A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring Fort Wayne, Indiana.
This was my first time visiting the city and I loved it! Oh my gosh, it was such a great visit. I flew into the Fort Wayne airport and headed to the Hilton at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. I didn’t arrive into Fort Wayne until late in the evening so I didn’t get to meet the group I was traveling with until the next morning. Thankfully the hotel had quick room service and I had the chance to get a good nights sleep which was really needed.
Sunday morning I met up with the group of writers I would be traveling with and it was great. After a quick breakfast, we headed out on a tour of Downtown Fort Wayne. I wasn’t really sure what to expect during our tour. We had a lot of stops on the agenda and I was hoping that they would be interesting to learn about and fun to take pictures of.
Our first stop was Parkview Field which was just a short walk from the hotel. Parkview Field has been named one of the top minor league fields in the country. With seating up to 9200 people, Parkview Field is the perfect place to enjoy a baseball game as a family or for date night. They have seats starting at $5! How great is that. They also have ticket options with all you eat food and wine & beer packages. They really have something for everyone. I also love the mascot for the Tin Caps!
Sadly there were no Tin Caps games during our visit. This is on my must do list for our next visit to Fort Wayne. This city loves their baseball team and I really want to see the hometown pride in action.
After leaving Parkview Field, we walked back towards town a few blocks and toured the Embassy Theater. The Embassy Theater opened in 1928 as a vaudeville theater and has hosted some amazing acts. When you walk in the main door you are greeted with Italian marble walls and gorgeous decorations. The ceiling of the theater actually floats on chains and is not connected to the roof. I thought this was really interesting to learn about. The pipe organ was used to make the sounds for the old black and white movies. It has to be amazing to see a production in this theater. They are doing some amazing renovations that will expand their food and beverage offerings soon.
During our tour, we had the chance to see the green room and dressing rooms for the acts that play at the Embassy Theater. It was really interesting learning about the back entrances and pathways that are used to move celebrities from one area to the next without having to go out in the public.
From the Embassy Theater, we headed to the Botanical Conservatory. One thing you notice while walking even a little bit in Fort Wayne is the amazing public art. There are 50 art bike racks around the city that are so cool. You look at them and can’t believe how cool they look and that they are bike racks.
The Botanical Conservatory offers a natural sanctuary to escape into during the winter or any time of the year. With rotating exhibits, you can see everything from a Christmas holiday extravaganza to a dessert oasis. You could easily spend a few hours relaxing in the gardens checking out the plant life or just enjoying a bit of quiet. The Botanical Conservatory has a great kids area with family space to learn about everything from plants to bees and more. In the summer, they have a Friday night concert series that sounds amazing.
One of the things I loved about Fort Wayne is how much of an art city it is. There are art installations throughout the city along with a world-class art museum and arts campus. There are community events held year round that focus on the arts. Everything from chalk art to performance art happens in the city.
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art was amazing! I could have spent hours wandering through the displays and galleries. The glass exhibit that is held each summer includes works from Chihuly and other great art masters. My favorite area was the outdoor sculpture garden. It was just so cool.
Prior to visiting Fort Wayne, I had heard from my Mom that the city is known for its genealogy library. I was so excited to get our itinerary and find out we would be spending an entire afternoon with the genealogists. WOW! We have done a bit of research on our family tree but would love to do more. I went into the genealogy library hoping for some tools, tips and info on how to properly research our family. I came out of our visit with all of this and so much more. The genealogists were able to help me find the 1920 census showing my grandfathers family on it. They also found the marriage documents for my grandparents which almost made me cry right there in the library. Seeing my grandparents signatures on their marriage license was just amazing.
If you are interested in genealogy even a tiny bit you need to visit the Fort Wayne Geneology Center! I am going to share more about our visit soon on the blog. It was just so great!
For our evening activities, we were given the choice of taking a Segway tour or a Kayak Tour around Fort Wayne. I went with the kayak tour since I have done it before and it didn’t seem as scary as the Segway. The Segway group said it was amazing! They have me almost convinced to do one soon.
The kayak tour along Fort Wayne was great. We paddled for about an hour and had the chance to see first hand the area that is the focus of the riverfront revitalization project in the works. I think it will be so cool to keep going back to Fort Wayne and seeing how the city is continually updating and sharing more of their great riverfronts.
Oh and I totally managed to kayak without falling in, getting soaked or dropping my camera/phone! WOOHOO!!
We headed back to the Hilton for a great nights sleep because Monday was bringing the day we were all so excited for!!!!!
So I must admit going into my trip to Fort Wayne I did not own any Vera Bradley bags. I have always wanted one and have looked at them more times than I should admit, but I let the fun color and patterns scare me away. I have always just carried a boring black bag. Well, that all changed with a visit to Fort Wayne. I am now a card carrying member of the Vera Bradley fan club. Ok, there really isn’t a card that I know of but I am the proud owner of 3 Vera Bradley bags and already coveting a few more.
We had the chance to tour the Vera Bradley design center during our trip and it was pretty darn crazy amazing. I am going to share an entire post on the experience soon. It was sooooooooooooooo great!!! I am already planning a reunion trip with some of the ladies from this trip for the Vera Bradley tent sale this spring. Hello sale prices and amazing bags! Sign me up!!!!
After our tour of Vera Bradley we headed to the cute town of Roanoke, Indiana. This town is so cute and has so much to do in a few blocks! From Joseph Decuis which offers amazing wagu beef and 5 star dining to killer boutique shops Roanoke is the perfect weekend getaway. I can see spending the weekend with girlfriends shopping, taking a cooking class, and eating amazing food!!!
We enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Joseph Decuis which made me want to book John a flight to Indiana so he could enjoy the steaks. OH MY YUM!!! Seriously amazingly delicious!
After lunch we headed to the Fort Way Children’s Zoo. The zoo is the perfect place for a family adventure. Sadly while we were there we had the opportunity to experience some world famous Indiana rain. This cut our trip short a bit but we did get to see the baby orangatang (SO CUTE!), the new sting ray exhibit which is going to be amazing and so much more. You could easily spend the entire day at the zoo as a family.
We also visited Science Central another great family spot in Fort Wayne. Science Central has amazing hands on exhibits for kids of all ages. You can watch a science show and learn about the earth and watch weather patterns on a giant 3D globe. One cool thing is membership at Science Central also gets you into other science centers. If you have a family membership at your local science center it is worth checking to see if it also gets you into Science Central!
Dinner was so much fun! We bounced between a couple of different restaurants to taste our way through Fort Wayne. We kicked off with oysters at The Oyster Bar. This tiny restaurant has been in Fort Wayne forever it sounds like. It is tiny but oh so good. After filling up on a ton of appetizers we headed to JK O’Donnell’s for the biggest platters of Irish food I have ever seen. Seriously so much food! My vegetarian plate had a half a cabbage on it. So good! For dessert we headed to what was probably my favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Fort Wayne…..Wine Down! This wine bar offers amazing food with a foodie twist you will love plus an huge selection of wines. They not only have wine served by your serve but they have pouring stations where you can go and pour your own wine! A must visit during any trip to Fort Wayne!
After another great nights sleep at the Hilton it was sadly time to pack our bags and head to Bloomington, Indiana for a writers conference. On our way out of town we stopped at Sweetwater Music. This music store has something for every music lover! They were nice enough to give us a tour and share their great building with us. There is even a slide for employees which a few of us had to enjoy.
I can’t say enough about my time in Fort Wayne! I fell in love with this city and feel like it is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend getaway as a family or as a couple. From great food to amazing things to see and do the city really has something for everyone.
I can’t thank Visit Fort Wayne enough for hosting me and sharing their amazing city with me!