Richmond, Indiana, is located along I-70 on the Indiana and Ohio border. It is less than two hours from Indianapolis, Dayton, and Cincinnati, Ohio, meaning you can find yourself in a smaller, charming community in a relatively short period of time. The first time I visited Richmond, I knew that it was a town that I would find myself returning to. As it turns out, anytime I am traveling I-70 in Indiana, I make it a point to stop. The American road trip is bigger and better than ever, and Richmond, Indiana needs to be on your radar. Here are 10 reasons why you need to plan your day trip to Richmond and allow yourself to fall in love with this charming community.
1. The Chocolate Trail
Did someone say chocolate? I don't know about you, but anytime anyone mentions the word chocolate, I'm there. Richmond offers a Chocolate Trail, along which all you can indulge in free chocolate samples around town. As soon as you arrive in town, stop at the Old National Road Welcome Center, located at 5701 National Road E., and pick up your Chocolate Trail Passport. I have personally been on this trail a couple of times and I can tell you that it's a fun experience. You don't have to like chocolate, but you do need a sweet tooth for the ice cream, fudge, and other goodies that you’ll be invited to try along the trail.
2. The Murals Trail
History lives on through the colorful murals that blanket many of the buildings in Richmond. This Mural Trail is fun, so be sure to look up, down, and all around. These murals tend to pop up in places where you’d least expect them. There is no fee for enjoying the Mural Trail, so hop in your car and follow along. You can pick up a brochure that shares the locations of each of the murals in Richmond and throughout Wayne County.
3. To Explore Hayes Arboretum
The Hayes Arboretum is home to hiking and mountain bike trails for outdoor enthusiasts. It's also home to beautiful butterfly and herb gardens. There are several nature programs, nature hikes, and events hosted all year long. With 466 acres to explore, this is a great place to spend a couple of hours during any visit to Richmond. It's important to remember that this area is a classified forest, which means you cannot collect or hunt for mushrooms, flowers, plants, animals, or other natural objects while on this property. Admission is free, and I guarantee that you will find yourself planning a return visit to this beautiful forest.
4. Hoosier Hill
You cannot visit Richmond without a stop at Hoosier Hill, which is Indiana's highest point. The exact location is 15 miles north of Richmond at Exit 153 off of I-70 on S.R. 227. You will then travel 10 miles north to Bethel, 0.1 miles west on Bethel Road, and then .09 miles north on Elliott Road. This point sits at 1,257 feet, and it makes for bragging rights and a great photo opportunity.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to sign the book that says you were there.
5. The Music Garden
One of the newest attractions in Richmond is its Music Garden. It features three oversized interactive musical instruments for everyone to enjoy. Dance, hop, skip, or jump to the beat of a hub cap and more. You can find this fun park at 2200 East Main Street.
6. Levi And Catharine Coffin State Historic Site And Interpretive Center
History buffs will fall in love with Richmond -- and even more so because the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site and Interpretive Center is in nearby Fountain City. More than 2,000 fugitive slaves were ushered to freedom through the Coffin House. The interpretive center shares the story of the site and a short movie will take you back in time. Once the movie is over, you will be able to set foot in the actual house with a guide. The Underground Railroad played a large part in the history of the Richmond area. The stories are told today during your tour of the house. The tour is fascinating in that you can see where fugitive slaves hid while in the house. There is a small fee to experience this attraction. You will want to allow yourself approximately an hour and a half to appreciate this attraction.
7. The Model T Ford Museum
The Model T Ford Museum is a fun museum for anyone who likes cars, especially since the Model T is recognized as the car that put the world on wheels. The Museum is located in Richmond's Depot District, which is home to chocolate, murals, history, and more. A 1909 touring, a 1912 brass Town Car, a 1925 fire truck, and a 1931 Pietenpol airplane with a Model T engine are some of the relics you will see at the museum. Take a walk back in time in the 1920s Model T Garage, and compare it to the garages of today. There is a small fee to visit. You will want to have a couple of hours dedicated to this museum so you can immerse yourself into the fun history of the Model T.
8. Wayne County Historical Museum
The Wayne County Historical Museum is truly one of my all-time favorite county museums in the country. I could have spent all day in this museum, as the exhibits really lured me in. The site itself is fairly small, but the eight buildings on site are packed to the brim. There are two Egyptian mummies on display in Indiana, and they are both in Richmond. One is here at the Wayne County Historical Museum and the other one is at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History on the Earlham College campus. The one that you can see here is 3,000 years old, and it's quite the experience to be in the room with it. I also enjoyed the log cabins, the General Store, the Richmond-made automobiles, and the steam-powered tractors.
Pro Tip: The small entry fee is worth every penny.
9. Warm Glow Candle Company Store
You cannot visit Richmond without a stop at the Warm Glow Candle Company Store. This store is a destination in itself, and it's located off of Centerville Road and I-70. Each time I walk through the large wooden doors, I feel as though I'm in a land of fairy tales. You have to visit to experience this feeling, which involved being surrounded by the aroma of more than 75 candle fragrances. Gift baskets, bath and body products, and all the candles are sure to catch your eye. I have yet to leave this store without a trunk full of candles to take back home to Iowa with me.
10. Antique Alley
You may not think you are into antiques, but once you hop on Antique Alley in Richmond, you may think differently. With two antique trails, Antique Alley Trail #1 and Antique Alley Trail #2, you will find yourself immersed in antiques. Not only is Richmond home to some of the finest antiques, but the whole county is. Your day trip will be complete when you have set foot in at least one antique shop. If your day goes as planned, you will bring something new-to-you home from your fun day in Richmond.
However you choose to spend your day in Richmond, the people, art, history, and nature experiences are sure to leave you longing for more. I can guarantee you that once you experience the charm of Richmond, you will be planning to return for an extended period of time. A day trip to Richmond will get your feet wet and give you a good taste of what this historical town has to offer. I can say that on my first visit, I was pleasantly surprised and fell in love with Richmond as soon as I hit the ground exploring.
As you find yourself exploring the town, remember to look up, down, and all around. You will find hidden experiences around every corner. This community also prides itself on repurposing and refurbishing buildings, which I find enlightening. I have visited many towns across the country that have not invested in their buildings, and it shows. Richmond shines, as community pride shows through the historical sites that have been well maintained through the years. Enjoy your day trip in Richmond -- just don't overwhelm yourself with too much to do in one day! Odds are, Richmond is only a short drive from home or another road-trip destination, and a follow-up visit could make your next trip even better than your first one. Also, plan on some time outside with these nine beautiful hikes in Indiana.