When the average traveler goes to a new city, he or she rents a car and goes from attraction to attraction to see what it has to offer. But in Indianapolis, you can go to the intersection of Michigan Road and 38th Street and find five attractions in one place.
The newest of the five is 100 Acres. Opened in June, 2010, this art and nature park has been enthusiastically embraced by locals. The art is currently the works of 8 sculptors with bold ideas, and the plan is to add at least one per year. The nature is meadows and woods threaded through with paths, a far better place to stroll than the gravel pit that 100 Acres replaced.
Cross the Waller Bridge and go left to the Lilly House with its formal gardens and greenhouse. Completed in 1913, this American Country Place icon (I have come to despise this misused word) was the home of Josiah K. Lilly Jr., grandson of the founder of Eli Lilly, the pharma giant, for 30 years until 1960. Downstairs is pretty much the way he left it, upstairs are some interesting displays.
The formal gardens were created by the Olmsted Brothers, one of whom designed New York’s Central Park. The Greenhouse is a must for gardeners, like Ruth.
If you go to the right after the bridge you discover IMA, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, one of the finest in the country. It’s free, only charging for special exhibitions. Its collection is so diverse and comprehensive that you could easily spend a day and still not see everything on display. A few of its specialties include JMW Turner, a stunning Asian collection, and Robert Indiana’s iconic (here it is again!) LOVE sculpture, the one from the 70s with the tilted O. IMA has both a huge gift shop and a fairly new and incredible design center.
The fifth attraction we only learned about because Ruth often engages in conversations with strangers. Across the street from this ico…one-of-a-kind complex is Crown Hill Cemetery. Now, I don’t usually include cemeteries on my must-see lists, but Crown Hill is different. It’s deservedly on the National Register of Historic Places. Mostly everybody who was from Indiana and got famous is buried here, like John Dillinger.
Always enjoy the trip.