Back in the day (way back, as in less than 50 years after the Revolutionary War), one William Conner and his Native-American wife built a homestead above a flood plain about six miles north of Indianapolis. A century later in 1934, Eli Lilly (yes, of the pharmaceutical giant) bought the place; in the 1970s, the property evolved into a museum and would soon begin hosting Civil War reenactments on the property. The evolution of the Conner Prairie Interactive History Museum continues this weekend with the opening of “The 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana.” The $4.3-million exhibit is part theme park ride, part museum, part historical re-enactment, and part interactive theater. Five years in the making, the exhibit uses film, holographs, actors, horses, and an immersive set that puts visitors in the middle of the chaos that ensued during the only Civil War battle fought in Indiana—the July 1863 rally of volunteer Hoosiers against some 2,400 Confederate soldiers under the command of John Hunt Morgan, a.k.a. “The Thunderbolt of the Confederacy.” Indiana’s opposition chased Morgan and his men back into Ohio. The exhibit opens June 4 and the weekend’s activities include cannon firings. Admission is $9 to $14.
GO 1863 Civil War Journey at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, Indiana; 317-776-6000, connerprairie.org.
Where to stay: The Sycamore Knoll Bed and Breakfast (10777 Riverwood Ave., Noblesville; 317-776-0570, sycamoreknoll.com) has two luxurious suites in an 1886 mansion on a four-acre estate overlooking the White River; rates start at about $110 per night. The Hotel Indigo (9791 North by Northeast Blvd., Fishers; 317-558-4100, ichotelsgroup.com) is a boutique hotel convenient to both Conner Prairie and Indianapolis; standard rates are $109 to $135.
Where to eat: Woody’s Library Restaurant (40 E. Main St., Carmel; 317-573-4444, woodyscarmel.com) is built in a repurposed library complete with vaulted ceilings and book-stocked shelves (upstairs) and a neighborhood pub (downstairs). The fare includes an extensive menu of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian fare. In Noblesville, the Barley Island Brewing Company (639 Conner St.; 317-770-5280, barleyisland.com) is Hamilton County’s only brewpub and offers handcrafted ales, stouts, and lagers in addition to pub food.
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