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Every month my husband and I try to squeeze in a date day. No, that is not supposed to be date night. We do, in fact, take a day-long date. We enjoy hiking and museums and those typically are not open at night. This month we explored Richmond, Indiana.
The reason we picked Richmond, Indiana was because our Jayco trailer that we used for our 22 week RV trip with our children needed servicing and the closest Camping World with an available spot to do the warranty work was in Richmond.
Richmond turned out to have a goldmine of hiking trails, museums and more. Plus all the sites we visited were free.
Things To Do In Richmond, Indiana
The first place we went to after dropping off the RV was Roscoe’s Coffee. I ordered a cafe macchiato. It was okay, but I have had better. I am kicking myself for not ordering something more original off their menu. I find that is where the treasures of locally owned coffee shops are.
I did love the inside of the coffee house; it was super clean and well decorated. We went to the downtown location in Richmond’s Depot district. The architecture of the buildings in this area is incredible–especially if you like heritage areas like my husband and I do.
With a good cup of coffee in hand, we headed over to the tourist information center to get some “what to see” advice from the locals. Our family discovered that nothing beats a local for information of what to see on our RV trip.
The ladies at the visitor center filled our hands up with pamphlets and our heads with directions. With their help, we decided to make the Whitewater Gorge Trial our first stop. This trail was a bit hard to find even with instructions, but it was worth it. The path is three miles long and full of history and natural beauty along the way.
One history site that can be seen from the trail is the old Starr Piano factory and the Gennett Records walk of fame (pictured above).
The Whitewater Gorge Trail was an easy and beautiful walk. You go under several bridges (the one pictured is my favorite), work your way through a woods and in several areas you can see exposed limestone layers.
When we worked our way back to where we started (which was the Veteran’s Memorial Park pictured below), we couldn’t see the remaining part of the trail. We finally asked a Parks and Rec worker and he pointed out the pile of wood in the corner of the park (see it in the top corner of the picture above?). He told us the Whitewater Gorge Suspension Bridge and the rest of the trail were found around that corner.
My husband and I both commented to ourselves that signs might be needed to help tourists find the suspension bridge. After all, it was mentioned in one or two pamphlets as a place everyone needs to see.
The Whitewater Gorge Suspension Bridge had to be the least taken care of suspension bridge I have ever been on, and I have been on a few in my travels. The step up to it was broken off. The boards were in okay shape, but the bridge rocked so badly I felt like it might tip over and end up in the water. Probably not a suspension bridge I would seek out if you are afraid of water or heights.
This picture above was a cool moment for me. You see, we live in Marion, Indiana at the northern end of the Cardinal Greenway. I bike and run on the Greenway all the time. However, I have never gone the entire 62 miles of it–although it is a desire of mine to bike it someday.
Somehow seeing where I would come out if I were ever to purse such a long bike ride created the desire in me to make it a reality a little sooner–perhaps 2018?
As I mentioned above, we parked at the Veteran’s Memorial Park on the WhiteWater Gorge Trail. We did take a few minutes to explore the memorial. There are several tanks to look at and plaques to read.
For lunch, we headed back into the Depot district where I got my morning coffee. This time we stopped at Little Sheba’s Restaurant. The restaurant spans three historic buildings. It was bustling when we got there, so it seems to be quite a local favorite.
I can see why–the food was excellent! Plus it was reasonably priced. The two of us ate for under $25 including a 20% tip. The portions were a fair size for the price. We both had potato salad as the side and could tell that it was made in restaurant and not from some giant pre-prepared tub.
We thought the suspension bridge was hard to find, but Thistlethwaite Falls was even more difficult. The tourist guide gave this as directions: “This beautiful waterfall is located just south of Waterfield Road, just a short hike from Springwood Park.”
Sounds simple, but Google maps on my phone wouldn’t bring up Springwood Park. I had to go into Safari and find a map that showed where it was, plus a school near it. We then entered the name of the school into Google maps and that got us close enough to find the park on our own.
There is a small parking area across the road from Springwood Park. From it you can see an entrance to a dirt trail, but there are no signs at the start of it to say it is indeed the falls site. You need to hike the trail a few feet and you will see the Thistlethwaite Falls sign. To see the best view of the falls you have to go down a flight of old concrete stairs.
These are not natural falls, but ones created by blasting and then used to provide water power to a local sawmill.
The falls are small, but beautiful. We didn’t stay long because it had started to rain.
Since it was raining, we decided to take in a free indoor museum: the Joseph Moore Museum. This museum is found on the campus of Earlham College. It is rather small; it took us less than 30 minutes to see it all and we read all the signs.
If you go, make sure to go downstairs and see the Egyptian mummy. And if you have little ones they will probably like the skeletons of the giant prehistoric animals.
The rain had ended while we were in the museum. We hopped in our truck and headed to the Tiffany Stained Glass Window Trail in the downtown area.
Richmond has several churches with Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. You can also see the ones made for the old library hanging up in the windows of the new library. To see these stained glass windows from the inside, you have to book a tour in advance and unfortunately we did not.
However, we still enjoyed gazing at the fantastic architecture of these churches. If we were to make it to in Richmond again though (and I guess we will when we pick up our RV), I would like to see if we could squeeze in a tour of the interior of these buildings so that we can see the full beauty of their windows.
Our last stop before we headed out of town was the Hayes Arboretum. There we walked a portion of the auto tour loop so that we could get a good view of the Morton arch that once was an entrance to the Morton High School in downtown Richmond, which was destroyed in a fire in 1924.
It was later moved to this spot in preparation for an opening of a garden nursery. Now it stands in the middle of a forest greeting visitors.
The portion of stump my husband is standing behind was part of an old growth tree that use to stand in nearby Brookville and was logged before they damned the area in the early 1970’s.
We finished our time in Richmond at McAlister’s where we picked up cookies and tea (well, soda for the hubby and sweet tea for me)
Yes, I know McAlister’s is not original to Richmond Indiana. My excuse is that we don’t have one in our town and I was craving their sweet tea.
What amazed me at the end of our day was how many things we left unseen in Richmond. We never searched for fairies on the Enchanted Fairy trail. We didn’t see all of the murals. It was the wrong time of year to smell the roses at the Richmond Rose Garden. We didn’t play disc golf at Glen Miller Park or hike the trails at Cope Environmental Center. Plus the area had several more museums, some free some charging an admission.
Oh well, I guess we will have to have another date day in the area when we pick up our travel trailer.
3 Posts That You Are Going To Want To Read:
- RV Trip: A 22 Week Journey Taken By Our Family Of Five
- Tips For A Successful Date Day And Why Date Dates Rock!
- 5 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Day Trips
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