Visit Indiana | Exploring the Midwest Episode 3

Last Updated on March 24, 2021 by Jody Halsted

Jody chats with guest Amy Howell, Director of Communications for Visit Indiana

Moderating our chat today (on the live broadcast) is Lori LeRoy, family travel blogger at Maps, Memories & Motherhood – and proud Hoosier!

or watch this episode on YouTube

Where is Indiana?

Indiana is on the far eastern edge of the Midwest- in both the eastern and central time zones. Which can get a little confusing when you drive in! I was late for the start of a writers retreat a couple years ago because I forgot to check if it was in EST or CST!

What misconceptions do people have about Indiana before visiting?

Back in the day there was a slogan for an attraction that said there’s only corn in Indiana. Indiana does produce a lot of corn but there is so much more than that. And, the corn actually leads to great agritourism destinations.

Indiana is on Lake Michigan. So Great Lakes up North, lots of fun, summer activities the Indiana Dunes National Park is a top destination. When you drive south of there, you get urban and suburban – the capital city of Indianapolis has everything that an urban city would offer.

And if you keep driving South you get to the rolling hills of Indiana, which is fantastic for hiking, biking, any kind of outdoor activity. And we go all the way down to the Ohio River.

Canoeing along the St. Mary's River in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Rent a canoe, kayak, or bike and enjoy the rivers that run through the heart of Fort Wayne.

Indiana topography ranges from hills to lakes to rivers, and forests. Probably the biggest misconception that there’s nothing to do. But with all of that there’s something for everyone.

What is a Hoosier?

The word Hoosier has been traced back to the Anglo-Saxon word hoo meaning high or hill but honestly, nobody can really say what it truly is but it is the definition of a native, or just somebody from Indiana.

Indiana’s Greatest Hits

The nation’s newest National Park is here in Indiana, with 15 miles of shoreline on a backdrop of soaring sand dunes. Visitors love conquering the 3 Dune Challenge, and they can also go kiteboarding, dive a sunken ship, or rent a boat to take on Lake Michigan. It’s a must-do for hikers, birdwatchers and those who just love the beach.

It doesn’t take long to get from farm to fork when the restaurant is at the farm! Indiana is home to several destination dining establishments, and you can taste and tour over 300 wineries, breweries and distilleries.

A family playland by day and an exciting social scene by night! So whether you’re exploring the world’s largest children’s museum or tasting food prepared by a James Beard-nominated chef, it’s a trip to remember. There’s also tons for sports fans, from touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or NCAA Hall of Champions to taking in an Indianapolis Colts game and more.

See why camera-toting visitors come from all over the world to tour the art and architecture of this welcoming city. Churches, homes and other buildings were designed by internationally renowned architects such as I.M. Pei, who also designed the pyramid at the Louvre. Public art is around every corner, also created by well-known sculptors like Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.

“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” happens once a year, but visitors can tour the famed oval speedway all year long. There’s also professional football, basketball, baseball and soccer plus the NCAA Hall of Champions.

Indiana is home to a diverse array of State Parks, seven with beautiful Inns. There are hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as large lakes for boating and fishing. All offer campsites and cabins for staying close to nature.

The Amish communities in Indiana welcome tourists with delicious food, fine craftsmanship and live theater. You’ll find a relaxed pace is a breath of fresh air in today’s hurried world.

Indiana loves to celebrate, and visitors are always welcome! Our many festivals toast the changing seasons, ethnic traditions, the current harvest, music, specific food and so much more.

The one that pops to my mind initially is right outside of Indianapolis, you have Hendricks County. And the small communities there just to have that that great almost throwback feel. And they have festivals like all the time. You guys have so many festivals.

Indiana Highlights for 2021

The Bob Ross Experience – opened in Oct. 2020

There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents. The TV show, The Joy of Painting featuring artist Bob Ross, was filmed by PBS station WIPB in Muncie, Indiana. The studio was set up in the L.L. Ball Home on the property of Minnetrista Cultural Center. The Bob Ross Experience opens this month, in the same location that it was filmed. There you will see many of his works, the studio, and be able to try your hand at painting.

THE LUME -opening summer 2021

Introducing THE LUME Indianapolis. Debuting in the Midwest in June 2021, THE LUME is a fully immersive experience will occupy the entire 4th floor of the IMA Galleries. 150 state of the art digital projectors will showcase great art works from floor to ceiling in 30,000 sq. ft. of gallery space. Learn more at

THE LUME Indianapolis is created by Grande Experiences.

The Bradley Hotel – opening April 2021

The first boutique hotel in Fort Wayne is a collaborative effort between Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels. Baekgaard is the co-founder of Vera Bradley, which is known for its colorful bags, luggage and accessories, and is headquartered in Fort Wayne. Provenance describes the five-story, 124-room property as “born of Midwestern charm and modern design sensibilities.” The Bradley is just blocks from Fort Wayne’s growing riverfront, the revived Landing, and at the heart of downtown.

Bottleworks Hotel- opened in November 2020

A new hotel in downtown Indianapolis called “Bottleworks”.  It is located on Mass Ave and set to open in December 2020!  It is the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, but we are renovating it into a hotel, food hall, movie theater, and bowling alley. 

75-year anniversary for Holiday World in Santa Claus

Plan Your Indiana Vacation has all the information you need to plan your own Indiana adventure.

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