Midwest - East Coast Roadtrip
July 25, 2006 8:23 PM   Subscribe

We've figured out the route for our upcoming road trip, so now I have a few questions, involving hotels in the Indianapolis area and must-sees in IL, OH and WV.

1) Our overnight point is going to be Indianapolis, IN. We'd ideally like to find a midscale hotel (not horribly expensive, but not a Motel 8, either) just outside of the city. Inside the city will do in a pinch, but we're looking to avoid city noise. (We live across from a police station and an army of jackhammers at the moment.) Any suggestions on this?

2) Our route will have us stopping in the Rockford and Bloomington areas of IL, Colombus, OH and Charleston, WV. Our trip has turned into less of a sight-seeing vacation and more of a get-there situation, so our time is limited, but does anyone have any must-sees for those areas?

Thanks for your answers on my previous question, and any you have for this one!
posted by Zosia Blue to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depending on where exactly you are going, the drive south on IL-2 from Rockford down through the Oregon area is absolutely friggin' beautiful in the fall when the colors are changing. It follows along the river, and it is sometimes truly spectacular. If you aren't in much of a hurry, you can catch a glimpse of some scenery, then jet back over to I-39 and continue back down south. (or, do this in reverse if desired).
posted by MrZero at 8:28 PM on July 25, 2006

I stayed at the Fairfield Inn (owned by Marriott) in the Indy suburb of Nobleville a couple of weeks ago. I was able to priceline it for 45.00/night. I think their market rate is around 90-100 a night. It's in a quiet suburban area. Sort of on the edge of a nicer area of strip malls and beanfield.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:31 PM on July 25, 2006

While stopping in Bloomington make sure you stop at Avanti's. It's cheap, but very good food. It has that "must eat there" reputation. I suggest checking out the online version of The Pentagraph (http://www.pantagraph.com/) before you leave to see what is going on in the community. Bloomington is big on festivals and community events so if you are in town for one of those you are in luck. If you happen to drive through Champaign-Urbana, IL, you can check out Allerton Park (http://www.allerton.uiuc.edu/). It is actually in nearby Monticello, IL but it is a great place to walk around. Plus, you'll be in the heart of Illinois' Amish Country so you can always stop and visit there.

Hope this helps and have a great trip!!
posted by marzbars at 8:44 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. We'll have more leeway on the way back, so we'll definitely be looking for scenic-type routes. And thanks for the restaurant suggestion! Bloomington was our projected lunch-spot, so we'll check that.

Thanks for the hotel suggestion, too. I'll check that. We're also looking at places in Castleton and Carmel - are those okay places?
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:56 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: Check that OUT. "Check that" is not my usual lingo, despite typing it twice.
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:58 PM on July 25, 2006

I live in Carmel and work in Castleton. There are no bad hotels to speak of in Carmel, but there are some in Castleton. I would use Hotwire to get the best prices and stay in Carmel for the most peace and quiet. There are Jameson Inns in both areas (used to be called Signature Inn) which I would recommend. Good luck.
posted by internal at 9:34 PM on July 25, 2006

downtown indianapolis is really rather quiet most of the time. there's a reason they call it 'naptown'!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:12 PM on July 25, 2006

Carmel (also my hometown) should be quiet. Hell, anywhere outside of 465 will be quiet.

If you're in Carmel eat at Sichuan at 116th and Westfield.
posted by sohcahtoa at 6:14 AM on July 26, 2006

If you need entertainment in Indianapolis, they have a minor league ball team. Other than that, downtown Indianapolis is dead at nght.

In Indianapolis, eat at Shapiro's. It's a really fine deli.
posted by donpardo at 6:14 AM on July 26, 2006

Check out the World's Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria IN. www.ballofpaint.com
posted by Gungho at 6:52 AM on July 26, 2006

When in Charleston, stop by the new Clay Center and drive by the beautiful capitol building.

If you can, try to drive across the New River Gorge Bridge.

If your route takes you on the WV Turnpike, stop at Tamarack.

More later (if I have time)...
posted by arco at 7:00 AM on July 26, 2006

2nd the idea of seeing the capital complex in Charleston. The buildings are large and ornate. The New River Gorge bridge is very interesting and if you make it there, make sure you stop and walk to the lookout which will give you an impressive vista of the bridge. From that angle you will surely recognize the bridge from various car commercial that are often shot on this location. If you have the time, this is also a great place for White Water Rafting. Its fairly lazy rafting in the summer, but if you are taking this trip in the fall, the Gauley River is some of the best whitewater in the Eastern half of the country.
posted by mmascolino at 7:38 AM on July 26, 2006

Ohio! Woot!

Heading south on 23 from Columbus, you should see the Chillicothe Earthworks, built two thousand years ago by the Hopewell people. If you had more time you could catch Tecumseh. Just south is the older Serpent Mound, the world's largest effigy mound!

Then you can take US-52 up the river through Portsmouth, Ashland and Huntington. Just don't take US-35.
posted by billtron at 7:44 AM on July 26, 2006

There's a pretty large wind farm visible from I-39, south of Rockford around Paw Paw (IL). I don't know if you can take a tour or anything, but it's visible from the highway. Rather surreal to see it on the horizon.

To be honest, the trip between Rockford and Bloomington can be rather dull, unless you're a huge fan of corn. Illinois State University is in Bloomington, so that might be worth a look-see.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:30 AM on July 26, 2006

Columbus resident here. How long are you planning on spending in town? What kinds of things are you interested in doing? Dining? Shopping? Parks?

billtron, what's wrong with US-35? I take it all the time to visit my family in SE Ohio. It's all 4-lane, much of it new.
posted by Otis at 8:46 AM on July 26, 2006

Seconding the recommendation of Shapiro's in Indianapolis. There's one downtown and one in Carmel. Their corned beef is incredible.

Carmel is sort of the upper-class (or at least upper middle class) suburb of Indianapolis, so no problems there. Castleton is rather an overgrown shopping area--traffic can get pretty heavy there during shopping hours, especially Saturday afternoons, although if you're just coming in at night and leaving in the morning it should be OK.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:10 AM on July 26, 2006

Response by poster: Awesome answers. Thanks.

We only be in Columbus for an hour or so, but we'll have more leisure time on the way back. Right now, I suppose we're looking for interesting or odd attractions (yay, World's Largest Ball of Paint!), or dining suggestions.

Thanks again, MeFites.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:32 PM on July 26, 2006

Wait a minute... I though Mystery Hole closed a few years ago, but their site seems to suggest otherwise. OMG IT IS OPEN!! You HAVE to go!!!!
posted by arco at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2006

IMO, you can't go wrong with any Cameron Mitchell restaurant. They range from diner to fancy steakhouse. The service and food is consistently good.

In terms of odd attractions, the Dublin Giant Field of Corn is pretty surreal. (And if you're in Dublin at the beginning of August, head to the Dublin Irish Festival.)

The Short North (running roughly north of downtown to the OSU campus) is a fun area to explore. If you like beer, Barleys is top notch.

Have fun.
posted by Otis at 5:31 AM on July 27, 2006

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