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In my last letter I was telling you about our trip to Indianapolis.

I think I left you on the Canal Walk, an urban trail in Downtown Indy that runs past artwork, museums and other attractions — statues of mastodons; a steampunk clock that contains a spinning earth above the brass works in its pendulum case, steam escaping from valves in the top; a community garden (the kale still growing!) and the Watanabe Garden that rises uphill, a meandering path curving through the shade and prairie plants.

We really only saw the western end of the Walk on our way to White River State Park.

The canal is a ribbon of water hemmed in tightly with city sidewalks on either side, mallards floating sedately in the water, and that was enough to make me want to go back and walk the whole three-mile loop.

But the sun was heading down, so we’ll have to continue that hike on our next trip. We crossed the White River on a pedestrian bridge and entered into the wilder side. Not so wild, really, easy walking on a gravel path bordered by a rough-hewn wall of huge limestone blocks on one side and trees on the other. It was like walking in a tunnel of green and gold.

We were on a bluff with the river below us, and every once in a while we’d get a stunning view of the river through the branches.

The stones held the parallel drill holes that encouraged the blocks to break along a straight line in the quarry. Though the blocks were irregular, the wall was carefully constructed with smaller stones or bricks piled into chinks where the blocks didn’t line up exactly.

We came upon a series of stones inscribed with some history of Indiana limestone. A few yards further on we looked down the bluff to see an encampment hidden in plain sight under the brush, with tarps and plastic lawn chairs.

We passed bikers on the trail, and next time we’ll rent a couple of bikes and explore farther.

We had dinner at Burger Study, a short walk from our downtown hotel, but more on the hotel in a minute.

I’m glad we had reservations, because the place was hopping. An upscale bar and grill with a scholarly bent, the dining room had dark wood and bookshelves that gave it a cozy atmosphere.

Vintage books were even casually piled and lined up above the bar. The old-fashioned colors of the covers took me back to nostalgic times of reading my mother’s old-fashioned stories: the burgundy red cover of Timothy Has Ideas, the muted green of Old Mother West Wind, and of course the muted navy blue of her Nancy Drew Mysteries.

Their specialty is Midwestern beef, but they have seafood and poultry options, as well as a plant-based burger. We started with onion rings, delicious and crispy, but a sprinkling with parsley flakes added a fresh taste and made it seem, I don’t know, healthier?

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza at Union Station, which was perfect for a train geek like me.

Our room on the first floor opened into the main hall. In the lobby and around the hotel were “ghost people” milling around in 19th century costumes, getting their shoes shined, saying goodbye, taking tickets, going off to war.

These are realistic statues, all white, to remind us that the hotel is the ghost of a train station. Later, we wandered around and found the Great Hall in all its glory, with its curved ceiling with stained glass skylights and rose windows at each end.

There had been a wedding supper the night before, but it was empty now, so we wandered around upstairs and down and found luxurious lounges and waiting rooms.

But imagine my delight when we stumbled upon the Pullman Train rooms. These are hotel rooms in historic train cars with names of famous personalities on the side of the car: Louis Armstrong, Greta Garbo, Diamond Jim Brady.

Imagine sleeping in Amelia Earhart’s car. I can’t wait to go back. But here comes my deadline, so I’ll have to tell you next time about the museums we visited the next day.

Travel in Beauty; Tour in Peace; Blessed Be.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. If you’re missing your weekly dose of Birdland Letters in The News-Gazette, you can still read them every week in the Piatt County Journal-Republican and at Consider subscribing to support your small-town newspaper. You can follow Birdland on Instagram (@BirdlandLetters) and Twitter (@BirdlandLetters). Mary can be reached at or via snail mail care of this newspaper.