— A true Hendricks County cultural destination is expanding after three highly successful years.
The Rural Routes to Main Street Cultural Trail, a self-guided, self-directed driving tour in Hendricks County, has added a second cultural loop into Morgan County for 2013, featuring sites such as a honey farm, candy kitchen, and a Cajun hot spot, thanks in part to a grant from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.
Highlighting farms, historic buildings, and artists, the trail has become a popular visitor destination since its inception in Hendricks County in 2010 through a Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Hendricks County Arts Council partnership.
"The Hendricks County CVB has made it a priority to invest in arts promotions over the last few years, and we have seen positive results," said Jaime Bohler Smith, associate director for the HCCVB. "In our recently-released 2011 Economic Impact Study, we noticed that visiting an art gallery showed up in our Top 10 activities in Hendricks County for the first time, and our visitor spending increased over previous years.
"With the grant and the expansion into Morgan County it allows us to leverage our existing product to increase the critical mass of local arts and culture, and ultimately encourage additional and extended overnight stays in the area."
The 2013 Rural Routes to Main Street Cultural Trail will include 24 regular participants in the two counties who will be open a minimum of Thursdays through Saturdays year-round. In addition, a Second Saturdays component, which was added last year, will open the trail up to eight more sites on the second Saturday of each month.
Three larger events during the year - ArtsGo! in the spring, an Artisan Marketplace in the fall, and the Holiday Open House in early December - also help showcase the trail, adding special events such as demonstrations and workshops.
Hendricks County participants on this year's trail include: Artistic Designs Gallery, Black Swan Brewpub, Bread Basket Cafe & Bakery, Carla's Creations & Gifts, Chateau Thomas Winery, Confection Delights, Finer Things, Frazee Gardens, Gallery on the Square, Hendricks County Historical Museum (Second Saturday site), Hot Blown Glass, Ltd. (Second Saturday site), Lynne Medsker Art & Photography (Second Saturday site), McCloud Nature Park Art Gallery, Nomad Yarns, Perillo's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen, Pittsboro One Room School (Second Saturday site), Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library Art Gallery, The Porch, and Sally Ann's Ceramics (Second Saturday site).
Morgan County participants include: Academy of Hoosier Heritage (Second Saturday site), Art Sanctuary, Ateliers (Second Saturday site), Cedar Creek Winery, Everything's A Canvas Art Studio, Homestead Primitives, Hunter's Honey Farm, JK's Cheesecake Cafe, Martinsville Candy Kitchen, Monrovia Mudworks (Second Saturday site), Mooresville Open Market Antiques, Sheep Street Fibers, and Zydeco's 5.
For more information about the trail, to receive a printed guidebook, or for assistance with overnight accommodations, visit the website at www.RuralRoutesToMainStreet.com; stop by the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau ay 8 W. Main St., Danville or call (800) 321-9666.