DANVILLE — Eva Walker admits that she had never heard of Hendricks County before entering a contest this summer to win a getaway to the western suburb of Indianapolis. But after spending two days and a night with her sisters and a niece in Hendricks County earlier this month, she can't wait to come back.
"I just wish we would have had more time because there are so many more things we wanted to see," said Walker, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who was one of three winners in the TourHendricksCounty.com Win & Grin Getaways contest. "I definitely want to visit again and would highly recommend to anyone traveling to Indianapolis to stay in Hendricks County."
Walker won the Win & Grin Family Fun getaway during the summer promotion to encourage visitors to "Come, Stay, and Play" in Hendricks County. Nearly 3,100 unique entries in four weeks were received from nearly every state in the country.
Walker and her group, which included residents from Virginia Beach, Va., and Florida, visited Splash Island Family Waterpark, Monster Mini Golf, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Coachman Restaurant and Lounge, and stayed at the Staybridge Suites hotel in Plainfield. They also won a Sony Bloggie camera, which they used to document their stay with photos and videos.
Walker plans to submit a blog post to All Access Hendricks County, the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau tourism blog, to share more details about her trip. In addition to the prizes she won, her group decided to do some extra sightseeing in Hendricks County by visiting Chateau Thomas Winery, which was within walking distance of their hotel, and taking a trip to the Danville square for some shopping and lunch at the Mayberry Cafe. They even brought another friend to enjoy their "girlfriend getaway."
"Everyone in our group was just so impressed with the facilities, accommodations, and all there is to do," Walker said. "I know you guys probably envisioned a couple with two children winning your family fun getaway, but it was a blast for a sisters' weekend."
The second winning group arrived in Hendricks County last weekend. Mark Bellucci of Sellersburg won the Arts & Culture Getaway. He and his group took a couple of private classes with local artisans, stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon, and had dinner at the Black Swan Brewpub in Plainfield.
The final winning group plans to visit Hendricks County during the weekend of Oct. 6-7. Lena Starkey of Round Lake, Ill., and her group will enjoy an Adventure and Outdoor Recreation getaway including a nature hike with a naturalist at McCloud Nature Park in North Salem, indoor rock climbing at The Crag Climbing Gym in Brownsburg, and a guided horseback ride through the woods at Natural Valley Ranch before having dinner at Dawson's Too - Sticks & Stones restaurant in Brownsburg.
Photos, video, and a blog post of each trip will be published in the coming months on the All Access Hendricks County blog at www.TourHendricksCounty.com/Blog. That online blog, which launched last November, receives more than 3,000 visits monthly and recently added six new Digital Destination Experts to write about the various attractions, events, and other happenings in Hendricks County.
Now that the winners have been chosen, the Win & Grin contest moves to its second phase and has been renamed Go & Grin to encourage visitors within a 250-mile radius to visit Hendricks County through a mix of online and social media advertising. For more information, visit the website at TourHendricksCounty.com/GoGrin.