Restaurant photos are naturally a frequent part of our travel experiences. However, one practical benefit of using your own home as your road-trip command base is you don’t have to eat out for every meal every day. A few times on this vacation, we settled for ordinary home-cooked breakfasts that let us unwind for a few extra minutes before takeoff to faraway towns. On three vacation mornings this year we incorporated early pit stops into our itinerary because sometimes we do need a change of pace from our groceries. This was especially true during the Age of Coronavirus, which may have been an ideal setting for the sedentary homebody in me but has been nonstop frustrating for the lover of new experiences.
Or at least relatively new. Donuts don’t exactly qualify as rare exotica. But this trilogy of breakfast mini-galleries isn’t all about donuts.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
DAY TWO: Monday, July 6th.
On our way south to Oolitic and Mitchell we cut through the middle of the town of Martinsville and pulled over for Knead the Dough Bakery, a pastry oasis opened in July 2017 in the shell of a former pharmacy. We have family in Martinsville who have somehow never revealed this magical place to us. They owe us an explanation.
DAY FOUR: Thursday, July 9th.
Before we sped north toward Peru and Kokomo, we couldn’t help braking in Carmel because that’s where over half of central Indiana’s upscale restaurants sequester themselves from all the other, lesser sides of Indianapolis, such as ours. They’re the Eagleton to our Pawnee, but unlike Eagleton they’ve yet to go bankrupt. From time to time we’ll sneak across their border, pose as affluent busybodies, sample their wares, and flee before they ask for copies of our servants’ tax forms as proof of our residency.
Anyway, our target in Carmel was Caffe Buondi, one of several restaurants surrounding Carmel’s own Market District grocery. Buondi was opened by a pair of Italian chefs trying to bring balance to the fast-food franchises that someone let squat on the same block.
DAY FIVE: Friday, July 10th.
Friday it was once again time to buy the donuts. This time we wandered as far as Castleton, which is a skeet’s shoot from Carmel but not quite as far north. Here there be Doughnuts & Dragons, which newly opened October 15th of last year, which means their first birthday is coming up. They’re among the very, very, very, very very few businesses I first learned of on Twitter and immediately followed. It was shortly after they began opening their social media accounts and months before the doors would open for real. Eventually I had to try them in person rather than settle for salivating over their photos.
It’s not just a catchy name: beyond the donuts, they stock a wide selection of board games for customers to borrow while they snack and enjoy amongst themselves. Well, at least they did before COVID-19 weaponized touching things. They also serve craft beers, for those among you who do enjoy your spirits.
Hopeful postscript: as of this writing, all three establishments have so far survived the harshest business climate we’ve endured in years. May their fortunes and foodstuffs persevere until our next visits.
To be continued!
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