[Ed. note: This post is under periodic revision. If you are interested in this topic, check back for revisions.]
Almost everyone loves an airshow, aviation museums and eating out. Add camping, hiking, flea markets and history and you have Arcadia, Indiana, a living air heritage community that has embraced flying, aerospace and a whole variety of complementary things to do, all in one location.
The airport is unqiue. It was “built” after a period of building of community support. Much work was done to give the assurance of an airport that would never be allowed to expand to allow airline service or even business jets. This airport was designed FOR the community and to preserve and showcase the nation’s aviation heritage and the airport board fiercely guards that mission.
As an example, there is both a paved AND turf runway,but the 4000 ft. turf runway is by far the most popular. The 4000 ft. paved runway is long enough for most business jets but business jets are not allowed to be based at the field.
The airport is the centerpiece of course, but one which has attracted and grown thanks to pilots and aviation enthusiasts from all over the United States who have contributed to a family-friendly aviation culture that includes plenty even for those whose neck doesn’t crane skyward to see the source of a belching radial engine.
Getting around is easy. Buses an even volunteer-driven golf carts are everywhere and take you anywhere you need to go. Golf cart and car rentals are available at the airport.
The centerpiece of the airport is a museum of both aircraft and agricultural machinery. The Experimental Aircraft Association and Commemorative Air Force locate aircraft for the exhibit and maintain several in airworthy condition.
There are only two airports in Indiana with onsite restaurants. The Heritage Airpark is one, with choice of a Dog -N- Suds or Cracker Barrel cafe. The CB Cafe is a slightly scaled down version of the full size Cracker Barrel, an concept being tried by the Lebanon, Tennessee based eatery. The Dog -N- Suds has both a drive up format but also a dining room, a rarity for Dog -N- Suds. Both restaurants have large windowed dining areas with a view to the ramp and runway so patrons can watch aircraft take off and land.
Visiting on a Sunday? Catch worship services or a Catholic Mass at the airport chapel. In the summer, services and Mass are frequently held at the outdoors amphitheater.
The amphitheater? It’s a smaller version of nearby Klipsch Music Center, with a covered area with chair seating as well as a grassy knoll siting area and features live concerts, from bluegrass to oldies to rock, many which have minimal or no admission.
That’s all at the airpark. As for Arcadia-the-town, with the help of consultants from Ball State University, it has kept its Midwestern small town character intact while hosting everything from art galleries to restaurants for every budget and palate, as well as some excellent flea markets that operate mainly during the warm season. Wilson;s Farm Market, a regular at area farmers markets and locally famed for a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown vegetables and unusual “full flavored” delights, maintains a grocery in town. A farmers market also operates in an area known as the Bazaar.