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.

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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.

 

Indy’s Beef & Boards final Christmas variety show

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting for the 25th and final year the beloved A Beef & Boards Christmas variety show running now through December 23rd. Once again the immensely popular Indianapolis dinner theater presents for its audience a lively and spirited production that is guaranteed to bring you and yours into the Christmas spirit.

Both acts of the show feature favorite numbers.  Ron Morgan, director and choreographer and artistic director Eddie Curry have put together a vibrant and enthusiastic treat of both sight and sound. The choreography is superb, the music awesome, and the costuming is breathtaking.

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree

“Rocking around the Christmas Tree” with Kenny and Renée, center, flanked by the B&B Quartet

Doug Stark’s version of Santa frankly steals the show whenever he is on stage. He is the owner of Beef & Boards, and is having way too much fun during the B&B Christmas show. His Santa will bring a smile to your face as well as make you laugh out loud to rim shot worthy humor. Santa also greets children for selfies at intermission!

Santa and dancers

Santa and dancers

Renée Jackson, fresh from her starring role in the B&B show Ghost, The Musical, is the featured singer. Kenny Shepard has been in the past 24 productions and hosts this years show. The B&B Quartet is comprised of past favorites Kyle Durbin, Betsy Norton, and Peter Scharbroug as well as Marisa Rivera who starred in West Side Story.

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The Chipmunks (Alvin still wants a hula-hoop)

Once again the B&B orchestra showcases the range of the talent shared by this remarkable group of musicians. Conductor Kristy Templet and her collegues both accompany the singers but also perform several instrumental numbers throughout the production.

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You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch

The easiest way to tell you about the 2017 version of A Beef and Boards Christmas would be to simply state “Don’t miss your chance to see this fabulous Christmas variety show”. I’ll ad the great singing, dancing, and music. Also, you for sure want to see Alvin, Simon and Theodore and of course Rudolph flying across the stage. (Yes, he really flies!) And don’t forget that mean ‘ol Grinch. Oh, and Chef Odell’s holiday buffet is one of, if not the best he has ever put together.Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Now for the details: for reservations, call the Beef & Boards box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule and other pertinent information, visit the B&B website.

 

Beef & Boards Ring of Fire is a different kind of musical

Oh Come Angel Band

Photo courtesy B&B media

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is currently offering a different kind of musical. Ring of Fire brings the story of Johnny Cash to life by means of his songs via an ensemble made up of eight remarkably talented musicians who also shine as singers and dancers.

The clever script in the first act brings you into the history of the Cash family with the eight players each taking on the “role” of Johnny Cash. By means of narration and appropriate song selection the audience gets a real appreciation of the ancestry of the family of Johnny Cash.

One remarkable aspect of the players is their ability to play virtually any instrument. While most have a primary instrument, all take turns on most all of the instruments. Guitars, 5 string, bass fiddle, accordion and washboard are but a few of the tools that produce the exciting, toe-tapping and emotional music in the show.

While all of the players are very talented and worthy of mention,  I would be remiss if I did not comment specifically on the fiddle playin’ of Melody Allegra Berger. She is the featured performer in the entr’acte offering of “The Orange Blossom Special”. Her rendition makes it clear why she is an award winning fiddler known nation wide.

This is not your typical musical by any means. The Man in Black is never impersonated, but Johnny Cash’s remarkable story is told through his music. Ring of Fire does not have a plot line. Expect instead great music, songs made famous by Johnny Cash and a most enjoyable evening. This unique production is one you will not want to miss. If you think you don’t like the music of this genre, well, that is too bad. You’re missing a terrific show, a great meal and a great time.

Ring of Fire runs through August 13th. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information visit the Beef & Boards website. This production is sponsored in part by WFMS 95.5 FM and Gaither Family Resources.

Ring of Fire opens at Beef & Boards

Johnny CashThe iconic songs of Johnny Cash will provide a unique entertainment opportunity starting this week at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre on Indy’s northwest side. Ring of Fire is not your typical musical. According to a Beef and Boards press release:

“An icon of American music history, Johnny Cash’s contributions as a singer songwriter are legendary. Ring of Fire brings his story of love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family to the stage. More than two dozen of his hits, from “I Walk the Line,” to “A Boy Named Sue,” to “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the famous title tune are performed by a multi-talented cast.”

Johnny Cash’s amazing story is told through his music, making Ring of Fire an exhilarating salute to the Man in Black. Of interest is the fact that Cash is never impersonated in the show. Sher and I are really looking forward to attending a performance soon. We will have a full review posted after we go!

There will be 44 performances of Ring of Fire in the intimate atmosphere of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.