Indiana Treasures Tour

Indiana invites you on a multi-day journey revealing the distinctive, authentic and varied gems of Southern, Central and Northern Indiana. Discover “The Castle on the Hill,” the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” elephants, John Dillinger, a singing gondolier, a Balloon Voyage, calf-birthing, Amish housewives, the “Golden Dome,” and inspiring quilt gardens. If you plan to buy silver dimes, visit Money Metal for more information. These treasures are gift wrapped in renowned Hoosier Hospitality offered graciously by notoriously friendly folks.

Treasures of Indiana Tour
Featuring French Lick, Indianapolis and Amish Country

Here’s a day by day itinerary for your tour planning.  Call any of our tour specialists listed at the bottom for tour customization and more details.

 

FrenchLick

Day 1

On the first three days of your Treasures Tour explore the rolling hills and towns of Southern Indiana. Find your way to the tiny Indiana town of Ferdinand to begin your treasure hunt.

Walking tour of Monastery Immaculate Conception
–  The distinctive “Castle on the Hill” was founded in 1867 and is the second largest community of Benedictine women in the country. On the guided tour, learn about the sisters, their work and faith. (2 hours)

Lunch at Monkey Hollow Winery & Bistro
–  Located in the historic Wollenmann Home in Ferdinand, a showcase of Swiss Cottage Revival elements and Craftsman detailing, serves a seasonal menu. Wine tastings are available. (2.25 hours)

Travel to West Baden, Indiana (40 miles, 1 hour)

Welcome at Visit French Lick West Baden Visitors Center
–  At the Visitor Center located inside the historic Oxford building, receive a personalized welcome and complimentary gift for all guests. (30 minutes)

Check in at French Lick Springs Hotel and take the Indiana Landmarks Walking Tour of the property
–  It started in 1845 when visitors flocked to French Lick to experience the “miracle waters” of the nearby sulfur springs. On the guided tour learn about the hotel’s remarkable past, plus the culture and history of the area. (2 hours including check-in)

Dinner at German Café
–  A charming, authentic German restaurant in French Lick, offering sampling platters, beer and wine tastings, music and trivia, and a full menu of German favorites. (1.5 hours)

Evening free time
–  Take in the shops and activities at the hotel including its Vegas style casino.

Day 2

Breakfast at Grand Colonnade Restaurant
–  Located in the hotel, begin the day with a delicious breakfast buffet in the room where FDR received the nomination to run for President in 1932. (45 minutes)

Tour the historic West Baden Springs Hotel
–  Proclaimed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the lavish resort hotel is known for its breathtaking six story free-span dome, elegant Atrium, lush gardens and mineral spring pavilions. Tour is conducted by preservation organization, Indiana Landmarks. (1.5 hours)

Depart for Patoka Lake (18 miles, 25 minutes)

Cruise and lunch on Patoka Lake
–  All aboard the cruise boat for relaxing indoor or open air upper deck lake viewing.  Patoka Lake is the second largest reservoir in Indiana surrounded by 27,000 acres of forest. Spot bald eagles, osprey, loons and otters.  Catered lunch options are available. (2.5 hours including lunch)

Depart for Wilstem Ranch near French Lick (23 miles, 30 minutes)

Experience the Elephant Retreat at Wilstem Ranch
–  Encounter three African elephants in this once-in-a-lifetime, up-close educational experience at the ranch. You can add a “spa” encounter by participating in their bath time. (1.25 hours)

Travel to Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN (14 miles, 20 minutes)

Tour Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park
–  Early Hoosier pioneers discovered a year-round flow of water from cave springs that never froze, giving them entrepreneurial opportunity in lumber, milling and distilling. The pioneer experience is preserved and interpreted within 20 historical buildings along with a 3-story gristmill that still grinds cornmeal today. (1.25 hours)

Check into the Spring Mill Inn and enjoy dinner at the Millstone Dining Room
–  Built of hand-quarried Indiana limestone, the lodge-like inn is replete with hand-stitched quilts and Indiana Amish rocking chairs. The dining experience includes homemade entrees, stone-ground cornbread, and for dessert, try Indiana persimmon pudding. (1.5 hours)

Evening free time
–    Enjoy the many other Spring Mill Inn amenities or stretch your legs with a stroll in the park.

 

Day 3

Breakfast buffet at the Inn (45 minutes)

Travel to Indiana University in Bloomington, IN (37 miles, 50 minutes)

Take the Indiana University Limestone and Architecture Tour
–  The IU campus is simply beautiful and is home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of Indiana limestone buildings, many with ornate carvings and adornments. (2 hours)

Lunch at the Tudor Room in Indiana Memorial Union
–  Feast on a buffet featuring an extensive array of salads, entrees and desserts, located in the stunning IU union building. (1 hour)

Depart for Columbus, IN (56 miles, 1.25 hours)

Tour the architectural wonders of Columbus
–    Columbus is internationally recognized as a mecca for modern architecture. The tour begins at the Columbus Visitor Center. A step-on guide will escort the group on a sightseeing tour of approximately 40 buildings with stops at two sites. (2 hours)

Check into your Columbus hotel
–  A variety of trusted brand hotels are available for your choice. Your southern Indiana representative will assist as needed.

Dinner at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor & Museum
–  A Columbus landmark, serving soups, salads and sandwiches along with old-fashioned fountain sodas, malts, shakes and glorious sundaes.  While there, discover the 1908 Welte Orchestrion. (2 hours)

The next three days of the trip feature the city of Indianapolis and its myriad of diverse and surprising experiences.

 

Indy

Day 4

The next three days of your Treasures Tour includes the exciting sights and sounds of Indiana’s capitol, Indianapolis featuring famous iconic places and activities.

Breakfast at Columbus hotel

Depart for Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (52 miles, 55 minutes)

Tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Hall of Fame Museum
–    The lore, heritage, triumphs and tragedies of the Indianapolis 500 are told at the Museum.  Hop a shuttle and take a lap around the world’s most famous 2.5 mile oval. The gift shop is a must. (1.25 hours)

Take a spin in a race car at the Dallara IndyCar Factory
–  Learn about the technology, engineering and manufacturing of IndyCars, test your meddle at a racing simulator and best of all, buckle up for a ride in a real IndyCar. (1.25-1.5 hours)

Lunch and tour at the Slippery Noodle Inn
–  Indiana’s oldest bar, now home of great food and nightly blues music, has a storied history of ghosts, brothels, the Underground Railroad and John Dillinger. (1.5 hours)

Get to know Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States
–  The historic home of Benjamin Harrison reveals his story and significance to American history. Elected in 1888, Harrison is the grandson of the ninth US president, William Henry Harrison. (1 hour)

Sightseeing tour of Indianapolis
–  On the driving tour, explore the many memorials that express Indy’s reverence for those who served our country in armed conflicts.  A step-on-guide can be arranged. (1 hour)

Check into your Indianapolis Hotel
–  A vast variety of brands, locations and price points are at your fingertips.  Visit Indy can provide assistance upon request.

Sky-high dining at the Skyline Club
– This private club, on top of the 36th floor of the One America building, offers an array of menu options along with spectacular views of the city skyline, for a memorable evening. (1.5 hours)

Laughs and intrigue at The Mind Tripping Show
–  Close out the day with an intimate, interactive, theatrical show that combines mind-reading, psychology and comedy, all in one show. You’ll laugh and scratch your head all at the same time. (1.5 hours)

 

Day 5

Breakfast at your Indianapolis hotel
–  Fuel your morning at the hotel or ask Visit Indy for other breakfast options. (45 minutes)

Triple your fun at the Indianapolis Zoo
–    The nation’s first triple accredited zoo, botanical gardens and aquarium is home to the extraordinary Simon-Skjodt International Orangutan Center, a new dolphin experience and amazing animal stories.  Special group experiences are available. (1.5 hours)

Explore and lunch at White River State Park
–  Choose among many attractions located in this beautiful 250-acre downtown park: Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Indians baseball, NCAA Hall of Champions and the Central Canal. Along the canal is the Indiana History Center and its group experiences. Indoor and outdoor dining is available at the State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum and History Center. (2.5 hours including lunch)

Find the LOVE at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
–  152 acres of amazing experiences, including customized gallery tours, tours of a historic country estate home and its extensive gardens and an extraordinary outdoor sculpture park that features the original LOVE sculpture. (1.5 hours)

Relax with Goffredo, your gondolier
–  Enjoy a touch of Venice by gliding down the Central Canal in an authentic gondola, serenaded in Italian by your host gondolier. Enjoy refreshments at Fresco’s Italian Café or take on board. (1.25 hours)

Return to hotel for refreshing

Feast and show time at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
–  Enjoy a delicious buffet prepared by an in-house chef before seeing a, professional stage performance straight from Broadway. Beef & Boards is one of America’s top rated, longest running and most successful dinner theatres. (3.5-4 hours)

 

Day 6

Breakfast at your Indianapolis hotel (45 minutes)

Tour of the Indiana State Capitol Building
–  Indianapolis is Indiana’s capital city. Indiana limestone and oak are prominently used in the Capitol Building which was completed in 1888.  The tour explains the history, architecture and government functions that take place in Indiana’s government center. (1 hour)

Visit a unique attraction, the Indiana Medical History Museum
–  Explore the beginnings of scientific psychiatry at the oldest surviving pathology facility in the nation. Authentic furnishings, autopsy table, preserved specimens, lab equipment make this an unforgettable experience. (1 hour)

Lunch at Shapiro’s Delicatessen
–  Enjoy this four-generation family restaurant serving guests for 110 years.  Find mile high sandwiches, homemade soups and hot entrees at this traditional Jewish deli. (1.25 hours)

Up, up and away at Conner Prairie
–    Indiana’s first Smithsonian-affiliate, take a tethered Balloon Voyage over the Indiana prairie land. Meet the folks of Prairietown, engage in a Civil War skirmish, or run for your freedom along the Underground Railroad in the seasonal Follow the North Star experience. (2-2.5 hours)

Tastings at Metazoa Brewing Co.
–  One of Indy’s fine craft breweries, learn the process of brewing stouts, ales and pilsners and taste the results. (1 hour)

Dinner at Milano Inn
–  Serving since 1934 in Indy’s original Italian immigrant neighborhood, family recipes have been passed down to be enjoyed by new generations. (1.5-2 hours)

It’s time to move north for the final three days of your Indiana Treasures itinerary. You will visit Indiana’s Amish Country, and learn more about Indiana agriculture.

 

Elkhart

Day 7

Finally, conclude your Indiana Treasures Tour by traveling North to one of the nation’s largest Amish areas, visiting large dairy farms, sand dunes and the iconic University of Notre Dame along the way.

Breakfast at your Indianapolis hotel (45 minutes)

Depart for Fair Oaks Farms (115 miles, 2 hours. NOTE:  Fair Oaks Farm is in Central Time Zone)

Enjoy the Fair Oaks Farms Dairy Adventure
–  From live births of baby calves to the remarkable milking process, learn about 21st century dairy farming, including a tour via the “cow bus.”  Fair Oaks Farms also offers The Pig Adventure.  (2.5 hours)

Lunch at Farmhouse Restaurant at Fair Oaks Farm
–  A farm fresh buffet, freshly prepared and customizable for groups is the perfect end to the Fair Oaks Farms experience. (1 hour)

Travel to Amish Acres in Nappanee (103 miles, 1.75 hours. NOTE: Amish Acres is in Eastern Time Zone)

Walking tour of Amish Acres
–  Experience the only Old Order Amish farmstead listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn the history, culture and heritage of the “Plain People.” Take a wagon ride to the one-room school house for an old-fashioned spelling bee. See a documentary film about the Amish for more in-depth appreciation. Enjoy a bakery treat and the shops. (2 hours)

Check into an Amish Country hotel
–  Choose the Inn at Amish Acres or other nearby properties. You may contact your northern Indiana representative for assistance.

Enjoy Amish Acres’ Threshers Dinner and a musical performance at the Round Barn Theatre
–  Dine in the restaurant barn feasting on the hearty Threshers Dinner, an all-you-can-eat, served-to-the-table meal begins with iron kettles of thick ham & bean soup, followed by brimming bowls and platters of country favorites and ending with homemade pie. Top off the meal with professional Broadway musicals in the Round Barn Theatre.  Frequently performed is Plain & Fancy, the story of Amish life and love.  (4 hours including dinner)

 

Day 8

Breakfast at your Amish Country hotel (45 minutes)

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby

Take the All-Day Backroads Tour of Amish Country
–  Experience authentic Amish Country by traveling through the backroads of Northern Indiana accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Hear about the history, traditions and customs of the Amish. Visit many backroad shops, meet local Amish entrepreneurs and unique Amish businesses (example: a camel dairy farm) and chat with Amish housewives who provide tasty tips on the fine art of making cinnamon rolls. Each visitor is provided a “brown bag” as the tour commences and throughout the day, special treats from area shops will fill the bag.  Lunch is served at an Amish homestead where you will meet Elaine Jones and her family, joining them for an Amish Country Haystack supper. (8 hours including lunch)

Return to hotel for refreshing and then travel to dinner (45 minutes)

Dinner and evening fun at Das Dutchman Essenhaus
–  Located in the quaint town of Middlebury is Indiana’s largest restaurant where you will enjoy a dinner buffet with family-tested favorites, soups, salads, entrees and of course, incredible desserts. Find a treasure at one of five stores in the Village Shops.  Take a horse drawn carriage ride or have your group play the miniature golf course. (2-3 hours)

 

Day 9

Breakfast at your Amish Country hotel

Travel to University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN (29 miles, 40 minutes)

Tour of University of Notre Dame
–  Stop at the Visitors Center to meet your graduate student guide who will conduct a walking tour of the historic and beautiful campus, home of the “Fighting Irish.” An orientation video and shopping time at the bookstore are included.  (2 hours)

Lunch and tour of Tippecanoe Place Restaurant and mansion
–  This restaurant is housed within a 26,000 sq. ft. mansion originally owned by the Studebaker family and built in the late 1800s.  Forty rooms, 20 fireplaces and artisan crafted décor showcase the lifestyle of the wealthy.  Enjoy lunch in the memorable dining room. (2 hours including lunch)

Travel to Quilt Gardens (29 miles, 40 minutes)

Tour the amazing Quilt Gardens
–  Join an expert local gardener and get “all the dirt” about the official Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail (a recent ABA Top 100 Event.) Nineteen giant gardens planted in the shape of quilt patterns brim with more than one million flower blooms.  This is a one-of-a-kind gardening and art experience. (3.5 hours)

Attend an Amish Wedding Feast
–  For dinner enjoy a traditional Amish wedding feast in Shipshewana at “Miller’s Country Kitchen.”  Meet the family, see an Amish wedding dress up close, listen to traditional German wedding songs and take in a celebratory meal typical of this culture.  (2 hours)

Journey back to the hotel for a night’s rest prior to returning home (29 miles, 40 minutes)

 

For more detailed information about each region’s stops, routing and scheduling options, and for hotel assistance, contact your destination experts:

Northern Indiana and Amish Country
Sonya Nash, CTIS, CTP
Amish Country of Northern Indiana
800.262.8161 or 574.262.8161; 574.903.1148 (m); sonya@amishcountry.org
AmishCountryTours.org

Central Indiana and Indianapolis
Brooke Godsey
Visit Indy
317.262.8223, bgodsey@visitindy.com

VisitIndy.com

Southern Indiana and French Lick
Kristal Painter, CTIS
Visit French Lick West Baden
877.422.9925 or 812.936.3418; 812.827.3788 (m); kristal@visitfrenchlickwestbaden.com
VisitFrenchLickWestBaden.com