Indianapolis’ northside is my usual destination for Saturday morning shopping trips. Feeling less adventurous this Sat., Feb. 18, I headed to downtown Lafayette – just a half hour away.

For the better part of 30 years (maybe more) I’ve known my way around downtown Lafayette because I worked there in state government in the late 1970s. I probably have driven by O’Rear’s Bakery hundreds and hundreds of times. I’ve never stopped.

Saturday morning I did go into O’Rear’s and I’ll definitely go back. The bakery is one of those old-fashioned places where you can see the dough mixers and all of the equipment just by peaking through a side door into the back. Brownies, cakes, cookies galore, pastry, and of course donuts.

Places like this deliver a unique homemade natural flavor that chain retail outlets just can’t match. The building probably isn’t much different inside and out than it was in the 1950s. They don’t have a website, and their Facebook page has no content, but this is an institution. If nothing else I can testify driving past it in the 1970s.

It’s located at 321 N 9th St., Lafayette.

My next stop was Main Street Cheese & Wine just a few blocks from the bakery – just the way I imagine it in heaven!

I had visited this shop right after it first opened nearly five years ago and wondered how they would ever compete. Well, the shop is still there and now serves breakfast. But the big hit appears to be the wine bar next door that is so busy they recommend reservations for Friday or Saturday nights. 

The wine bar had a nice selection at all price points and plenty of interesting food options and small plates to accompany a bottle of wine. I was mildly surprised to see such a wide selection of Indiana wine. I remember the shop carried Huber Winery products when I first visited and they have a pretty wide selection now. 

I have to mention two other business here before running through my last stop. Copper Dog Cafe is a wonderful little restaurant for vegetarians that’s as charming as it is tasty. One of my frequent stops is at Lafayette Brewing Company for their great sandwiches, fries and handcrafted beers. 

McCord’s interior seems to have never changed!

But my last stop Saturday was at the near-legendary McCord’s Candy Shop – a downtown fixture since 1912. It’s one of those places that if you’ve never been there make the trip to Lafayette just for McCord’s. You enter to wonderful aroma of chocolate and fresh-faced college kids making hand-dipped milk shakes.

I bought two truffles – I’m conserving, seriously – and ate one last night. The young lady was almost apologetic for noting they were $2 each when I was picking them out. I have certainly paid more than two bucks for high-end truffles but seldom had one any better than McCords.

536 Main St.

I also ordered a diet cola which they hand mixed by putting the raw syrup into the cup and then the carbonated water – a spoon stirs it all up the old fashioned way.

You really want to visit close to Easter time if possible because they make the widest and wildest array of wonderful chocolate creations. The show case becomes a crazy colorful salute to Mr. Bunny and all his friends.
This place is a real Hoosier treasure!

One of the great things about visiting these places I’ve written about is they are all so close together. And in between there are numerous great antique stores and small interesting shops. Downtown Lafayette is a good Saturday morning trip!

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