As a Thanksgiving-inspired post, I decided to ask a bunch of Hoosiers I know (my family) what they appreciate about Indiana. This group included Indiana lovers and natives of all types: those who were born here and havenít left, those who have returned, those who are new to the state, or those who just frequently visit. All ages, all areas of the state represented. Hereís what they had to say:
- I love that you can take awesome one tank trips. I especially love going south to the Bloomington and Nashville areas. I love downtown Indianapolis. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo, and all the sports.
- Friendliness, cooperative spirit, hometown pride, basketball, wide open spaces, tractors on the road that remind us that we are producers.
- The cost of living. Most states are more expensive than Indiana and your dollar can go further here versus many other places. This includes houses, food, and gas.
- “Back Home Again in Indiana” is sung every year at the Indy 500. And I feel at home when I’m in Indiana, even though I’m not a native. People here are warm and caring, and there is a strong value base that is great for raising generations of warm and caring people. We can sit here in the middle of the country, watch what is happening on the coasts, and either allow the trends to make their way here, or stop them if they are too crazy! A strong foundation of tradition and family are what keep me here and loving it!
- Lafayette is a culturally diverse community which affords many opportunities to be educated in alternative lifestyles. There also is a great variety of art and culture: theater, dance, exhibits, and music available in part due to Purdue being here. The Feast of the Hunterís Moon, a reenactment of an 18th century French trading post, is an annual fall event and a fabulous weekend experience. Then there is an abundance of sporting events to attend. Lafayette provides great variety and diversity in a Midwest setting.
- The weather! You get all four seasons in Indiana and not just two or three. I like to experience all the seasons of the year.
- †If you are lucky enough to have family here with you, then simply being in the same state as your extended family is reason enough to love being here.
- It’s the people of Indiana that make it the perfect place to celebrate this holiday. Hoosiers are extremely friendly, warm, and welcoming. Wasn’t that the original concept of this holiday? Pilgrims showing their appreciation to the Indians for all their help. That’s why I love Indiana and that’s why I’m so thankful to call this state my home.
- The state is very clean compared to many others and that includes the environment, air, water, and natural areas. We seem to take pretty good care of the state.
- Iíll never forget my first trip home with my husband to visit my now in-laws. The three of them serenaded me with the Purdue fight song, which they had orchestrated with their own little melody, hand motions, dance steps, and props. They werenít messing around, it was a spectacular show. Iíve now come to adore the state that my husband will always call home. A few of my favorite Hoosier moments include the following:
- Attending my first Indy 500. It may have been 100+ degrees, and I may have spent the majority of the race under the bleachers for shade; but it was an event Iíll never forget.
- Taking part in the tradition of “Kissing the bricksĒ at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the OneAmerican 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. As an avid runner, I would recommend this running event to anyone Ė flat, fast, and scenic!
- Visiting the Indiana State Museum during the Christmas season to relive some of my husbandís favorite childhood memories. My mother-in-law and I had no shame; we rode that Santa Claus Express train!
- Watching my sister cross the finish line of the Monumental Marathon in Boston-qualifying time! It truly was a monumental event!
So I promised my family their contributions would be anonymous, but I guess that doesnít apply to me. In addition to everything mentioned above, I would add this:
- Iím thankful for the balance between big city adventure and small town, natural charms that Indiana offers. I love that I can be exploring the Super Bowl Village among thousands of fans and visitors in downtown Indianapolis, and 20 minutes later, I could be hiking deep in the woods with barely a soul around me. I love that I can visit the tiniest of diners (where Iíll obviously order a tenderloin) and the waitress will call me hon. But the very next day, I could be seated among 400,000 race fans standing in awe as taps is played at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A lot of places do big city life well. Or rural life well. But few places do them both as great as Indiana does.
I hope these comments captured a piece of what you love about Indiana. But if not, please share what youíre thankful for in the comments!
Photos courtesy of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tippecanoe County Historical Association, and the 500 Festival.