Archive for July, 2013

Hospitality Awards for Six Hendricks County Hotels

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment
Staybridge Suites in Plainfield

Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, Indiana.
Photo provided by Visit Hendricks County and used with written permission.

By Josh Duke
Visit Hendricks County

Six Hendricks County hotels have been honored by visitors for hospitality excellence.

Popular travel website, TripAdvisor, recently announced its Certificate of Excellence award winners for 2013, which is given to lodging facilities that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on its site. Only the top-performing 10 percent of lodging facilities listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

Hendricks County hotels honored by TripAdvisor include:

  • Cambria Suites in Plainfield
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon
  • Hampton Inn in Plainfield
  • Holiday Inn Express in Plainfield
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton in Plainfield
  • Staybridge Suites in Plainfield

“We are so pleased that so many of our hotels qualified for this prestigious honor,” said Jaime Bohler Smith, associate director of Visit Hendricks County. “Because our hotels serve on the front line during overnight stays, they play a vital role in continuing to make Hendricks County an attractive destination for our visitors.”

Watermelon Festival in Vincennes, Aug. 3

July 30, 2013 Leave a comment

George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Shyla Beam
Vincennes CVB

Celebrate Knox County’s rich agricultural tradition and fabulous, free watermelons at the annual Watermelon Festival and Great American Grill-Off, courtesy of Nowaskie Melons, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013.

Events include a 5K run, baby, toddler and Miss Watermelon pageants and Knox Co. Humane Society’s Pet Contest. Enjoy music, great food and more. Join us from 8am – 8pm on Patrick Henry Drive of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes (see photo above).

For more information, contact the Knox County Chamber of Commerce at 812-882-6440.

Purgatory Golf Club: A Top 50 Course for Women

July 29, 2013 Leave a comment
Purgatory Golf Club, Noblesville, Indiana

Purgatory Golf Club, Noblesville, Indiana.

By Lisa Sirkin Vielee
On behalf of Purgatory Golf Club

Purgatory Golf Club, 12160 East 216th Street in Noblesville, Indiana, was recently named #33 on the list of 2013 Top 50 Golf Courses for Women, published by Golf Digest, up one spot from last year. Purgatory has been recognized on this annual list every year since 2003. It also was named a Top Course for Women from 2003 to 2008 by Golf for Women Magazine.

When Ron Kern designed Purgatory, he and owners Tenna and Mike Merchent put as much thought into its forward tees as the back in order to accommodate women of all handicaps and ability levels. As a result, Purgatory is the only course in Indiana to offer tees with smart playing angles ranging from 4,500 to 7,700 yards.

Because of its woman-centric design, Purgatory has attracted regional tournaments including the 20th annual Indiana PGA Women’s Open in June 2013. In addition, it is the home course for the Lapel High School women’s golf team. Purgatory also offers a special $25 Ladies Night Out each month that includes a nine-hole scramble, free lessons, special Pro Shop discounts and complementary food and cart rental.

“It was important to create a golf experience that was memorable for both women and men,” said Tenna Merchent, who played a significant role in the course design. “This is a great women’s course, designed with a women’s touch on everything from sand-based tee boxes and convenient restrooms located on the course.”

The three restrooms, located no more than four holes apart, include hand soap, towels and mirrors, details Merchent says many courses overlook. The Clubhouse also carries a wide range of women’s apparel, gear and gifts in the Pro Shop, and offers lighter and healthier menu options in the Confessional Bar & Lounge.

About Purgatory Golf Club

Golf Digest was the first to describe Purgatory Golf Club, located on 220 acres of rolling farm land outside of Noblesville, Ind., as “more heaven than hell.” The 18-hole course boasts six sets of tees, and provides a challenging golf experience for golfers of all experience levels, from the shortest set of tees (4,562 yards) to the longest (7,754 feet).  It also is one of the prettiest links style course in the country, with 170 limestone-filled bunkers and 45 acres of fescue surrounding immaculate fairways and a variety of water elements.

An e-book, “More Heaven than Hell, by co-owner and photographer Tenna Merchent, is available for download using iBook 3.0.  The beautiful book includes hole-by-hole descriptions and lush photos that provide a breath-taking look at what calls “a superb golfing experience.”   For more information, visit, or call 317-776-4653.

Editor’s Acknowledgement: Gracie Communications. Photo provided by Gracie Communications and used with written permission. May not be copied or republished without written permission of the copyright owners.

A Visit to Wolf Park in Tippecanoe County

July 28, 2013 Leave a comment
Wolf Park

Wolf Park. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor, LLC

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: Wolf Park provided free admission in exchange for the promotional consideration.

Last year I took my granddaughter to the Indiana State Fair. We were over on the north side of the fairgrounds when we passed a vendor’s tent loaded with T-shirts, leather gear, and so forth. While browsing in this vendor’s tent, my granddaughter found a beautiful T-shirt depicting pictures of wolves. I found out that day how much she loves wolves (I had no idea previously). Of course, she got to take that T-shirt home with her. That’s what grandparents are good for, eh?

Fiona at Wolf Park.

This is Fiona, one of the gray wolves at Wolf Park (also known as timber wolves).

Ever since, she has patiently awaited the day that she could visit the wolves at Wolf Park near Lafayette, Indiana. I had no idea we even had such an attraction in Indiana until about 2-3 years ago when a mutual acquaintance in Tippecanoe County put me in contact with the publicity manager at Wolf Park. Ever since, she has sent press releases and news articles that I’ve published on our Web site and here in our WordPress blog. But I’d never visited, simply because it’s not on my beaten path.

Finally I got some time last Friday, and so away we went for the 95-mile drive with my daughter and granddaughter and her best friend to see the wolves at Wolf Park, 4004 East County Road 800 North, Battle Ground, Indiana. What a cool experience! Simple pleasures are the best.

Wolf Park offers Howl Night every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm during the summer (Saturdays only year round). I knew we were in for a treat when we pulled up to the main gate about 7 pm. Gates open at 7:15 pm. While waiting in a line of cars at the gate, two small fawns (deer) ran across the road in front of our car and scampered across the adjacent corn field, pausing periodically to check out the visitors. Immediately we were hooked.

When the gates opened, we drove into the parking lot and parked directly in front of the gift shop, which also serves as the entrance and exit to the compound. Upon entering the compound, we found the bleachers and viewing area for the wolf enclosure, the living areas for the foxes and coyotes, a small farm pond, and an idyllic setting in a natural habitat. So close to home, yet so different from the concrete jungle of the big city!

I was privileged to be allowed to shoot photographs from an open window in a building adjacent to the bleachers. This enabled me to get some pretty good shots of the wolves without having to shoot through the chain link fence (see photos below). I wish I could have gotten some shots of the cute baby foxes that are only a few weeks old, but the pictures I took through the fence were no good. My apologies.

Wolf Park kind of reminded me of a visit to the dolphins pavilion at the Indianapolis Zoo. You know how that goes: the animals go through their paces while the staff members explain the history and habits of the animals to the audience. That’s the setup for Howl Night at Wolf Park, too. The staff members took a number of questions from the audience and amply demonstrated their experience, knowledge and understanding of the wolves. It was interesting and educational. Example: “What do the wolves eat?” Answer: Primarily some 300 deer carcasses collected annually from the local area!

On this evening, the wolves in the main enclosure weren’t particularly in a howling mood, apparently, but the best and most interesting part of the evening came when the audience of some 150-200 people was instructed on how to get the wolves to howl. And then, as the audience howled in unison, we heard the coyotes and wolves replying from a distance in other parts of the park. That was pretty cool.

Your kids will enjoy it, I believe: they can get up within about five feet of the wolves, separated by two fences and a free zone. The gift shop has lots of items and souvenirs.

Wolf Park receives no government assistance and operates solely on the contributions, donations and purchases of its members and visitors. Admission is $8, children ages 6-13 are $6, and under 6 admitted free. From Indianapolis, take I-65 to Exit 178 just north of Lafayette, go east to County Road 900 East, then south to the railroad tracks. Turn right on the other side of the tracks and follow the signs to Wolf Park.

To cap off the day, while headed home, we stopped at the Whitestown exit (I-65 Exit 130) for the call of Mother Nature about 10:15 pm. Upon re-entering the highway, a coyote ran across the southbound onramp right in front of our car! I haven’t seen a wild coyote in ages, but we had just been discussing this very topic a couple of hours earlier at the park. For the girls it was the perfect ending to an enjoyable evening.

For more information, visit, or call 765-567-2265.

Entrance to Wolf Park.

Entrance to Wolf Park.

Walkin' with the Wolves

Walkin’ with the Wolves at Wolf Park in Tippecanoe County.

Kissed by a wolf

Many women might say they’ve been kissed by a wolf, but THIS???

Bicho at Wolf Park

This is Bicho, one of the gray wolves at Wolf Park.

Closeup with the wolves

As you can see, you can get pretty close to the wolves at Wolf Park.

ABOVE: All photos Copyright (c) 2013,, LLC. All rights reserved.

Things to do in Indianapolis, July 29-Aug 4, 2013

July 28, 2013 Leave a comment