The Lyles Tour the U.S.-Indianapolis, IN

After we wrapped up in Louisville, we hit the interstate and headed straight north for Indianapolis. It was my first time seeing the state of Indiana and I was surprised to see just how flat and rural a lot of it was. We drove there after the sun had gone down. So, there wasn't much to see except for lots of farmland lit by the light of the moon. When we finally did see Indianapolis, it arose like Oz on the horizon.

The first morning there, we woke up and walked down the street from our hotel (which was centrally located downtown). We took in the sights of the Indiana State Capitol, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and bustling downtown atmosphere. We made a visit to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Monument Circle. The monument was the first in the U.S. to be dedicated to the common soldier. It was originally intended to honor Indiana Civil War Veterans, but it later included those who served in the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War & Spanish-American War.

We then made our way to the Scottish Rite Cathedral.  The building isn't a cathedral at all, in the normal church-affliated sense, but rather was built and belongs to the Scottish Rite-an affiliated body of Freemasonry. The building is one of the largest Masonic buildings with the main tower of the cathedral rising 212 feet above the city. We were greeted and then escorted around by a FreeMason who had been a part of the organization since childhood. It was a very mysterious, beautiful and historical building and I am so happy that we were able to get an inside look.

After the tour, we had worked up quite an appetite. So, we made a little trek outside of the downtown area & went to a Diners, Drive Ins and Dives approved joint, The Tamale Place. The handmade tamales, tortas, and tacos were so amazingly delicious. I have been having cravings for their tamales (especially the beef in red sauce) ever since!!

After lunch, we went back downtown to explore the hip Massachusetts Avenue area. The streets are chalked full of local boutiques, shops, and eateries. It had begun to drizzle a bit outside. So, we ducked into Mass Ave Toys. It reminded me a lot of Mountain Brook's Smith's Variety with it's old fashioned toys and diverse collection of puzzles, gadgets and gizmos.

After the rain let off, we went back outside, hopped in the car and drove a few blocks over to Sun King Brewery. John had read about it online. So, we made sure to make time for a trip to see the inside of the brewery and taste some of their brews. We were a little down when we realized that they only offered tours on the weekends (and we were there during the middle of the week), but happy to be greeted by a worker who allowed us to see the inside of the facility and even sample some of the beers, all for free!

Even though the rain had let off for a short bit, it started back in no time. So, John and I decided to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art since the majority of the art on display was indoors. The museum exceeded my expectations and was absolutely fantastic with three floors of art ranging from Modern to African and all sorts of others in between. My favorite, as usual, was the contemporary art exhibits. They also had an extensive children's hands on section, which John and I decided was appropriate for adults too!

Thankfully, the rain stopped again soon after we finished up seeing the interior of the museum. So, we went outside to tour the grounds of the museum which included the famous LOVE statue by Robert Indiana. It was created in 1970 as the first sculptural form of the artist's LOVE painting.

After meandering around the grounds, we stumbled across the historical Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., a prominent Indianapolis businessman. The home was built between 1909-1913, with its gardens designed by Perceval Gallagher of the Olmstead Brothers. Since admission was charged to enter the home and we were limited on time, we just enjoyed viewing its exterior and gardens which were both breathtaking with the fall foliage.

After all of our exploring, we raced to the hotel to spiffy up before the pre-interview dinner at Harry and Izzy's Steakhouse. Oh my goodness, the food was so very good. I had never had a steak encrusted with peppercorns, but it has now become my favorite way to cook it thanks to Harry & Izzy's. Needless to say, after the long day and superb meal, we were exhausted. So, we turned in early to catch some sleep before John's interview and my second day exploring.

The next day, I tackled the city on my own. I started the morning with a trip back the Mass Ave. Distric to have a cup of coffee at Henry's Coffee. I picked it out thanks to Urbanspoon and the good reviews it had received, but I will admit that because it shared a name with Henry (who I missed dearly during our road trip), it was bumped up even more on my list of places to try.

Thanks to the caffeine fix and the pretty fall weather, I decided to spend the remainder of the morning hiking around Eagle Creek Park. I'm usually all about hiking with a buddy for safety reasons, but I made an exception to my rule just for once, and was so glad that it did. The fall colors were gorgeous and thanks to Indiana's flat terrain, there weren't any tough hikes. I ended up staying there for hours until I had to head back to the city to pick up John. It was by far, one of the most beautiful places that I have seen, and I would highly suggest visiting it if you're in the area.

There were deer everywhere! This is without even zooming in on my camera! 

Indianapolis didn't disappoint with it's mix of rural and urban life. It was also a surpassingly beautiful place to visit during the fall. I don't know if I will be heading back any time soon, but it was an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for sure.


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