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Nostalgic holiday shopping in quaint Randolph County, Indiana
Perfect Day Trip from Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus
There are a number of Christmas tree farms in Randolph County, and if you don't have your tree yet (or you just want to add some fresh greenery to your house) make it a point to stop by one of the Christmas tree farms! (It definitely beats the grocery store parking lot experience!) Some allow you to cut your own tree and drink hot cocoa/cider. There are two that I know of five or six miles south of Winchester off US 27 near Snow Hill. If it happens to be snowing, the drive through gently rolling fields past old farmhouses can make you feel like you're driving through a Christmas card.
This is a private zoo. During the holidays, there are several hundred thousand lights, a petting zoo, and part of the zoo will be open with winter animals including: bears, cougars, leopards, zebras, llamas, deer and Indiana's only two white tigers. The website says there's a "camel experience." I'm not exactly sure what that is, but it sounds interesting. You can warm up by the fire, have hot cocoa, cider and coffee, and get your picture taken with Santa. Go to the website for hours and directions.
What could be more quaint than shopping at a General Store in small town called Farmland? Farmland itself is small even by small town standards, but it is charming.
This gift shop is in a house on Main Street, and each room is filled to overflowing with cute things. There a pretty ornaments, dolls, throws and other things.
I believe that a woman who wanted to save the grain elevator from being torn down purchased it and then painstakingly turned it into an area for shops. There is an antique shop that has antiques that even go waaay up in the grain elevator. By the way, just because it's called a grain elevator doesn't mean there is an elevator. You get a good workout if you explore the upper floors.) The adjoining gift shop has a lot of really cute gifts for very reasonable prices. Just a few days ago, I stopped in because my mom had gotten me locally made soap there, and it was the only kind that ever helped my cracked winter hands. It's such a bargain that I'm going to buy some for all of my friends! It's called Debbie's Handmade Soap, and my hands feel better already!
I'd heard really good things about this place for months, but I hadn't had a chance to stop by until someone on my Christmas list requested a teapot that they'd seen there. Oh my! What a nice place! This would honestly have been my favorite coffee shop in either of the two major cities that I've lived in, so it is really surprising to find it in such a small town! The woodwork is pretty, they have comfy chairs surrounded by paintings by local artists, the items in their gift area are very reasonably priced, and most importantly, their coffee is really good! Their website says, "We are a family-owned micro roaster and are dedicated to obtaining the highest quality Arabica green coffee beans from around the world." So far my favorite is their Costa Rican Estate, but I look forward to trying more!
This is the 1875 Courthouse of calendar fame. There is a 2007 edition of the calendar, but I'm not sure if it's available for purchase at the courthouse or not. (The clocktower was removed in the 1950's, so it doesn't look exactly like the models.) Still, it's a pretty courthouse, and there are nice shops around the square, including jewelry shops and an old fashioned soda fountain at Haine's drug store. I drove through on a snowy night in December, and with the glowing movie marquis and the huge snowflakes, I felt like I'd been transported to Bedford Falls in It's Wonderful Life.
This pie factory was started by a local family over 50 years ago, and now makes 12,000,000 pies/shells per year. The attached restaurant, Mrs. Wick's, is a great place to have breakfast or lunch before stocking up on yummy holiday pies. I love the pecan pie, my dad's favorite is the sugar cream pie, and my friend's favorite is the German chocolate pie. How can you go wrong?!
If you know anyone who likes either jewelry or coin collecting, you can't visit Winchester and not stop by Silver Towne!
This place is worth the drive! The outside of the building is non-descript but the chocolates are incredible. They are as beautiful as they are delicious! I had lunch there a few months ago, and it was delicious and very inexpensive. We had to call ahead for reservations. (I can't tell from the website if they're still offering that without the tour.) However, they have various tours including an opportunity to make your own chocolate!
Located on S. Howard Street, this 1913 wooden railroad depot has been restored as a gallery for local artists.
Family owned winery. Activities include lively concerts and an Amateur Winemaking Club. Fridays, from May to September there are free wine tastings and BYOM (Meat) for grilling, and from October through Christmas there is Euchre and hot soup. Also, on the last Thursday of the month Randolph Writers hold public readings.