Headed to Richmond, Indiana and Wayne County and want to fill your visit with some cool, history when you go? From restaurants with a hip vibe to learning about a family that led 2,000 slaves to freedom, here are 10 fun historical things to do in Richmond, IN, with kids!
Disclosure: I was hosted by the fine folks at Visit Richmond, IN. Thanks to them, I’m able to give honest advice and opinions to help you plan your next visit.
A couple of weeks ago, my teen daughter and I hit the road on an Indiana road trip. It took us to four completely different places and we had a ball. Our first stop? Santa Claus, Indiana, to discover all of the historical goodies the area has. Next on our list was Richmond and I’m so elated we were able to call the city our home for a couple of nights. Here’s where we explored and ate and where you should, too.
Levi & Catherine Coffin House State Historic Site
Levi & Catherine risked their lives on a daily basis to help slaves get to freedom via Indiana. And while they lived at their residence in Wayne County, it’s estimated they helped 2,000 men, women, and children find their way to freedom.
Taking a tour of the Levi & Catherine Coffin House State Historic Site allowed me to remember that there are good people in the world. For my teen daughter, it was a reminder of our past. And it’s definitely worth a visit no matter what age you are.
We learned about the Coffin’s false-bottom wagon that held slaves and how they made them feel like part of their family. The site also shares what life was like for slaves on the run and the downright deplorable conditions they encountered for a chance at freedom.
Go Antiquing in Cambridge City
In my town, I love to go antiquing. So, it makes perfect sense to check out what’s for sale in adorable Cambridge City. Along with a few gorgeous murals, the main streets are lined with antique shops filled with goodies for sale. My definite suggestion is to hit Building 125 – a giant space filled with both new and old items for sale from locals.
And while you’re in Cambridge City, if you need a bite to eat, make a pit stop at King’s Cafe. On the Chocolate Trail, the coffee is good and the desserts great.
Since 1883, Dougherty Orchard has been giving us all the excuses to make apple pies! Seriously though, it is Indiana’s oldest orchard and also offers a petting farm and baked goods. Homemade donuts and baby animals? I’m down.
Abbott’s Candies Factory & Shop
During our visit to Richmond and Wayne county, we had the pleasure of visiting Abbott’s Candies Factory. If you’re not familiar, its caramels are absolutely amazing and are the best selling candy in the shops, but watching them be made was so cool. Each caramel is hand cut and wrapped (yeah, hand wrapped) and the process, while maybe more efficient via machine, shows the company’s commitment to quality.
Also available are seasonal candies and chocolates and a free treat if you have a Chocolate Trail card.
The Barn at Helm
If making your own flower arrangement by heading out into flower fields and cutting the stems yourself sounds appealing, it is. The Barn at Helm is, hands down, one of my top picks when visiting Wayne County, IN. And if I had to pick a time to visit, late summer and autumn would be it.
The Barn has a giant sunflower field, perfect for photos. It also has greenhouses and additional fields packed with gorgeous flowers worthy of wedding bouquets (they make those, too).
Honestly, it was a pleasure to wander the rows of flowers and watch my daughter so carefully pick out each stem to cut. And her result was a beautiful flower arrangement. We carried with us through the resort of our Indiana road trip and home.
If you don’t know the backstory on Thistlethwaite Falls, it’s a cool one so I’ll share. In the heart of Richmond, you’d never expect it to be there. A man-made waterfall for several mills in the mid-1800’s, it’s now a gorgeous respite for folks wanting to check out nature. Tip: there are some pretty steep steps leading to the falls, so wear good walking/hiking shoes. There’s also a 3.5 mile hiking and walking trail nearby, so feel free to make a day out of it.
Wayne County Historical Museum
Again, history nerd here. So, learning about the area via a super cute museum (hello, mummies!), is always a hoot. The museum, open by appointment only right now, has plenty of ways to learn about Wayne County and the fascinating history of racing in the area.
Where to Eat in Richmond, IN & Wayne County
Given how adorable downtown Richmond is, and how it feels like we stepped back in time about 7 decades, there’s no surprise that it has several really good restaurants:
8. Tin Lizzie Cafe – Such a cute diner-style restaurant. It’s dedicated to all things Ford Model T. There’s also a dose of 1920’s era celebrities flanking its walls and it’s the place where plenty of locals eat, so I’m down. The menu is diner food (aka, what your grandma would make you when you visit) and the atmosphere fun and welcoming. We visited for breakfast and it was delish.
9. Firehouse BBQ & Blues – Take the oldest firehouse in Richmond, restore it, and add in delicious BBQ – and what do you get? A cool melding of comfort food with some rich history thrown in. I had a pulled pork sandwich with a side of cheesy potatoes. You’ve never seen me down BBQ so quickly.
10. A.J.’s Diner – Again, I’m all about eating where the locals do. AJ’s is one of those super affordable spots where you can get a good, hearty breakfast. I had its breakfast sandwich with crispy bacon and wasn’t disappointed.