Insider Blog on Temporary Hiatus


winter break 300x225 Insider Blog on Temporary Hiatus

Due to a website upgrade, the Fort Wayne Insider’s Blog will be on hiatus through early January.

Check back with us then to discover daily updates from our Fort Wayne Insiders – sharing the best of our community!

In the meantime, feel free to visit for events and activity suggestions!



Kristen Guthrie is the Director of Marketing at Visit Fort Wayne, where she has the pleasure of sharing Fort Wayne with our potential visitors! She loves exploring downtown and taking her son to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, where he knows more about the animals than she ever will!

Unique Holiday Shopping with Minimal Effort at the Fort Wayne Visitors Center

Here at the Fort Wayne Visitors Center we are proud to say that we carry a variety of holiday gifts which you cannot purchase anywhere else.

This year we have dramatically added to our prepackaged gift options to aid in your holiday shopping, in addition to the products we sold last year. They come beautifully assembled and gift wrapped for your convenience. Each option falls at a different price point so you will get the WOW! factor no matter your budget.

We have two different gift sets which come in coffee cups. The first is the Visit Fort Wayne mug (available in blue or green) with Hot Chocolate on a Spoon by DeBrand Chocolatier which is $9.75. The second is the Fort Wayne Skyline Mug with Fort Wayne coffee and Hot Chocolate on a Spoon for $15.

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Skyline mug with Fort Wayne coffee and Hot Chocolate on a Spoon

We also have a variety of gifts housed in festive holiday boxes. Our first contains the Visit Fort Wayne coffee mug, Hot Chocolate on a Spoon, Fort Wayne coffee, and a handmade coaster and ornament from Hedgehog Press. This beautiful assemblage is perfect for a Secret Santa gift at $20.

Additionally, we have gifts geared towards the reader or child in your life. The first contains the Skyline mug, Fort Wayne coffee, and a book on Fort Wayne history at $30. For the child in your life, we have a combo that contains a colorful teddy bear, slinky, light-up yo-yo, and light-up bouncy ball for $17.50.

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Gift with Skyline mug, Fort Wayne coffee, and a book

All of the contents in these packages are sold separately if you wish to create your own special gift. We also have gift bags and tissue paper for your gifting convenience.

We cannot wait for Holly Trolley and will be open for shopping on Saturday, November 29th. Come in between now and the end of the year and mention Holiday Code to receive 20% off your entire purchase. AND, just for Holly Trolley, a flash sale of our vintage inspired Fort Wayne t-shirts for just $10 each!

Visit us in person at 927 S. Harrison Street, or online at You can also call us anytime at 260-424-3700.



Come see Stephanie and Megan in the Fort Wayne-Allen County Visitors Center located at 927 S. Harrison Street. They are passionate about all that Fort Wayne offers and love to give personalized information regarding restaurants, hotels, attractions, festivals, and more. You can also get maps, brochures, and a Visitors Guide. Fort Wayne merchandise and souvenirs are also available for purchase.

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1 Response to "Unique Holiday Shopping with Minimal Effort at the Fort Wayne Visitors Center"

Amanda Reusser
Amanda Reusser
November 28th, 2014
This is a great place to shop quickly and in a nice, quiet environment. I'm proud of Fort Wayne's classy Visitors Center! :)

Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

HTS 300x199 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping! On Saturday, November 29 you can discover downtown and all of the local shops it has to offer during the Downtown Improvement District’s annual Holly Trolley Shopping Day! Park, shop and ride the FREE trollies from 11am-5pm and check out unique offerings from local businesses both right downtown, and in the Wells Street Corridor.

Participating downtown shops are:

3R Gallery
Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery
Botanical Conservatory
Castle Gallery Fine Art
Cathedral Books & Gifts
Community Center Popup Market
Cottage Flowers
Courtyard Wintergreens and Utopian Coffee Co.
Creative Women of the World
Dunkin Donuts at the Allen County Public Library
Emiley’s Haute Cottage
Fort Wayne Museum of Art Paradigm Gallery
Fort Wayne TinCaps Orchard
Foxy Ladies Art Posse Holiday Gift Market
Historic Fort Wayne
House of Furniture
Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace
Pembroke Bakery & Café
Prana Yoga School of Yoga and Health
Saving Grace Vintage
Science Central
Sharon’s Victorian House of Gifts
Stoner’s Funstore
Sunny Schick Camera Shop
The Wood Shack Architectural Antiques
Third World Fair Trade Shoppe
Visit Fort Wayne
Your Virgin Hair Boutique

Wells Corridor participants include:

Big Eyed Fish
Brewers Art Supply, Inc.
C.M. Sloan & Sons Funeral Home
Connolly’s Do It Best
Fort Wayne Guitar Exchange
Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot
G.I. Joes Army Surplus
Great Panes Glass Company
Hyde Brothers Booksellers
Indiana Mexican Bakery
Jay’s Mini Mart Inc.
La Michoana
Linda Lou’s New & Used Furniture
Morings Flowers
Richards Bakery & Big Apple Pizza
Wells Street Variety & Antiques

For those keeping count, that’s 50 (FIFTY) local places you can visit throughout the day! Need a little help mapping your day out with all of these options? Let me give you a few of the places I’m most excited about visiting during HollyTrolley Shopping!

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Emiley’s Haute Cottage features unique gifts. (photo via Emiley’s Haute Cottage Facebook page)

Emily’s Haute Cottage

Emily’s Haute Cottaqge is one of the cutest shops in downtown Fort Wayne! Offering everything from unique home furniture and decor, to locally made jewelry, Emily’s Haute Cottage is the place to go if you’re looking for something you ‘re sure to not find in a chain store. Voted 1st place in the Fort Wayne Newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Gift Collectibles Shop, this is the perfect spot to hunt for a gift for that person on your Christmas list that has fun and unique taste (or to buy yourself something fabulous).

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Just a few of the things you’ll find while shopping at Visit Fort Wayne.

Visit Fort Wayne

Obviously, Visit Fort Wayne is a must for this list! Stop by the Visitors Center for gifts that shout your love for Fort Wayne! Whether you’re looking for Fort Wayne branded apparel, or something uniquely Fort Wayne to celebrate our city, there’s a good chance Visit Fort Wayne has it! Want to find something a little more “luxurious”? The Visitors Center carries local favorites Vera Bradley and DeBrand Fine Chocolate too! While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to chat up their knowledgable staff who are always happy to give their recommendations of what to do and see in Fort Wayne!

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Browse Fort Wayne Outfitters.

Fort Wayne Outfitter’s & Bike Depot

Prior to this summer I had never been to Fort Wayne Outfitters. I had heard lots of good things, but never had a reason or opportunity to check it out. Once I did I fell in love with this hidden gem in the Wells Street Corridor! During much warmer weather, Fort Wayne Outfitters is the place to go if you’re looking to really get out and explore Fort Wayne from a different point of view. They offer kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals for going out on the river, as well as bike rentals to explore our trail system. For your shopping needs, they have a selection of apparel and gear, bikes and boats. This is the perfect place to shop for the outdoorsy person in your life!

hyde 2 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Hyde Brother’s is filled to the brim with books.

Hyde Brothers Book Sellers

If you have a book lover on your shopping list, chances are they already know about Hyde Brothers Booksellers. It is a truly magical place if reading is your thing. They offer over 150,000 titles, and are one of the largest bookstores in all of Indiana! I’ve spent many afternoons combing the shelves at Hyde Brothers, looking for something unique and interesting, and they never disappoint! You’ll find everything from first-edition leatherbound novels, antique special editions and newer titles currently flying off the shelves.

Now, start mapping out your day! Many of the locations along the Holly Trolley route will be offering special holiday items, one-day sales and refreshments for shoppers. Holly Trolley shopping is also great because with two trolley routes, you won’t have to wait long at any given stop to move along to your next stop! Holly Trolley shopping goes from 11am-5pm and riding the trolley is FREE! For more information, check out Visit Fort Wayne or the Downtown Improvement District. And, don’t miss out on all of the other great Holiday Fest activities going on all season long!



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.

Host Your Friends and Family in Fort Wayne!

Did you know that approximately 40% of Fort Wayne’s visitors come to our city because they are visiting family and friends? While this is the national average, in Fort Wayne, we consider these important visitors anything but average!

Starting this holiday season, Visit Fort Wayne wants to equip Fort Wayne residents with the tools they need to host their visiting friends and family in style!

 Host Your Friends and Family in Fort Wayne!

To prepare residents to be ambassadors we have created a new toolkit that you can find at! contains everything you need to host your friends and family – including weekly calendar of events updates, trip ideas, insider suggestions, hotel packages and more. You can even send custom e-postcards inviting them to explore our city!

For more information, check out, or visit us in person at the Visitors Center: 927 S. Harrison Street, downtown.

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 And, you can WIN a chance to host your friends and family at the Night of Lights!

You (and up to 20 of your guests) will win a suite at Parkview Field on Wednesday, November 26 to enjoy the Night of Lights fireworks, in addition to:

  • 20 tickets to the Festival of Trees at the Embassy Theatre,
  • 20 tickets to the Festival of Gingerbread at The History Center,
  • 20 tickets to for Ice skating at Headwaters Park,
  • 20 DeBrand Chocolates Prize Packages,
  • 20 Gift Certificates to Starbucks from the Courtyard by Marriott downtown,
  • 20 Souvenir prize packs from the Visitors Center,
  • And more!

Simply register to win at!



Kristen Guthrie is the Director of Marketing at Visit Fort Wayne, where she has the pleasure of sharing Fort Wayne with our potential visitors! She loves exploring downtown and taking her son to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, where he knows more about the animals than she ever will!

A two-hour tour of central Fort Wayne

Any time of year, finding something for the kids to do (and those kids can be of any size and age) can sometimes be a challenge. When the weather is beautiful, it’s time to get out of the house and explore your city.

In 1978, Clifford Richards and Pat Boice published an article in the Old Fort News entitled “Two Hour Tour of Fort Wayne Historical Sites”. We offer here a brief overview of the first part of this trip as something to do that will allow you to learn more about the city in which you live.

Begin at the Swinney Homestead on West Jefferson where Jefferson and Washington make the split and become two one-way streets. This home of the Swinney Family was once the home of the Historical Society. The Settlers maintain this property and offer events throughout the year. You can keep up with the Settlers via their website at:

Swinney Homestead 300x200 A two hour tour of central Fort Wayne

Then head down Thieme Drive toward Main. Stop along the way at the marker for the Old Methodist College. OMC was once the center of education in northeast Indiana. In 1893 it moved to Upland, IN and became Taylor University. The marker is right by the river and very close to the turn for Wayne Street.

As you look across the St. Mary’s River, you’re looking at the Camp Allen Area where young men were trained for battle in the Civil War. Camp Allen Park was the location of the first professional baseball game ever played on May 4, 1871. Fort Wayne won. See for more information.

As you come to the intersection of Thieme Drive and West Main, you will see the Aqueduct Marker. This monument, one of a number in Fort Wayne, is dedicated to the young men who swam in the Old Aqueduct. According to the OFN article, “The Aqueduct was a huge covered wooden structure which carried the waters of the Wabash and Erie Canal across the St. Mary’s River. It was located where you now see the bridge of the Norfolk and Western Railroad crossing the St. Mary’s River.”

Aqueduct Marker 200x300 A two hour tour of central Fort Wayne

On the corner of Main and Union, you will see the house where actress Carole Lombard was born. Don’t know who Carole Lombard was? Read this blog post from Tom Castaldi:

Drive on down Main Street to the corner of Main and Van Buren. The Rockhill House once stood on this site, the hotel where Stephen Douglas stayed in his campaign visit to Fort Wayne on October 2, 1860. See for a little more information about this event or The Old Fort News article “The Douglas Has Come!” Stephen A. Douglas and the Presidential Campaign of 1860 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. John D. Beatty. 72:2, 2009, 18 pages.

Turn left onto Van Buren, crossing the railroad tracks, and continuing about two blocks. Here you’ll find the site of the first French fort, established around 1700 as Fort Miami and an historical marker noting this. For more on this site, see

It’s easiest at this point to turn around and take Van Buren to Superior Street, turning left. A little way down on your left (about a block to Fulton) will be large grey house with white pillars. This was once the home of Hugh McCulloch, the father of modern banking. McCulloch was Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln, Johnson and Arthur. His home once faced the Wabash and Erie Canal. Learn more about McCulloch at

McCulloch House Low Res 300x223 A two hour tour of central Fort Wayne

As you travel on down Superior Street to the east, you can turn right on Ewing (which becomes Fairfield) and then left on Main. At the southwest corner of Main and Webster is the Edsall House. Built in 1839, it’s considered the oldest structure still standing in central Fort Wayne. William Edsall was the original owner and after his death, the house became Fort Wayne City Hospital, the precursor of Parkview.

From there, continue on Main to Calhoun and turn left. Travel north to Superior Street, turn right and stop one-half block on the south at the Canal House. You can learn more about the canal… and another idea for a day trip from Tom Castaldi’s blog post

“The Canal House was built in 1852 by John Brown, a stone mason and building supply dealer. The date of construction and Brown’s name can still be seen above the doorway. The ground floor was used as a place of business. Apparently the upper floor was rented as living quarters. In 1971 the Norfolk and Western Railroad gave the building to the city. It was renovated under the auspices of the Fort Wayne Bicentennial Commission” and later became offices for Arts United of Fort Wayne, which is now housed in the Auer Center. (OFN, Vol. 41, No. 1)

Continue down Superior Street to Barr and turn right. Drive under the railroad elevation and park near Freimann Square. Here you can relax a bit and get a close up view of the Anthony Wayne Statue. See and the latest edition of the Old Fort News with a photo of the statue on the cover. The railway elevation that you drove under runs along the site of what was the Wabash and Erie Canal. Two blocks to the west along Columbia Street was “The Landing”, where canal boats loaded and discharged passengers and cargo in the 1840s and 1850s.

Now that you’re in Freimann Square, it’s just a short walk over to the History Center where you can explore your city’s history in more detail. Remember, we have free admission on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the summer when the Barr Street Market is open.

Enjoy this, and other historic walking tours as you discover Fort Wayne!

The History Center


The History Center is the home of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. Housed in the 1893 Old City Hall, the organization offers a look at Allen County and Fort Wayne history via its museum, the National Historic Landmark Chief Richardville House, the George R. Mather Lecture Series, the magazine “Old Fort News”, its award winning blog “History Center Notes and Queries” and other programs. The History Center’s Festival of Gingerbread during the holiday season attracts over 12,000 people to downtown Fort Wayne during its three-week run with proceeds going toward support of the museum and its programs. The Heritage Education Fund provides free field trips to students in area schools.