Just 20 miles North of Indianapolis via State Route (SR) 31, then East on SR 32, lie 2 historic Indiana towns perfect for a half-day to a full-day trip.
Westfield Renaissance: Westfield is not what one imagines as a picturesque old county seat, but it is an old farm town with Quaker roots that go back to 1834, and is currently undergoing a recent renaissance. The “downtown” area is at the first stop light on SR 32 after you’ve left SR 31, and now has some interesting restaurants worth checking out, including Queso Blanco, a Mexican restaurant in the location of the old “Cafeteria” Restaurant, gone now more than 10 years, and for so long the only place in town to eat. Also in a nearby space is Kelties, and a Pizza/Ice Cream shop.
Westfield now sports an amazing Mexican Bakery called the Delicious Bakery-Café, which is true to its name. While the shop is small, an entire wall with an amazing variety of authentic Mexican pastries immobilizes you as you realize you will be unable to sample everything in one visit. Owner Philippe will get your pastries, serve you, and when the shop is not too busy, he even opens the door to greet you and gets the door for you as you leave!
About a mile Further East on SR 32, are the Main Street Shops, which is a cute antique mall for the avid antiquer. As you walk in you may be serenaded by a worker singing “My Savior my God” to the accompaniment of her son’s guitar. Not to be missed is the wonderful smell of barbeque wafting through the mall. Also inside is Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. They serve everything from pulled pork to ribs, and their California Cayenne Potato Salad is a side not to be missed! If you’re lucky enough to be there on a slow day when the friendly workers are taking their lunch break, you may be able to share a meal with the likes of Adam H. who shared interesting tales of his time in California.
Fair weather activity: On the way to Noblesville is Noblesville Golf and Batting. In addition to batting cages and a driving range, they also have miniature golf. This could be a great stop for an hour during nice days in the warmer months.
Historic Noblesville: Seven miles from Westfield on SR 32 you arrive at the Noblesville downtown square. Designated as the county seat since 1824, it was always conceived as a “big” city, rather than a farm town. The downtown district, as well as 53 buildings in the downtown area, has been named to the National Register of Historical places. This is the place to find a parking spot and linger. Plan to walk around the square and nearby streets and spend time in each shop. There are even maps posted on the sidewalks in key areas. Noblesville has something for everyone: Amish furniture, jewelry, art galleries, antique stores, and even a make-it-yourself-pottery store, Kiln Creations. Of course there are plenty of restaurants and pubs for the day’s enjoyment!