A sophisticated urban oasis nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, a pastoral region of winding roads, old fashioned hamlets, red painted barns and crooked creeks, Bloomington, home of Indiana University, is more than a Big Ten college town. Almost compass center to major cities—Chicago, Detroit, and Nashville, Tennessee are four hours or so away and Louisville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio are much closer than that–it’s the perfect destination to recharge, renew, and explore.
As you travel, take a glance in your rearview mirror as 2020 fades from sight and know you’re on a journey to a new and better year.
Arrive to Style
The Ziegler House, Grant Street Inn’s main house is notable because of its distinctive Queen Anne architectural style. Wandering eyes can take delight in the white gingerbread trim, peaked roofs, gables, second-floor balconies, and a large colonnaded wraparound porch. The original house, built in 1883, connects to Bloomington’s past and present.
Considered one of the city’s signature boutique establishments, the comfortably elegant inn still retains its original burnished hardwood trim, parquet flooring, hand carved rosettes, and mosaic fireplace. Large windows, including an oversized antique wood front door lets light stream in, highlighting cozy nooks filled with comfortable furniture, high quality antiques, and a stately brass chandelier.
Each guest room is one-of-a-kind, inspired by the inn’s history, and designed to fit your style and mood. Rooms range in décor from Victorian- chic to modern, old-world elegance.
Bloomington’s first LEED-certified building, The Hoosier House provides the inn with 16 additional rooms for guests, providing an array of green amenities such as a Tesla charging station, fitness center, solar panels, LED lighting, and much more.
Named one of the “Top 5 Food Towns in the Midwest” by Midwest Living Magazine and the “7th fastest growing destination for wine and culinary enthusiasts in the nation” by Orbitz Research Travel, Bloomington has the state’s oldest and largest winery, seven local breweries, a meadery, cidery and distillery.
Its super-hot culinary scene boasts 140 independent and locally owned bars, coffee houses, and restaurants, including 80 eateries featuring international cuisine spanning 18 countries.
Even better, so much of what Bloomington offers is just a short walk from the inn.
Downtown Bloomington, a National Historic District, centered around a Beaux Arts-style Monroe County Courthouse built in 1908, features 57 buildings dating from 1857 to 1936 are now home to galleries, shops, and restaurants. Swing into Fountain Square’s boutique shops to browse the local goods and winter sales.
When it comes to social distancing and creating a safe environment, Bloomington restaurants have adapted with winter outdoor dining options.
Take a seat in a heated igloo at the Uptown Café and increase the temperature by ordering one of their Cajun/Creole dishes.
Start the New Day
Enjoy the inn’s wonderful made- from-scratch breakfast and linger over for another cup of coffee or tea before starting your day.
Where Eagles Soar
Who would have known, but this area of Southern Indiana could rightfully be called eagle central. During the first part of the year, bare trees provide an optimal viewing opportunity for eagle sightings. Several areas, including the Paynetown State Recreation Area, Fairfax State Recreation Area, and Monroe Lake offer hiking and driving tour opportunities for spotting eagles.
To get to the historic core of the 1,940-acre Indiana University (IU) Bloomington campus, listed as one of the most beautiful by Travel+Leisure magazine, you’ll want to pass through the iconic Sample Gates, located at the intersection of Kirkwood and Indiana avenues, and then, head northeast towards Old Crescent. Nine of the university’s oldest buildings can be found here and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From there, follow the tree-lined path to the Indiana Memorial Union. At 500,000-square-feet, it is one of the largest student union buildings in the world. Enjoy coffee and chocolate-iced brownies at the Sugar & Spice Bakery. Fortified, begin exploring the many seemingly endless wood paneled rooms and hallways where works by notable artists such as T.C. Steele are on display.
Exotic culinary delights are no further than Fourth Street – home to a variety of international restaurants. Choose your country and graze on Tibetan momos, Thai miang kom, Indian tandoori chicken, Szechuan Chinese dandon noodles, and Korean bulgogi all without leaving the strip.
In the Morning
We know you said you’d never eat another bite, but that was last night, and The Tap Brewery and Craft Beer Bar, which has outdoor dining, not only features 90 hand-selected beers on tap and over 400 varieties of bottled beer, but also has a killer brunch.
End your journey by visiting one of the wineries listed on Uplands Wine Trail – the award-winning Oliver Winery is the oldest and largest in the state. Ranked by Travel + Leisure magazine as one the 25 best wineries to visit in the United States. Amongst its portfolio of 40 wines, ranging from sweet to dry, you’re sure to find a few new favorites.
Here’s to Next Time
Check out specials by visiting the Grant Street Inn website’s promotions page. Whatever you missed during the first trip can be planned for your next visit. The Grant Street Inn is now accepting reservations for May 1 and beyond.
Grant Street Inn
310 N. Grant Street Bloomington, IN 47408