Hendricks County, Indiana, is about a 45-minute western drive from downtown Indianapolis. The pace there is slower. People say hi to you on the streets. Yet, it has the advantage of being near the large city, yet far enough away that people can enjoy suburban and rural life. Its attractions run along the same lines – some are what you would expect in a metropolitan area. Others remind you that you can enjoy the country air.
Hendricks County has a population of almost 154,000 people. Its county seat, Danville, has a population of about 9,600. Plainfield is the largest city with about 30,000 residents.
Hendricks County’s attractions range from science fiction to drag racing. Toss in some horseback riding, apple orchards and blown glass art, and you’re set for a fun weekend. We loved our visit to the area.
Dr. Who North America
Let’s start with a time travel trip across the pond. Dr. Who North America in Camby is the only known store of its kind in…well…North America. It’s the only store devoted to all things “Dr. Who” on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The store is home to a large inventory of “Dr. Who” memorabilia and collectibles. The long-running “Dr. Who” continues to be a hit series on British television, while also enjoying success in the United States. The store is the only North American location for some items, such as an Australian “Dr. Who” puzzle set.
NHRA Drag Racing
Drag racing is popular in Hendricks County. Brownsburg is home to the Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis. The Lucas US Nationals in Hendricks County is considered the Super Bowl of drag racing. Rocket-type motorcycles, funny cars and Top Fuel dragsters race throughout the day into the night. Thousands of people flock to the raceway.
Lucas Oil series differ from other auto races in that a ticket to the event is an invitation to visit the pit area, where crew members work quickly and meticulously to prep vehicles for the next race. They have about 45 minutes to complete the work. Fans can walk among the area, talking with crew members who may have a few seconds to spare. It’s common to see kids with parts of vehicles – such as a large rear tire – the racer no longer needs.
We took in some great races. The Funny cars were fun to watch, with flames lighting up the night’s darkness with a nitro blast before they rocket down the track. We even witnessed a celebrity race. Papa John himself – John Schnatter – took on his professional racer in a duel to determine who decided where to donate $20,000. Leah Pritchett smoked her boss.
Danville is home to a nice farmers market. You can check out fresh vegetables and fruits, while also shopping for hand-crafted wooden accessories or African-made art.
The farmers market is hosted along the courthouse square. The county courthouse square is beautiful.
Danville is home to the county historical museum. The museum has some interesting exhibits, including a look at an old college in town and rooms designed to represent different eras. The most interesting exhibit was the old community jail. Graffiti on the walls and ceilings are original.
North Salem’s Old Fashion Days
We were lucky enough to be in the area for North Salem’s Old Fashion Days. We joined hundreds more people in watching about an hourlong parade along the town’s main street. From veterans to fire trucks, parade watchers saw their fair share of old tractors, a variety of semi trucks and a high school marching band.
Festival attendees participated in other events, including bed races, during the weekend’s events.
Avon’s Haunted Bridge
Avon is home to an alleged haunted railroad bridge. Stories include workers dying while building the bridge. Their voices can be heard at night. Another involves women who died. Their voices can also be heard at night, supposedly. We knew we had to see the bridge, because it’s a cool looking bridge.
Natural Valley Ranch Trail Rides
We enjoy the occasional horseback ride. Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg takes horseback riding a step further than other places we’ve been. They match you to a horse and have you ride him or her in a corral to get used to each other. Then, you take an hourlong trail ride. The trail was an interesting one. It included wooded areas, as well as some uneven terrain. We had a blast riding Maggie (Lisa’s horse) and Hawkeye (my horse).
Hot Blown Glass
Lisa Pelo runs Hot Blown Glass, a glass art shop near Clayton. We had the pleasure of watching her and an art partner create some blown glass art. Watching blown glass art being made is a relaxing thing for me. It may not be relaxing to the artist, as they meticulously work at ensuring the creation is handled properly. There’s just something about watching the art being created from a small piece of glass.
Lisa operates a workshop, working with other artists in developing their skills and creating beautiful glass projects. We checked out a few of her projects, which were impressive and beautiful.
Beasley’s Orchard started as a farm in 1946. The Beasleys raised some livestock. Mrs. Beasley’s garden enjoyed a bountiful harvest one year. Their son was sent to the end of the lane with vegetables to sell at a roadside stand. The farm eventually became an orchard.
Today, Beasley’s Orchard welcomes guests from all over the area during its harvest season. Dozens of apple varieties are grown and sold at an onsite store. The store also features other Indiana products, including syrup, popcorn and pickles. The apple cider and cider slushy taste great.
Beasley’s sells a lot of Indiana-based products.
Visitors can partake in games in a play area at the orchard. The orchard’s annual maze is helping to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charles Schultz’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
Baymont Inn & Suites Plainfield
During our visit we stayed at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Plainfield. The room was nice. The bed provided a comfortable night’s sleep following long days of exploring Hendricks County. The room had ample outlets for all of our devices.
I was impressed with the chandelier in the lobby. The lobby was an open and inviting space. The hotel’s service was excellent.
We spent three fun filled days exploring Hendricks County. When we finally traveled into Indianapolis, I then realized how close – and yet how far – Hendricks County was from the city. We loved our time in the county and look forward to returning to the area. We recommend visiting Hendricks County. You’ll need to plan at least two days to check out the area’s attractions.
For more information on Hendricks County, please visit www.visithendrickscounty.com.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Hendricks County and the following businesses for complimentary visits: Baymont Inn, Natural Valley Ranch and Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis. However, all opinions and reviews are ours.