FORTVILLE (March 13, 2015) - It’s “Your Town Friday” and this morning we are headed to Fortville!
You will find the Hancock County community 23 miles northeast of downtown Indy. The town dates back to the mid 1800s, and today they have a population of 4,000.
If you’ve ever been to Fortville, then you’ve surely seen this fella--a large pink elephant drinking a martini wearing eyeglasses. He stands outside of a local liquor store and is a pretty famous face in town. He’s one of several large pink statue elephants across the country, but for Fortville, it’s one of their most recognizable landmarks.
After you’ve taken a few selfies, head over to Dolly Mama’s Museum of Dolls and Toys. You’ll have to make a special appointment, though. As owner Phyllis Baskerville inches closer to her 90th birthday, she’s slowed down and stopped giving her usual 90 minute tours. Many years ago Phyllis’ husband became sick and eventually passed away. To stay distracted and busy, she started collecting toys and games. At first, it was just a hobby.
“We’d go to auctions and flea markets and buy stuff and before we knew it, we had a load full!” said Phyllis.
But then she realized she needed a place to put everything!
“The kids thought I was crazy I’m sure, and they said mother we can’t help you find a building to put those because we all lurk so I called him up and found this church,” said Phyllis.
It took Phyllis two years to get everything organized before she could officially open Dolly Mama’s Museum of Toys and Dolls in 2000.
“Everything is categorized in the main room, Disney items, stuffed celebrity dolls, then we have regular celebrity dolls, not stuffed, we have antiques and a lot of dollhouses,” said Phyllis.
She knows what she has is unique so she enjoys watching and listening to people’s reactions as they walk through the museum.
“It’s the memories, oh my goodness, they come in the main room and their mouth drops, they say I don’t believe this I had that…oh I wish I had had that, it’s kind of neat because there are a lot of memories. The teens say this is cool beans, they saw things and didn’t know what they were. I’ve had people from five or six foreign countries: Canada, Mexico, even Alaska and Hawaii and almost every state and never advertised one time, all by word of mouth, that’s unreal!”
And get this – Phyllis doesn’t even charge an admission fee!
“For the love of it, that’s why, if it interested me at my age it would have to interest other people and I just wanted to share it that’s all, it’s that simple.”
Whether you’re looking for some melt-in-your mouth sweet treats or you want to stay a night or even a weekend, Fortville has you covered!
They’ve only been open eight months, but already Sunrise Donuts and Bakery is a big hit in town! On any given day you’ll see owner Katy Kitterman or her family members working the counter or baking in the back.
“One of our family members will always be here to greet you with a smile or give you exactly what you like: my mother, brother, or my father will be here! We decided to buy an existing donut shop and turn it into a bakery. We use family recipes and recipes from the existing bakery and honestly people around town have given their recipes too and everyone feels like part of the family," she said.
"Everything we make is hand made fresh, everything comes out of the fryer every half hour, on the hour and so everybody gets a fresh, hot donut when they come in. We make all of our own fillings, we make our own icings. Our sticky buns are made out of our handmade Danish dough and almost a pecan pie on top. It’s so amazing, it’s one of our best sellers. We have everything made out of fresh Danish dough, we have fresh fruit fillings, turnovers, white Holland cream which is similar to a white fluff and people drive an hour round trip for those. Our cake donuts are made hand made fresh every half hour."
And a little something extra for the kids to enjoy: the toy train set!
“Fortville was centered around our train station--that was a major attraction. Throughout the years we felt it was necessary to have a live train layout where kids can watch two levels of trains while they eat their donuts,” said Katy.
If you’re looking to explore Fortville or Hancock County a bit more, consider staying at the Ivy House Bed and Breakfast.
“We are close to a lot of attractions. We’re close to Indy, Noblesville, Fishers and the charming Fortville town,” said owner Linda Nolte, who opened the B&B back in 2001 with her husband. The home has actually been around almost 100 years!
"It was built in 1921 and it was built because it was the highest spot in Fortville. It’s a Dutch colonial, and it has three bedrooms, three private baths and a formal dining room.”
Linda says her guests are from all over the world. In just one weekend they had folks from Uruguay, Denmark and Canada! They’ve hosted many Germans and Brits as well!
“We offer a lot of girlfriend getaways, we offer scrapbooking weekends, and a lot of people that return over and over and stay here to visit their family."