Hendricks County is located in the heart of Indiana. It is just minutes from Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport, which makes it easy to navigate. With several major connecting interstates that I have come to know well, I often take an exit to explore Hendricks County. It's fair to say that I adore this county, and here are eight reasons you should visit, too.
It's important to note that I was a guest at some of the attractions below and my admission fees were comped, but all my suggestions are based on the truly wonderful experiences I had at each establishment.
1. Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken
When you are in Hendricks County, it's essential to indulge in Aunt Bee's Famous fried chicken dinner at the world famous Mayberry Cafe. Even if you are not a fried chicken connoisseur, you will find a homemade dish that you’ll enjoy. The country fried steak and the homemade meatloaf are also very popular. A meal at the Mayberry Cafe would not be complete without one of Aunt Bee's Chocolate Mug Cakes or Clara's Cobbler.
Andy Griffith Show fans will fall in love with the menu and the decorations. Dining at the Mayberry Cafe is an experience that you will not regret. I have found myself dining here frequently in the past year, and I live more than 500 miles from Hendricks County.
2. Beasley’s Orchard
When you visit Hendricks County, your visit will not be complete without stopping at Beasley's Orchard. This is where the locals go, and the attraction speaks for itself. There is a beautiful space in the loft of the barn that is available for weddings and the like. And if you visit during apple harvest, you may be able to watch the apples being processed from the loft. The orchard is unique in that it is busy all year long. During fall and the Christmas season, the orchard is extremely busy with activities going on all the time. For me, the highlight of a visit in the fall was launching a pumpkin!
Tours are available for school groups, travel groups, and clubs. Corn, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and the list goes on and on are all grown on the farm. If you have been wanting to learn more about your food and where it comes from, Beasley's Orchard is a great place to start. The staff is very helpful and willing to share their knowledge with all their guests.
3. Fast Cars At Lucas Oil Raceway
Experience the thrill of drag racing each Labor Day Weekend as thrill seekers head to Lucas Oil Raceway. This is where cars go really fast and make a lot of noise. If you have never been to an event put on by the National Hot Rod Association, this is where you need to be. The stands offer great seats with concessions on the grounds. Be ready for the thrill of a lifetime. Not many people have attended a national drag racing event, and it's easy to check this off your bucket list in Hendricks County. Bring your ear protection and be ready to have a blast at the track. After all, it would not be fitting for you to visit the Indianapolis area and not experience fast cars.
4. Hop On An Indiana Foodie Trail
Did you know that the state of Indiana is home to several foodie trails? Stop at the Oasis Diner to experience a tenderloin and check it off of the Tenderloin Trail. If this is your first tenderloin, you will most likely be shocked by how large it is. This is just one of the places in Hendricks County where you can find a tenderloin. The diner itself has a story behind it, as it is one of five historical diners to remain on U.S. 40, the Historical National Road that runs from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois.
You can also experience pie unlike any you’ve had before at the Breadbasket and Cafe.
Review the list of Indiana Foodways Culinary Trails and hop on the one that’s right for you. You could easily spend a week in Hendricks County sampling all of the foods on the state foodie trail.
5. Wineries And Craft Beer
Country Heritage Winery is located in Plainfield in Hendricks County. Two complimentary tastings are offered daily. The showroom offers wine, gifts, and local chocolates. Brew Link Brewing is located on Highway 40, on the west side of Plainfield. It offers one of the most unique flavors of craft beer that I have found: Nutter Butter. There are numerous selections of craft beer as well as food in the taproom.
The Mayberry Festival is held in May of each year. Area vendors decorate the town square and if you are lucky, you will see Barney Fife directing traffic in front of the Mayberry Cafe. On a recent visit, I was in Danville for the festival and got to witness Barney directing traffic. If you want to have fun and share the stories from The Andy Griffith Show, you will love this festival. Music plays around the square and it's a great time to celebrate the town of Mayberry.
The last Saturday in June is home to Ribfest. Expect the barbecue ribs and a hot air balloon glow with fireworks -- the highlights of this annual event. The Hendricks County 4-H Fair is held annually in July. The fairgrounds themselves are immaculate and offer a fantastic venue for 4-Hers and their families to showcase their projects. You can expect free shows, fast cars, carnival rides, and of course traditional fair foods.
7. Art Experiences
Anyone who loves to challenge themselves creatively will enjoy their visit to Hendricks County. The Tie Dye Lab is one of the best creative experiences that I have ever participated in. Participants can choose the item and the colors that they want to use. The friendly staff offers advice when you ask, but they will let you create what you want. I would advise calling ahead of time to reserve a spot, as this attraction is booked quite frequently. I noticed that they even had shirts for dogs, so when they say that they cater to their guests, they mean it.
The uPaint Pottery Studio offers another creative outlet. This attraction offers tours, workshops, and demonstrations to show you how easy it is to create your own pottery. Dinnerware and mugs are popular with many participants as they are fun to create. No reservations or appointments are needed. All you need to do is show up at 1820 East Main Street in Plainfield, Indiana. If you would like to hold a birthday party at the studio, you can line things up through their website.
8. Coffee Shops
One of my favorite coffee shops now has a location in Hendricks County. Cabin Coffee is based out of my home state of Iowa, and they recently opened up a location in Avon, Indiana. They encourage all of their guests to "Just Be Happy ... and Have Fun!" When you set foot in a Cabin Coffee establishment, you will smell the aroma of their arabica gourmet coffee beans. They are roasted daily to give customers the freshest coffee possible. I can also tell you that their hot chocolate is fantastic, as are their Italian sodas.
Biggby Coffee is another popular coffee spot in Hendricks County. With 6 different coffees brewed daily, 12 different types of tea, and more than 100 specialty drinks, this coffee shop has all of its basis covered.
Dress For The Season
Indiana is in the heart of America and it does have all four seasons. Therefore, it's important to remember that boots, coats, hats, and gloves will be needed during the winter. Summer brings heat and humidity. This is the season where you wear your walking sandals, shorts, and whatever keeps you comfortable and cool. Sweaters and jackets are a must when visiting in the spring and fall. You never know what the weather will bring, so the best advice I can give you is to dress in layers.
Hendricks County does have a lot going on, but the one thing that really stands out is that the people are very friendly. You will find helpful, friendly people wherever you go. They are thrilled to have you as a guest in their towns and will roll out the red carpet for you. From the iconic tenderloins to the fast cars at the race track, Hendricks County will win your heart over. It took about three days for it to win mine, and I expect you’ll fall in love with your experiences there in the same time, too!
Planning a short trip? Consider a weekend getaway in Bloomington, Indiana, with the best things to do.