Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Best-kept Secret in Wayne County

Nestled along the Old National Road and in the very heart of Antique Alley, Cambridge City could easily qualify as the best-kept secret in Wayne County. What’s the secret? The secret is that this quaint town is the home to ten antiques shops and malls, four eateries and three museums  – all within walking distance of each other. Rich in history and filled with beautifully-restored homes, this picturesque town of 1,900 people has a small town feel and a huge heart. But it is the abundance of antiques shops and quaint eateries that make this a must-see weekend destination spot.

Another secret I’ll share is that I get to experience this picturesque small town on a weekly basis since I work part-time at one of the antique malls in the town. I consider the hundreds of “regulars” who frequent the antiques shops and little cafes as my friends. I look forward to their smiling faces as they come to browse and seek out a little treasure to add to their collection at home. But it is the newcomers who are just discovering the little nugget of joy that is Cambridge City for the first time that I truly relish. Exclamations of “I never knew about all the great antique shopping here”, “we loved our hand-breaded tenderloin sandwich at Lumpy’s Café” or “oh we can’t wait to come back” are very common.

Nine of the ten antiques shops are located in a 2-block stretch along the Old National Road in downtown Cambridge City. Shoppers can browse primitive antique furniture, local artisan works, gifts, candles and more at The Log House, situated in a real log cabin that is original to the Old National Road. It’s like stepping back in time when you walk in there.

Blue Ridge Antiques offers a unique blend of primitive and shabby chic antiques on two floors of a restored building which was once an old saloon. Polly is there to help with your purchases and make your visit a very special one. 

Marty at Doublehead Trading Company specializes in reclamation with hundreds of old doors, windows, fireplace mantels, porch columns, a large selection of collectibles and so much more. Marty has one of the largest glass jar displays in the area.

Visitors may shop for antiques, primitives, artisan wares and purposeful clutter at Vinton House Antiques, a former 1847 brick Federal hotel. In the mid 19th century, the Whitewater Canal flowed right behind the old Vinton House Hotel and then on to Cincinnati, transporting freight and passengers. A mural depicting the canal back in the day is located in front of the Vinton House.    

Building 125, a mecca for home interior designers, is located in three fully-restored historic buildings, offering an eclectic mix of antiques, American country, primitives, barn quilts and a variety of gift items. The original freight elevator in one of the restored buildings is still in operation today, transporting goods to the vast second story of the store.

Don’t let the name fool you -- Hole in the Wall Antiques is more of a treasured armoire with antiques and collectibles habiting every nook and cranny. Two floors, great finds and great deals will be found at Hole in the Wall.

This and That Antiques is aptly named – you’ll find a little bit of every kind of antique and collectible for your browsing pleasure. Just look for the old bicycle hanging from the side of the building and you’ll know you’ve found this treasure.

Old National Road Antique Mall is housed in the old Danner’s department store building and shoppers often comment on the “creakiness” of the original, old hardwood floors. With two full floors of antiques and over 85 dealers, Old National Road draws customers from states near and far who are seeking antique jewelry, primitives, toys, glassware, quilts and so much more!  

Just outside town on Gooseheaven Road, you’ll find Goose Haven Trading Co. An old country schoolhouse has been converted into a haven for antiques, primitives and gifts. It’s well worth the short drive to see the wonderful selection of antiques!

When folks ask me for a good place to eat, I’m grateful that in Cambridge City, the lunch choices are many. I usually start by telling people that they can’t go wrong at The Pour House and then promptly spell out the P – O – U – R when the looks on their faces tell me they are leery about eating at a POOR House. The menu includes a variety of soups, sandwiches, coffee specialty drinks and desserts. My favorites are the chicken salad sandwich on toasted wheat and a frozen mocha frappe. Yummo! And, it is chock full of antiques and gift items and the best homemade fudge around!

Lumpy’s Café is a classic small-town diner with a pretty broad menu. The breaded tenderloin sandwich is big enough for two people to share (although I must confess I almost ate a whole one by myself once) and their breakfasts are big and hearty. Best of all, it’s just a half block off the shopping thorough so you’ll get to walk a tiny bit of your lunch off before getting back to some serious antiquing.

The newest eatery in town is the No. 9 Grill right on Main Street. The historic building was once an Odd Fellows Hall and has been completely restored with beautiful seating in family-friendly ambiance. Although they specialize in burgers and steaks, their full menu includes fish, chicken, salads and more. I recently enjoyed the No. 9 Grill Burger with a tangy barbeque sauce, bacon and cheese. My eyes were bigger than my stomach with this sandwich but my mouth is watering for an encore!

The Briar-Pitte Irish-American Pub & Steakhouse offers traditional American food from burgers to pizza to seafood and steak with indoor and outdoor seating, live music on select nights and a full bar. My sandwich of choice at The Briar-Pitte is The Hog, a hogy bun stuffed with ham and mozzarella cheese, sent thru the pizza oven and then topped with lettuce and tomato. To. Die. For!

With advance arrangements, visitors can tour the Huddleston Farm House Inn Museum. Built in 1839-41 when the National Road was young, the museum depicts the way of life of an early Hoosier farming family and the experience of westward travelers who stopped there for food and shelter. 

Overbeck House and Pottery Studio is the house where the Overbeck sisters produced their highly-collectible pottery. Built in the 1830’s, the house was rescued from demolition in 1973 and restored as a private residence. A coal-fired kiln in the square kiln house has been restored as well. Tours of the home are by appointment only.

The Museum of Overbeck Pottery is housed in the new Cambridge City Public Library just west of downtown on US 40. Overbeck Pottery, produced between 1911 and 1955, is recognized as an important part of our national art history. The museum preserves the creative art of the six Overbeck sisters who lived and worked in Cambridge City. 

So, now the secret is out! Cambridge City is the area's weekend destination point for antiquing and history. Make time to come visit soon. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Newly opened coffee bar and tap room in Richmond

I took a recent trip down to Richmond’s ecclectic Historic Depot District on a beautiful fall afternoon to have lunch at Roscoe’s. Roscoe’s Coffee Bar and Tap Room is new to Richmond’s Historic Depot District, having just opened about a month ago. Roscoe’s is a beautifully renovated building, with exposed brick walls and a beautiful red stained hardwood floor.  

Roscoe’s offers a wide selection of paninis with your choice of chips and a pickle or hummus. I had the Mediterranean Panini with a side of hummus and blue corn chips and a cup of coffee to drink. My lunch was delicious! The Mediterranean Panini had grilled chicken, spinach, tomato, pesto, feta and mozzarella cheese all between two slices of ciabatta bread. The hummus is made in-house and tasted wonderful!

I relaxed on a couch that was comfy towards the back of Roscoe’s while I ate my lunch and drank coffee. I have been constantly on the go for the last few months; it was so nice just to sit and relax. The environment was very calming and enjoyable.

Roscoe’s has a choice of Indiana-crafted beers available on tap, including brews from Sun King and New Boswell

Roscoe’s has it all. My three favorite things are coffee, desserts and beer. Come try Roscoe’s out sometime with friends, family, co-workers or just yourself! They have seasonal specials like Pumpkin Chai Latte, Caramel Spice Hot Apple Cider and Pumpkin Bagels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese. 

Roscoe’s Coffee Bar and Tap Room is opened Tuesday and Wednesday 7 am-10 pm, Thursday and Friday 7 am- midnight, Saturday 8 am-midnight. Open mic night starts at 6 pm on Wednesday.  Check out their Facebook and Twitter! They actively post news and updates.

While you are in the Historic Depot, be sure to check out many of the marvelous shops and restaurants. Try the Firehouse BBQ & Blues Club, New Boswell Brewery, Gyslain Chocolatier & Bistro, and Paint the Towne Pottery Studio….just to name a few of the wonderful businesses in downtown Richmond, Indiana. 

185 Fort Wayne Ave
Richmond, Indiana

Ashly Edwards is a senior at Ball State University studying Travel and Tourism.  She interning at the Richmond/Wayne County Indiana Convention & Tourism Bureau in Richmond, Indiana for the fall of 2012.  Ashly was born and raised in Bloomfield, Indiana. She is very passionate about food, history, science fiction and travel.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Richmond Art Museum

As an Indiana native, I always enjoy exploring my great state to see what it has to offer. Indiana has an excellent art scene to offer.  I’m originally from Southern Indiana, but moved to the area for school a few years ago. I am continually amazed at how many talented artists have hailed from Indiana. The Richmond Art Museum, or RAM, encourages appreciation for the arts by providing education to the public.

The Richmond Art Museum was founded in 1898. RAM has a remarkable permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American Impressionists, Taos School, the Hoosier Group and the Richmond School artwork on display. The most notable piece is the William Merritt Chase Self-Portrait. There is an interesting story that goes along with the Self-Portrait. William Merritt Chase was an Indiana-born artist. The Self-Portrait was commissioned for the Richmond Art Museum. The piece was supposed to be a standard portrait size. By the time Chase had finished, the piece was a whopping 52 x 63 inches. Chase said, “I painted that picture for you people in Richmond. I thought you deserved something good. I have been interested in what you have been doing in the west for art." Critics have called Self Portrait his masterpiece.

William Merritt Chase's Self-Portrait
Along with the paintings, RAM also has sculptures and ceramics available on display; many were created by Indiana artists.  In the lobby stands a sculpture called Tortoise Boy. It was created by Janet Scudder in 1907.

The Tortoise Boy
RAM has a number of exhibits through-out the year. The latest one is the 114th RAM Annual Exhibit, which will take place November 8 - December 19, 2012.  This exhibit is the oldest juried art competition in Indiana. The competition is open to artists who live or have lived in a 100-mile radius from Richmond.

RAM has some exciting works to look forward to over the next year. Artists Greg Hull and Nhat Tran will create installation pieces for RAM. Greg Hull is originally from Richmond, Indiana and is a professor at Heron School of Art and Design. Nhat Tran is known for her work in Urushi Art.  Urishi is the Japanese name for lacquer that is created from the sap of the Rhus Vernicifera tree. Both artists have created installation artwork at the Indianapolis International Airport.

Piece by Carol Strock Wasson
October was membership month at RAM. RAM had a painting giveaway contest for new members. The prize was a beautiful pastel piece by Carol Strock Wasson.  Any new RAM members at any membership level had a chance at winning. The drawing took place on October 31.

I encourage you to get out and explore the wonderful art that Indiana has to offer!

RAM offers various art classes that are open to the public. The Richmond Art Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 10 am to 4 pm.  It is located at 350 Hub Etchison Parkway in Richmond, Indiana. There is no charge for admission, but donations are accepted. 

Ashly Edwards is a senior at Ball State University studying Travel and Tourism.  She interning at the Richmond/Wayne County Indiana Convention & Tourism Bureau in Richmond, Indiana for the fall of 2012.  Ashly was born and raised in Bloomfield, Indiana. She is very passionate about food, history, science fiction and travel.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

fall break in Wayne County!

 When I moved back to the Wayne County area a couple of years ago, one of the things I looked forward to the most was spending time with my two grandkids, Ben and Jenna. Since it was fall break for Hagerstown schools last week, I took Wednesday off from work so the three of us could spend the day together.

How fun it was to be there at their house when they got out of bed. Jenna was first and she and I had some nice snuggle time on the couch before Ben scurried in to pile on top. After a bit of morning TV, a yogurt bar and much discussion about the appropriate clothing for the chilly day, we piled in the van to head to Richmond. 

There was the usual battle over where to eat with votes cast for Cracker Barrel, McDonald’s and Bub Ebbons (Bob Evans). But Grandma Julie quieted all discussion by pulling into IHOP. I had not been to the Richmond IHOP before and really enjoyed my first visit. It was bright and clean and our waitress was friendly and good with the kids. Jenna enjoyed a create-your-own pancake complete with a banana mouth, strawberry eyes and pink yogurt hair. Ben ordered the grilled cheese and fruit but bypassed the sandwich for a breakfast of fruit only. I had the omelet and a small stack of pancakes. Of course, we had to sample each of the syrup choices available and unanimously vetoed all but the classic maple-flavored syrup.

 Next we headed to Glen Miller Park where the kids climbed and slid and swayed on the gigantic playground equipment. I fear I really showed my age in my efforts to keep up with a 3.5 and 7.5 year old. They were fast, fast, fast. Although the sun was out and bright, the wind was pretty strong and we soon headed to the car and some warmth.


 The Wayne County Historical Museum was my next surprise and it was a good one! Before we even got inside we were entertained by a handful of fat squirrels gathering nuts in the front yard. Once inside, Ben was enamored with the toy soldiers display and the trains. Jenna liked the decorations in place for the upcoming Haunted Museum taking place this month.


I’d forgotten how hard it is to explain old technology and vehicles to children. They have no concept of what coal is or how a record plays on a phonograph. Jenna was shocked at how little space there was on the old school bus and that dead bodies were once taken to the cemetery in a horse-drawn hearse.She could relate to the old conestoga wagon since she is just now falling on love with and reading the Little House on the Prairie books

Veach’s Toy Store was our next destination. I remember taking my kids there when they were little and it was always so fun. This trip did not disappoint! I think Ben tried out every single riding toy in the store and repeated the refrain “I want this for Christmas!” many times. Jenna was more interested in the arts and crafts section and the more unique educational items. I came away with a few ideas for Christmas and birthday gifts. 

Since we were only a block from the best cookie store around, we walked down to Joy Ann Cake Shop. I’ve always loved the variety of iced cookies they keep on hand, prompting the kids to press their faces upon the glass front case and say “Uuum, I’ll have that one!” Jenna picked an iced pumpkin cookie (because it was the biggest one they had) and Ben chose a blue iced smiley face cookie. Then they made selections to take home – a leaf for Mommy and a Bid Bird for Daddy. I got a bag of thumbprint cookies, my favorite! We sat outside on a bench along the sidewalk and wondered if the people in the office building next door were watching us out their windows. We made a few faces just in case.

I asked the kids if they had ever seen dinosaurs before and Jenna informed me that all of the dinosaurs are dead. But, I told her, there are still dinosaur skeletons around and I know a place where we can see them! So, we headed over to the Joseph Moore Museum on the Earlham campus. What a bright, happy place it was with friendly staff just waiting to answer questions and help us experience it all. Ben was in awe of the huge mastodon skeleton and the Allosaurus skeleton, insisting that the Allosaurus was a T Rex.

There were also skeletons of a giant ground sloth, dire wolf, and a saber-toothed cat! We spent quite some time on the hands-on activities and then traveled downstairs to see the live turtle, iguana and fish which the kids enjoyed much more than the Egyptian mummy. Kids -- go figure!

As we pulled out of the Earlham campus Ben asked how long until we would be home. I answered only 20 minutes. And, as I looked back over the day, I couldn’t help marveling at all the fun we'd had right here in Wayne County!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall 2012 Photo Contest!!

Our 2012 Fall Photo Contest is in full swing! We are excited to see all the photos of Wayne County that our residents, visitors, Facebook followers and others are submitting. For this contest, we are looking for photos with PEOPLE having fun in Wayne County: shoppers browsing inside or outside antique stores; people enjoying the food and fun at fall festivals; and artisans creating art or crafts at art fairs. The photos I’m including here in this blog post are good examples of the kind of photos we seek.

 Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Gather a few of your friends and head down to the historic Depot District in Richmond. As your friends stroll along the streets, shoot photos of them with the murals, brick buildings and other interesting details in the background.

Having girlfriends in from out of town? Take photos of them enjoying the antiques, attractions and great food Wayne County has to offer. As you shoot your photos, be sure to capture some of the ambiance or architecture of the area in the background. We want the photos to show that they were taken in Wayne County!

Headed to a local orchard? Be sure to take your camera and capture the kids picking out their pumpkins, enjoying a hayride or petting those adorable goats.


If enjoying the nightlife Richmond has to offer is your speed, then take your camera and snap a few photos of our wonderful outdoor music venues come to life.

The Cardinal Greenway would be a great place to shoot your family and friends hiking or biking in our superb fall weather. The Gennett Walk of Fame or Hayes Arboretum trails are other good options.

Candid, unposed pictures of people in natural situations are best. Try to avoid photos where all the people are posing and smiling at the camera.


Once you’ve taken your photos, it is super easy to enter the contest. You can upload your photos to our website or drop them off on a disc or jump drive at the Welcome Center. Just click here and you’ll be given all the details you need to enter.


The contest closes on November 5th and then a group of judges will meet to select the winning photos. One grand prize winner will receive a Wayne County get-away package/gift basket overflowing with coupons for free lodging, meals, attractions and area-related gifts. Three runner-up winners will each receive a gift bag of Wayne County goodies. 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and take some great photos . . . and be sure to have FUN while you're out there!