Staff Blog

Hearthside SuppersSarah Frey - Communications Assistant
Are you thinking about attending a Hearthside Supper? If you’re not, you should be. It’s one of our very first immersion experiences we offered. Hearthside Suppers has been around for 28 years and it’s still as tasty and entertaining as ever.

I had the pleasure of attending one of the test runs and it was a great experience! Here are a few tips I took away from my experience…
1.    Wear comfy shoes. You’re going to standing in the kitchen to help prepare the meal.
2.    Dress in layers. It’s very warm in the kitchen, pretty warm in the dining room, and a little chilly in the parlor.
3.    Be open to trying and learning new things, because you will!
4.    Ask questions. The interpreters are there to entertain so contribute to the conversation, ask questions, have fun!
5.    Lastly, pace yourself. There is a lot of delicious food. Try everything but save room for dessert!

Now you want to sign up right? You can get more information here: Hearthside Suppers. The food is delicious, the entertainment is wonderful,  and the whole experience is amazing. See you there!

Posted: 1/6/2012 3:32:58 PM by | with 0 comments

Yvonne Todd - Catering and Banquet Sales Manager
Do you know about the Café on the Common?  Or have you experienced the wafting aromas from the Prairie Grill? 

As the Catering & Banquet Sales manager here at Conner Prairie, I am a person that can tell you all about our wonderful food options. My department colleagues and I are ready and willing to service almost any food and beverage need that you may have as you plan a day at Conner Prairie – enjoying your membership or coming to gaze at the night sky as you listen to an Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performance on the prairie, or prepare for a special day in your families’ lives such as a wedding, memorial or just for fun. 

Café on the Common is a casual dining experience open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. during park hours. From salads and sandwiches to cool beverages and sweet tooth satisfiers, you’ll walk away fulfilled and ready to take on the rest of your experience, be it a balloon voyage or a stroll through Prairietown.  

The Overlook is what used to be commonly known as Persimmons and/or the Eatery. As the outward growth of the community continues, there are now many more options from which the casual diner has to choose; alas the Persimmons and the Eatery are no more.  However, that is good news for me! I now have an additional great venue in which I can assist a bride and groom in dreaming up their Conner Prairie wedding. We can also incorporate the use of the Featherston Barn, the Hilltop overlooking the prairie in full bloom or even the unique Chinese House for a very intimate event. Our rentable venues accommodate groups from as few as 10 to as many as 250. 

On a summer night, if you haven’t yet experienced a Symphony on the Prairie (SOP), you do not know what you are missing! If you have, but not yet this year, you’ll want to note our newest improvements to the SOP experience.  Guests have always enjoyed the casualness of being able to cart their own “imbibement” and food into SOP events. We now can make that experience a little more enjoyable as we offer beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks throughout all of the SOP events via the Prairie Grill and/our independent service tents around the Symphony grounds. Also, we have an alliance with a private caterer that has a tasty menu for box lunches to a family-style served meal.

If you haven’t thought about dining at Conner Prairie in a while, you might want to add this to your weekly bucket list.  Hope to see you soon! 
Posted: 8/12/2010 1:09:35 PM by Yvonne Todd | with 0 comments

Melissa Raveed - Manager, School Services
I will openly admit that I love going to festivals and fairs! Especially for the food, the fun activities, the fantastic opportunities to people-watch. My favorite is the Indiana State Fair. I have a ritual that I must follow while there: visit the DNR building, eat, visit the car display, eat, visit the Horticulture Building, eat…. I think you get the picture.

Civil War Days, Indiana Festival, Glorious Fourth - Conner Prairie offers so many great ways to learn about Indiana culture and our past while adding some exciting festival elements. It was great working Glorious Fourth this weekend and seeing so many of our guests enjoying what we had to offer, from watching the militia drill to playing rounders in the Conner Pasture. But the only thing was that I was WORKING! That does not mean I or any of our staff do not get to experience and enjoy at least a few of the activities during a typical festival day.

Typically, Conner Prairie staff is stationed in a certain area for most of the day during a festival. You see us helping with crafts, giving directions and generally doing our best to make sure that you, our guest, have a fantastic time! But during our breaks is when we get to enjoy some of the festival just as you do! On festival days, I always try to make sure I have lunch on the festival grounds so that I can experience some of the great food our vendors have to offer. This past June at Indiana Festival, I discovered my new favorite festival food- Elote Preparado. Elote Preparado is a Latin American festival staple that consists of an ear of roasted corn topped with lime, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and chili powder. I will admit that at first glance, these ingredients do not seem like they would yield an appetizing product, but trust me, if you ever see this at a festival- it is a MUST try! I also try to visit at least one of the scheduled activities. This past Saturday at Glorious Fourth, I attended Dr. Campbell’s Independence Day Celebration in the grove at Prairietown. From the recognition of veterans, past and present, the dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by the residents of Prairietown, to the singing of patriotic songs such as “Hail! Columbia,” (an early anthem of the United States, now played for the vice president at formal ceremonies and events.), the celebration captured the essence of how the Fourth of July was such an important holiday for people in the mid-19th Century. And it was great watching guests actively participating and enjoying the ceremony.

So, I’ve given you some insight about why I love festivals and fairs and how I try to enjoy what we have to offer while working hard to make sure you have a great time. What do you love about attending festivals and fairs?
Posted: 7/8/2010 8:49:26 AM by | with 0 comments

Country Fair
By Adam Bouse

This isn’t a commercial, I promise. But the food at the new Café on the Common is … delicious!

As a Hoosier, I know a thing or two about eating. Having been to my fair share of church luncheons, I know a thing or two about potlucks. But, honestly, I hadn’t truly eaten until I came to Conner Prairie. Working in 1886 Liberty Corner, I was introduced to this idea of “freshly picked food.” I don’t know if you’ve ever had any fresh food, but it doesn’t taste anything like fake food from the grocery store. And my food palette dramatically increased: pickled beats, rice pudding, blackberry mush – the list goes on and on. I even made bread pudding at home the other day, on my day off, using some of the tricks of the trade I’ve learned here. A touch of Olde Timey cooking, a dash of America’s Test Kitchen.

Of course, on major event days at Conner Prairie (like Glorious Fourth and Country Fair), we have giant turkey legs and corn on the cob and bratwurst with sauerkraut. Transylvanian Sweet Chimney Bread. Kettle Corn. Are you hungry yet?

The Café has apple dumplings with the best custard I’ve ever tasted. Great sandwiches, too. On special days, guests are able to “taste the past” by eating gingerbread or cornbread in the historic areas (secret touch from the past: add a bit of brown sugar to your cornbread. You can thank me later). Of course, it’s impossible to top the Hearthside Supper program during the winter.

Again, this isn’t a commercial – it’s just lunchtime and I’m a Hoosier. And it just turns out there are some great eats at Conner Prairie.
Posted: 6/12/2009 9:51:07 AM by | with 0 comments

One of the most exciting things about spring, at Conner Prairie and elsewhere, is fresh food growing in the garden! Who doesn't love the first bowl of fresh strawberries or blueberries each year?!

Now, I'll admit that I've always hated peas, asparagus, and lima beans. But when I first tasted them fresh from the Liberty Corner garden, I quickly realized that what I was eating out of a can or from a frozen bag were not actually peas or limas - blech!. I was so naive - EVERYTHING tastes better fresh from the garden.

My favorite thing, the food I look forward to most in the early spring is a fresh-from-the-oven rhubarb pie! Mmmmm!

I was just recently reading that seed companies all over the country are reporting between 20 and 30% higher sales - people want to spend less on food these days, they want to eat fresh, and it feels so good to grow your own food! The Indy Star just had an article giving tips for starting your own garden. And now is the best time to start - from now until mid-May, you can get great results that you can take to the kitchen!

At Conner Prairie, we have SEVEN fully-functional gardens in the historic areas. Opening Day is Thursday, April 2. And over the next few weeks, anybody is more than welcome to come and help start the season by taking part in planting the gardens.

Here's the garden plan for 1886 Liberty Corner:

Liberty Corner garden plan


What are you growing in your garden? What are your favorite spring foods fresh from the garden?

Posted: 3/30/2009 11:54:09 PM by | with 0 comments

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