STREET SAVVY: Downtown Noblesville

The new Nickel Plate Arts campus adds another reason to explore this quaint county seat.

[1] Design
In the market for a $26,000 Versace chair? Even if you’re not, head to the Platinum Living showroom for high-end holiday decor and design inspiration. Owner Jacquelyn Bilbrey, an interior designer, claims to have the largest selection of original European oil paintings in the Midwest. 960 Logan St., 776-8701,

[2] Snack
Pull up a chair at Sweet Home Cupcakes, which opened in May with a rotating selection of nearly 50 flavors. Among them are Miller Man (chocolate cake with vanilla Bavarian filling) and Miller Mama (white cake with chocolate filling), both named in honor of the Noblesville High School Millers. 937 Logan St., 987-5551,

[3] Create
Encompassing two restored historic homes, the new Nickel Plate Arts campus houses classrooms, studios, and a gallery. This month, see interpretations of Hamilton County winters. 107 S. 8th St., 848-3171,

[4] Celebrate
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Jack Frost nipping at your nose? You’ll find it at Christmas on the Square (Dec. 7), complete with carolers, free hot cocoa, horse-drawn carriage rides, and visits to the Santa House. Courthouse square,

>> IN THE KNOW: Aili McGill
Executive director of Nickel Plate Arts and longtime Noblesville resident

What’s your favorite spot on the square? Most of my time on the square is spent walking my dogs. I always like walking past the window of Smith’s Jewelers just to see the pretty things.
Any holiday traditions? My dad and I go to the Noblesville Antique Mall at Christmas to look for presents.
How does downtown stack up to Carmel’s? Carmel has done a wonderful job of creating atmosphere, but in Noblesville, the small-town charm is built in.

[5] Dine
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Hamilton is known for seafood stew, crabcake salad, and hummingbird cake—a pineapple-and-
banana confection with cream-cheese icing and walnuts. The atmosphere: “We have tablecloths, but we put white butcher paper over them,” says co-owner Vanita Clements. “So it’s casual, but you’re not throwing peanuts on the floor.” 933 Conner St., 770-4545.

[6] Shop
Donna Rugenstein’s new boutique, Whimzy, is an eye-candy feast of artisan goods, repurposed vintage finds, and trendy midcentury antiques. She leases booths to more than 50 vendors, but when you see the dining tables assembled from reclaimed planks and metal, you’ll know this is not your grandma’s antiques mall. 940 Logan St., 774-9405.

[7] Lunch
With exposed-brick walls, a restored tin ceiling, and a menu featuring from-scratch slaw and sandwich bread, Rosie’s Place diner is a throwback to simpler times. Save room for gooey butter cake, a staple from the owner’s hometown of St. Louis. 68 N. 9th St., 770-3322,


Photos by Tony Valainis; Aili McGill photo by Robert Herrington; illustration by Scotty Reifsnyder.

This article appeared in the December 2012 issue.


November 2012 — Irvington
October 2012 Fishers
September 2012 54th and the Monon
August 2012 Fountain Square
July 2012600 E. Carmel Drive
June 2012Washington Street
May 2012Carmel City Center
April 2012East 10th Street
March 2012The New Mass Ave