Historic Preservation

Local’s Guide to Indianapolis with Raina Regan

May 2, 2016

Social media is amazing for connecting with other bloggers and influencers and sharing ideas. Even better when you get a chance to meet these people in real life. Through my blog and social media work I’ve met many interesting and creative individuals from all over the country with unique perspectives on the cities in which they live. Cue my new blog series, Local’s Guide To… Each month I’ll chat with a new local expert about where they call home and the places you must check out when you visit. First up is the..

Local’s Guide to Indianapolis with Raina Regan

I first met Raina at the National Preservation Conference in Indy back in 2013. I was brand new to the Midwest and she instantly introduced herself at a social media meetup during the conference and we’ve kept in touch ever since.

How long have you lived in Indy? What do you do here?

I moved to Indy almost six years ago after graduating from Ball State. Although I moved here without a job, I lucked out and landed my first job less than a month later. Currently, I work for Indiana Landmarks as a Community Preservation Specialist advocating for preservation in Central Indiana. I’m also involved with our local instagram community, @igersindy, and a young preservationists group, Preserve Greater Indy.

 

A photo posted by Raina Regan (@raiosunshine) on

What makes Indy unique?

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Weekend Getaway | 21c Cincinnati

March 17, 2016

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Everyone needs a weekend getaway every now and then… If you follow me on Instagram (emsontheroad) or snapchat (emsontheroad), it’s likely you saw me running around Cincinnati recently with Ryan and our good friends Celia and Toby. We spent most of the weekend exploring the Over the Rhine neighborhood checking out breweries, the market and other historic buildings, but the highlight of the weekend was our hotel, 21c Cincinnati.

If you remember from my visit to the 21c in Louisville, the concept of this hotel group is quite unique: integrating contemporary art into everyday life while reusing historic buildings. Their properties create such unique juxtaposition seen in the careful preservation of the distinguished exterior and the modern mix of minimal furniture and colorful art on the interior.  The art galleries are the main attraction and are open 24-7 and free. Genius.

The 21c Hotel in Cincy was originally home to the swanky Metropole Hotel that was completed in 1912 with an addition in 1924. The hotel fell into decline in the 1970s and in 2011 the 21c brand stepped in to breathe life back into this historic hotel. The Neoclassical building is still a gorgeous red terracotta, standing tall in the heart of downtown Cincinnati and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Via Cincinnati Views

 

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

The Lobby

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Each property is different, featuring a permanent art collection as well as rotating exhibits. In Cincy, the lobby is bright white, with plush purple sofas in the waiting area surrounded by the Pop Stars! Popular Culture exhibit featuring a video instillation of Britney Spears, flashy “hustle” coat by Nick Cave, white baby grand piano, and etched mirror of Paris Hilton. The design team did a brilliant job of restoring the historic details of the Metropole Hotel while creating a crisp canvas for its unique exhibits.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

Make sure you to visit the second floor gallery.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

These are the original mosaic floors from the Metropole Hotel.

 

The Room

 

weekend getaway: 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway: 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

Our suite in Cincy was sleek and quite cozy. I loved the L-shaped sofa nook; it was the perfect place for morning coffee while taking in the cityscape. The bathroom was classic, terry cloth robes and all.

weekend getaway: 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

The rubber ducky is a 21c signature.

Naturally, the light fixtures were showstoppers.

weekend getaway | 21 c Cincinnai

Photo: Ryan Hines

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Weekend Getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Wishing I could fall into the cloud of pillows right now.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Other amenities of the room include a nice stack of local mags, a phone receiver for your cell (LOVE these! I have one in blue), and complimentary Nespresso and hot teas. Be careful of the minibar – everything is on a 60 second sensor.

The Galleries

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

21c’s mission is to incorporate contemporary art into everyday life so each property serves as a cultural and social hub in the city. The galleries were packed all weekend and I can understand why. Admission is free and the art is beautiful, really interesting, and open 24 hours a day. Not to mention all of it’s Instagram potential.  The coolest instillation is on the ground floor in a hallway… these psychedelic waves move with your footsteps mesmerizing anyone walking by.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

The gallery wall instillation by Brian Paumier on the main floor was another one of my favorites too – beautiful colors and textures.

From the artist: “Act Of Faith” is a balancing act of polarities, exposures and rituals. At once, it exposes and celebrates the essence of the culture of my childhood in an effort to collapse stereotypes and preconceived ideas. By driving to their essence and beauty, “Act of Faith” provokes curiosity and interest into a culture that might have been unfamiliar.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

 

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

Don’t miss the stairs to the second story gallery. There is a full wall of bedazzled Condoleeza Rice and Oprah paintings as well as a slick Mad Men-esque lounge and Elvis/Marilyn Monroe Warhol inspired portrait.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

No art history pre-requisites required.

The Restaurant

You may be thinking hotel restaurants are bullshit but that is not the case with 21c. We’re not talking well done burgers or a boring breakfast buffet. The Metropole, named for the original hotel, was ideal backdrop for late night drinks on Saturday night. First off, they stay open til 1am (score!) which was welcome news to us when we returned to the hotel after a night out. I wanted one more nibble before heading to bed. I scanned their snack menu and ordered hand-cut fries with a dill dipping sauce and a couple of Rhinegeist brews to finish us off. The bar was still pretty full around midnight, great tunes and happy bartenders.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

For my next visit I’m definitely gonna try out some of the seared octopus and charcuterie tasting.

I can’t say no to breakfast food so we decided to end the weekend with a bang and do brunch with our friends at Metropole before departing.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Photo: Ryan Hines

We started off with coffees, a sticky bun and whipped ricotta. Sweet and savory is a must in my book. For mains we had a little bit of everything… the broccoli omelet, breakfast sandwich topped with pimento cheese (YUM), quinoa hash and a carrot salad.  I would never think to order a carrot salad for brunch but it was the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen and equally tasty.

 

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinnati

Metropole is truly stunning. I fell in love with their big leather banquettes; so comfortable I could’ve posted up here for hours chatting and sampling. We probably would have stayed all afternoon if it weren’t for our road trip back to Indiana.  The design team did a beautiful job keeping and enhancing many of the original details of the restaurant and bar in the 1920s hotel like the original arched windows that pour the warm sunlight in. The original mosaic tile floors from the lobby make an appearance here as well.

weekend getaway | 21c Cincinatti

Even if you aren’t staying at the 21c Cincinnati overnight, you must check out Metropole. It’s the perfect place for a nightcap or breakfast before hitting the road.

If you want to be in the heart of the city near all of the action of Over the Rhine, 21c is the place to be. Thank you to the 21c Cincy staff for a wonderful weekend! I didn’t have a chance to visit the spa this time so a massage is in order for the next trip.

Don’t forget to hit the gift shop before you head home!

weekend getaway | 21c cincinnati

 

Haight Ashbury Revisited

November 23, 2015

No visit to San Francisco is complete without exploring Haight Ashbury.

 

haight ashbury

 

After the Gold Rush, wealthy San Franciscans made their home in the Upper Haight building ornate Victorian homes in the hills. The neighborhood went into decline during the Great Depression and continued through the World Wars. In the 1950s the California Division of Highways had planned to extend freeways across San Francisco destroying many neighborhoods including Haight Ashbury. Due to extreme opposition these plans were squashed which ultimately saved many of the cities’ historic neighborhoods.

 

haight ashbury victorians

 

The freeway scare had caused many residents to flee the Haight and with cheap rent and plenty of vacancies in the 1960s, the hippies moved in. Artists, musicians, activists and others from all over the country moved to this neighborhood looking for change. They in turn created their own counter culture that spurred social change. Some say the vibe of peace and love are gone but many of the neighborhood icons like Jerry Garcia’s house and Janis Joplin’s apartment are still standing. The architecture alone is reason enough to visit. Rows of victorians line the streets some brightly colored others piped with flourishes and scrolls as if they were sweet confections.

 

amoeba music

 

Besides architecture, check out Amoeba Records and peruse the high end vintage shops. Make sure you continue down Haight Street into the Lower Haight and check out Tornado for some tasty brews from all over California and beyond.

 

tornado san francisco

 

haight ashbury victorians

 

honey bear fnnch haight ashbury

Honey Bear by street artist fnnch

 

haight ashbury victorian

Goorin Hats Haight Ashbury

Goorin Brothers Hat Shop

haight ashbury

 

lower haight

haight ashbury

 

haight ashbury
Have you visited Haight Ashbury? What did you think?

Related articles:

Click here to read more about my first visit to the Haight Ashbury.

Click here to read about Tornado.

Saving Places article: Haight-Ashbury’s Hippie House

Street artist fnnch

The Little Shamrock: San Francisco

November 9, 2015

I’m finally feel like I’m back in the swing of things after a much needed vacation to the West Coast. Ryan and I started our trip in San Francisco visiting some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. It went by way too fast, as good trips always do, but we had a blast just catching up and checking out some of their favorite bars and restaurants.

We’re notorious procrastinators so it wasn’t too surprising to anyone that we barely slept before our 5am flight because we were up all night packing and getting things ready for our gracious dog sitter. We landed in the early afternoon we headed straight to Arezmendi for a few slices of their daily pizza, then to their apartment for a quick nap. BTW – If you’ve never been to this employee owned bakery in the Inner Sunset – you must go! It is out of this world.

san francisco botanical gardens

The Botanical Gardens are the perfect escape in the middle of the city.

Still groggy from the trip we decided to explore Golden Gate Park and spent the afternoon meandering around the Botanical Gardens. Everything in the park closed around 5pm so we made our way to a neighborhood bar for a few beers and waited for our friends. Walking out of the park I saw signs for the Little Shamrock, a pub with a sign saying it was 120 years old… We had to go in.

the little shamrock

Prior to the trip I’d seen numerous Instagram posts from the National Trust for Historic Preservation about Prop J and legacy businesses and remembered The Little Shamrock was one of them. This prop was designed to create a list of legacy businesses, 30 years or older, that make San Francisco unique and to help these businesses combat the exorbitant rents that have hit this city due to the tech boom. Click here to read more about Prop J. Being a preservationist and small business supporter, this legislation was really exciting.

The Little Shamrock Bar San Francisco

The Little Shamrock was in fact little but full of charm. The place was a classic dive packed with regulars, but we managed to squeeze in at the beautiful bar that we were told is original to the space. The bar keep seemed to know everyone except us so he went out of his way to make us feel at home. There were backgammon tables, sofas, card tables, and a dart room, BYO darts though or Ryan and I would’ve been there all night. To my shock beers were also only $3 (cash only). It’s hard to find that kind of price anywhere let alone SF. We had a couple of rounds, chatted up some locals about the neighborhood, and then hit the road.

Our friends asked us what we did all afternoon and we let them know we found The Little Shamrock. They were proud we found it; it’s their fav neighborhood watering hole as well. I can see why.

So far I’ve hit The Little Shamrock and the Tonga Room (post coming soon) on the Legacy Bar and Restaurant List created by SF Heritage. If you’re in the bay area you should check out the full list and eat, drink, and shop local.

Click here for full list.

 I’m excited to report that Prop J did in fact pass on November 3. Hopefully San Francisco’s iconic businesses will be able to be around a while longer.

Curious Tuesday

July 26, 2015

After a beer filled weekend in Asheville, North Carolina I continued south to visit some friends and drink some fantastic southern beer in Athens, Georgia. Even in the middle of summer, there is always something happening in the Classic City.

curious tuesday creature comforts

via creature comforts

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21c Museum Hotel – Louisville

June 23, 2015

Art and preservation often cross paths; last weekend I found them happily intertwined at the 21c Hotel in downtown Louisville.

 

21c Louisvile

Photo: Ryan Hines

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Preserve Greater Indy

May 22, 2015

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

I have found my preservation people up here in the Midwest! I’m now involved with a new historic preservation organization – Preserve Greater Indy.  The mission: to connect, engage, educate, and empower advocates of preservation throughout Central Indiana.  READ MORE

Charleston Hideaway

March 2, 2015

I’m currently sitting in my office looking out of my window staring at mounds of powdery snow piling up. As I sit here bundled willing the snow to melt and the sun to shine, I’m daydreaming about warmer days to come, specifically sunny days to come on my trip to Charleston, South Carolina for The Southern C Summit! Since most of us in the US have been pretty chilly lately, I thought I’d share one of my favorite spots to soak up the sun and color of Charleston.
charleston

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I Heart Preservation

February 10, 2015

Buildings need love too. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this past Saturday I joined a group of preservation enthusiasts, professionals, and students to heart bomb a couple of buildings that were in need of a hug.

 

IMG_5815

 

The idea behind these “heart bombs” is to raise awareness of the potential for vacant buildings while making advocacy visible and accessible. And sometimes they’re a loving send off for buildings that have lost their battle.  READ MORE

Woodford Reserve

November 17, 2014

woodford reserve

I’m not a bourbon drinker; however, when you visit a friend in Bourbon country… when in Rome. A couple of weeks ago, I visited the oldest working bourbon distillery in the United States, Woodford Reserve, a National Historic Landmark. READ MORE

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