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    Though nowadays you don’t have much chance of spotting Orlando Bloom or Kirsten Dunst filming, Elizabethtown continues to have plenty to offer. If you’re from one of the smaller towns surrounding Elizabethtown - familiarly known as Etown - you probably visit for the Target and the mall, but the city has so much more to offer (not that Target isn’t plenty by itself). Just 45 minutes away from Louisville, spend a day in Etown and discover the historic city hiding behind the strip malls.

    The first order of business on any visit to Etown is a stop by Vibe Coffee. In 2011, Heartland Whole Life (a natural foods store) began selling locally roasted coffee. When a space on the historic, downtown square of Elizabethtown opened up, the store moved, and they opened up a coffee shop, later christened Vibe Coffee, next door. With a cozy feel, piping hot coffee, and delicious pastries, it’s a perfect start to the day.

    Image: Vibe Coffee Facebook

    While downtown, you might as well check out shops more locally based than the Towne Mall’s JCPenny. Walker Layne Boutique and Ali’s Bubblegum Boutique have trendy clothing, and Swanky Shoppe carries attire for women and children, as well as jewelry. Off the square, La Te Da helps you plan for and decorate any kind of party, while Cottage Charm offers gifts and décor. For antiques and thrifting, D.J.’s Antiques and Buried Treasure have you covered.

    Image: Ali's Bubblegum Boutique Facebook

    For classic, café-style food, Roxie’s is a must. They offer a hearty range of choice.  From their piping hot soups, to the “Deluxe Justice Burger” and perfectly melted mac ‘n’ cheese, Roxie’s has something for everyone - including the pickiest of eaters.

    Image: Roxie's-Etown Facebook

    A haven for both the historically minded and the car enthusiast, the Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum has cars dating from the 1900s. Touring the museum is free, and if you simply can’t tear yourself away at the end, drive off in antique of your own because they don’t just show cars - they sell them, too.

    Image: Swope's Cars of Yesteryear Museum

    While away from the metropolitan area - and once the weather starts warming up - you might as well take advantage of all that country living has to offer. Freeman Lake Park has rowboats and paddle boats available for rent by the hour, and facility fishing permits are available daily. The park is also known for the three historical sites contained in its bounds: The Lincoln Heritage House (a log cabin which Abraham Lincoln’s father helped to build), the Hardin County One-Room School House (built in 1892 and now restored), and the Sarah Bush Johnston Log Cabin (a 1992 replica of the Elizabethtown cabin Sarah was in living in when she married Thomas Lincoln and became Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother).

    Image: Courtesy of Tanya Serna's Facebook

    Back Home Restaurant completes the food portion of any visit to Elizabethtown by more than living up to its name.  This is down-home cooking in all its delicious and amazing artery-clogging glory. Their sweet potato casserole and fried green tomatoes are particularly well known and well worth a try. Diners are separated by room, since the restaurant is situated in a historic home, and - if you’re not already shopped out - before or after eating be sure to check out O’Neals Boutique on the second floor of the building for fashionable finds.


    Beginning February 12, Steel Magnolias will be performed at the Hardin County Playhouse, with Of Mice and Men and Monty Python’s Spamalot to follow in April and June, respectively. Located at the Plum Alley Theater, the Hardin County Playhouse is a community theater that is currently in its 46th season.

    Image: Hardin County Playhouse Facebook

    Just down the street from Plum Alley is the historic State Theater. After opening in 1942, the theater brought feature films to Elizabethtown for almost 20 years before closing with a screening of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.  Now “restored to reflect its original 1942 construction” ( the theater offers screenings of classical movies, hosts live concerts, comedy shows, etc.  A rescreening of its final show will take place on Feb. 19 and 20.

    Image: The Historic State Theater Complex Facebook

    Nettie Finn's picture

    About Nettie Finn

    DePauw University student, currently pursuing an English Writing BA and graduating this coming May. Pastimes include binge reading, attempting to discover a diet that is both healthy and consists solely of carbs, and doing my best to discover new music before my family does.

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