BY STEPHANIE NICOL
While enjoying lunch at Little Sheba’s in Historic Richmond, Indiana, don’t be surprised if owner Steve Terzini stops by your table to introduce himself. In fact, on any given day, you’ll see Steve making the rounds, chatting it up with the lunch crowd—most of whom have known each other for years in this charismatic town near the eastern border of Indiana. But as a tourist, you won’t feel like an outsider here; you’ll be welcomed as if you’ve lived here all your life. Such is the personality of Richmond, an area with just 36,000 residents, most of whom are compelled to tell you how proud they are of their city and surrounding county. They’re quick to share information on their first-class, recently renovated museum of art, their eclectic and entertaining collection of shops and eateries in both their Main Street and Historic districts, and to give you “insider tips” on where to find internationally known artisans and their out-of-the way studios throughout Wayne County.
One of these spots can be found just off State Route 227; while the postal address is Richmond, the berg is officially known as “Boston.” It’s here you’ll have the pleasure of meeting artists Bill and Jeanne Magaw, a quirky and affable couple whose farm is not only dotted with farm animals, but with large metal sculptures and “wind machines” made with Bill’s own hands. Known as “The Magaws of Boston,” the couple welcome you to their farm to share their artwork, which is also for sale. But don’t be fooled by their small-community roots; the Magaws have sold substantial art pieces as far away as Russia, and their wind machines were purchased by the Chinese government to grace some of their public gardens.
Another well-known artist, Scott Shafer, is a potter whose studio is just outside of Richmond, in Centerville. On the day we visited, he knew we were coming but had another appointment. So he happily left his studio open for us, and supplied a jar to leave our money in if we decided to purchase one of his pieces, which we did.
Just down the road from Scott’s studio is a Wayne County landmark—the Warm Glow Candle Company. Local residents Alan and Jackie Carberry started the company in 1994 in the basement of their home. Today, the company produces 15,000 candles a day. Their 20,000-square-foot gift shop, open to the public and referred to by many as a shopping mecca, is easily spotted because of the world’s largest candle that sits just outside the store.
Another “world’s largest” can be found at the Richmond Furniture Gallery, located in the Historic District, and dubbed “the most unique furniture gallery in the world.” Inside the emporium’s historic walls, you’ll find the world’s largest dining room chair. You’ll also see an amazing handmade penny castle, historic postcards blown up to the size of billboards, art collections, and more. The store pays tribute to its historic past, and walking through its doors is like stepping back in time. Owner Roger Richert, along with his wife Theresa and
daughter Natalie, purchased and saved this historic building, and continue their passion to support the revitalization of Richmond’s Historic District. When you stop in the store, ask for Natalie; if she’s in, she’ll be more than happy to give you tips on getting around the District. If you’re lucky, she might even take you on a personal tour. And be sure and stop
for frozen treats at Ullery’s—they’ve been making handcrafted homemade ice cream since 1983.
New Boswell Brewery, located in the historic Depot Warehouse building, not only brews an array of craft ales, but “must haves” are their home-brewed root beer and ginger ale. When you catch them at the tap room, owners and young entrepreneurs Rodrick and Kiera Landess will enjoy sitting down with you and telling the story of the brewery’s namesake, Ezra Boswell, who was a captivating figure in Wayne County’s history.
Next door, in the Loft building, be sure and check out Coco’s Boutique and the Cozy Nest (opening April 24), two of the many Richmond shops to offer out-of-the ordinary gift items, along with a unique collection of women’s clothing.
Within short walking distance of the Loft is a Richmond treasure, the national Model T Museum. Its significant collection of vehicles and T-related memorabilia includes a 1909 touring (one of the very first Ts), a 1923 English-built town car, a 1925 fire truck, a 1927 coupe (one of the last Ts) and a 1931 Pietenpol airplane with a Model T Engine. Check out their recently-opened Model T garage.
After your visit with the Model Ts, go directly across the street for great barbecue in Richmond’s oldest firehouse. Firehouse BBQ and Blues is the result of two local firefighters’ love for food and music. Tom Broyles spent two years renovating this Civil War-era building, and today visitors can enjoy tasty food and live music. When this full-
time firefighter isn’t working, you’ll see him overseeing the cooking process and visiting with his guests at the restaurant.
Another must-see in Richmond is its fine art museum, the second oldest art museum in Indiana, and the nation’s only one to be housed in an active public high school. The Richmond Art Museum, which recently went through a $1.7 million renovation, displays an impressive permanent collection including American Impressionists, Hoosier Group artists including T.C. Steele and William Forsythe, Indiana/Ohio artists, and more. Executive Director Shaun Dingwerth has overseen the museum for more than a decade, and has a passion for the area’s cultural mission. A published author, his newest book, “The Richmond Group Artists,” is available for purchase at the museum. Be sure and ask him to sign a copy for you while you’re there.
Richmond residents have rallied behind the wine and brew movement in Indiana. Locally-owned J & J Winery/Noble Order Brewing Company not only produces high-quality beers and wine, but has turned their property into a gathering spot for meals on the deck, weddings, concerts, and other events.
You need more than one day to discover all of Richmond’s treasures. While the area offers several overnight lodging options, staying in a local Bed & Breakfast allows you to feel even more at home here. One great option is the Philip W. Smith Bed and Breakfast. When you stay in this Victorian-era inn, owners Kris and Jill Nelson will welcome you with abundant hospitality.
Spend some time in Richmond enjoying its delightful attractions, locally-owned boutiques, eateries, wineries, and breweries, but be sure to talk with the locals. They’ll help you understand what truly makes Richmond and Wayne County so special.
For more information and to plan your getaway, go to www.visitrichmond.org.