Archive for May 13th, 2009


The Top Ten Places in Indiana to Experience the Humanities

May 13, 2009

By Amy Vaughan, Director, The Indiana Office of Tourism Development

With June quickly approaching, I am optimistic about Indiana’s summer travel season. As I think about my own trip ideas for this summer, I am struck by how much there is to do in Indiana to celebrate the humanities. 

Here’s what comes to my mind:

1. Bloomington – One of Indiana’s best food towns, visit Farm Bloomington, Restaurant Tallent and the Scholar’s Inn, for a world class meal.  And don’t forget to stop on Fourth Street’s Restaurant Row to try ethnic fare.

2. Columbus – Stop at the Columbus Visitors Center and take its guided driving tour of a city Smithsonian magazine called “a veritable museum of modern architecture.”  Visitors can see more than 70 buildings and pieces of public art from I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen and Dale Chihuly.

3. Conner Prairie’s New Balloon Exhibit – A recreation of an 1859 mail delivery test in Lafayette, the tethered helium balloon ride combines the adventure of climbing 350 feet in the sky with learning about the history of flight in Indiana.

4. Elkhart County Quilt Gardens Tour – This driving tour features more than 16 gardens and 16 hand painted murals.   (Visit in mid-July for the best blooms.)  All of the gardens have been created to replicate Amish quilt designs.

5. The Indiana Repertory Theatre – Founded in 1972, the IRT is one of the leading regional theatres in the country.  I’ve been wowed by performances of To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol and Pride and Prejudice. 

6. The Indiana State Fair – With everything from the world’s largest boar to gourds shaped like David Letterman, the state fair is my favorite Indiana spot in August.

7. The Indianapolis Museum of Art – One of the tenth largest general art museums in the country, the museum’s world class art collection and 152 of gardens and grounds are well worth the visit.

8. New Harmony –The site of two utopian communities, New Harmony offers a rare mix of architectural gardens, historic buildings and unusual public spaces.  It’s an unusual gem tucked away in southern Indiana.

9. The West Baden Dome at West Baden Springs Hotel – It’s been called the Eighth Wonder of the World.  An amazing display of design ingenuity, the dome is breathtaking to see.

10. White River State Park – It offers a rich mix of concerts, events, exhibits and gardens at the Indianapolis Zoo, the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American Art, the NCAA Hall of Champions and the Indianapolis Indians.

And these are just a handful of the many great options in Indiana.  I’d like to know, “Where’s your favorite place in Indiana to get your dose of the humanities?”