The Indiana Insider Blog

Girls’ morning out in the Carmel Arts & Design District

Last Friday, my daughter Annie and I met up with Sarah Buckner (and a very nice intern whose name I’ve forgotten!) from the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau who treated us to a girls’ morning out in the Carmel Arts & Design District.

Any adventure in shopping (even window shopping) should start with good nutrition, which is why we started out at Bub’s Cafe.

Bub's Cafe - Home of the Big Stack
Bub’s Cafe – Home of the Big Stack

Little brother to Bub’s Burger’s and Ice Cream, the Cafe is located along the Monon Trail at 2nd Street. The decor is bright and cheery and the food…well, there wasn’t anything set in front of us that didn’t look — and taste — amazing. From the cinnamon croissant french toast to the the build-your-own omelet to the bacon mushroom quiche, we couldn’t have had a yummier breakfast. Well, yes we could have and we did! We ordered six Bub’s holes, homemade donut holes in cinnamon sugar, glazed and chocolate.

Bub’s location along the Monon Trail makes going for a walk or bike ride to work off breakfast quite feasible. We chose to walk through the Arts & Design District instead. We debated the merits of the lifelike statues that are posed along the way as if visitors had been frozen in time:

We checked out a display of hand-painted guitars:

I managed to keep Annie out of the boutique clothing stores and we headed instead to the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall, where we strolled through booth after booth of antique books, dishes, furniture and tchotchkes that reminded me of my grandparents’ house. It was a gorgeous day, which helped to show off the beauty of the District. Check out this cozy little garden spot where you can sit with a cup of coffee, a book or just sit and enjoy the quiet:

Our last stop in the Arts & Design District was the Museum of Miniature Houses. Photography is not permitted inside the museum, but you can see plenty of photos on the Museum’s Flickr stream. While we were there, I learned something interesting: miniature houses are built to scale, for instance 1 inch for every 1 foot. Dollhouses are not built to scale and may have either no scale at all or a mixed scale.

Annie and I had fun trying to decide which house we would choose to live in. She opted for a traditional Victorian, while I leaned toward the log cabin:

Mini cabin

In fact, I was amazed at the number of “alternative” styles. When I think miniature houses, I think Victorian or Colonial. The museum showcases contemporary houses, Asian bedrooms and other miniatures including cars, circus wagons and robots.


It was such a fun morning and there was so much we didn’t have time to squeeze in — art galleries, boutique shops, other restaurants. Guess Annie and I will just have to plan another girls’ morning out sometime soon.

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Written by : Amy moved to Indiana for college in 1988 (Go Bulldogs!) and has never left. Married with three children, she's always on the lookout for fun and affordable things to do in Indiana. Elsewhere on the web, you can find Amy at The Fourth Frog Blog and All Things Aging. Amy receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.