GIRLFRIENDS' GETAWAY IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
By Jane Ammeson • Travel Indiana Magazine
The start to a perfect Girlfriends’ Getaway is the accommodations, and what could be more perfect than the historic Grant Street Inn. Built-in 1883 and originally known as the Ziegler house, which began as a small, quaint bed and breakfast grew into a highly sought-after luxurious boutique inn offering one of the most hospitable experiences in Bloomington. Today, the inn offers 40 distinct rooms ranging in style from victorian-chic to a modern, old-world elegance allowing each of your “besties” to choose the perfect setting for a weekend of fun!
What makes the Grant Street Inn so ideal, is that it’s located right in the middle of downtown and Indiana University, making it easy to enjoy the town’s atmosphere fully.
Grant Street Inn is considered one of Bloomington’s signature boutique establishments that transports visitors into an opulent and sumptuous Victorian past. Despite its renovation, much of its marvelous detail work remains, including the original parquet hardwood floor and trim, hand-carved rosettes and stair rail, a mosaic fireplace located in the lobby, and the oh-so-charming wrap around front porch.
CHECK IN AND THEN CHECK OUT ALL THAT BLOOMINGTON HAS TO OFFER
The historic courthouse square is lined on all sides by galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, and salons – there’s no reason not to shop until you drop! Check out trendy shops like EllieMae’s Boutique, Mirth, Tivoli Fashion and Jewelry, By Hand Gallery, and more, all located inside Fountain Square just off of Kirkwood Avenue (south side of the square). Look for hidden gems at eclectic shops such as vinyl records at Landlocked Music, lifestyle boutique at Lola & Company, and unique collectibles at the Bloomington Antique Mall.
TAKE A BREAK
Enjoy a cup of tea or java at Cup and Kettle, Inkwell, Soma Coffee House & Juice Bar, Crumble Coffee and Bakery, Hopscotch, Brilliant Coffee Co., or Two Stick Bakery. If you’re searching for some tasty smoothies, try Soul Juice, or if it’s bubble tea, try Bapu Fresh.
TASTE YOUR WAY THROUGH B-TOWN
Bloomington has been rated one of the 50 Best College Food Towns in America by the Tasting Table in 2017. There are a number of local places that help contribute to that success, such as FarmBloomington that uses seasonal fresh ingredients, Lennie’s where you can relax in a tavern-style setting while enjoying local craft beer and gourmet pizzas, SmokeWorks with their amazing smoked meats and unique cocktails, Samira which offers upscale Afghan recipes with plenty of wine options, and Anatolia that offers traditional Turkish dishes and a tea room. For additional cuisines from around the world, check out 4th Street, it’s packed full of international food options and is a short walk from the inn.
When you’re ready to chill, Bloomington abounds with breweries, cideries, and distilleries such as Cardinal Spirits, The Tap Brewery, and Upland Brewery Co. Visit the tasting rooms at Butler Winery & Vineyard or Oliver Winery, Indiana’s oldest and largest winery east of the Mississippi River.
BE PAMPERED TOGETHER
Beautify, relax, and revitalize at Bloomington Massage and Bodyworks or Elan Spa, or try a Halotherapeutic experience in the pink crystal-lined Bloomington Salt Cave.
Bloomington is a great walking city, and luckily, the Grant Street Inn is just a few blocks away from the Indiana University campus and downtown. For further destinations, consider taking a scooter or using a ride-sharing service.
Grab a snack inside Indiana Memorial Union, the heart of Indiana University for over 100 years, and take some time to tour the building. It’s filled with towering oak-paneled rooms, lush tapestries, stained glass windows, and walls lined with paintings by Hoosier greats such as T.C. Steele. Or go a little further and consider some short road trips that wind along the country roads to delightful destinations such as Nashville, Indiana with its charming Artist Colony, Hoosier National Forest, and the Brown County State Park (the only one in the state with a double wide covered bridge). Saddle up and take a guided horseback ride through Brown County State Park or Schooner Valley Riding Stable east of Bloomington. Deeper into the country, Story, Indiana, about 10 miles south of Bloomington, is a pre-Civil War village with an old general store now a farm-to-table restaurant.
GET SOME SUN
Beach it at Riddle Point Park on Lake Lemon, or Hardin Ridge and Fairfax Beach on Lake Monroe. Walk, hike or bike on the Bloomington Rail or B-Line Trail, wander along Jordan River running through Dunn Meadow at Indiana University or stroll the beautiful oasis of the I.U. Arboretum.
Check out the local gallery scene and art exhibits, music venues, concerts, or performances at the Jacobs School of Music. Enjoy a laugh at The Comedy Attic, catch a show at the I.U. Cinema or a new play on the stage put on by Constellation.
There is so much to do, the hardest decision is just deciding where to start! Life’s too short not to enjoy every moment. Keep the excitement alive and make plans to reserve a getaway for you and the girls today!