Yesterday I left Wheaton and drove down to Indianapolis to have lunch with my college friend Phil, who has worked for the city since graduating from Wheaton. It was worth the hour I lost passing from CST back into EST, which is really saying something when you’ve gotten up at 6:15 am.
Phil had assembled a veritable round-table of Indianapolis city planning types, and they showed me around the neighborhood of Fall Creek Place, which the city has taken an active role in rejuvenating over the past five or six years. In Phil’s telling, it has been transformed from serious blight — empty lots, few businesses — to a healthy, livable district by any standard: residents of varied incomes, an organic mix of new and old homes, lots of EPA help in cleaning up damaged properties, and several new businesses, including Goose the Market, the fantastic sandwich shop where we ate lunch (I recommend ordering “the Batali”). The city has worked with a single developer, but Fall Creek has the feel of a genuine neighborhood, and one that by all appearances is weathering the recession. It’s a credit to the city. Good job, Phil!
Goose the Market also has a great little wine and beer cellar where I bought a six-pack of Prairie Path Ale, made by a brewery in Warrenville, IL, and which I hadn’t seen anywhere else. So, after I chugged the six beers, I hit the road.
No, not really. I saved the beers for later, and instead said goodbye to Phil and drove a few minutes to downtown Indy.
Even though it was 147 degrees (I’m pretty sure), downtown Indianapolis has its charms.
Finally, about an hour and a half after I blew into town, I said goodbye to Indianapolis and got back on I-65 heading south.
Traffic was moving briskly despite some construction, and at this point I was on track to reach Nashville by 6 pm or so. That was until I saw the sign bearing those fateful words:
“Next Exit: Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.”
Obviously I had no choice. About 15 miles off the highway near Hodgenville, KY, there it is: Thomas Lincoln’s Sinking Spring Farm, now a national park.
I ended up in Nashville by about 7:30, so the detour didn’t take me too far off schedule. I had dinner with two of my favorite Johns and a Brooks (but not MY Brooks) at a surprisingly great seafood spot. Yes, seafood in Nashville, why not? This place served a genius sushi roll called “Very Spicy Tuna,” which is packed with jalapenos and is so spicy and tasty it just may have ruined regular old spicy tuna rolls for me forever. But more about Nashville later.