I have a goal to visit all 50 states, but there are a few that I know might be hard to check off since I'm not sure what would ever bring me there. One of those states used to be Indiana, I had no idea how I was going to check it off the list. Then my nephew John got accepted into into an orchestra that would spend a week rehearsing in Indianapolis then have a concert at Butler University. Originally, no one was going to be able to go support him at his concert so I volunteered. In the end my mom and dad as well as my sister Karin, John's mom, were able to arrange to come, so it turned into quite the party.
We wanted to stay at the same hotel John was staying at with his orchestra, we were a little stunned to see they were staying at the JW Marriott. We snagged a couple of their last rooms, most of the hotel was booked up with the music program participants.
Karin and I shared a room on the top floor, one wall was completely windows so we had a magnificent view.
We arrived at our hotel just in time for dinner, so we decided to try the Italian restaurant in our hotel, it was amazing! We ended up eating there again because we all loved it so much. I would have been happy with a meal comprised completely of their complimentary bread and marinara dipping sauce.
John had a 15 minute break during rehearsal so he was able to join us for a quick dessert!
Our view at night was phenomenal.
The next morning we were off to see what Indianapolis has to offer. Our hotel was located right next door to a couple of museums, one of which had an IMAX theater so we thought we would begin our day with a movie.
After our movie, we had some fun in the gift shop.
After the museum, we headed out to find some brunch. Indianapolis had been experiencing beautiful, 60 degree weather, right up until the day we arrived, when the temperature dropped to below freezing and there was an icy wind that was cold enough to sting your face in a matter of seconds. Thus, the two block walk to the restaurant was not only chilly, it was painful. We all ordered big cups of hot chocolate as soon as we sat down in hopes it would help us warm up.
After our delicious meal, we headed back to the hotel to curl up under our covers and watch a couple of movies in our room, it was just too cold to do anything else. We watched a lot of movies on this trip such as, Sully, a movie my dad had been dying to see since it came out, it was fascinating, Florence Foster Jenkins, a movie none of us had heard about, but it was nominated for so many awards we were all intrigued, It's a hilarious, heart warming, tear jerking bibliographical film.
When it came time to venture out of the hotel for dinner, we were a little wiser. We had met up with John during one of his 15 minute breaks, those kids rehearse for like 10 hours a day at these camps, it's super impressive, and he told us about the indoor walkways that go from our hotel all the way to the mall a few blocks away, we didn't have to freeze to death walking around anymore!
For dinner, we ate at Harry and Izzy's, which is the slightly less formal, more-options-on-the-menu version of St. Elmo's Steakhouse. We were told we HAD to eat here by Gary from Indiana who had sat next to me and Karin on the plane ride the day before. Gary quickly became our best friend and talked to us the entire flight. A couple of times, Kar and I attempted to have our own conversation, but Gary would jump right in and join us on whatever we were talking about or would start a whole new conversation so he could be a part of it. We decided to take advantage of having such a talkative Indiana native as our flight buddy, and asked him the must do's and eats of Indianapolis. He could NOT stop talking about Harry and Izzy's, apparently it is the most famous place to eat in the city. We were glad for the recommendation, it was a super fun and delicious meal.
The most famous thing on the menu is the shrimp cocktail, with sauce so hot it will clear out your sinuses and make your eyes water. Even though none of us are true fans of anything too spicy, to have the complete Harry and Izzy's experience, we felt like we needed to try out their world famous dish.
Even though we had been told how hot the sauce is numerous times, I still wasn't that worried, I felt like I would be able to easily handle it's spice. When I first bite into the shrimp, which had been completely smothered in sauce, it wasn't bad at all, just as I thought it would be. But then the spice began to build and build and build until I could no longer keep my cool. As soon as I thought I might start making a scene, because my mouth was on fire and I was in the beginning stages of panicking, the spice began to die down a bit. One shrimp was enough for all of us, but we all thought it was totally worth trying.
I was in the mood for a nice big burger complete with a side of fried green tomatoes.
The four of us split a caramel bread pudding for dessert
The next day we explored the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
The Eiteljorg Museum has a marvelous collection of American Western Art. I chose a few of my favorites to include in this post:
Robert Henri, 1916
Still Water Crossing
Daniel Smith, 2009
Wilson Hurly, 1991
William Acheff, 2010
Wild Plum Blossoms
Joseph Henry Sharp, Date Unknown
Grace Carpenter Hudson, 1903
There was a special exhibits on Dogs! I don't think I could have hand picked a better special exhibit I would want to see more than one all about the history and importance of dogs. Ok maybe if there was an exhibits about cats, but dogs are pretty cool too.
After fully exploring the two exhibits on the main floor, we headed upstairs to see the rest of the museum. Dad came across this Art*O*Mat at the top of the stairs and was intrigued. When Karin and I joined him, we were also intrigued, it is an old cigarette machine that has been converted into an art vending machine, such an awesome idea!
It took us a while, and a few wasted bills, to finally figure out how it worked (the museum was nice and refunded us for the bills that got eaten, apparently this machine is notorious for being finicky) There were several genres to choose from, we would pull the lever of the genre we wanted and a small, hand painted piece of art would pop out! The genres were pretty vague, with no descriptions whatsoever, so it was pretty much a big surprise each time. We first tried the genre called "birds" and were so pleased with the outcome we just had to try it again.
We tried out the genre called "colorscapes" and didn't love the result quite as much ...
So we went back to the birds and each got one to take home!
We grabbed lunch at the museum cafe, it was surprisingly good food!
We finished our visit to the museum by going through the beautiful Native American artifacts. The collection at the Eiteljorg represents all major cultural areas of the Western Hemisphere including tribes in the United States and Canada.
That night was the big concert all the kids had been practicing for all week. The concert was held at the Butler University concert hall.
The concert was absolutely phenomenal! It amazes me what these talented young people can achieve in a week! I am one proud auntie!