National Novel Writing in Fort Wayne

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

November has begun and so has National Novel Writing Month, the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. The point of NaNoWriMo is not to produce a perfect book ready for print, but to do a rough draft that can be edited later. The site explains that the nonprofit’s approach to creative writing is “for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” A deadline, a large goal, and other people in the same boat are great motivators to reach your goal this month. If you are a NaNoWriMo participant visiting Fort Wayne for the Thanksgiving holiday and you want to get away from festivities to rack up your word count, here are some ideal writing spots around town.

First off, there are scheduled write-ins around the city hosted by Fort Wayne NaNoWriMos. These write-ins will motivate you to write your novel by connecting with other writers and providing a study group kind of feel. Some take place at the Main and Pontiac branches of the Allen County Public Library system in Fort Wayne, and some at the Eckhart Public Library in neighboring Auburn, IN. There are also write-ins scheduled at Mocha Lounge in the southwest part of town and Firefly Coffee House on the near northeast side. All of these locations have plenty of room for a group to sit and chat. The hosts of the write-ins make sure there are enough power strips for everyone to plug in their laptop, and the Pontiac branch has extra laptops available for use if needed. The Fort Wayne NaNoWriMos Google calendar shows the dates and times for these write-ins. Check back throughout the month for any new ones scheduled or for schedule changes.

At the coffee shops you can also enjoy tasty treats. Mocha Lounge has a wide range of chai, coffee, and teas. Firefly has delicious smoothies to choose from and art exhibits to gaze at. Fortezza Coffee is another destination to visit. There are no scheduled write-ins there, but it is a downtown coffee shop with delicious coffee and a cozy atmosphere. Not a coffee drinker? Try their matcha tea. For a mix of the familiar and the unique, visit the downtown Starbucks at the corner of West Jefferson and Fairfield. It’s built in an old mechanic shop, and you can sit in what used to be the garage for a sense of being outside while still protected from the elements. Many people in Fort Wayne consider this to be their informal office, so you would be in good company working diligently at your project while enjoying a different sort of scenery.

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If you would rather have complete silence and want a break from the computer screen, you can visit the Silent Reading Room at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library. It’s a space with long tables and comfortable leather chairs where no technology or talking is allowed. It’s a peaceful place to sit and hear the scratch of your pen against paper. Later you can type up your words to add to your word count. Also located at the main branch is the ACPL Genealogy Center with the second largest research collection in the country. If you have extra time on your hands it would be a great place to do research before you edit your current novel or glean inspiration for next year’s novel.

Check the various sites, social media pages, and calendars for holiday hours and any schedule changes. And good luck this November on hitting your word count goal!

Faith Bell


A native Clevelander and graduate of Kenyon College, Faith Bell moved to Fort Wayne in 2013. She has enjoyed getting to know the city and the Hoosier state, from visiting festivals and bison ranches to any cozy bakery she can find. As an avid reader, you can usually find her not too far from a book and a cup of tea.

Rainy day activities in Fort Wayne

During the warm weather, it can be easy to get preoccupied with all the things we can do in the outdoors. It’s great to get outside when the weather is nice, but it can also mean that we forget there are ways to have great fun indoors. If you find yourself at a loss for something to do when the weather won’t cooperate and the kids are getting bored, try one of these great activities.

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Science Central’s Science on a Sphere is fun, interactive and educational!

Take a visit to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. These impressive gardens might make you forget about the rain clouds; walk through different climates and see tropical as well as desert gardens plus a seasonal changing garden. The Botanical Conservatory allows you to experience the flora and fauna of the world without ever leaving Fort Wayne or even the certainty of the indoors.

Another place to spend a worthwhile afternoon indoors would be Science Central. This hands-on learning center makes science come alive. They have a little something for all ages too, and you are never too old to learn something new. Make sure to check out Science on a Sphere, the traveling exhibit In the Dark, and the high rail bicycle.

For something a little more low key, spend an afternoon at the Allen County Public Library. The Main library branch has an excellent children’s section complete with a unique and fun play area indoors. Stop by on Wednesday mornings for story-time, and stick around for FREE lunch! Plus, sign up for their summer reading program to have something to do for all the rainy days from the comfort of your own home.

Going to the movies is always fun, too, and going for cheap is even better! Catch a family movie for less at many of our movie theaters in town. With many of their favorites playing, like Despicable Me 1 and 2, The Nut Job, and The Lego Movie, there is sure to be something they will want to see.

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Painting Fun Spot


For your resident artist, check out Painting Fun Spot at Jefferson Pointe. Be as creative as you’d like, pick your shape and your colors, and make a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. And, you can even create something that can be displayed or used daily in your home – from plates to figurines to light switch plates, and jewelry holders, there is something for everyone.

If you are still looking for something active, there are a few places to go to run out all the jitters. Take the kids to Crazy Pinz for an afternoon of unique fun. Spend some time cosmic bowling, play glow-in-the-dark mini golf, take a turn at some great arcade games, and even refuel with a little snack. Or, let the kids soar at Sky Zone Trampoline park. During open jump there are games to play and plenty of space for kids to perfect their jumping form.

No matter what you and your family are into, there is something to do in Fort Wayne, even when the weather isn’t cooperating!

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Tour Like An Insider: Don’t Leave Town Without…

We asked our bloggers about the inside scoop on activities and places you can’t leave Fort Wayne without trying or visiting.  Here’s what they had to share:

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Lakes in Fort Wayne

If you’ve never made it to one of Northeast Indiana’s lakes, you’re missing out. Find a friend and enjoy the water. You won’t regret it! –Heather Schoegler

Visiting the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo always puts our family in a good mood! –Kayleen Reusser

Don’t leave town without visiting the Botanical Conservatory downtown. With each season there’s something new to discover. —Amber Recker

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Visitors at the Allen County Public Library

If you have a few hours, or days to kill, make time for the The Genealogy Center. This place boasts 332,000 printed volumes and 362,000 records of archival nature on microfilm and microfiche. These stats make the Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library the largest collection of genealogy and local history materials in a public library in the US. It is the second largest collection of its kind in North America. – Lauren Caggiano

Don’t leave town without visiting the restaurants and bars on Wayne and Calhoun streets downtown. Whether you like pizza, pub food, or some authentic Irish fare, there’s something for everyone.—Amber Recker

Molly Zweig


Molly Zweig is a student at Indiana University Bloomington majoring in International Studies, Spanish, and Portuguese. She’s happy to be back in her hometown for the summer as the Marketing Intern at Visit Fort Wayne. Molly enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, and traveling.

Learn About Your Family History at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2013 Conference

If you’ve ever stopped and wondered where your family came from, wonder no more! From August 21-24 family historians and genealogists from around the world will gather at the Grand Wayne Center for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference  to learn, research, collaborate and experience the area.

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Over 70 vendors and genealogical societies will be on hand at the FGS conference!

Not a member of FGS? No problem! The public is welcome to visit the free exhibit hall, featuring more than 70 vendors and genealogy societies. Genealogy companies will highlight the latest software, books, databases and gadgets to help FGS conference attendees find their families, and tell their stories. There will also be genealogical and historical societies from all across the country on hand in the exhibit hall to show what they have to offer.

If you are interested in attending any of the 160-plus lectures, banquets, social events and research consultations being offered throughout the conference, you can register on the FGS Conference website to make sure that there is plenty of space for anyone interested. Even if you have a tight schedule, the FGS conference is worth checking out! There are single-day registrations available to fit your needs.

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The FGS conference will take place from August 21-24.

If you have never attempted to trace your history, don’t fret. There are plenty of opportunities for beginners to get involved. Beginners can learn about scanning; African American, Polish or German research; how to manage a local society;  how to write-up the results of their work – and much more! There are also workshops for more advanced topics including technology and methodology. If you’re not sure what presentation your skill level may fit into, each presentation is identified by its appeal for beginning, intermediate, or advanced genealogists. Several of the speakers are from The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, which is considered to be one of the premier US research sits for genealogy.

If you are interested in learning more about the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, you can find frequent updates at the FGS conference blog.



Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Beat the heat with Fort Wayne’s indoor activities

The thermostat says 90 degrees. Spending any significant amount of time outside is such heat doesn’t sound like much fun. What to do? Luckily, for you, Fort Wayne offers many activities and attractions to beat the heat, and kill boredom to boot. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get artsy: Wine and Canvas is a mobile business that brings the party to your favorite venues, corporate events or living room! they even have a local studio, now open in Covington Plaza! And of course, wine is a part of the experience and creative process. Artists instruct customers with step-by-step instructions through re-creating the featured painting of the day. At the end of the event you get to take home a work of art that you’ve created! The price is $35. Make sure to check their calendar for venue details. Bisque It Pottery Painting Studio is another great way to channel your inner artist. From vases to figures to piggy banks, they have it all! Items range from functional to just plain fun. The studio fee is $5 for the first piece and$3 for each additional one. (The studio fee is in addition to the price of the piece of pottery.)  Be sure to check out their various classes. Note: The piece can take seven to ten days to be fired, depending on the current demand. You might need to make arrangements for pick-up. Artlink offers various classes and workshops for children and adults.  The workshops have various skill levels from novice to advanced.  Figure drawing sessions with nude model are offered Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm. The sessions are open to all serious artists over 18 for a nominal fee of $3 an hour. Visit their classes & workshop page to learn more.
  • Get down: Are you an aspiring musician? The Sweetwater Academy of Music is the go-to for music instruction.So, what can visitors expect? They offer “a complete musical learning experience.” That means lessons and classes for guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, voice, and recording. Whether you’re just starting out or taking your skills to the next level, staff can match you with the right instructor for your playing style, personality, and creative goals.
  • Get some exercise: Kids have a lot of energy to burn off. Why not take them to a place where they can let loose  Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is huge arena is filled with a variety of walled trampoline courts.

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    Dive deep into your family history today at the Downtown Library!

  • Get educated: The Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center is the largest public genealogy collection in the country and boasts a collection of more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items of microfilm and microfiche. Visitors to the department also have access to major online databases that can be costly to individuals. Family records can literally be at your fingertips in a matter of minutes! Why no discover your roots today?


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: