Avenue of the Architects...
Updated: Mar 12
Finally! Summer has been flying by, and it’s been difficult to find a weekend to get away. But, at long last, we were able to get back on the road and visit Columbus, IN.
Granted, we did escape to Jamaica for an all-inclusive vacation back in mid-June but decided not to blog about it. If we had, it probably would have gone something like…
"We ate a lot. We drank even more. We got really really sunburnt. The end.”
Our visit to Columbus was a bit last minute. We had originally decided to visit another town that weekend, but me being the master procrastinator I am, failed to book a room, and by the time I called, nothing was available.
So, after a bit of panic and research, we came across a fantastic article from the Indy Star and decided to visit Columbus. We aren’t very knowledgeable when it comes to architecture, and I’d say all I really know about architecture is what I’ve learned from Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother, but knowing there is a town just 45 minutes away that ranks 6th in the nation for architectural innovation and design peaked our interest.
We decided this would be a 1 day/1 night trip opposed to an entire weekend and we were able to book a last minute room at the pet friendly Hotel Indigo (stay here to really get the full experience of design and architecture Columbus offers). We hit the road around 9am on Saturday, making it to Columbus by 10a. Immediately, you notice that this small town is packed with unique fixtures and buildings.
Our first stop was at Lucabe Coffee Co. for some caffeine and after a failed attempt at taking the dogs to the local, Saturday morning farmer’s market across the street from our hotel, we set out on a self-guided, walking architectural tour Bing had found online.
Now, for those loyal readers who have been with us since the early days, and read our post from earlier this summer, you will remember our first key takeaway for travel blogging was to find something other than bar hopping and day drinking to fill our time, and I must admit, I’m pretty proud of us for this trip. I’m not saying we didn’t day drink, we had a really enjoyable lunch and cocktails at The Garage Pub and Grill, but we definitely spent the majority of our day wandering the town and admiring the architecture.
But, back to our tour. It’s pretty fantastic how in a little less than a two mile walk around a town of less than 50,000 people, you can see so many unique buildings, statues and fixtures.
There is the Cleo Rogers Library, built by I.M. Pei, who was also the architect of the Louvre Pyramid and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cummins Park Landscaping consisting of ivory covered beams and walk way, The Large Arch, EOS and Wiikiaami structures, and the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans (to name a few).
The memorial was probably where we spent the most time (well, it’s a toss up between this and roaming around the library soaking up the AC; it was 94 degrees that day). If you get teary eyed easily, I recommend bringing tissues if you plan to visit this memorial. Engraved in the twenty-five, forty-feet high, limestone pillars you’ll find names of those who served and lost their lives as well as excerpts from letters they had sent to their family while away on duty. It’s a very touching tribute to the soldiers.
Being a Saturday, we did miss out on seeing the inside of the Cummins Building, which has a lobby full of art and vintage cars; and we were only able to view The Inn at Irwin Gardens from the street as there appeared to be some sort of party taking place inside. Aside from that, we walked and saw most everything we set out to.
We finished up the structural tour in a little over an hour. The dogs weren’t along for this part, so we made our way back to the hotel to get them and head to Miller Race Park, which is ranked in the top 100 parks in the nation for design. The park is 85 acres, so we didn’t see everything it has to offer. We did however climb (elevator was broken) to the top of the 84-foot tall, 133 step observation deck where I learned Bing does not like stairs or heights, and the dogs are not impressed with any type of view. We also got to check out the former Brownsville Covered Bridge; built in 1840, the Skopos sculpture and the large park amphitheater; among others.
I’ll say it one more time, it was 94 degrees this day, so after about an hour of hiking around the park, we were all pretty beat (and sweaty) and decided to end our exploration and head back to the hotel for some AC and water.
While I could probably talk more about what we saw around town, this wouldn’t be a Pardon Our Travel blog if I didn’t spend a little time writing about dinner and cocktails. After recovering from our walking tour with some AC and a nap, we popped in to 4th Street Bar and Grill to re-hydrate with whiskey and gin before making our way to Henry Social Club for dinner.
Henry Social Club was one of the recommended places to eat from the Indy Star article we had read; and we totally understand why. The Salt Cod Beignets were amazing (to say the least) and didn’t last long at our table. The main course, and highlight of my dinner was watching Bing attempt to eat her 14oz, NY Strip. She gave it a pretty valiant effort, but called me in for backup; which I was happy to help because the steak was phenomenal.
We were once again asked the dreaded question of wanting dessert; and we both agreed to pass. However, our waiter decided to test just how full we were and brought by a tasty dish on the house; initially we were hesitant to dig in, but similar to the beignets, it didn’t last long.
Exhausted from the day, we opted to not have any post dinner cocktails (see, we are learning) and instead made our way back to the hotel for one last stroll with the pups before calling it a night.
Pardon Our Travel, Columbus, IN but thank you for being a wonderfully unique and inviting town with so much to see and offer. We will be back soon!
Spike, Bing, Skeeter and Jameson