Don’t miss these hidden gems in Richmond
As promised by billboards alongside Interstate 70, there are many unique things to see and do in Richmond. You just need to know where to look. Here’s what we recommend.
For the tree hugger
One of the best things about Richmond is the number of natural spaces there are to explore. As Annie McClung ’19 says, “One of the things I miss most about Richmond is the precious little forests! Spending all day schlepping around in Reller’s or Wildman Woods was truly the best, especially in spring when all the wildflowers were blooming.”
One of the most underrated natural spaces to hang out in Richmond is Thistlethwaite Falls. The human-made falls were once used to generate energy, but now they’re a popular place to fish or just hang out. There’s also a rope bridge over the river, with trails and a little fire pit on the other side.
The Richmond area also boasts two nature centers, both of which are popular as places to recreate and volunteer. The first is Hayes Arboretum on the east side of town. There are walking and biking trails through the forest, along with plenty of programs and events for all ages. The second is Cope Environmental Center, which is just outside of Richmond in Centerville, Indiana. Cope has walking trails and is a great example of the natural habitats of the area with a prairie and plenty of native trees.
Finally, Richmond has a great section of the Cardinal Greenways, a 62-mile bike and walking trail that spans five east-central-Indiana counties. It’s paved with good stopping places for additional exercises and bathroom breaks. The trail is beautiful throughout the year with views of agricultural fields, wildflowers and birds, and fall colors. There is an entrance onto the trail at North D and Third streets, about one mile from campus. Take a short ride or bike all the way to Muncie, Indiana where the trail ends.
For the athlete (or spectator)
In addition to options for biking, Richmond also has a roller derby team, which Earlham students, faculty, and staff have joined in the past. The bouts are fun to attend at The Skate, which has food and drinks, and some games to pass the time.
For the musician or record collector
Richmond has a rich history in the music industry, and modern music culture remains in live performances that can be found around the city any night of the week in coffeeshops, bars, and pubs. New Boswell Brewery and Taproom has an open mic night once a month, live music and a comedy night. There is also Blockhead Records, a jam-packed record shop in the Depot District that has every genre and a knowledgeable owner who will geek-out right along with you.
Richmond is also where talented musicians from the surrounding area come to participate in the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. They perform year-round for fundraisers, grand openings and regular performances. The sunset concert series comes highly recommended.
For the creative type
Ply Fiber Arts is a cute yarn and fibers shop in downtown Richmond. They have supplies for almost every kind of fiber art, and occasionally offer classes to get you started on your next project. The owners are always ready to hear about your goals and steer you in the right direction so that you can be successful.
If you prefer to look at other people’s work, the public high school has an art museum attached to it. Alison Finley ’16 says, “The Richmond Art Museum hosts so many events throughout the year, and they offer various classes that anyone can take as well. They have free admission to the museum and rotating exhibits! Plus many Earlham art majors do internships there!” The Richmond Art Museum hosts shows for students and locals, up and coming artists and also pulls from their extensive collection of well-known artists throughout history.
For the book lover
Looking for the kind of book that the College bookstore doesn’t carry? Head over to Two Sisters Bookstore in the Depot District. They carry new and used books of all genres, plus loose-leaf teas inspired by classic literature, which they mix themselves. There are also some photo opportunities with the Harry Potter cubby they put under the stairs, and a living room area that gives off serious Sherlock Holmes vibes.
For the history buff
Levi Coffin House is just a 15-minute drive from campus in Fountain City, Indiana. It’s a preserved historic site where Quakers Levi and Catharine Coffin harbored enslaved people escaping to the north. Visit to learn more about local involvement in the Underground Railroad, and Quakerism in the area with a tour of the historic landmark.
While in Fountain City, be sure to check out Fountain Acres Foods, a huge Amish grocery store. It’s a great place to buy things in bulk, which our outdoor education program loves for those long backpacking and canoeing trips. They also have fresh produce, yummy baked goods, and a place to get a fresh-made sandwich. Just make sure to bring cash!
Radford’s Meat Market and Deli has locations on Richmond’s east and west sides. “More students need to know about the affordable and super delicious subs they make!” Sven-Erik Nilsson ’19 says. They also sell local meat, sides and snacks that make a great meal at home or basket lunch for a day out.
Finally, there’s the Richmond Farmer’s Market, which is held twice a week in the summer and once a week in the winter. Earlham students helped to build up the market over multiple years and now it’s a wonderful maker’s market where you can buy fresh produce, quilts, jewelry, homemade moisturizer and even wooden furniture.
There’s something for everyone in Richmond, and now you know where to look!
- Story by Somer Eckert ’17