Hendricks County, go to the Visit Hendricks County website.
Disclosures: Our visits to Hendricks County were hosted by Visit Hendricks County. Most attraction admissions and meals were complimentary. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you book a room through the TripAdvisor links above, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm. – Connie