Today, my family and I are relocating to Muncie, Indiana. Although I was born and raised in Muncie, my husband originates from Wisconsin and we have both been living in Chicago for over 10 years. Here's how we initiate new Hoosiers..
Frankly, Muncie has changed A LOT since I grew up here. Little by little, with each trip home, I saw new community activities, stores, farmer's market, restaurants--even new street names! When John, Levi and I would visit for holidays, we would take notice of these changes, and comment, "Wow, and you can actually park there!" (as opposed to our home in Chicago, in which parking for an activity can be an adventure worthy of Odysseus, and often at a price that would make Mr. Darcy shudder). The Muncie I left in 2004 was a nice place to grow up. The Muncie to which I return is a culturally rich, family-friendly city, a truly singular opportunity for Levi to have the perfect childhood.. We came to realize that this was simply too appealing to pass up, and traded our 1,100 square foot Roman ranch in Chicago for a safe neighborhood, a garden, a house we love, and close proximity to lots of local treasures. But what is there to do in Muncie these days, exactly?
In order to get John an unofficial "orientation," I tapped into the hivemind on social media, and got some answers. PLEASE NOTE, this is in no way an exhaustive list. .
Muncie likes to eat the following:
When it comes to stylists, friends recommend:
Shawnda Morris at Chameleon Salon
Jessi Fite at Sports Clips (see picture--she does cuts for the guys):
Alexx Sprong at John Jay: John and I actually visited Alexx, and we both loved the results. Here's the style she gave John
Daisha Hummel at Parlour
Angela Mader at Simply Beautiful Salon
Brother's Barber Shop (for the guys)
Suggestions for Art and Music Venues:
First Thursdays: Okay, this isn't an actual singular venue, it's a monthly event, in which the people of Muncie walk downtown and visit participating businesses (including galleries), and in colder weather may include a "soup crawl." I don't know about you, but I'M IN.
Studio Exhale:This is where you would go if you want to do yoga...WITH THE MAYOR. Also, they have Broga, Ballet Barre Blast, Tabata, etc. Yogini Stephanie Hutchison also hosts other events to help find forever homes for adoptable animals, such as YOGA WITH CATS and YOGA WITH GOATS. We didn't have yoga with animals in Chicago, so despite limited flexibility, but I'm not missing that.
Emens Auditorium: This is the big venue on the BSU campus. They feature a variety of touring plays, musical genres, etc. Some of the upcoming shows I'm hoping to see there include Artrageous: The Interactive Art and Music Experience; Kinky Boots; The Music For All Series; 1964: The Beatles Tribute (this will be my 3rd or 4th time seeing them, as they always stop at Emens); Elf: The Musical; The Revelers...I could go on. Probably best to just get season tickets.
Muncie Civic Theater: There are SO many upcoming events I would like to see happening at this historic theater--looks like Levi's first play will be Seussical!
Cornerstone Center for the Arts: Cornerstone has a CRAZY array of classes, workshops, and performances (some in conjunction with Muncie Civic). At some point, Levi will do Martial Arts and Rock Camp (taught by local fave Chris Swinney of The Muncie Music Center), and he can actually start classes as soon as he turns one with Family Art Classes for LO's ages 1 to 2. Seriously. Have you ever heard of something so adorable???
...And Places to Interact with Nature
NOTE: This is probably one of the biggest must-haves for our family, and one of our favorite things about Muncie. During my 11 years of teaching in Chicago, I realized how many students NEVER go outside. Frankly, it wasn't safe for them. This negatively impacted all areas of their academics, limiting their vocabulary acquisition, backgound knowledge and schema needed to comprehend texts, attention span--there's a great book on the topic, called The Last Child in the Woods. I DIGRESS. Muncie is unique in that there are several places to get wild, while still offering the cultural aspects of city life we wanted for Levi. Here's what my friends most recommend:
John M. Craddock Wetland Nature Preserve: This is a 27 acre preserve, which does allow bikes and IS ADA ACCESSIBLE. Go Muncie!
Cardinal Greenway: This is a 62 mile former railroad track--be sure to check out the interactive map on their website to plan your route. Honestly, there are so many gorgeous images I found of this trail, I Googled "baby bike trailer" to get prepared.
Morrow's Meadows: Besides river access for canoes and kayaks, a great playground, picnic area, lots of greenspace, there is a "life trail"--this is like an obstacle course of exercise equipment for strength training along a beautiful trail. Think: CrossFit a la Henry David Thoreau. We will be spending LOTS of time there.
So, as I said, that's not nearly everything--this is just a run-down from my social media network. If we really wanted to go over everything wonderful there is in Muncie, we'd need to start very early in the morning and talk all day. Actually, that sounds lovely--I'll bring the coffee.