BY JANE AMMESON
Nothing recharges and rekindles more than a relaxing stay in a charming destination. Alone time starts together at the historical Grant Street Inn, conveniently located within walking distance of both Indiana University’s renowned campus and Bloomington’s vibrant downtown boosting several boutique shops, restaurants, galleries, and more.
A Highly Sought-After Destination
The Grant Street Inn is a boutique inn consisting of five buildings, four of which are historical. The Ziegler House, the structure that ignited the formation of the inn, is a Queen Anne built in 1883. It was restored to its former beauty in 1990. The exterior boasts a distinctive yellow with white trim, gabled roofs, fish scale cedar shingles, and gingerbread trim. The inn’s wraparound veranda is lined with old fashioned rocking chairs – a must for passing the time while enjoying the morning’s cup of coffee or the evening’s glass of wine over a good conversation!
Elegantly cozy, the inn retains such original flourishes as the burnished hardwood trim, parquet flooring, and mosaic fireplace. The sizeable antique wood and glass front door, along with the large windows, shine a light on the cozy nooks filled with comfortable furniture, high-quality antiques, and glass chandeliers perfect for two. The highlight of the inn is that each of the 40 rooms is truly one-of-a-kind. They range in style from victorian-chic to modern, old-world elegance. So, choosing just one based on your preferences might be difficult!
In the morning, enjoy the bountiful, homemade breakfast buffet; in the afternoon, more delicious by-scratch goodies, including coffee and tea. Be prepared for the inn’s staff to welcome you with open arms, their service and hospitality is top-notch. And, remember the inn’s philosophy, “Our place is yours, so feel at home.” If you’re looking for a deeper connection, say good-bye to worries with an off-site couple’s massage.
Grant Street Inn’s 15-year Inn Keeper, Paul Wagoner, exclaims, “We are a true representation of Bloomington and are deeply rooted in the community.” He further shares that many of their guests are Indiana University alumnus enjoying the nostalgia of reconnecting to the area. While others are discovering Bloomington for the first time – drawn by its diversity and all-inclusive atmosphere. Wagoner continues, “All are attracted to this lovely city because of its energy, beauty, and abundance of activities.”
Taste Your Way Through B-Town
Bloomington has been rated one of the 50 Best College Food Towns in America by the Tasting Table in 2017. Located downtown in the National Historic District is FARMBloomington, a restaurant that curates mouthwatering dishes by sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers. Social Cantina, also on the square, specializes in modern Mexican street food and boasts the largest tequila bar in town! Choices include a small batch of aged tequilas that are hard to find anywhere else! For casual, great tasting, down-to-earth food, along with award-winning beers, stop at Big Woods Bloomington on Grant Street. It’s literally a stone’s throw from the inn. Or for a plethora of world cuisines, check out the restaurants on 4th Street, you won’t be disappointed!
Both Oliver Winery, the oldest in the state, and Butler Winery & Vineyard offer wine tastings in beautiful settings. Take a craft tour at Cardinal Spirits, a distillery known for their Terra Botanical Gin and Nocino, a Hoosier version of the classic Italian liqueur. It’s made here from Indiana walnuts, picked while they’re still green and steeped with an intriguing blend of spices in grape vodka. For handcrafted cocktails along with live music, visit the Root Cellar Lounge in the evening. Or go super niche and pull up a chair at Oddball Fermentables, distillers of award-winning dry blends of mead, cider, honey, spices, and local fruits.
The Night Scene
Laugh at the Comedy Attic, take in an art film at Indiana University Cinema, check out the local art scene at the many galleries in town and peruse the schedule of concerts, opera, ballet and music performances at the Jacobs School of Music.
Getting Here and There
Enjoy the local scenery by walking hand-in-hand, zipping around on a scooter, or taking an Uber ride. Or if you’re visiting with additional couples, consider the Pedal Pub for a unique way to tour the area.
Wander the Country Side
With 200 miles of beautiful walking trails and a variety of landscapes to explore, choose from favorites such as the Hoosier National Forest, Brown County State Park, and the Yellowwood State Forest. Shop, dine, and visit the mid-19th-century Pioneer Village of Nashville. Soak up the sun at one of the nearby lakes such as Lake Monroe, Hardin Ridge or Lake Lemon. Saddle up and hit the trail at Rawhide Ranch or Schooner Valley Stables. Or stay in the city and explore a few of Bloomington’s historic architectural self-walking tours.
Located on 90 serene and tranquil acres, Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center & Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery was founded by the brother of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The Monastery is open to visitors, highlights include the only Tibetan Chortens (there are two here) in the U.S. and the Kumbum Chamtse Ling Temple. Free tours are available for those who schedule them in advance, as well as meditation and yoga.
Bloomington as so much to offer. The challenge is just deciding what to do when you arrive. The best things in life are shared. Keep the excitement alive and book in advance to get the room of your choice. For reservations call 812.334.2353 or visit grantstinn.com.