Did you know that DeKalb County in Indiana was once the home to multiple car manufacturers? I sure didn’t. In addition to the rich automobile history in the area, DeKalb boasts wonderful boutique shopping, delicious food, and more. There are plenty of fun things to do in Auburn, Indiana, and the rest of DeKalb County!
As part of my Explore Indiana series, we set out to discover the best of what DeKalb county has to offer.
The automobile is king in DeKalb County
Although there are several auto museums in the area, we decided to check out the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Musuem. What a gorgeous museum!
I’m not much of a car person, but I thought the cars in this museum were beautiful. They are carefully restored and displayed in the old company showroom – a beautiful art deco building in it’s own right. The collection on display contains over 120 different cars.
In addition to the lovely cars themselves, every car had a description of the specific vehicle on display along with interesting facts about the era the car was manufactured and sold during. So we got a fun little history lesson and picked up some unique trivia too.
If you love cars, you could easily spend several hours in this museum, and if you are lucky (like we were), you’ll run across one of the enthusiastic docents. We learned quite a few insider tidbits and facts during our conversation. For instance, did you know that cars used to race on wooden tracks? The pit crew had to pull splinters out of the drivers after each race. Fascinating, right?
Indulge in homemade pasta
After our visit to the glamourous past of the Auburn, Cord and Dusenberg autos, we were starving and decided to check out a small, local Italian restaurant a few blocks from downtown.
With only a few tables, we were lucky to snag a small two-top by the front window and away from everyone else. In addition to the wild mushroom and spinach lasagna, we split a pasta Caprese salad, a side of meatballs, and two breadsticks.
The food was amazing. I’m still dreaming about the lasagna, and based upon the meatballs and red sauce I suspect the rest of the pasta is scrumptious too!
Related post: How to find the BEST local restaurants.
Spend a little time downtown
After a big meal, my next step if possible is always to walk it off. Luckily, downtown Auburn was perfectly designed for walking.
Parking on the square is plentiful, so grab a spot and then head out on foot. The courthouse in the middle of the square is beautiful and it’s interesting to read the historical markers surrounding it.
There are quite a few cute boutiques to check out along with a couple of specialty food stores. Our favorite stop though was Antiques on 5th. This antique store keeps going and going with multiple small rooms crammed full of treasures. After wandering around it for quite some time, we decided upon a few small purchases (fun gifts actually) and left before we could do more damage.
Grab a drink, or two!
Our first choice for an afternoon treat was actually a coffee, but sadly both the local coffee shops downtown had already closed. Luckily, while walking we stumbled upon Auburn Brewing Company.
Although it wasn’t a cozy coffee shop, I’m never going to turn down checking out a new brewery, so we headed in. The decor fits the town with automobile memorabilia everywhere. The building itself is an old 1900’s gas station. Even the beers had names like “Crankshaft” or “Grease Monkey.”
We decided to enjoy a flight so we could try many of the beers and found a place to sit in a room by ourselves near a sunny window. Seating was plentiful and well spaced and on a warmer day I definitely would have enjoyed sitting outside.
Related post: Why local breweries are the best.
Reminisce about your adventures over local wine
After a short walk back to the car, we headed towards home with one final stop in mind. Byler Lane Winery was on my list of places to try as I love checking out small wineries. When we approached Byler I realized that this wasn’t actually a small winery. The building and tasting room was quite large with multiple outside patios and covered outdoor seating too.
We sidled up to the bar and were delighted to discover that they were doing their tastings “to go.” This is one of my new favorite COVID trends as I like being able to find a comfortable place to sit to enjoy each wine instead of standing at the tasting bar.
We chose six wines to try and picked up a cheese plate to go with them. There was also a food truck outside serving heartier fare, but after our tasty lunch, a few bites of cheese and crackers was a better choice.
After finding a cozy couch near an outdoor heater on one of the enclosed porch, we spent some time enjoying the wine and food and talking about the fun day.
Without a doubt, Auburn (and all of DeKalb county) is a terrific choice for a day trip – or even plan to extend your time to a weekend getaway. Although we had a blast, we didn’t begin to explore all that the area has to offer!
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