Picnics, Baseball, Zoo, Train & More: Columbian Park

IMG_1433Picnicking, playgrounds, aquatic center, baseball, zoo, ducks, train, and more! What do these things have in common? They can all be found at Columbian Park!

I have a lot of wonderful memories at Columbian Park from throughout the years. My Grandparents lived just one block from the Park and my family and I would always spend many days each year visiting. My Father and Grandfather grew up in that same house and I always enjoyed hearing the stories of their memories and shenanigans at the park as well! While the park has changed quite a bit, even in my life time, it continues to offer a variety of wonderful activities for families with kids of all ages. Let me tell you a bit about it…

Let’s start at the playground. Along Park Avenue there is a very large playground with different areas for different aged kids to play. Babies to Teenagers all have a section on the same playground that is suitable for their age group. There is also a section that has accessible friendly equipment for those children with disabilities to also play. Near the playground are several picnic shelters that can be reserved for family reunions or get togethers, birthday parties, graduation parties, or just because. If the shelter doesn’t have a reservation posted, feel free to just go up and use them at any time. To reserve a shelter, contact the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department.

Playground fun!

Playground fun!

Rush Pavillion

Rush Pavillion

Also, housed at the park, are other rental facilities; Jenk’s Rest, which is also a Senior Center, the Rush Pavilion and Memorial Island. We had a family reunion recently at Jenk’s Rest and it was a wonderful venue, big enough for our large family, had a large kitchen for us to spread out our carry in items, and centrally located to the playground for the kids to enjoy while the adults chatted. The Rush Pavilion is also where my best friend had her wedding and wedding reception. This was a very small wedding with about 40 guests and it made for a beautiful, casual wedding. The veranda is great to sit and chat while watching the ducks and geese on the lagoon and inside is simple but classy and has a nice sized kitchen area. It worked wonderfully for her wedding. Memorial Island is sometimes home to movies or concerts in the park in the summer time and has memorials dedicated to those in different wars.

The Zoo!

The Zoo!

Seasonal attractions at the Park also include the Columbian Park Zoo, Tropicanoe Cove, Loeb Stadium, Train and other rides. The Columbian Park Zoo is a free zoo that is typically open April to October every year. It offers wonderful, interactive exhibits themed by different continents and attractions. You can check your wing span while you admire the Bald Eagles, imagine swimming with the North American River Otter, crawl through tunnels and pop up like a Prairie Dog, explore the Wallaby walkabout and have the wallaby’s hop right across your path and more! Exhibit areas include the Americas, Australia, Butterfly Garden, Family Farm (Petting Zoo), a fountain plaza and the historic animal house.  Things are always being added at the zoo, so be sure to check it out often.

Tropicanoe Cove is the outdoor aquatic center along the Main Street side of the park. It is typically open Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers a lazy river, water slides, splash pad and a swimming area. Adults can also enjoy water walking programs several times a week in the summer, during off times.Tropicanoe Cove

Loeb Stadium is home to the Lafayette Aviators, a prospect league and the annual Colt World Series event. Be sure to add at least one game to your summer bucket list! The current stadium allows you to feel like you are right on the field with the players. You’ll love it!

Train at Columbian Park

Train at Columbian Park

In the center of the park also generally from Memorial Day to Labor Day you can find a small variety of children’s rides. My family’s all-time favorite is the train. Ride around the park and wave at all the visitors. Relatively new to the park is a train depot that also includes a model train exhibit. Great to keep the kids (of all ages) entertained while you wait to ride the train.

Of course, no visit to Columbian Park would be complete without visiting at least one of the local icons located across Wallace Street from the Zoo and Loeb Stadium; The Original Frozen Custard or Arni’s! Be sure to grab a pizza, salad, custard cone or fruit drink to bring with you to the park and enjoy a day full of fun!

Ashley Gregory, Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Director of Sales, shares this blog.  For more information about this attraction and more in Lafayette-West Lafayette, visit www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Sweet Treats this Easter from Mammaw’s Sweet Shoppe

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IMG_4529New location, same delicious flavor; Mammaw’s Sweet Shoppe! This past year, Mammaw’s has moved to a new location at 3540 SR 38 East in Lafayette. Their homemade, yummy treats still make your tooth buds soar.

Easter is in one month, and Mammaw’s is creating some pretty spectacular treats.  Enjoy cookies, cupcakes, and custom cakes to celebrate. Planning a wedding? Also, Mammaw’s specializes in some very unique wedding cakes.   Make sure to make a visit to Mammaws!

Photos showcase these treats better than words, so enjoy!

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Cupcake Galore!

Cupcake Galore!

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For more information about this sweet shop and others in Lafayette-West Lafayette, visit HomeOfPurdue.com.

Valentine’s Day Wedding Planning

Wedding at the Farm at Prophetstown

Wedding at the Farm at Prophetstown

Love is in the air! And what fun it is to start planning a wedding! Look no further that right here in our very own community for some exceptional wedding reception venues!

Wea Creek Orchard Wedding

Wea Creek Orchard Wedding

Barn weddings are very trendy right now. The newest barn venue is called “The Barn” and is located off US 231 S.  This is a beautiful space for up to 300 banquet style that has nice restrooms, a bar area and table and chairs are provided. The Farm at Prophetstown has hosted some gorgeous outdoor and barn weddings. The barn can be used and space expanded if a tent is brought in for up to 300. Wea Creek Orchard is a family owned and operated space where one can get married in an apple orchard, with up to 350 of their closest friends and family. Exploration Acres is a family farm and autumn fun destination with their corn maze, lazer tag, corn cannon and more, but from May through August, they can also host weddings in the barn for up to 320 people.

Golf courses are another great place to host a wedding or even the bachelor party. Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, Coyote Crossing, Harrison Hill Golf Course, Lafayette Country Club, and West Lafayette Golf and Country Club all have different types and sizes of facilities.

Unique venues are another great option for weddings. Wolf Park gets the group outdoors and next to adventure, Tippecanoe County Amphitheater can host a wedding under the  169079_1681033398481_8194388_nstars, Ross-Ade pavilion is a great location for Boilermaker Alumni, and Mike Aulby’s Arrowhead Bowl provides unique entertainment right on property.

Two of our staff, Ashley and Sara, hosted their wedding receptions at the Trails Banquet Facility in West Lafayette. There are multiple rooms that can accommodate a group from 25 to 325.

Many girls dream about the perfect wedding, why not start planning this Valentine’s Day!  Other great spaces to host a wedding and reception spaces and ideas can be found at homeofpurdue.com/meetings/venues.html.

Delphi: Home to Wabash & Erie Canal & the Indiana Bacon Festival

3IMG_8111Down the river and through the woods, a hidden treasure is found just outside our county. This treasure is the historic Wabash & Erie Canal, the largest man-made waterway in the United States. Breathtaking views, winding trails, living history, and passionate people all make up one’s experience at the canal.

As a student at Purdue, I moved to this area with little knowledge of the history and excitement that this place holds; however, I learn more and more each day. My favorite part of experiencing all of these new things is getting to share the fun with others. After my first unforgettable trip to the canal, I knew I had to spread the word of this amazing attraction. My parents traveled up from Southern Indiana, and I planned a whole day for us in the quaint town of Delphi.

DSC00877Our first stop was to the Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center. The architecture is designed to make guests feel as if they are stepping back in time to the mid to late 1800’s era. Once inside, the volunteers working within the museum greet the guests. Although volunteer-based, the effort and hospitality these workers put in are priceless. Each and every one of the volunteers is extremely passionate about the land and history, and it shines through their work. In fact, the Wabash & Erie Canal Interpretive Center was voted the Best New Volunteer Driven Museum in the United States in 2006 by the American Association of State and Local History! The museum is a self-guided walk through with exquisite displays, plentiful information and artifacts, and many interactive stations for kids.  Come and see for yourself how they earned this prestigious recognition! Not only is the Interpretive Center a museum, but it also has excellent event/meeting space. There are two large rooms with windows that look out over the canal and beautiful surrounding land. It is an excellent space for your next event, whether big or small.

Canal Days 2014.4After my parents and I traveled through the museum, we headed out to look through the reconstructed display of what a historic pioneer village would have looked like in that time era. The models featured include: the Reed Case house, Bowen Cabin, Log School House, Kuns Cabin, Speece Shelter, Robinson Smokehouse, Fur Trapper’s Cabin, and VanDerVolgen’s Blacksmith Shop. The village is usually up and running on weekends, festivals, and holidays with performers who will gladly share with you the history behind the village. Each building features historic furnishings and equipment and runs similarly to how it would have during the time of the canal operation.

Next, my parents and I rented a surrey to bike around the renowned Delphi trails. We went around winding corners, under tunnels, and over bridges. The trails follow the canal to beautiful hidden locations not seen by the common eye. Trails also can be followed throughout downtown Delphi or other wooded areas. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time! Other rentals are available such as paddleboats and kayaks to use on the canal as well as regular bicycles for the trails. Each rental comes with complimentary trail maps and safety equipment.1IMG_8120

2IMG_8109Finally, the newest addition to the canal is a ride on the replica 19th century canal boat, The Delphi. Step onto the boat to experience what an adventure down the canal would have felt like 150 years ago. The 35-minute ride includes a tour guide who speaks of how everyday life was on the Wabash & Erie Canal.

As you can see, there is so much to do all in one area! My family and I had an amazing time, and I encourage everyone to make a trip out to Delphi. It is very worthwhile. My next trip to Delphi will be on August 29 for the Indiana Bacon Festival! Bacon is one of my favorite foods, so it only makes sense to attend an entire festival for it! Hosted on the square in Delphi, the event will consist of Indiana Kitchen Bacon, local brews, live music, a bacon eating contest, a cook-off, and so much more! Last year was the first ever debut of the Indiana Bacon Festival, and it was a smashing hit with over 6,000 attendees! Help make this year’s festival even more successful!

Kid's Play Area

Kid’s Play Area

The town of Delphi may by small, but it is jam-packed with history, Hoosier hospitality, and fun for all. Do not overlook it the next time you are traveling through northwest Indiana. It will give you an experience like no other, and I hope to see you all on August 29th at the Indiana Bacon Festival!

Kaley, Visitor Information Specialist for Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette and Purdue University Student, shares this blog.

Fresh City Market – A One of a Kind Grocery Store Offering Special Event Space!

IMG_5662Happening Now! Right now, the talk around town is about one of the area’s newest grocery stores, Fresh City Market. This healthy grocery store not only offers guests a wonderful shopping experience, but special services to our visitors and locals that is one of a kind in the area. Did you know they do home delivery and also have a wonderful event space that is free of charge as long as guests use their catering services? They have an executive chef on site that makes soups from scratch and hot, fresh food and a pastry chef creating delectable, homemade bakery items. Bonus: they carry Mary Lou Donuts! This in itself is a reason to visit!

If you can’t tell by my excitable first paragraph, I am a huge fan of this grocery store. I am probably odd, but I love grocery shopping. Many people can find it laborious, but this is my advice, “embrace it and love it because we all have to do it!” Fresh City Market makes is really easy to love it! Last week Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette hosted a special event at Fresh City Market to tour the space. I have visited the store before, but this gave me a whole new outlook and I learned about all the unique things they are doing to provide wonderful customer care.

IMG_5661First, home delivery. They have an online grocery shopping service that is both quick and easy! You may select from a wide range of groceries, gourmet food, organic food, fresh produce and more – all of which are offered online. The fee is only $6.95! Or let’s say you are on your lunch break and have time to shop, but not to take your groceries home. They can hold your groceries for you and deliver to your home later in the day. If you spend over $40 the delivery is free! If you spend less than $40 there is a $6.95 delivery fee.

IMG_5668Second, event space. They have a beautiful room that overlooks Purdue University that is free of charge. The only requirement is you have to order from their catering services, but we sampled a number of food items (more on this later), and let me tell you, you will leave happy! The room seats up to 30 people, has 2 large flat screen televisions, free WI-Fi, a full kitchen, and if you want a food demonstration, their executive chef is available. They also offer cooking classes. Coming up are a Cooking Healthy & Gluten Free class on January 30 and Valentine’s Dinner class on February 13. (I don’t know about you, but I am putting a little bug in my husband’s ear about the V-Day Class! How romantic and fun!)

IMG_5663Third, their food. The staff at Fresh City Market are absolutely wonderful and friendly and to top it off, they let us sample a wide array of their catering items. They make a bruschetta that is loaded with fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs. Their marinated steak skewers were perfectly seasoned and cooked. I loved tasting diverse cheeses, nuts, sausage and dried fruits on a specialty platter they created. To top it off, they let us sample platters of fresh bakery items that included cheesecake bars, peppermint/chocolate bars, lemon tarts, very berry tarts and more! It was amazing!

IMG_5658Fourth, the store. The store is one of kind with its ginormous ceilings with pillars that local artists beautifully painted. The idea that the owners of this store took the time to bring the local community into the creation and “look” of the store is so amazing. It really creates a sense of community and makes this grocery store one of a kind. The store offers a hot bar of food, fresh soups, a salad bar, sushi bar, deli, and pretty much any food item you desire. We had a gentleman in our group that was looking for a specialty fruit he couldn’t find anywhere this season. Within 5 minutes of him mentioning it, they had it ordered and would be available the following day. The customer service is exemplary! Fresh City Market is not to be missed!

IMG_5665Whether you are looking for delicious dining, interesting attractions and shops, enticing events or home away from home lodging—a getaway to Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is sure to satisfy. For more information about this grocery store and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

“One Great Wedding Destination” The Outpost

Outpost2014.22 Great Cities, 1 Great University, “One Great Wedding Destination”. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to many fabulous wedding ceremony and reception venues that will make your day special. One such location that not only offers a great space to have a wedding but also a wonderful catering menu is The Outpost Catering and Banquet Facility. They offer some of the best customer service in town with delicious food and space for wedding parties up to 300 people!

It’s fall, which means we are in the midst of wedding season! Mums, pumpkins, the earthy, musty smell of falling leaves, harvest, clear blue skies, and more; this is what I think of fall! Is there a better time for a wedding? Not that I can think of! I have been to so many fall weddings, and I have to say it is my favorite season to attend someone’s special event. (You may note I did not get married in the fall, but I married a farmer and fall is off limits! ha!)

A few years ago in October, one of my dearest friends had a great big outdoor wedding.  When I say big, I should really say “huge!” They invited over 700 people and of those invited I would say almost 100% showed up. The Outpost catered the event, and they did an amazing job! The menu included pulled pork barbeque, baked potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw. The Outpost came with their big outdoor cooker and slowly cooked the BBQ to perfection. It literally melted in my mouth and the compliment of loaded potato salad, savory baked beans and crisp cole slaw was heaven! I shouldn’t admit this, but I went back for seconds! My good friend shared how wonderful the staff was to work with. Wedding planning can be stressful and she said their great customer care made her event run smoothly and relieved so much of her stress.

The Outpost Catering also has a banquet facility for rental for special events. They offer complete food service, whether it be plated or buffet, and also a full bar service with licensed bartenders. They can accommodate an event anywhere from 25-300 guests. The space is a blank canvas so brides and grooms can decorate and make it into the perfect memory-making site of their dreams. I have never attended a wedding at this venue, but we did host our National Tourism Week Social Media Workshop at this facility. The food was delicious and the customer service was exceptional.

Outpost2014.7For more information about this venue and others in our area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com

Fabulous Event Space at Four Points by Sheraton

Beautifully created fruit platter!

Beautifully created fruit platter!

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University, “Indiana Hospitality”.  Lafayette-West Lafayette is host to many wonderful venues that offer great service, friendliness and a beautiful setting for a special event. Four Points by Sheraton is one location in West Lafayette that fulfills all of these things and more for their guests. Not only do they have a diverse range of event space, but a beautiful pool and guests’ rooms.

Recently, my husband’s cousin Marcia, retired from teaching. She had taught school for the Tippecanoe School Corporation for over 40 years. (Side note, she had over 10,000 books she accumulated over those years..isn’t that crazy?!). She has three children and they live in different parts of the world: Singapore, Georgia and Washington. To celebrate her retirement they wanted to throw her a special party and they chose Four Points by Sheraton to host her friends and family. It was a wonderful choice!

Event Space

Event Space

The family rented the ballroom, which has gloriously high ceilings and was decorated beautifully for the event. They had a buffet of food, which makes my mouth water as I type this (and at 7am in the morning which is saying a lot!). The selection included creamy, rich spinach dip, spicy (but not too spicy) chicken wings, a fresh vegetable and cheese platter, and finely toasted St. Louis ravioli. Everything was fresh and delicious. The event space really was perfect because people came in the conference space door, walked into a beautiful lobby where we all signed a special book for Marcia and then entered the Grand Ballroom where Marcia greeted guests and we were free to grab some food and have a seat at one of the many tables. We were excited because we saw cousins we only visit with every three to five years and they shared how glad they were to throw this party and were really happy with the service provided by Four Points.

DSCN1180Four Points by Sheraton has a diverse range of event space, so if the Grand Ballroom, which can seat up to 500 banquet style or 800 theatre style, is too big for you, they have a total of 14 meeting rooms totaling 13,500 sq. ft. Their on-site facilities include; 171guests rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant / lounge and a game area. Whether you are hosting a small group of 10 up to a large party with 800, you will receive the same great customer care. They value their customers and show off their “Indiana hospitality” well!

For more information about the Four Points by Sheraton and other great venues in Lafayette-West Lafayette visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

One Great Wedding Destination; Thomas Duncan Hall

Hall

Ballroom

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University, “One Great Wedding Destination”. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to many fabulous wedding ceremony and reception venues that will make your day special.  One such location that is not only a beautiful venue, but has historical significance in our area is Thomas Duncan Hall. This Georgian, Colonial-style building was built as a meeting place for social, patriotic, charitable, educational and cultural events in the early-mid 1900s.

Thomas Duncan Hall is special in our family because it is the location where my sister, Jenny, married her husband, Tosh, over 8 years ago.  The site selection was a tough decision for my sister because she wanted eloquence with a touch of history and romance.  She and Tosh live in Phoenix, Arizona, and they traveled back to tour different sites in the area.  When they visited Duncan Hall, they fell in love with the venue.  They loved the high ceilings, the handsome gothic windows and the large stage in the ballroom.  The additional parlor rooms speak of days gone by with the promise of creating lovely future memories.  The cherry on the cake was the acoustics.  They love dancing and music, and the ballroom has wonderful acoustics!

The Secret Garden - little garden area perfect for photos!

The Secret Garden – little garden area perfect for photos!

Their reception was so much fun!  The bridal party sat on the stage and overlooked the 150 guests.  They chose a local caterer to serve a buffet style meal which was set up in a small room off the ballroom.  (Note: there is a fully equipped kitchen along with a dinner service for up to 170 people and elegant silver serving pieces available for a reasonable rate.)  I gave the toast from the stage, which has gone down in history as one of the best toasts in our family history.  The whole room laughed as I shared my sister and my exploits over the course of our lives.  The laughter got everyone in the mood for an evening of dancing and music!   It was lovely!

Duncan Hall is a great venue for weddings and special events with its multiple rooms and ballroom. There is space for smaller parties ranging from 2 to 50, to their ballroom which can seat 220 people theater style.  The balcony also can seat 47.  The historical ambiance is one of a kind in the area.  It will truly make any special event stand out and be memorable.

For more information about this venue and others in our area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com

Order Something Sweet from “Something Blue Bakery”

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University, “One Great Bakery Destination ”. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to many fabulous bakeries.  One bakery that is not to be missed on your next visit to our area is Something Blue Bakery, which creates decadent cupcakes, beautifully decorated cakes, specialty whoopie pies, brownies, theme-decorated sugar cookies and other assorted baked goods daily.

What is better than a cupcake to keep your sweet tooth happy?  Nothing!  My sister and I love to bake and trying out local bakeries.  We like stopping by Something Blue Bakery, to enjoy an afternoon snack and also to appreciate the cute, feminine ambience.  The bakery has a very welcoming environment that is bright and airy and smells like sweet decadence.  The white and black checkered flooring, striped blue and white walls, and overall cake decor make this place a pleasant place to stop for a refreshing treat!

The cakes and cupcakes created at Something Blue Bakery are really masters of art.  They say, “If you can dream it, we can create it!”  Any shape, size, flavor and filling can be created.  They offer everything from custom made wedding cakes to 3-D creations, in addition to customized, sculpted figurines and sugar flowers. They also have hand painted cakes that are gorgeous!  Personally, I think they need to enter one of the baking decorating contests they host on the Food Network.  Their masterful work would take first place!

Something Blue Bakery offers the classic cake flavors (chocolate, white, carrot, and red velvet), along with a number of specialty flavors (Irish carbomb- chocolate stout cake, lemon, strawberry, cinnamon sugar swirl, espresso, and marble). They offer a diverse range of buttercream icings, purees and candy, fruit and specialty mix-ins (the s’mores -graham cracker crumbles with marshmallows and chocolate drizzle is one of my faves!).  With such a wide selection of options, it is hard to make a choice, but guests really can’t go wrong!  Everything is delicious!

For more information about this bakery and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Pamper yourself at Euphoria Day Spa & Salon

Happening Now! Right now, the talk around town is about getting our sandals and open toes shoes out to enjoy this nice, warm weather!  Ladies, it is time to head to the spa to get a pedicure to make our feet look dazzling in our new spring footwear.  Look no further than Euphoria Day Spa & Salon, which offers a wide selection of spa services from manis & pedis to facials and massages.

Euphoria Day Spa and Salon is perfectly located in the heart of downtown Lafayette on Main Street in between eclectic shops and restaurants.  They have a dedicated team of professionals whose sole purpose is to pamper and beautify. Need to unwind after a hard week at work?  I recommend their bamboo massage, an exotic full body massage, performed with warm bamboo sticks.  If you are still not 100% relaxed (which is hard to imagine!), their luxurious facial, a deep cleansing, facial, neck and shoulder massage should be the perfect trick.  Personally, the face and neck massage is my favorite and is the key to making all my stress fade away.

Looking for a fun location for a “girlfriends’ getaway“?  Plan a day of pampering at Euphoria Day Spa & Salon.  The spa will provide 2 bottles of wine, and a tray of your choice; veggie, cheese & cracker, or fruit.  All the ladies can choose which services they want to enjoy and together everyone can chat, laugh and relax in the soothing atmosphere.  Different bridal packages are also available which include hair, make-up, manicures, pedicures, massages, and eye brow design.  There are options for the whole wedding party, including the groom.

Whether you are looking for delicious dining, interesting attractions and shops, enticing events or home away from home lodging—a getaway to Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is sure to satisfy. For more information about this day spa and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com