Butler University is well represented in the new book 100 Things to Do in Indianapolis Before You Die. And not just because it’s written by Ashley Petry, who went to preschool at Butler, earned her MBA here in 2006, and is finishing her MFA in Creative Writing.
No, Petry said, Butler gets its due because Hinkle Fieldhouse, Holcomb Gardens, and the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium fit the bill. (Plump’s Last Shot, the Broad Ripple restaurant owned by Bobby Plump ’58, is another of the 100.)
“Butler’s campus is right in the heart of Indianapolis, but many people don’t know about the assets we have here—destinations that can appeal to both visitors and Indy residents,” she said. “I hope this book can help spread the word.”
Petry said that after getting the assignment from publisher Reedy Press, she began compiling a list of places to see and things to do in the areas of food and drink, culture and history, sports and recreation, shopping and fashion, and music and entertainment.
About 80 of the 100 turned out to be things she’d already written about as a freelance travel and food writer for Conde Nast Traveler, Midwest Living, the Indianapolis Star, and other publications. Others were recommendations from friends.
In doing the research, she took her first visits to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum and duckpin bowling in Fountain Square. She also saw Crown Hill Cemetery as more than just a burial site.
“They have great tours and beautiful architecture,” she said. “A lot of people wouldn’t think to go there for a picnic, but the view from James Whitcomb Riley’s grave at the top of the hill is gorgeous at sunset.”
Petry spent last fall researching and writing the book. She said getting to be a tourist gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.
“When you live somewhere, sometimes you take it for granted,” she said. “Writing this book gave me a reason to do the things I’ve been meaning to do.”
The book 100 Things to Do in Indianapolis Before You Die is currently available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. The official release party is Friday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Indy Reads Books. It is open to the public. Petry will be signing books, and there will be an Indy trivia contest complete with prizes from the 100 Things list.