Holiday lights synced to music

Christmas is a fun time of year to travel. No matter where you are, you can always find holiday light displays to enjoy. We found an extremely fancy light display at a house near Columbus, Ohio last weekend.

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Benny’s Pizza and Pub is one of central Ohio’s best

It is no secret that local non chain restaurants can often be the best places to dine. Benny’s Pizza and Pub in Marysville, Ohio is one such place. It was a classic car hop service Drive In during the 50’s, complete with one of those huge Frostop Root Beer mugs on the roof. The old mug still graces the roof, but Benny’s is now a large facility with a menu featuring pizza, ribs, subs, salads and award winning in-house smoked brisket. There are specialty drinks and 31 taps offering craft beers, some of which are from a local brewery.

You start you culinary adventure at Benny’s with a large basket of freshly popped popcorn to munch while you read the menu. Three of us were dining and it took us a while to decide on our ordering strategy. Pizzas? What toppings? Half and Half’s? Dinners? Subs? Whew! Everything looked so inviting!

Enjoy some popcorn while you read the menu

Delicious Southwest 7 layer salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally decided to order the smoked brisket with the house BBQ sauce and beer battered fries for my side. Sher and our son went with the family sized pizza, half veggie and half “All the way”,  a cute name for lots of variety of toppings. We all ordered a Southwest 7 layer salad as well.

The pizza as delivered!

In a very reasonable time our food arrived. The pizza was huge (18″ according to the menu) and was literally overflowing with toppings! I was amazed at the portion size of my smoked brisket and the fries. Wow! There was enough brisket there to serve two people at least.

Brisket, fries and Texas toast. Look at how much food!

Well, Sher and our son loved the pizza. My fries were very good, hot upon arrival. The brisket was fabulous. Fork tender, you could really taste and enjoy the smoked flavor that came through even with the BBQ sauce, which was also excellent. We ended up with some take home boxes, as we didn’t finish the pizza or the brisket. Including our drinks, our tab ended up being just shy of $20 each. While not inexpensive, the pricing is worth it for the quality and quantity of food.

Benny’s Pizza and Pub is a great place to dine, and we would highly recommend it. The decor is not fancy, and there are some TV’s scattered around. Of interest is the nice collection of old photos on the walls, including some of past visits from celebrities. There is often live entertainment on the weekends, and seasonally there is outdoor dining and large crowds for the bands. Benny’s is closed on Sundays. Go to their website here for full menus and hours.

And if you like brisket, you’ll be making a mistake if you do not order it when at Benny’s!

This photo of Pete Rose and Roy Rogers together caught my eye. There were lots of old photos on the walls

Metamora, Indiana shops, mill and Whitewater canal

Metamora is a quaint little historic village located about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati on US Highway 52. In the mid 1800’s it was a thriving town on the then busy Whitewater Canal. Horse drawn barges carried goods, the grist mill ground flour and a railroad serviced the village.

The grist mill

We visited on a Friday afternoon during what they call Christmas Walk. There are quite a few shops and places to eat in the village. It used to be a thriving tourist attraction. However on our visit there were very few people. The folks we saw appeared to be resident shop owners.

Canal boat grounded until the canal is repaired and full. It does make a good platform for Christmas decor

The canal aqueduct that runs over another creek. This is the only one in existence

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canal usually offers horse drawn boat rides, however there is some kind of construction underway and the canal is about empty. There will be no boat rides until sometime in 2018.

Our guest blog about Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis skyline

Recently we were invited to provide a guest article for the Travelodium Travel Magazine’s “This is My City” category.

Things tDo in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is located just about dead center in the state of Indiana. Tagged as “The Crossroads of America” due to the many highways, interstates and railroads that converge on the city, Indy is the largest U. S. city not on a navigable waterway. Now considered a major sports center, Indianapolis continues to be a vibrant and growing metropolis. Following are eight points of discussion that hopefully help potential visitors learn about this Midwest city.   Read more at Travelodium…

 

Only Washington, D.C. has more war memorials than Indianapolis

The city of Indianapolis has more downtown acres devoted to honoring our servicemen and veterans than any other U.S. city. And yes, as the title states, only Washington, D.C. has more war memorials and monuments than Indy. Start at the Soldiers and Sailor’s Monument and walk north to enjoy the other memorials in the immediate downtown area. You can spend a relaxing and inspirational day taking in the beauty and solitude of these structures and holy grounds honoring those who served so we may be free.

At the center of Monument Circle, the Soldiers and Sailor’s Monument honoring the troops of the Civil War

The Indiana War Memorial honors Hoosiers killed during WWI. It also contains a free museum and records of Indiana servicemen from WWI to the present.

The Obelisk in Veterans Memorial Plaza is centrally located in the 7 block war memorial district listed in the National Register. The flagpoles in the background and another set out of view allow for the flying of all 50 State Flags.

The serenity of the Veterans Memorial Plaza is emphasized on a crisp fall day.

American Legion Mall, with the National and State Legion headquarters on both sides, provide a spacious area for event gatherings. The tomb that is centered between the four columns is the resting place for the first U.S. casualty of WWI, a soldier from Evansville, Indiana. In the distance you can see the Obelisk and the War Memorial building.

Stunning gold eagles atop the columns surrounding the tomb of James Bethal Gresham of Evansville, Indiana, the first U.S. soldier who lost his life in the Great War (WWI).

Looking south on Meridian Street towards Monument Circle. The Veterans Plaza is out of view to the left.

 

Christmas at the Zoo is a favorite holiday activity in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the country to decorate during the Christmas season with a holiday lights event. That groundbreaking idea was first accomplished in 1967. Now in its 49th year, Christmas at the Zoo has become a “must do” activity in Indianapolis during December.

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One of the Amur tigers. We saw this magnificent animal before the sun set.

The zoo is open on specific days for the holiday festivities. Refer to the Christmas at the Zoo website for dates and times. It is best if you plan to get to the zoo early in the afternoon while it is still light. This gives you a chance to visit those animals that are hardy and active during December, as well as the indoor displayed critters. Two Dolphin Presentations are offered each evening.

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New this year is the marvelous “Tunnel of Lights”

As dusk approaches and the sun sets the zoo magically turns into a winter wonderland. Thousands and thousands of LED lights begin to shine as the zoo darkens after sunset. Officially starting at 5:00 PM, the Christmas at the Zoo activities offer a variety of things to see and do.

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Plants and animals in lights

New this year is Santa’s Village. This delightful wonderland brings the chance to meet Mrs. Claus in her kitchen and decorate a Christmas cookie. Enjoy the Snowflakery mirror maze, see reindeer and grab a hot drink at the Peppermint Twist beverage hut. And of course you can visit with Santa himself in Santa’s Study. Seeing Santa is free and photo packages are available.

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A very colorful peacock!

This year the zoo has added thousands of additional lights. There are animals, plants and Christmas decorations made out of lights scattered all through the zoo grounds. Be sure to walk through the new “Tunnel of Lights” in the Bicentennial Pavilion. Also of note is the transformation of the Kroger Splash Park into the All-A-Glow Light Show. Watch the lights blink to the Christmas music!

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It seemed like this brown bear was posing for our camera

Check your December calendar and the weather and plan a trip to Christmas at the Zoo, 2017 version. This is a unique opportunity to not only visit with Santa, but to enjoy a beautiful holiday light show and see zoo animals too! Here is the Christmas at the Zoo website.

 

 

Honoring Indianapolis Colt’s Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning was quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts for 13 seasons. On October 7, 2017, Manning was honored with the unveiling of a larger than life statue of Number 18  on the north plaza outside Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Peyton in bronze, 9 feet tall!

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Details of the remarkable records of a remarkable man

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True to life, Peyton always looking for his receiver

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Peyton captured in a pose so well known to his many fans

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Lucas Oil Stadium, also known as the House that Peyton built

Indy’s White River Trail aka Wapahani Trail

The White River runs from northeast to southwest as it winds through Indianapolis. Adjacent to a little over 10 miles of the river in the central portion of the city is a delightful asphalt paved trail. The trail is suitable for walking, jogging, biking and rollerblading. Canoeing and kayaking is popular on the river adjacent to the trail.

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Indy skyline , the trail visible at bottom of picture

The White River Wapahani Trail is a work in progress. (Wapahani is the Delaware Tribe’s name for the river.) The north trail head can be found near the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the famous Crown Hill Cemetery. The trail runs south and currently ends on Raymond Street, south of I-70.

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Beautiful winding path of the trail

Many interesting places are located on or very near to the trail. Among them are the White River State Park, Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens with a large greenhouse, the Indiana State Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American History, and the IMAX theater. Of course downtown Indy offers the Circle Center Mall, Indiana Repertory Theater and tons of restaurants and bars.

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Geese are among the many species of wildlife that make the White River environment home

Currently the trail connects to the Canal Walk downtown and the Fall Creek Trail. Access to the Monon Trail and the cross town St. Claire street walkway add to the diversity of the Wapahani. In addition, plans are in place to connect to the Eagle Creek and Pleasant Run Trails.

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That is Lucas Oil Stadium, left on the horizon, home of the Indianapolis Colts

The trail is home to many species of birds. Ducks and geese are commonly seen. Great Blue herons are also regular residents of the river. Careful observations may reveal osprey, many types of hawks and golden eagles. Deer, coyotes and red fox are also inhabitants of the river environment.

Check out further information on the White River Greenway official website.

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A Dino Christmas at the Children’s Museum

The dinosaurs at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum are decked out in their Christmas regalia this year. Stop by and wish them a Merry Christmas!

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Even the dinosaurs are celebrating the holidays at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is not only the world’s largest but it presents the finest Christmas celebration with a marvelous series of holiday activities sure to please the child in everyone.

Make sure that you visit the Children’s Museum website for all of the details including times open and a list of the activities. There are ticket plans available that will save your family a lot of cash.