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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Designer destination: Carmel, Ind.

Courtesy Hamilton County CVB

Where is Carmel?

A city of 80,000, Carmel sits 17 miles north of Indianapolis. The suburb is 120 miles from Cincinnati; 130 miles from Louisville, Ky.; 200 miles from Chicago; and 255 miles from St. Louis.

How do we get there?
Four major roadways — interstates 65, 69, 70 and 74 — converge in Indianapolis and connect to I-465, which forms a loop around the Indiana capital. Indianapolis International Airport is 34 miles southwest of Carmel. Several municipal airports serve the area: Indianapolis Executive, Indianapolis Metropolitan Sheraton, Westfield and Noblesville airports.

What types of meetings best suit Carmel?
Venues are varied in size and style, so many types of meetings —corporate, government, association, fraternal, sports and reunion — are fits.

What’s new?
– Last year, Carmel opened the 1,600-seat Palladium Concert Hall and the 500-seat Tarkington Theatre. The pair and a smaller, black-box theater constitute the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

– The Indiana Design Center, home to Indiana-based design-related firms, is an anchor for the Carmel Arts and Design District. The center has been described as Indiana’s version of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

– The city’s 5.2-mile bicycle path is one section of the Monon Trail, which links Carmel to Indianapolis and the town of Westfield. The trail is adjacent to the Carmel City Center and the Arts and Design District.

Tell me about some sites worth seeing.

– Looking for interior design inspiration or a piece of original art? The Carmel Arts and Design District and its more than 100 arts and design businesses is a logical destination. The district’s restaurants and bars offer restorative food and drink. Be on the lookout for J. Seward Johnson Jr.’s Man-on-the-Street sculptures, so lifelike you’ll do a double take.

– At the Center for the Performing Arts, tour the Great American Songbook, a collection of music, lyrics, culture and history that covers Broadway and other musical theater, Hollywood musicals and Tin Pan Alley.

– Play Nine Men’s Morris or sing a period drinking song at the 1836 Golden Eagle Inn at Conner Prairie History Park, a 200-acre living museum dedicated to Indiana’s pioneering past. Other group options are Survivor 19th-Century Style, which challenges teams with threats faced by Midwest settlers. Expect high-quality programming; Conner Prairie is Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate.