Road tripping this summer has become our favorite way to delve into the fine state of Indiana for sure. Not only did we have the pleasure of dining at popular Indiana Foodways Alliance foodie spots, but with each city and town that we’ve called home for a night or two we learned what makes the state appealing for families, couples, and folks that love to travel! Last month was all about Southern Indiana and what it has to offer both its travelers and residents. Our first stop on this leg of our foodie road trips? Columbus, Indiana!
Disclosure: I was hosted by all of these amazing restaurants, cities, and CVBs to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes the Southern Indiana foodie scene so incredible. All opinions and photos are my own!
From the moment we drove into the heart of Columbus, IN, I knew there was something special about it. What we thought we’d be getting was a quintessential Midwest town and what we got? A lesson in architecture with fun restaurants and hot spots melded in. And, while I can’t wait to tell you about how the city is sixth in the country for gorgeous architecture, let’s start with a little background. Beginning in the 1940’s, architecture has been a way to show the city’s positive take on its future. Famous architects including I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi, and Eliel and Eero Saarinen have left their marks on Columbus with modern buildings that meld perfectly with its historical ones. The city is both spotless and comfortable and it was a pleasure to park the car and walk. HIGHLY walkable.
After a quick pit stop in the Visitor’s Center (so many amazing items to buy. If you love books about art and architecture it’s a must do.) we headed down to Washington Street- and to Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor. If you want a blast from the past (and folks definitely do. This place was THE spot to visit on a hot, Saturday afternoon!), drop in for a meal (a popular choice is the GOM Cheese-brr-grr) and save room for dessert. The shop is famous for its hand dipped ice cream sodas and floats. We took a leisurely walk through the restaurant and spied authentic soda fountains and Tiffany-style lamps that only added it its fun ambiance.
Never ones to refuse a trip to a museum, our next stop was to Kids Commons– Columbus’ Community Children’s Museum. Yes, The Kid is a teenager, but she still loves children’s museums (a great excuse to play with bubbles!) and I loved the smile she had on her face for the entire visit. The multi-level museum has a newer area, ExploraHouse, and a giant toilet that kids love to flush themselves down. It was a fun way to learn about what makes our homes run smoothly and what kids can do make a home more efficient.
For dinner we headed away from the city proper to 450 North Brewing Co. Known for its Brick Oven Pizza (you saw its deliciousness at the beginning of the article) and craft brew selections, the brewpub offers wine by the glass or bottle as well- and a gorgeous vineyard adjacent to the property. Always a fan of beer flights, Mr. Locke is still raving about his samples and has put 450 North at the top of his list.
Save room for dessert because you’ll need it! A fun menu filled with seasonal desserts, they’re made from scratch and really are worth saving some space for.
Let’s back track for just a sec.
On our Architectural Tour of Columbus The Kid and I spied a gorgeous mansion and, while peeking over the fence, I told her one day I’d loved to actually get inside to walk through it. Compliments of a happy turn of events before dinner we found out we’d be staying the night just there- The Inn at Irwin Gardens. Built in 1864 (Let’s think about that for a second. The Civil War was still in full force!), both the mansion and its English-style gardens have changed both in ownership and appearance and, to our delight, is now a Bed and Breakfast. And while there are many B&Bs that don’t allow children, those over 10 years of age and “well-behaved” are more than welcome. Beautifully-decorated guest rooms (ours was the Elsie Sweeney Room) and a love of historical homes and mansions made The Kid one happy teen, that’s a definite statement.
Both after dinner and in the morning, we were compelled to stroll through the gardens. Filled with beautiful flowers, greenery, and statues, it’s the hidden nooks and crannies that I loved- as well as the recreated Tea House.
A full breakfast (no kidding, I was FULL!) was cooked by our innkeeper and the highlight was Zucchini Pancakes. I’m not a fan of zucchini, or at least I wasn’t until I tried them. I loved the meal so much that I asked for the recipe and will be sharing it in a separate post.
As this was a foodie tour, we saved a teeny bit of room that morning for a visit to Hangar 5. This restaurant is just the coolest and sits on the Columbus, Indiana airport runway. Super popular, especially on Sunday mornings, Hangar 5 serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch and watching the small planes taxi in while you’re waiting for food is a highlight.
Named after aeronautic vehicles, the breakfast options were delicious- and massive! We filled the table with Biscuits and Gravy, Cinnamon rolls, and dishes with fried potatoes and eggs- and chatted about how we cannot wait to visit again!
Next week is all about Perry County, Indiana so please jump back on and read why we dig it so much!
Want more Indiana foodie finds?