Twelve hours and 765 miles—as the crow flies—south east of Indianapolis lies the ever-popular vacation destination, Hilton Head Island. And every spring, a fair share of Hoosiers along with other Midwesterners and holiday-bound travelers, head towards the island in search of warmer weather, pristine beaches, glorious golf courses and peace of mind. But of course, even knowing one’s off for a fun-filled vacation doesn’t mask the fact that you’re about to spend the better half of a day in the car. On your hinny. Driving.
Well, despair no more my fellow voyagers—those 12 hours can be enjoyable … all you have to do is take heed and follow the path here to find farm-fresh food, locally-roasted flavorful coffee and the perfect place to stretch your legs all while looking forward to your final destination and of course, that aforementioned peace of mind.
5 a.m. Hit the road, Jack! Or Jennifer, or Rachel or Todd or whatever your name is.
7 a.m. Two hours out of Indy, time for some caffeine in Cinci—check out any one of these well respected, locally owned coffee shops for your morning brew:
BLOC Coffee Company 3101 Price Ave | bloccoffeecompany.com
Collective Espresso 207 Woodward St | collectiveespresso.com
Deeper Roots Coffee 3056 Madison Rd | deeperrootscoffee.com
8:30 a.m. Fuel up in Lexington at one of these breakfast hotspots:
Lexington Diner 124 N Upper St | lexingtondiner.com MUST HAVE: The Smoked Gouda Omelette with scallions, tomato, applewood bacon, smoked gouda and mushrooms.
Broomwagon | 800 N Limestone St | broomwagonbikes.com MUST HAVE: A traditional Breakfast Wrap with eggs, mozzarella and tomato OR keep it simple and order a chocolate croissant and (more) coffee from neighboring roaster The Magic Bean.
Distilled at Gratz Park |120 W 2nd St |distilledatgratzparkinn.com MUST HAVE: Buttermilk Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes with fresh berries, maple syrup, butter and bacon.
11 a.m. Good news, you’ve made it to the halfway point. Time to stop and stretch your legs at the site of the 1982 World’s Fair. Note, the fountain is closed Nov. through mid-April, but even without the massive water attraction, the park is a beautiful, entertaining place to take a short—or long—pit stop. Visit their website for a map of the park. World’s
Fair Park 954 World’s Fair Park Drive | worldsfairpark.org
1-3 p.m. If you’re making decent time and you stopped in Knoxville for say 20-90 minutes, then it’s somewhere in the early afternoon. Time to grab a snack in Asheville, NC or do a light lunch at one of these farm-to-table restaurants:
Homegrown 371 Merrimon Ave | slowfoodrightquick.com SERVES: Everything from Falentil to Empanadas to Pommes Frietes to Hummus to Burgers and Burritos
Chestnut 48 Biltmore Ave | chestnutasheville.com SERVES: For adults, Fried Oyster Rockefeller Salad (that sounds divine!), French Dips, Reubens and more; For kids Sliders, Mac & Cheese and PB n J (or banana or honey). Rhubarb 7 SW Pack Sq | rhubarbasheville.com SERVES: An amazing menu of small bites to share like Mongolian BBQ Lamb Ribs with collard green kimchi; Goat Cheese Burrata with beets, crispy basil, apple chutney, butternut squash aigre doux and crostini; and Bliss Pumpkin Angolotti.
4-5:30 p.m. Have another caffeine hit in Columbia, SC from one of these purveyors of locally-roasted beans:
The Wired Goat Vista 709 Gervais St | wiredgoat.cafe
Drip 729 Saluda Ave | dripcolumbia.com
Cool Beans Coffee Shop 1217 College St | coolbeanscoffeecompany.net
Kaminskys 930 Gervais St | kaminskys.com
6:30-8 p.m. Woo Hoo!!! Settle in with dinner and a drink (now that you’ve arrived) at any one of the fabulous craft-cocktail spots, fresh seafood eateries or a famed farm-to-table restaurant on Hilton Head Island. For ideas, check out what our friends over at Yelp have to say … go to yelp.com and search for whatever you’ve got a hankering for … or, heck, find a pillow and have a glass of wine while you watch the sunset from your vacation destination and breathe in that peace of mind. Enjoy!