Our second morning in Indy we awoke to golden sunlight filtering through the windows, it was going to be another beautiful Autumn day. We were staying at Stone Soup Inn located in the Historic Old Northside neighborhood. We have been here a few times and always found it enjoyable. The large Mission Style home was built back in 1901, the woodwork is amazing. Right away you feel at ease among the craftsman style furnishings and warm colors. The Inn has seven rooms available to rent, all are lovely. Our favorite has become the NE Loft room on the third floor. You need to be limber to rent this room; first you have to climb the stairs up to the third floor, inside the room the bed is located up in a loft which is reached by climbing a ladder, it can be a little tricky. The room itself is charming, complete with a nice size bathroom, kitchen with appliances and table, and a tiny family room with a couch, tv, and desk, it could actually be a small apartment. Decor is retro with vintage posters decorating the kitchen/dining area. It is quite comfortable and allows you to really kick back and relax while away from home. Breakfast is sit down on weekends, each morning there is a variety of cereals, breads, coffee, tea and juice. The hot breakfast consists of both a savory and a sweet selection; this morning we had a slice of quiche; delicious with herbs and cheese, served alongside a waffle with a couple of sausage links and fresh fruit. Everything is tasty and served to you hot as you make your way to the breakfast table. We finished everything on our plates, packed up our room and were off for more sight-seeing.
Memorial Plaza is located downtown, the Plaza itself is 24 acres and a National Historic Landmark; it is second only to Washington DC in the number of War Memorials. The centerpiece of the plaza is the Indiana World War Memorial, resting on a block that is raised above street level it rises 210 feet high, this building is extraordinary! Walk around the outside, be sure not to miss the Pro Patria sculpture (Pro Patria is Latin meaning “for country”), this bronze casting of a young man draped in an American flag reaching heavenward is 24 feet high and the central sculptural element. I think it truly defines the patriotism of this city and state, it is one of the first characteristics I notice each time I visit here. Once inside there are three floors to explore; the lower level features a chronological museum depicting Indiana’s history from the Revolutionary War through the current conflicts. The main level is furnished with marble floors and walls, gorgeous wet plaster ceilings trimmed out in gold leaf and columns lining the main hallway; you know you’re somewhere important. Venture into the Pershing Auditorium, it’s magnificent. One of the first things that got my attention was the huge ceiling medallion and light fixtures, quite unique and stunning. There is an intimate balcony section and American Eagles are perched over each doorway. Next take the stairway up to the incredible Shrine Room; a marvelous example of American Classicism this room is breathtaking. Immense Corinthian columns line the perimeter of the room, a massive American flag is on display, the ceiling is a series of stepped stripes studded with small blue lights and one large star fixture, I have never seen anything like it. The Shrine Room symbolizes peace and unity and is made of materials from all over the world, it is symbolic of the world wide nature of World War I. Standing in this room you cannot help feeling a sense of patriotism and gratitude for those who have sacrificed for us. On the way back down be sure to pause and notice the names of all Hoosiers who participated in World War I, and all Hoosiers killed or missing in action from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Back outdoors we continued to walk the plaza up to the Central Library, this area is abounding with sculpture, fountains, obelisks, landscaped open spaces and many more memorials. In the center of the Plaza stands the Obelisk Fountain, a 100 foot four-sided shaft of black granite, at it’s base are four tablets sculpted to represent the four fundamentals on which a nation’s hopes are founded: law, science, religion, and education. I love the Depew Memorial Fountain; bronze figures of fish and children playing are topped by a woman dancing as she plays symbols, they all look like they are having such fun! Take your time walking the plaza, absorb the details of the buildings and structures, listen to the sound of the water splash in the fountains, you will surely feel inspired.
A few blocks away is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, it is outstanding! Made out of Indiana limestone in 1902, it stands 284 feet 6 inches high, only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. The four statues at the corners of the monument represent the Infantry, Calvary, Artillery, and Navy. The detail is amazing I stare at it each time we come and always notice something new. There is an observation deck that gives a fabulous view of downtown that includes the Capitol building; you can walk the 330 iron stairs or pay $1 to ride the elevator and bypass the first 290 steps. Either way, do it! If you come to Indy during the holiday season they dress up the monument with hundreds of lights and Christmas finery, it’s quite a sight.The monument is currently undergoing restoration; the city is getting ready for Superbowl XLVI on February 5 2012, so they are sprucing up the place.
We had walked and walked, climbed numerous stairs and walked some more, now it was time to sit and relax and have some lunch. We drove back over to Mass Ave, this hip little district is lined with restaurants, theaters, galleries, and great independent shops. It is also the area most likely to be open late and open on Sunday. Mass Ave cuts diagonally away from downtown and has really become a destination. Street parking was easy, there were several shops open, so we did some browsing on the way to the restaurant.
We were enjoying another warm and sunny day, so we took advantage of it and had a seat on the patio of Old Point Tavern. Everyone around us was eating some sort of variety of nachos, who were we to argue with the locals? We ordered a cool crisp salad and the vegetarian nachos. To our delight the food arrived quickly, the plate of nachos was huge, stacks of chips smothered in toppings like vegetarian chili, cheese, guacamole, peppers and sour cream……we didn’t need the salad. Everything tasted great, we ate till we could eat no more. We sat for a while longer in the afternoon sun talking about the things we had done, and about the things we’d like to do on our next visit. Next time you have a few days to get away, come check out Indy!