Do you read poetry? I don’t read it often, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good literature. My latest Explore Indiana adventure took me to the hometown of one of Indiana’s most famous poets – James Whitcomb Riley. Visiting Greenfield, IN in Hancock county definitely made me curious about this poet as I love learning while I’m exploring. He’s best known for his dialect and children’s poems. Once he began regularly selling his poems he also started traveling around the country (mainly the Midwest and East Coast) giving performances and lectures. These did quite well for him and he was able to enjoy some success during his life, unlike that of many other poets. His most famous poems include “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.”
Just a few miles away from Fortville (remember all those delicious restaurants located there?), Greenfield is a typical Indiana town set up as a square around a beautiful courthouse. (I’ve seen so many gorgeous courthouses as a part of this challenge that I feel like I totally need to do a post just on them!). I was pleased to discover that Greenfield’s town square is one of the more vibrant areas I’ve discovered. It always makes me happy to see local downtown’s thriving.
We visited Greenfield on a crazy, blustery day. In fact, it was so bitterly cold that we couldn’t stay outside long.
Our first stop (to help alleviate the cold weather) was the local coffee shop. Thanks to my daughter’s search on Yelp, we discovered The Greenfield Grind. What a perfect place to sit down with a laptop and get some work done or to just hang out with friends. In addition to amazing coffee and tea, The Greenfield Grind offers a nice variety of breakfast and lunch items, smoothies and handcrafted sodas. We decided upon a few of their monthly specials – The Dirty Chai and a Peppermint Mocha. Both drinks were delicious! Absolutely perfect to warm us up on such a cold day. The coffee shop is a part of a much larger building with offices, stores and even a cute little art shop. Definitely a must stop in the area.
We decided to venture out to the square and braved a quick walk around the courthouse. I can’t lie in that it was so cold that we all had tears streaming down our face, but I did notice that the downtown buildings were more full than not – which always makes me happy. A few years ago, every county in Indiana painted a buffalo and we easily found the one for Hancock county. This is a fun thing for the kids to look for as we are exploring Indiana. We also spotted a tasty looking restaurant on the square called Tour of Italy. Had we not just filled up at the coffee shop, this would have been a definite stop. So, next time!
Just a few blocks off of downtown Greenfield is the Riley Birthplace and Museum. Sadly for us, the buildings are on winter hours until April 1st, so the times they are open seem to be a bit spotty and both buildings were closed the day we visited. Luckily, Greenfield isn’t too far of a drive, so I’ll visit again in the Spring (and update this post!).
While I was doing research for this trip, I also discovered that there is ANOTHER James Whitcomb Riley home and visitor center located in Indianapolis in the Lockerbie Square area. He moved into this home as an adult and lived there until he died. I had no idea that this place existed, but for my next free day I plan on heading downtown to check it out – it was fun to find something new in my own backyard.
After a day of doing our best to explore, we determined that January isn’t the best time to visit Greenfield, so a Spring or Summer return trip is in order. However, we did still enjoy a fun day out and about and were able to come up with some fun future plans to boot!
If you plan on visiting Greenfield, be sure to check out these posts full other fun things to do nearby:
The Greenfield Grind, 14 N. State Street, Greenfield, IN 317-649-4500
Riley Museum, 250 W. Main Street, Greenfield, IN 317-462-8539
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