Thursday, November 30, 2023

Christkindlmarket and Dog Friendly Carmel


It was a busy and exciting day before as I took my service dog (then still in training) Teddy to Carmel, Indiana. My friend Jaimee stayed over with us at the Home2 Suites by Hilton. It was a bit of a tough night getting the little guy to sleep on his first overnight in a hotel.

 


We had requested a corner room, so no one seemed to be disturbed, but we were ready to get out of the hotel suite and let him run around outside.

After breakfast, which is included at all the Home2 Suites, we decided to check out one of the pet friendly city’s dog parks. I had asked around and Clay Terrace was mentioned as a good one by a few people. Teddy definitely agreed and it gave him a chance to burn some energy before he was back on my lap on the scooter “working.”

 


We were on our way next to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. This was my second trip there and I was happy to be back as it was my favorite in the U.S. The market, which does not have an entry fee, is a yearly event filled with food, gifts, performances, and an ice-skating rink.

 


I had to sample the Gl├╝hwein, a spiced, warmed wine that I had enjoyed when I visited Christmas markets in Europe. I can also never resist a warm Bavarian pretzel when I go to one of these markets.

I purchased a few things from holiday booths (they have Christmas and Hannukah), and we walked around for a while, but it was an extremely cold day, so we headed to the car after about an hour.

 


Before leaving Carmel, we stopped at a chain famous in this area, Jack’s Donuts. I got a peanut butter roll to take go and even found some doggy bakery items for a treat for Teddy.

 


I dropped Jaimee at her Indiana home.  It was just under two hours west to Champaign and I was driving with the sun as it set. It was a beautiful way to end the day, and what would be the first of many trips with Teddy. 





Saturday, November 11, 2023

Carmel, Indiana: Teddy’s First Trip



This trip was very different from any other, even though I had been to Carmel, Indiana, before. This was my very first trip with Teddy.

Although Teddy was born and came to me during the pandemic, he was definitely not a puppy I got because of COVID isolation. I had planned for two years to get a yorkie.  



I had grown up with a dog and realized soon after we got him I was allergic. I had to avoid dogs for years. Then, a friend came to stay with me for a few weeks and I realized that I didn’t have a problem with the hair (and no dander) of the breed. I prepared financially to get and support a full bred Yorkie. He came home with me in August, 2020.

Teddy is more than a companion. I’ve also trained him as a service dog. He can bring me things, such as pills, glasses, and my inhaler. He also senses drops in my blood sugar and blood pressure. Last, but certainly not least, he comes to comfort me when I’m upset or having breathing issues.


The pandemic definitely slowed down one of the most important parts of his training – taking him to public places. He had been to Rural King and a few local restaurants, and I was ready to take him on my trip to Carmel.

I picked up my friend, Jaimee, along the way. She lives in nearby Indianapolis. There was a travel showcase there for journalists to check out all the places to go in Indiana. I was on my scooter with Teddy on my lap.

 


Teddy wasn’t used to all the crowds at first, but Jaimee took him outside a few times so he wouldn’t disturb anyone. We made it through, and I collected information on places I’m still working on getting to. Indiana is filled with towns, large and small, that are hidden treasures.

From there we headed to Carmel, about a half hour away. One of the reasons we chose to stay there is because it’s very pet friendly. Service dogs are allowed everywhere, but since this was Teddy’s first getaway, I felt that he wasn’t trained enough to go into places that aren’t pet friendly.

 


We stayed at Home2 Suites near downtown. It was my first experience in one of these properties even though I have stayed at Hilton’s other brands a lot. It was a good choice. The room was extremely large and had a very well-equipped kitchen. There was also a couch for Teddy to get comfortable on.

After we got our things settled in and I had a chance to put my feet up for a while, we went to Carmel’s Peace Water Winery. This is an unusual place for a few reasons. First, they consider themselves “Indiana’s Napa Valley Winery.” All the grapes come from California for the Peace Water wines.


The second thing that makes this place so special really impressed me. They donate 50% of their net profits to charities, some local, and some worldwide. You can see exactly where on their charity wall, located at the winery. They have three different locations. All are in the Indianapolis area.

We sampled some wine, and I settled on Wishful White, a blend, as my favorite. Teddy was comfortable in this dog-friendly atmosphere, and we decided to do as we saw others and order some food from Muldoon’s down the street to go with the wine.  

The selection on the menu was pretty big and I settled on the New York Reuben with sweet potato fries, while Jaimee had a burger. There was a fudge covered cheesecake for dessert. Teddy had a few fries to go with his dog food. Like me, he prefers the sweet potato ones.

We headed back to Home2 Suites down the road. It was time to rest up for day two of Teddy’s first trip, which included a dog park and the Christkindlmarkt. We were hoping he was tired enough to sleep through the night in a strange place.

 

I was hosted on this trip, but opinions are my own.