So when was the last time that you and a group of friends went out for a fun day on the town? If you can’t remember, then let us be the catalyst. Our “Girls’ Day Out” excursion includes a little shopping, a little dining and… lots of chocolate!
No, we’re not going to suggest a trip to the Big Apple, or a day in the Windy City. We wanted to focus on a smaller city that is easily accessible from many areas of the Midwest, and offers many hidden surprises for fun and entertainment. Its attributes may be a bit unfamiliar to you, but you’re about to get acquainted. The chosen city is Fort Wayne, Indiana.
So after loading up your fun loving friends, church group or senior group into a van rental (or a car rental), let’s head off to our first stop, the Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center. This newer, open air mall was designed with a Mediterranean style, and is home to over 60 retail stores and an 18-screen movie theater. Stores include Von Maur, Coldwater Creek, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, Talbot’s, Ulta, Chico’s and much more. There is also a Vera Bradley store (famous for purses, totes and other quilted products), whose headquarters is right here in Fort Wayne.
After a couple hours (or more!) of shopping, it’s time to take a break for lunch. We suggest Tavern at Coventry, located only two miles from Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center. The restaurant’s casual atmosphere is the perfect place to unwind, and offers a diverse enough menu to please anyone in your group. From steaks and seafood to pasta and salads (and even some Cajun food), there is something for everyone. The tavern also houses a great selection of microbrews. But don’t order dessert – read on to find out why…
Okay, we told you there would be chocolate involved, so get ready for our next stop – a tour of the DeBrand Fine Chocolates factory! The 45-minute tour is a chocolate lover’s delight. After a short video presentation about the chocolate making process, you’ll get to see three of their chocolate kitchens in action, and watch the creation of these decadent treats. Luckily, free samples are also passed out, mainly to avoid a visitor stampede into the chocolate kettle. After the tour, there is ample opportunity for some sweet shopping at DeBrand’s Chocolate Shoppe.
Tours are currently $5.00 per person, and include a $5.00 off certificate that can be used at the Chocolate Shoppe. For groups of 12 or more people, private tours can be scheduled Monday – Sunday (8:00a.m.-3:00p.m.). For groups of less than 12 people and individuals, open tours are conducted on Tuesdays (10:00a.m.) and Thursdays (1:00p.m.) year round, and during the summer at both times on both days. The factory headquarters is located on the north side of the city, not far off I-69.
Let us know if you’ve enjoyed a Girls’ Day Out in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We welcome your suggestions on other Indiana travel destinations and activities as well!