Wednesday, January 4, 2017

More Travel Fun!

Hello! The mild winter weather in my region of the country continued the week after Christmas, so my family went on another short trip. This time we visited Indianapolis and metro Cincinnati, plus Nashville (Indiana,that is), in between.

We were so busy having fun that I didn't get around to taking any photos. As a blogger, that was bad of me, but I hope that by mentioning some highlights of our excursion, you might be tempted to check out the same places sometime. 

Everyone's heard of Nashville, Tennessee, but you may not have heard of Nashville, Indiana unless you've been to southern Indiana. My husband and I were first introduced to this Nashville courtesy of relatives who were attending Indiana University in nearby Bloomington. 15 years later, we became Indiana residents ourselves, and would occasionally visit Nashville. But we hadn't been there since the year before our move away from Indiana in 2002. 

So when my husband suggested visiting Nashville during this trip I jumped at the chance. We'd remembered it as a cute tourist town with a folksy, down-home vibe, and I was curious to see if it was cute still. 

And it was. Sure, some stores had disappeared since our last visit, but others had come in to take their places. We visited mid-week, which meant that some stores were closed since it wasn't the weekend. I think others had closed after Christmas, not to reopen until the spring. But there was still plenty of shops and restaurants open to choose from. 

We began by eating lunch at Big Woods Pizza. I had a salad, but my husband and daughter shared a pizza and said it was good. 

After lunch we split up to shop/browse to our heart's content. Even with the visitors' map, I had a hard time locating some of the stores. The main streets of the commercial district are easy enough to navigate, but then there's a number of alley-like streets. At least one of these, Old Schoolhouse Way, didn't have any signage, at least not for the block I was trying to find. But eventually I found the shop I was looking for, Wishful Thinking. If you're into various papercrafting hobbies, you'll likely find something that catches your eye here. I made a couple of purchases. 

I merely window shopped the rest of the stores, though I was tempted by Johanna Lee Bathology (all sorts of soaps and bath bombs) and various candy stores. 

It takes awhile to get to Nashville, because traveling on 2-lane roads in the area is a given. But that part of Indiana is very pretty and thus has attracted artists and outdoor enthusiasts for decades. It's worth the trip! 

Admittedly, it helped that it was sunny and in the low 50's - balmy for late December. But Nashville, IN is nice no matter what the weather.

After a too-short visit to Nashville, it was time to head back to Indianapolis, where our hotel was. We decided to go out to dinner in the Broad Ripple Village section of the city. Lots of dinner choices, so we walked around a bit. My husband had see good online reviews for Public Greens and Broad Ripple Brewpub. We ended up picking the latter place because of its cozy interior. It had turned chilly and overcast, a big change from earlier in the day, so the pub atmosphere was very welcoming.

While waiting for my fish-and-chips dinner (one of the several British pub-style menu offerings), I perused Nuvo, the local alt newspaper. The issue in my hands had a "cozy winter" theme, meaning a focus on getting through that season without too much angst. And among restaurants considered especially nice for removing oneself from winter's chill was the very place we were seated. I would readily agree - nice atmosphere and the food was very good too. 

After dinner we walked around a bit on the Monon Trail, a rail trail in the area. I would imagine it gets quite congested in the warm weather months, but there were just a few runners and walkers while we were there. 

The next day found us going down to the Cincinnati area. I know, that may seem backwards - it would have made more sense to head down to Cincy after visiting Nashville, rather than returning to Indy. But it was a matter of where and when the hotels were cheapest, according to my "travel agent" husband.

It was a day for going to huge stores - Ikea and Jungle Jim's. I rarely get to visit Ikeas since I don't live near any. Thus, it's a real treat when I do make it to one. Several hundred people had the same idea, so the shopping was a little congested. Still had a good time and bought some housewares. 

I've written about Jungle Jim's before - it's one of the largest grocery stores in the country, a very cool place. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to shop there since I'd already spent so much time at Ikea. You need several hours to really do Jungle Jim's properly!

Lunch was at Tacqueria Mercado in Fairfield, not far from Jungle Jim's. We've eaten here a few times already and it's never disappointed me. I've only gotten the steak tacos, which are great on their own, but man, their salsas! I should have asked them if they sell those salsas to go. Great stuff!

Dinner was at Sichuan Chili, in Evendale. They offer both Americanized and more authentic Chinese foods. I usually play it safe and order one of the noodle dishes. Not sure if they're the best bet. My husband and daughter both got tofu dishes, and both enjoyed them.

After a night in a nearby hotel, it was time to head back home. Since we had to drive back through Indiana, of course, I'd already put in a request for stopping at E&S Sales, an Amish grocery store in Shipshewana. (I love the interesting variety and prices at these businesses.) Unfortunately we didn't get there as early in the day as we would have liked, so I didn't have much time to shop there. Still was happy to have made the stop anyway.

A couple of hours later, we were back home. It had been a bit of a whirlwind trip, but we had fun! And I hope you had fun reading my write-up - even if I hadn't included any photos. 

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