24 hours in Fort Wayne with Maddie Miller

Name: Maddie Miller

Age: 26

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I make, hang, and write about art. I am an artist working in printmedia and sculpture. I write a blog with my friend Ellen VanderMyde called Form & Space, creating space for conversations about contemporary art and craft. I work at MKM architecture + design in downtown Fort Wayne.

How long have you lived in Fort Wayne? I have lived in Fort Wayne my entire life, except for four years studying at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

What do you enjoy most about living here? Fort Wayne has grown so much over the past few years, and it has been incredible to witness the change. I love living in Fort Wayne because of its proximity to so many other major cities. We’re just a short trip to Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, and more.

What would you do with 24 hours in Fort Wayne?

Where to stay

I have always lived on the southside of Fort Wayne, so I have to recommend you stay somewhere in the ‘07. You’ll really get the feel of what it’s like to live in Fort Wayne spending time in our historic neighborhoods.

Expert tip

Unfortunately, Fort Wayne is a very car-dependent city, so be prepared to drive around.

What to do

With only 24 hours, you have a busy day ahead of yourself! Start with an early morning hike at Eagle Marsh, my absolute favorite place in Fort Wayne.

Bring your boots for a hike along the Continental Divide Trail. The trail divides the Great Lakes and Mississippi Watersheds and winds through wetlands, forest, and prairie habitats. You are guaranteed to see a variety of wildlife, but if you are lucky, you might see the bald eagles soaring above the preserve.  

After your hike, head across town to Conjure Coffee. Have a seat at the bar for some people-watching, and enjoy a vanilla latte with a savory scone from GK Baked Goods. The baristas know how to throw down some latte art and you won’t be disappointed.

The baristas at Conjure know how to throw down some latte art.

Spend the rest of your morning visiting a few of my favorite shops on Broadway, Fancy & Staple and The HEDGE. Both shops offer a unique selection of goods that make for the perfect gifts. I usually pick up cards from Fancy and Staple and love Julie’s handmade acrylic jewelry at The Hedge. Junk Ditch Brewing offers outdoor seating, too.

It’s time for lunch! Drive down Main Street to Junk Ditch Brewing Company.

It’s been a favorite ever since it opened in 2015. Take a seat up at the bar near the TV. During your lunch, you’ll enjoy watching food documentaries from Anthony Bourdain and David Chang. It makes for great conversation on top of great food.

Order the burger and fries. You don’t need ketchup with these fries, the sambal aioli is far too good to pass up.

Back outside! This year, my partner Levi introduced me to disc golf and I think you should give it a try. Drop by Fort Wayne Outfitters to pick up disc or two and head out to Shoaff Park. It’s such a fun course to play and sometimes I make par.

Shoaff Park has a fun course to play disc golf.

If you have some extra time in the afternoon, visit the Fort Wayne Museum of Art on the Arts Campus. Woolgatherers: New Paintings by Heather Day is on my to view list. Day has created a monumental wall mural in the gallery that I’m excited to see.

One of the perks of living in Fort Wayne is all of the small surrounding towns like Warsaw, Ind., where you are headed to dinner at Rua. It’s just a 40-minute drive away, and it is so worth it for the vibe and the small plates. Order fried potatoes, falafel, farmer’s cheese, and your drink of choice.

The next time around In the summertime, you’ll find me on the Henry's patio drinking G&T’s.

We have an incredible parks and trails system in Fort Wayne. Next time around, hike the trails at Franke Park, or visit the flower gardens at Foster Park.

The hidden gem 

If you call Fort Wayne home or are a regular visitor, “meet me at Henry’s.” The phrase lives on their coasters, but also in my heart.

In the summertime, you’ll find me on the patio drinking G&T’s into the night and eating way too many french fries.

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