Richmond, Indiana (on the east central Indiana/Ohio state line), is on the rise as an up and coming tourist destination for those traveling the Midwest. My daughter, Taylor, and I visited on a road trip and loved the unique things to do in Richmond.
Between the antiques, historic record label, world-class chocolates, a most-interesting museum, and thought-provoking Civil Rights Site, we had a great visit. Here is a look at each of those five unique things to do in Richmond.
#1 Indiana’s Most Famous Antiquing
Richmond is famous for antique shopping. You’ll find a treasure trove of them at Antique Alley, the name for the 1200+ dealers that are found between two loop trails. Cambridge City is the hub of the loops, with a dozen or more impressive antique shops within a two-block radius. The first trail runs through historic Old National Road (US40) to New Paris, and the second, Richmond to Arcanum, Ohio. Richmond is continually rated Indiana’s premier antique destination, and open year-round.
Two of my favorites were Doublehead Trading Co. in Cambridge City, and Wheeler’s Antiques in Centerville.
#2 Gennett Walk of Fame
Nancy (the tourism director of Richmond, Indiana) took me on a stroll through the Gennett Walk of Fame, featuring colorful plaques dedicated to those jazz artists who recorded in Richmond. There are plaques in the ground honoring artists such as Gene Autry, Tommy Dorsey, Jelly Roll Morton, Lawrence Welk, and Louie Armstrong. These, and many more recorded their musical numbers here in the mid 1920s. Gennett Records, a Starr Piano Company business, produced three million records annually. You can find the record tribute along the Whitewater Gorge Park walking trail.
The world-famous Ghyslain Chocolatier is on the outskirts of Richmond, Indiana in the town of Union City. Visitors can buy the delicious candies (and macarons) from a small storefront, but Ghyslain does not offer candy factory tours. Ghyslain’s signature collection pieces include yummy flavors like Banana Foster, French Vanilla, Mint Julep, and Hot Chili. Their specialty chocolates include classics butterflies, medallions, turtle mosaiques, and truffles. The coconut rum truffle is to die for!
I’ve been to France and Switzerland (two of the best places in the world for hand-painted chocolates), and Ghyslain’s are every bit as good and beautiful. This is one unique thing to do in Richmond we certainly weren’t expecting.
Fun Fact: Ghyslain (pronounced gee-slay”) chocolates are served all over the country in luxury hotels, fine-dining establishments, and country clubs.
#4 Levi Coffin House
Taylor and I were shocked at the level of sophistication that we found in the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark in Fountain City. The home, used to harbor freedom-seekers on their way to the Underground Railroad, helped 2,000 fugitives find their way to freedom. It was astounding hearing the story of the bravery from both the Coffins breaking the law to help, and those fleeing slavery in the South on their journey. The interpretive center is highly impressive!
#5 Richmond Art Museum
A big shocker to me is that the Richmond High School also houses the Richmond Art Museum, a do-not-miss institution. We found the museum’s touring exhibits to be equally as impressive as the permanent galleries, which were filled with American artworks. The walls and galleries were aesthetically pleasing, and I could have spent hours admiring the paintings, glassware, and school projects.
FYI: You can take art classes at the museum, too.
Where to Eat in Richmond
While in Richmond, make sure you have a meal at the Old Richmond Inn, a historic old-world landmark with room after room of dining options. The Beef Stroganoff is hearty and flavorful, or the salmon is another tasty choice.
Cordial Cork Wine Bar is a lovely restaurant with a tasty menu, hand-crafted cocktails, local beer, and several types of wine, including “Lushy Slushies”. Start your experience with Breakin’ Bread (a French baguette stuffed with cheese garlic, and herbs) or Corky’s Cheese Flight (three tiers with six types of meats, cheeses, and crackers). Finish off your experience with Lisa Cakes desserts, served in-house.
Other Points of Interest
Madonna on the Trail is a beautiful statue to see, and unique thing to see in Richmond along the historic National Road. There are twelve monuments in total across the country depicting the spirit of the Pioneer Women of the covered wagon days. They were erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution and run from Maryland to California. Richmond is home to the only one found in Indiana.
A short drive from Richmond is the Warm Glow Candle Company. This massive building (80,000 square feet) houses thousands of Warm Glow (lumpy & bumpy) candles and unique housewares, wine, souvenirs, accessories, and lots more. There is even an onsite cafe and candy shop.
Fun Fact: the Warm Glow produces 15,000 candles per day.
Thanks to the Richmond, Indiana CVB for hosting our trip and accommodations. As always, reviews and opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
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