Explore Five of Hendricks County’s Hidden-Gem Attractions
Writer / Josh Duke
I’m all about doing plenty of research before I visit a new community. I make a list of must-sees, but I also try and add a few places off the beaten path.
In my time here at Visit Hendricks County overseeing our local blog that features all the latest happenings, I’ve compiled a list of places here in Hendricks County that many of our locals may not even know about, which I would highly recommend visiting.
Where is it? 8264 East County Road 100 South in Avon
Where can I park? Behind Light and Life Methodist Church
Who would love it? Hikers, families, and those with a case of wildflower fever who want to get away from it all.
This 68-acre wooded nature preserve is the county’s only dedicated state nature preserve, and is managed by the Central Indiana Land Trust. This is a great place to take the kids on a hike and teach them about trees and wildflowers. It is preserved as an example of what was once common in this region, and what our ancestors encountered when they arrived in central Indiana.
Despite its location in the middle of bustling Avon with development popping up all around it, many residents aren’t even aware this little hidden oasis exists.
Where is it? 3717 South County Road 200 East in Clayton
Who would love it? Virtually anyone, as it is truly fascinating to find out how glass works of art are made.
Recently we featured Hot Blown Glass on our blog, as one of my colleagues here has made it an annual ritual to take her granddaughter there for a fun girls’ day out. How many of you even knew we had an Indiana glass artist right here in Hendricks County?
Indiana Artisan Lisa Pelo owns the private studio, and the great thing about Pelo is that she doesn’t keep this precious attraction, or her glass talents, to herself. Visitors can participate in demonstrations, workshops and even classes to try the intricate art of glass work, by creating a simple piece like a paperweight or pumpkin on their own under Pelo’s direct guidance.
Guests usually come away floored by the experience, and the art they create without any previous experience. Don’t just show up on her doorstep, as appointments are required. Call the number above and talk to Pelo before making any plans.
Who would love it? Foodies, barbecue lovers, beer drinkers and virtually anyone who likes to eat – which means everyone.
If you haven’t heard of or visited Rusted Silo yet, you are missing out on a true destination restaurant that draws people from all over the region, and has won many awards.
Like any great dive, Rusted Silo doesn’t look like much from the outside – it’s a small building nestled next to a railroad track in tiny Lizton. But what it lacks in first appearances, it more than makes up for in ambience and amazing food.
The eatery is owned by Rob Ecker, a former Disney chef, who moved into the county a few years ago with his family. Having always wanted to start his own barbecue restaurant, he directed all of his savings into this new venture. We all should be glad he did.
The restaurant just recently reopened after a fire gutted much of the interior space last year, but Rusted Silo is a survivor. Make sure you check out their Ferris Wheel of Meat and arrive with an empty stomach.
Where is it? 6259 East County Road 91 North in Avon
Who would love it? Gardeners, landscapers, dreamers and newlyweds.
Another true gem in our county, the gardens are hidden away in Avon and many residents may not know they exist. What’s amazing about this tranquil hideaway, which has become a regional destination, is its background.
Not too long ago, many people driving by this piece of land may have considered it an eyesore, as it was a literal pigsty. Karen Robbins transformed the former 10-acre pig farm, beginning about 25 years ago, into a scenic inspiration, one plant at a time. It now serves as part garden center, part inspirational gardens, and a full-time event venue that hosts hundreds of weddings, receptions and group outings annually.
This attraction boasts flowing gardens, a beautiful pond and even a picturesque ravine. It even graced the pages of “Midwest Living” magazine a year or two ago as one of the top garden centers in the Midwest.
Where is it? The trail runs from Amo through Coatesville to the Hendricks-Putnam county line. There is a portion of the trail that also runs through Plainfield as part of the town’s trail system, but it is not connected to the trail that continues westward.
• Amo Trailhead: 5042 South Street in Amo
• Coatesville Trailhead: 7963 Main Street in Coatesville
Who would love it? Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, horseback riders, walkers and families.
Embrace the outdoors by walking or biking the four-mile rail trail that runs along the route of the former Vandalia Railroad. An aggregate equestrian trail runs parallel to the pedestrian trail. Enjoy the scenery of rural Hendricks County and utilize the modern restrooms, water fountains and bicycle repair stations at each trailhead.
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