Photography by Tony Valainis
Tour the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home & Museum (250 W. Main St., 317-462-8539) to see family heirlooms circa the 1850s and examples of the famous poet’s reach—he even had his own cigar called the Hoosier Bard.
The 5.6-mile paved Pennsy Trail runs parallel to Main Street. Look at historical markers and colorful birdhouses, and have a moment of quiet reflection in the Japanese stone garden.
Built as a movie theater in 1946 and beautifully restored to its Art Deco splendor, the H.J. Ricks Centre (122 W. Main St., 317-439-2482) serves as Greenfield’s primary performing-arts venue. Several local theater groups perform shows and musicals throughout the year in the 386-seat facility. On November 30, The Santa Clause will play on the big screen as part of Greenfield Main Street’s Home for the Holidays event.
“Le’s go a-visitin’ back to Griggsby’s Station”— so said James Whitcomb Riley’s poem by the same name, and in 2016, Griggsby’s Station (101 W. Main St., 317-477-7217) opened as a nod to the Hoosier Poet and filled a niche for pasture-to-pub dining. Meat and produce are sourced from local farms, and Hoosier beers rotate on tap.
Created to help make Greenfield more pedestrian-friendly, the Living Alley (35 W. North St.) shows itself as a normal parking lot by day, but with the help of sparkling string lights and local art, it transforms into an evening event space between Main and North streets.
Named for its beginnings as a Carnegie Library built in 1909, Carnegie’s—A Place to Eat (100 W. North St., 317-462-8480) delights with fine-dining creations by chef Ian Harrison. In the garden, bread bakes in a wood-fired oven and diners sip cocktails before moving inside to a timeless atmosphere set by candlelit tables and a pianist on the baby grand.
With a broad selection of house and seasonal beers and guest ciders, the Wooden Bear Brewing Company (21 W. North St., 317-318-1221)—Greenfield’s first and only— offers plenty of hoppy flavors at its laid-back downtown location, which is family-friendly. The building dates to 1895 and was once the Gant Opera House. Fill your growler with Growl at the Moon, a crisp witbier, or try a seasonal offering like C is for Cookies, a spice red ale.
The giant sugared-pecan turtle at Greenfield Chocolates (15 W. Main St., 317-213-7414) has satisfied every sweet tooth in Hancock County since 2012. All treats are made in-house using specialty chocolates from around the world—Belgian, Swiss, and French are popular choices—and the display cases offer row upon row of tantalizing truffles. Expect seasonal pumpkin, eggnog, and peppermint flavors right now.
Through the red door of the Nutty Mutt Emporium (16 W. North St., 317-468-0448), you’ll find pet supplies from collars to toothpaste, a self-serve dog-wash station, and a menu of baths and nail trims. It’s the bakery, though, that gets tails wagging. Everything is baked onsite using human-grade ingredients and is free of artificial preservatives. Don’t miss the biscuit bar.
With their modern-boho aesthetic and sunlight-filled corner location, it’s no wonder Francis+Fern Boutique (2 W. Main St., 317-827-0880) draws customers of all ages in the hunt for trendy pieces and basics. Kids can hang out in a teepee in the “little fern” section while you mull over Ambre Blends fragrance and Unplug Soy candles from Fortville.
For Rachel Holmes, owner of Indie Art Studio (2 W. Main St., 317-912-0282), “art is better when shared,” so she combined her background in teaching and passion for art into a full-time gig. Calligraphy 101 ranks as one of the most popular, and the holiday season brings “giftable art” events.
In addition to local coffee roasters, The Greenfield Grind (14 N. State St., 317-649-4500) does smoothies and a breakfast and lunch menu, with doughnuts provided by beloved Greenfield fixture The Sweet Shop. The space is bright and modern with lots of plants and plenty of workspace to accommodate laptops.
Porter Coffee (9 N. State St., 317-318-1717) is cozier and more minimalist than the Grind, across the street, with exposed brick and sunshine pouring through two huge bay windows. It’s also serious about the beans, roasting its own and offering tasting notes. The nitro cold-brew is borderline life-changing.