Indiana’s Best: Fall Festivities

Where Americans are Headed on Vacation This Fall

9809397Travel Leaders Group provides frequent updates on current trends through comprehensive surveys of its travel agents.

A few findings from the most recent outreach:

  • New York City is the most popular domestic destination for the remainder of 2015
  • Caribbean cruises lead the way internationally
  • For clients age 30 and under, the top reasons/destinations for travel are honeymoons, Caribbean and Mexico

Additional details from the survey:

“Based on actual bookings, New York made a remarkable leap over perennial top destinations like Las Vegas and Orlando. It is an incredibly vibrant, world-class city for leisure and business travelers alike. From the fall right through the holidays, it’s nothing short of spectacular,” states Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “In addition, the data we have collected indicates travel will continue to be strong for the remainder of the year, which is leading to incredible optimism among our travel agent specialists.”

Following New York, the top domestic destinations being booked were Orlando, Maui, Las Vegas, Alaska cruises (maybe some of these are for 2016 travel), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Internationally, following cruises are Cancun, London, European cruise, Rome, Paris, Mediterranean cruise, Dominican Republic, Florence and/or Tuscany (Italy) and Montego Bay (Jamaica).

Pickin’ Pumpkins (and Much More in Indiana)

I love fall. It is my favorite season of the year, by far.

The air is cool and crisp and everything smells like straw and cinnamon. Brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow are everywhere – in the trees and bushes and in piles of fallen leaves. There are hayrides and bonfires to attend; apple cider and pumpkin pie to consume. It’s not too cold to play outside yet and just around the corner are Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Honestly, fall is one of the top reasons I know I don’t ever want to live anywhere else. Nothing, to me, beats fall in the Hoosier state.

To celebrate and honor our most favorite season, my husband and I took our nine-month-old daughter to her very first apple orchard and pumpkin patch (via hayride) in Hendricks County. We took part in an apple festival, visited vendors and sampled sweet and tart apple treats and cider. It was oh-so-quaint (until she tried to stuff a handful of hay into her mouth, that is).

Even with the severe drought we encountered this summer, the pumpkin patch was bursting with bright orange surprises. My husband made a muddy forage for our prized pumpkin and we created a fun memory. All-in-all, we spent less than $25 for an afternoon of family enjoyment and appreciation of the bountiful nature we have around us.

But maybe a pumpkin patch isn’t your thing. There are a TON of other things to do in Indiana during the fall.

If you want something the whole family can enjoy, try a trip to the numerous festivals around the state. More of a sophisticated palate might like to sample from Indiana’s wineries and breweries.

Or, did you know that Kokomo is home to the oldest manufacturer of opalescent and cathedral stained glass in the world? You’d learn more about that on the Glass Trail. Maybe you’re more into exploration and adventure – the Indiana Cave Trail might suit your liking in southern Indiana.

Even though I’ve lived here the majority of my life, I had no idea where to start looking – and even less of an idea as to what Indiana has available – until I stumbled across the Visit Indiana (Indiana Office of Tourism Development) web site dedicated to Hoosier fall offerings. Check it out for yourself and take in some of the wonderful treats Indiana has to offer: www.in.gov/visitindiana/fall/.

French Lick/West Baden Resort an Indiana Marvel

Earlier this week, the French Lick Resort served as host for the Association of State Chamber Professionals (ASCP) annual meeting. I had the privilege of being asked to attend the conference and speak on social media, so, while I had been to the casino before, this was my first opportunity to stay at the hotel as a guest and truly explore it.

As a fan of history — especially Indiana history — I believe both the French Lick and West Baden facilities serve as living monuments and tributes to the very best of Hoosier history and lore. In fact, I invite you to learn more about both French Lick and West Baden Springs via the resort’s web site and learn some pretty remarkable facts. For example, how many people know this site played such a significant role in FDR launching his candidacy for President in 1931?

What’s more, it should be noted that ASCP generally targets some of America’s most scenic destinations, with the past two meetings landing at Bar Harbor, Maine and Greenbrier, West Virginia. So I pretty overtly asked most of the colleagues I interacted with what they thought of French Lick. I received nary a negative remark, with "amazing" being the most consistent adjective used.

If you live in Indiana or the region and have yet to experience this, take a day or two and indulge in one of the state’s most ornate, yet endearing gems — not to mention an amazing golf destination and concert venue.