In case you don’t know me, I’m a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. I make my living from music, and I travel all over the place for my job. In the last few years, I’ve been to 43 states, 3 different continents, and covered over a million miles. No matter where the road takes me, I’m always really grateful to come back to my home in Indiana, Wayne County.
I didn’t always appreciate it; like most folks, I couldn’t wait to get out and see something different when I was first starting out. Fortunately, experiencing different cultures across the globe is a true benefit of being a professional musician. It also served to show me just how good we have it in the place where I grew up. I wanted to take a moment to highlight just a few of my favorite places and sights to see in the area.
(Photo from Spokesrider.com)
Cambridge City is a vibrant little village on US 40, the Old National Road. Two large murals by Wayne County artist Pam Bliss serve as centerpieces in the framework of this historic town filled with antique shops. You can easily spend hours on a Saturday afternoon strolling from one historic building to the next. If all of that antique browsing works up an appetite, you could stop by the No. 9 Grill for a steak, or El Cazador for tacos. I recommend you grab an afternoon latte and ice cream at Main Street Sweets to top it all off.
My fiancee and I live just a couple of miles up the road in Dublin, and we never tire of driving down the hill to Cambridge. It’s simply wonderful.
Roscoe’s Coffee Bar and Tap Room, Richmond
Just 20 minutes from Cambridge City is the town of Richmond. There is a whole lot to like about this community, but the first thing I’d like to mention is my favorite coffeeshop in the world.
I’ve sampled the Wiener Melange at Cafe Central in Vienna and had my share of delightful Flat Whites in Melbourne, but for me, it doesn’t get much better than a Cappuccino at Roscoe’s. They have two locations, one in the Historic Depot District, and one on the more commercial East Side. You can’t go wrong with either, but my personal favorite is the cozy East Side location, with its wall made from cassette tapes and outdoor patio.
New Boswell Brewery and Taproom
Speaking of the Historic Depot District, you can find another of my favorite places there, just down the street from Roscoe’s. Located in the old Jones Hardware building (which dates back to the turn of the 20th century), New Boswell serves up tasty craft beer and some of Richmond’s finest live music. The atmosphere strikes the perfect balance between historic and modern industrial. A large stage anchors one end of the building, with great views of the old train depot serving as the backdrop. Their weekly Monday night open mic is a particularly great community event.
(Photo by Joe Augustin/Achilles Tenderloin)
To me, the amazing thing about Richmond is that it has everything you could want from a big city, without any of the traffic-and-parking related hassles that can come along with that. Richmond offers a symphony orchestra, an art museum, a theater company, and tons of great local restaurants. Want BBQ? You can get it at The Firehouse BBQ and Blues. Farm-to-table fare? Just drop by the Kitchen at the Loft. How about Indian? Gulzar’s has you covered. Not to mention a health food store, a record shop, and all of the commercial shopping options you could ask for.
I haven’t even gotten into the terrific musical heritage of Starr-Gennett Records, a place where jazz titans like Louis Armstrong, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, and blues legends Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Patton, and Blind Lemon Jefferson all recorded in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
(Photo by Steven Foster at the Firehouse BBQ & Blues: Mural by Pam Bliss)
In the interest of brevity, I’ve only mentioned two cities. There is so much more I could have written about, which I hope will help to prove my point. When it comes to arts, culture, cuisine, and heritage, Wayne County has a great deal to offer. That’s why my fiancee and I chose to put our roots down here, and why we’d never want to live elsewhere.
It’s good to be home.
-Brian Keith Wallen