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Old 10-25-2018, 08:44 AM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
229 posts, read 137,219 times
Reputation: 204

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My two boys (ages 10 and 12) and I just returned from a 5-1/2 day visit to the area. We're from Southern California (LA area) and were there for two reasons: we're considering relocating to the area, and, even if that turns out to be a no-go, I wanted us to see a different part of the country and maybe enjoy some of the Fall-like activities. We had a great time, and the area is just as lovely as we were hoping/expecting!

We stayed in Carmel in one of the hotels along N Pennsylvania Street between 116th and W Carmel Drive. This was a great central location for our explorations.

Here's what we did while in the area and my impressions:

Flight from LAX to IND was an easy 4-hour trip. People on board were low-key and courteous. Nearby passengers were a bit chatty (I was hoping for a nap since it had been an early morning for us) but very pleasant...and I learned a lot about the Richmond area and Indiana in general by overhearing their conversation. The nice lady behind me even complimented my hairstyle when we were getting ready to deplane. The airport (including the restrooms) was spotless and uncrowded.

Drive from the airport to Carmel was easy with Google maps navigation. We did hit two potholes on the freeway, but in all our driving around, those were the only two we encountered. I was glad I had "studied up" on the roundabouts before we arrived. They are quite something, especially the double ones! After about a day and a half of driving around, I got used to them and definitely appreciate how they keep traffic flowing.

On Thursday evening, we went to Conner Prairie in Fishers for their Headless Horseman event, which was a lot of fun. It was a little chilly, but we (like everyone) dressed for the weather. From the local news reports, the weather was about 10 degrees cooler than normal...more like November than October they were saying. While there were plenty of people there, it wasn't crowded by our standards.

On Saturday, we went to Stuckey Farm in Sheridan for their corn maze, apple cannons, etc. Also a lot of fun for us, in spite of that day being super windy.

Other things we did/places we explored were Castleton Square mall in Fishers; Laser Flash (for arcade games) in Carmel; West Park in Carmel; Bub's Burgers in Carmel (and walked around a bit around there); Central Park in Carmel; and a bunch of driving around neighborhoods looking at real estate in Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, and Zionsville, including going to a few open houses.

Everywhere we went, I appreciated how courteous people were: standing in line, we didn't have people crowding us from behind (people seem to have a concept of personal space), there weren't a bunch of rough-looking characters around, and I never once heard the F-word...imagine that! Shopping at Meijer, a middle-aged man asked me if I needed help when he saw me reaching for something on a high shelf. Drivers were super courteous, as were pedestrians in parking lots. People did not seem to be in a rush, and everything seemed to be closer than it appeared on the map. I could almost feel my blood pressure going down! Traffic, even during afternoon "rush hour" on 116th from Zionsville through Carmel out to Fishers, was nothing like we have in SoCal. Now, I can see how traffic on 69 in/around Fishers could be bad at peak times, but we weren't in the area at those times.

The only homeless we saw were two panhandlers at the Allisonville Rd off-ramp from 465 by Castleton Square on Friday late morning. They weren't there a few days later when we were back out that way.

We weren't in town long enough (especially with picky-eating kids in tow) to try too many local eating places, but I am wondering if anyone knows of some good Mexican food...??? We tried Mi Hacienda in Carmel (which gets great on-line reviews), but we were unimpressed. Maybe the flavors are geared more toward midwest tastes, and being from a heavily Mexican area, we're probably used to more spice. Good/authentic Mexican food is something we would really miss if we were to relocate there.

As for "cost of living" impressions: eating out (what little we did) is no cheaper than in SoCal, and maybe a bit higher; gas is a lot cheaper; home prices for what you get are a lot lower; regular (non-restaurant) sales tax is 7% vs 8.25-10% (depending on where you shop in SoCal); groceries seem to be a bit lower, but not dramatically.
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Old 10-25-2018, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
3,854 posts, read 4,260,125 times
Reputation: 3959
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post
My two boys (ages 10 and 12) and I just returned from a 5-1/2 day visit to the area. We're from Southern California (LA area) and were there for two reasons: we're considering relocating to the area, and, even if that turns out to be a no-go, I wanted us to see a different part of the country and maybe enjoy some of the Fall-like activities. We had a great time, and the area is just as lovely as we were hoping/expecting!

We stayed in Carmel in one of the hotels along N Pennsylvania Street between 116th and W Carmel Drive. This was a great central location for our explorations.

Here's what we did while in the area and my impressions:

Flight from LAX to IND was an easy 4-hour trip. People on board were low-key and courteous. Nearby passengers were a bit chatty (I was hoping for a nap since it had been an early morning for us) but very pleasant...and I learned a lot about the Richmond area and Indiana in general by overhearing their conversation. The nice lady behind me even complimented my hairstyle when we were getting ready to deplane. The airport (including the restrooms) was spotless and uncrowded.

Drive from the airport to Carmel was easy with Google maps navigation. We did hit two potholes on the freeway, but in all our driving around, those were the only two we encountered. I was glad I had "studied up" on the roundabouts before we arrived. They are quite something, especially the double ones! After about a day and a half of driving around, I got used to them and definitely appreciate how they keep traffic flowing.

On Thursday evening, we went to Conner Prairie in Fishers for their Headless Horseman event, which was a lot of fun. It was a little chilly, but we (like everyone) dressed for the weather. From the local news reports, the weather was about 10 degrees cooler than normal...more like November than October they were saying. While there were plenty of people there, it wasn't crowded by our standards.

On Saturday, we went to Stuckey Farm in Sheridan for their corn maze, apple cannons, etc. Also a lot of fun for us, in spite of that day being super windy.

Other things we did/places we explored were Castleton Square mall in Fishers; Laser Flash (for arcade games) in Carmel; West Park in Carmel; Bub's Burgers in Carmel (and walked around a bit around there); Central Park in Carmel; and a bunch of driving around neighborhoods looking at real estate in Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, and Zionsville, including going to a few open houses.

Everywhere we went, I appreciated how courteous people were: standing in line, we didn't have people crowding us from behind (people seem to have a concept of personal space), there weren't a bunch of rough-looking characters around, and I never once heard the F-word...imagine that! Shopping at Meijer, a middle-aged man asked me if I needed help when he saw me reaching for something on a high shelf. Drivers were super courteous, as were pedestrians in parking lots. People did not seem to be in a rush, and everything seemed to be closer than it appeared on the map. I could almost feel my blood pressure going down! Traffic, even during afternoon "rush hour" on 116th from Zionsville through Carmel out to Fishers, was nothing like we have in SoCal. Now, I can see how traffic on 69 in/around Fishers could be bad at peak times, but we weren't in the area at those times.

The only homeless we saw were two panhandlers at the Allisonville Rd off-ramp from 465 by Castleton Square on Friday late morning. They weren't there a few days later when we were back out that way.

We weren't in town long enough (especially with picky-eating kids in tow) to try too many local eating places, but I am wondering if anyone knows of some good Mexican food...??? We tried Mi Hacienda in Carmel (which gets great on-line reviews), but we were unimpressed. Maybe the flavors are geared more toward midwest tastes, and being from a heavily Mexican area, we're probably used to more spice. Good/authentic Mexican food is something we would really miss if we were to relocate there.

As for "cost of living" impressions: eating out (what little we did) is no cheaper than in SoCal, and maybe a bit higher; gas is a lot cheaper; home prices for what you get are a lot lower; regular (non-restaurant) sales tax is 7% vs 8.25-10% (depending on where you shop in SoCal); groceries seem to be a bit lower, but not dramatically.
Thanks for the trip report and glad you enjoyed your time here! It is true, we have been much colder than normal the last couple weeks for October. And I hope you didn't experience any power issues with the wind on Saturday. I think I read at its peak, 45,000 people were without power on Saturday because of the wind. I know neighborhoods that border ours in Fishers were out, as were stoplights along highway 37 which I heard was a nightmare.


On the northside, I think the worst rush hour traffic you'd run into would be on I-465. The surface streets do tend to backup but not terribly. SR 37 tends to backup as well but I-69 has gotten much better with work they've done on it over the last few years. The I-465 interchange is about the only place it backs up anymore but there are plans to redo that in a couple years.


If you stayed mostly in Hamilton County, then I'm not surprised you didn't encounter many potholes. Carmel, especially, seems to repave roads that barely need it. If you head out of town on the interstates, there seems to be road construction everywhere.


As for Mexican restaurants, I know in Fishers, lots of people like Riviera Maya that just moved to a new location at 96th St and I-69. Another popular place is Verde at 116th St and I-69.
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Old 10-25-2018, 12:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
229 posts, read 137,219 times
Reputation: 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by ischyros View Post
As for Mexican restaurants, I know in Fishers, lots of people like Riviera Maya that just moved to a new location at 96th St and I-69. Another popular place is Verde at 116th St and I-69.
Do you have any chain Mexican restaurants similar to our Rubio's?

https://www.rubios.com/

Their food isn't exactly "authentic," but it is one of our favorites.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:09 PM
 
987 posts, read 397,993 times
Reputation: 2479
That wind was ridiculous. Not a common occurrence around here. And yeah, we went from 80 one weekend to 50 the next, apparently we are skipping autumn again this year.

I'm not a food connoisseur, but for Mexican restaurants I like El Rodeo and Tequila Sunrise.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
3,854 posts, read 4,260,125 times
Reputation: 3959
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post
Do you have any chain Mexican restaurants similar to our Rubio's?

https://www.rubios.com/

Their food isn't exactly "authentic," but it is one of our favorites.
Something with a coastal flair? Maybe Los Cabos? It's not a chain but coastal Mexican inspired food.
Mexican Restaurant Indianapolis | Los Cabos Mexican Grill

Maybe Los Arroyos? I've not been but they have 3 locations in California and then one here in Carmel.
https://losarroyosindy.com/

Also maybe Cancun Mexican Restuarant? They have 2 locations including one in Carmel. They seem to have more a Mexican seafood selection then the other two I mentioned.
Cancun Mexican Restaurant - Indianapolis Mexican Restaurant & Catering

We also have chains like Chuys.
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:09 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
229 posts, read 137,219 times
Reputation: 204
Thanks for all the Mexican food rec's...we'll have to check those out on our next trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyDancer View Post
That wind was ridiculous. Not a common occurrence around here.
Yeah, it was a bit crazy, but we get Santa Ana winds here (especially around this time of year) so not completely weird to us...just colder. Thankfully, we didn't lose power, and I wasn't aware that anyone had until watching the local news that evening. One news report said they were the worst winds since 1982!
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
20,994 posts, read 15,296,258 times
Reputation: 23804
Donatello's is a great place to eat downtown. I used to frequent Upland Brewery, Bub's Burgers for local fare. There are several higher end chains at the Clay Terrace Mall. Coming from the South, I found a lot of the food in Indiana to be kind of bland.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis, East Side
697 posts, read 351,113 times
Reputation: 1624
Market District at 116th & Illinois has a Mexican food stand inside--along with a salad bar, soul food stand and sushi. That's the best Mexican food I've had here. Mostly, I make my own--I can't find chili verde for love nor money. Pasture-raised pork is available, and the climate and cheap real estate make it easy to grow your own tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and herbs.

My canned salsa sold out in 20 minutes at work. (The pickles hardly moved.) So there is an appreciation for Mexican food here.
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Old 10-28-2018, 12:39 PM
 
Location: IL/IN/FL/CA/KY/FL
1,124 posts, read 799,941 times
Reputation: 1265
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post

We weren't in town long enough (especially with picky-eating kids in tow) to try too many local eating places, but I am wondering if anyone knows of some good Mexican food...??? We tried Mi Hacienda in Carmel (which gets great on-line reviews), but we were unimpressed. Maybe the flavors are geared more toward midwest tastes, and being from a heavily Mexican area, we're probably used to more spice. Good/authentic Mexican food is something we would really miss if we were to relocate there.

As for "cost of living" impressions: eating out (what little we did) is no cheaper than in SoCal, and maybe a bit higher; gas is a lot cheaper; home prices for what you get are a lot lower; regular (non-restaurant) sales tax is 7% vs 8.25-10% (depending on where you shop in SoCal); groceries seem to be a bit lower, but not dramatically.
Midwest Mexican has never come close to coastal Mexican. If you find one, it's a jewel. I've lived in Indianapolis and Louisville as well as San Francisco, and there is no Mexican food that I've ever had in either state that compares to that of LA and SF Mexican. As you said, catering to the local tastes. Same with Chinese food - I much prefer the Chinese takeout that I had in SF, and no place in the Midwest has a similar taste, but they're passable. Midwesterners (especially Louisvillians) LOVE their version of Mexican food. Even if they call it "authentic", it's not.

As for cost of living - most places in the country are similar in most categories except for healthcare, gas and housing. The rest are negligible differences unless you're talking remote areas like Hawaii and Alaska.

The one thing I recall about Indy being significantly different than most was in utilities, especially if you had an older home with gas furnace. In the mid 2000's, my boss had a gas bill of over $400/mo in the 3 roughest winter months. Mine wasn't nearly as high because I was an all electric house, but it was still higher than anywhere else I lived, with exception to Florida because I have to have the AC on practically year-round here.

In Louisville, I never paid more than $290, and that was both electric AND gas, whereas gas was billed separately IIRC in Indy.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:27 PM
 
121 posts, read 60,430 times
Reputation: 121
ImmerLernen, it is so good to hear from you. I remember on my old thread that you were also someone strongly considering relocating here. I am glad you have had the opportunity to visit, and it sounds like you are quite pleased with your experience. This is encouraging to hear!


I wish I had the time to visit, but graduate school/work keeps me very busy (I'm in D.C). I'm hoping to set up my own extended visit when I'm finished with school, which I anticipate will be by the end of August.


Enjoy the rest of your trip, let us know how it all goes!
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