If it is time for you and your besties to take a road trip, Grant County offers fun, relaxation and cool places to see.
Start each day lingering over coffee in a cool café. Then, head off to explore nostalgic sites, special shops and popular, locally owned restaurants. End the day with a glorious walk among scenery and selfie stops.
Here are some suggestions for your memory-making getaway.
Coffee and Conversation
Don’t let the casual, quaint atmosphere fool you. The Midwest Coffee Roasting Company in Marion is serious about roasting coffee beans. They specialize in single origin beans but also passionately create blends that will delight even the most expert coffee connoisseur.
Sender Cafe is an innovative vegan café and coffee shop in the heart of downtown Marion. Savor and sip your favorite coffee beverage as you gaze upon the local artwork hung around the café. The trendy vibe might be the perfect spot to gather your group and plan your day.
The Abbey Coffee Co. in Marion micro-roasts their beans into what they like to call “craft coffee.” This is another coffee shop with a cool, trendy vibe. Try a cup of their “coffee of excellence” and take home a bag of your favorite.
Located in the heart of downtown Fairmount, The Branch offers not only a long list of coffee beverages, but also a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. You and your friends might consider popping in for lunch and a coffee pick-me-up.
Soda Fountains and Drive-Ins
The Converse Big Dipper serves up old-fashioned sodas, freshly made sandwiches and meals, plus hand-dipped ice cream. The classic black and white tile and red upholstered chrome seating will take you back to the 1950s. It’s a cool stop for good food and a hefty slice of Americana.
Established in 1965, Ivanhoe’s Drive In in Upland is famous for its 100 different milkshakes and sundaes. More than ice cream, their menu is extensive and features the best of drive-in delicacies like burgers, tenderloins, fries and sandwiches. With so many choices, dessert can be a difficult decision. However, you can’t go wrong with the strawberry shortcake, named “best in the world!”
“Sew” Many Things to Do
Preserving and celebrating the history and art of quilt-making, The Quilter’s Hall of Fame in Marion is international in scope. Open to the public, see permanent and temporary quilt exhibits. The building itself is something to see. A National Historic Landmark, this large Colonial Revival home serves as the international Hall of Fame and exhibition space.
Experience turn-of-the-century elegance at The Hostess House in Marion. Another mansion on the National Historic Register, this Greek Revival home serves traditional luncheons and afternoon teas. Bring your friends for lunch and learn about this home’s romantic origin.
Encounter the world’s favorite lasagna-loving fat cat on The Garfield Trail. This trek is a great way to hit the Grant County highlights, while taking selfies with the variety of colorful Garfield statues.
James Dean was a Hollywood movie heartthrob from the 1950s. He was born in Marion and grew up in Fairmount. Before his untimely death at the young age of 24, he starred in three major motion pictures. This Hollywood legend not only left his mark on the world, but also his hometown. Throughout Grant County, The James Dean Trail takes you to the important Dean historical sites, memorials and cool commemorative places. Download this map to guide your exploration of James Dean’s short life. Here is what you will see along the way.
- Fairmount Historical Museum showcases artifacts from James Dean and Garfield creator, Jim Davis.
- James Dean birth site memorial
- James Dean Gallery in Fairmount features Dean artwork, archives and rare memorabilia. Also located on-site are the Rebel Rebel vintage gift shop and one of the James Dean cut-out murals.
- James Dean Memorial Park – bring your brightest red lipstick and kiss the gravestone of this handsome Hollywood heartthrob
- Three larger-than-life cut-out murals of James Dean, created by renowned muralist, John Cerney.
Antiques, Boutiques and Specialty Shopping
In Grant County, you’ll find lots of cool antique shops offering rare treasures and primitives. This area is uniquely connected to the mid 1950s and earlier, so you are sure to find some classic one-of-a-kind finds.
Otherwise, we recommend you shop these specialty stores to find exclusive products you might not be able to find in your hometown.
- Jigsaw Junction specializes in all types of puzzles including 3-D, interactive and, of course, jigsaw.
- Shop local for women’s fashion at Lauren Lane Boutique, True Envy Boutique, Uplyft Boutique, and Wispy Pine Boutique.
- With a colorful and funky mural on the side of the building, Mama Pearson’s Soaporium in Gas City is easy to find. Step inside for locally handmade soaps, body butters, and balms.
- Psychedelic Cellar in Marion is an outtasight place to flip through album bins and browse movie titles. Soak in the artistic and nostalgic vibe as you discover popular and obscure bands on vinyl.
- In Converse, Rachel’s Taste of Indiana sells products that are Indiana grown and made. From honey, dressings and sauces to hand-crafted décor and apparel, find items that are exclusively Indiana.
Grains & Grill Restaurant is an upscale but comfortable dining experience in Fairmount. Dinner choices include steaks, house-cut tenderloins and Cajun shrimp. Craft beers are on tap and the desserts are divine.
Located in Gas City, Payne’s Restaurant is a casual restaurant with a British flare. While fish and chips are a specialty, you’ll also see items such as British Chicken Curry, Bangers & Mash and Eggplant Parmesan.
There are several other locally owned restaurants to try. Check out the complete list of dining options.
You and your friends will love the memories you make in Grant County. Take some classic and cool vibes with you, and we hope to see you again soon.
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