A BUCKET LIST OF INDY FUN: Greenfield author compiles book of Indianapolis highlights

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Staff reports

None of us like to be reminded of our own mortality, especially from a light-hearted tourism book, but Ashley Petry, the author of “100 Things to Do in Indianapolis Before You Die,” sees it differently.

“There’s a bucket on the cover,” Petry said. “It’s the idea of a bucket list.”

The book, now in its second edition, is broken up into sections: food and drink; sports and recreation; culture and history; shopping and music; and entertainment. It includes the obvious Indianapolis highlights such as the Indianapolis 500 and The Children’s Museum, but it also includes under-the-radar type places like the Rhythm! Discovery Center and the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium.

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The Rhythm! Discovery Center, located in downtown Indianapolis at 110 W. Washington St., is a drum and percussion museum that features interactive exhibits and an extensive collection of historic artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments. Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium, located on the Butler University campus, is one of the largest public observatories in the world and contains the ninth-largest telescope east of the Mississippi River.

The book is part of a travel series put out by Reedy Press, a specialty publishing company out of St. Louis. Among the “100 Things to Do” series are guidebooks for San Francisco, New Orleans, Orlando and Denver.

Petry, a 1999 graduate of Greenfield-Central High School, has been a freelance travel writer for the last 15 years. Her good relationship with Visit Indy, the official tourism bureau for Indianapolis, made her the obvious choice when Reedy Press came calling for a recommendation to write the book.

In publicizing the book, Petry has enjoyed talking about all her favorite things about the city. Among her favorites are the Strawberry Festival at the Christ Church Cathedral and Evensong, an evening service at the church on Thursdays from September through May.

Another favorite high on Petry’s list was the opportunity to research and write up the best of the Hoosier culinary scene.

“Breaded pork tenderloin,” she said. “I listed several options because I know it’s a hotly debated topic.”

But being a vegetarian, Petry declined to choose a favorite.

She had no trouble identifying 100 things to do in Indianapolis. In fact, she had to trim down her list quite a bit, but she hopes to include many of those omitted entries in “Secret Indianapolis.”

Reedy Press is also publisher to the “Secret” series including “Secret Philadelphia” and “Secret Detroit.” Petry hopes to include a number of places and events that are not in the “100 Things to Do” guide, such as the Gen Con gaming convention.

Reedy Press recently released the second edition of “100 Things to Do in Indianapolis Before You Die.”

A lot has changed in three years since the first edition, Petry admits. In addition to the closure of Theatre on the Square and a new location for the Phoenix Theatre, Petry had to rewrite the entire restaurant section.

The audience for the book is wide and varied, Petry said.

“The book is good for people who have lived here for a long time and for new people,” Petry said. “There are things that people who have lived here have never gotten around to because you don’t think about being a tourist in your own town.”

The book is available on Amazon.com and most Indianapolis-area bookstores.