Take a leisurely drive through Huntington County (population 37,124 according to the 2010 census) and admire scenic farms, rolling hills, sparkling lake waters – and zip lining.
Founded in 1832 and named after Samuel Huntington, the city of Huntington is also the county seat. Attractions include the Historic Forks of the Wabash, a museum park featuring trails, edifices and other relics of the Wabash and Erie Canal; Huntington University; the Sheets Wildlife Museum and Learning Center; Two-EE’s Winery; Victory Noll Center; and the United States Vice Presidential Museum. Several places are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, such as the Chenoweth-Coulter Farm, the Chief Richardville House and Miami Treaty Grounds, the German Reformed Church, Hotel LaFontaine and the Victory Noll-St. Felix Friary Historic District.
Other points of interest include Different Stages at the New Huntington Theatre, Merillat Centre for the Arts, The Pulse Opera House, Salamonie Valley Historical Museum, Sweet Life Honey Farm and the Indiana Room Genealogy Center. In fact, Joel Froomkin and Richard Najuch moved from Manhattan to Huntington to present professional, Broadway-Style productions at the award-winning New Huntington Theater and have wowed audiences with their productions already! For more information, contact the Huntington Visitors & Convention Bureau (www.visithuntington.org or (260) 356-5300).
Huntington’s claim to fame includes her native sons and daughters: Dan Quayle, J. Edward Roush, Chris Schenkel (sportscaster), and others, including Sandy Thomson, former Chief Weather Specialist at WANE TV.
Archbishop John F. Noll who founded “Our Sunday Visitor,” the world’s largest Catholic weekly newspaper, was also born in Huntington County.
Outdoor lovers may enjoy Salamonie Reservoir for swimming, fishing, canoeing and more. This lovely state park also offers beginning through advanced trails for horseback riding.
Love fresh produce? Check out the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Huntington at the corner of Warren and Market Streets every Wednesday from June 4 to Oct. 29.
Throw on your buckskin duds and coonskin hat and be prepared to have fun at the 1880s-themed Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival, which runs the weekend of Sept. 27-28.
Roanoke, Warren, Mt. Etna, Markle and Andrews are some of the larger towns in the county. Mark Sept. 5, 2014 on your calendar to take in Roanoke’s 61st Annual Fall Festival. Or you can take in Roanoke’s Friday Night Street Fair, running each Friday through Oct. 3.
If art is your passion, don’t miss the Renaissance in Roanoke with its Plein Air Paint Out, Juried Art Marketplace, Young Artists’ Competition and Fall Farmers Market on Saturday, Oct. 11. (www.discoverRoanoke.org).
Roanoke is also home to the internationally-renowned Joseph Decuis LLC gourmet restaurant which, according to its website, is the, “only restaurant in the United States raising Wagyu beef on our own farm, strictly employing the all-natural, and humane Japanese husbandry practices taught us by Mr. Shogo Takeda.”
Are you a wine connoisseur? Check out Two-EE’s Winery (260) 672-2000 or http://twoees.com/). Or save the dates of Nov. 7-8, for Roanoke’s Holiday Gift Extravaganza where all the local stores collectively celebrate an Open House, and Dec. 5, which features Christmas in the Village.
Huntington farmer Mark Muntzinger, who owns Mark’s Body Shop in Fort Wayne, enjoys living in the county, not only because farming is good there but also, “The people are very friendly.”
According to Lori Hardy, whose family owns farms both locally and in Fort Wayne, “Huntington’s theatres are fun to go to, especially the drive-in.
“It’s like stepping back in time,” said the owner of Hardy’s Farm Market. “The fair is always an entertaining aspect during the summer, even if it’s just stopping by to get a milkshake.” Daughter Bonnie Hardy agrees.
“There are so many little things that make Huntington great,” said Bonnie, “and one of my favorites is the river walk by Forks of the Wabash Historic Park. And it’s fun to stop at Johnson’s Junction for a fountain drink and a snack.”
Warren holds a Farmer’s Market from 8-11 a.m. each Saturday through the end of September, in Daugherty’s parking lot, 534 E. 1st, Warren, and features baked goods, flowers, breaded tenderloins, vegetables and fruit.
“We like living here,” said Tiffany Gardner of Warren. “The kids play basketball at the Warren Civic Center and baseball at the Warren Baseball League. We also enjoy eating at Mecates, going on walks at the Forks of the Wabash, and camping, fishing, boating and tubing at our various area lakes. And we love attending the Huntington festivals like the Pioneer Festival and the 4-H Fair.”
One Markle summer attraction is the hugely popular swimming pool quarry at the Markle Fish and Game Club Park. The park is open for fishing, swimming, picnicking, tennis, baseball, softball and more (www.marklepark.org).
Although Tisha Deckena of South Whitley has not lived in Huntington County for many years, she vividly recalls her days at Huntington North High School where she graduated 40 years ago.
“Back then, Huntington was like any other downtown,” said Deckena nostalgically, adding that she also enjoyed going to the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival.
A huge plus for Carol Austin is the city’s mayor who, “is supportive of our physically and developmentally disabled residents.” Austin is the recreation specialist for Pathfinders, Inc. in Huntington.
Adventure-bound folks may want to check out Camp Timber Lake (www.camptimberlakein.com/), open year round and offering RV full-service sites, primitive tent sites and cabin rentals, with two lakes for pay-fishing, swimming, boat rentals and ramp, hiking trails, bathhouse and a playground. New on the agenda is the zip line (260) 672-3251; www.ziptimberlake.com), with 3- hour guided tours featuring eight zip lines and four bridges. This escapade is not for the faint-hearted. Participants must weigh at least 50 lbs. (age 14 and up) with a maximum of 275 lbs., must not be pregnant and must not have certain medical conditions.
So, all you ladies with fire in your bellies, put on your big girl panties, and be prepared to go zip lining for the ultimate Huntington adventure!