Favorites August 2012

August 3rd, 2012 2 Comments

 

When I was young we used to drive on I-80 to visit family in Colorado during summer vacation.  The speed limit was 55 mph, and with no air conditioning in the 1966 International Travelall…Nebraska was a very very very long state.   On the shady side of the vehicle the windows would be open and it was too windy, and on the sunny side we would hang a t-shirt in the window held in place by rolling (yes ROLLING) the window shut on it.  In the heat of the day we would doze in and out of consciousness, dopey from the sweltering temperatures.  Nebraska was a real life Dante’s Inferno to us.

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I’ve since discovered that a little oasis had been forming just off the Interstate, and our trips would have been MUCH more pleasant if we had stopped for a break in Omaha!   Though the main blitz happened in the 1980’s, there were the beginning seeds of warehouse renewal in the 60’s and 70’s, and I think any little break would have made that trip easier…

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Recently my sister and I were in Nebraska and took the 14th street exit (off of I-480) to wander through the Old Market section.  Wow.  Sam Mercer, Warren Buffet and the good citizens of Omaha have been hard at work over the last 50 years salvaging buildings and helping the town blossom into a thriving arts community.

 

“We knew these warehouses had possibilities, and to tear them down to construct contemporary buildings would have been like painting over the Mona Lisa.”    

~Sam Mercer

 

Here is an interesting NY Times article about Omaha’s Culture Club from Omaha ex-pat Kurt Andersen.

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The Old Market Passageway is an enclosed alley-turned-courtyard.

 

The sidewalks of Old Market are covered with a wide overhang, and their gutters are filled with petunias and other hanging flowers.  Art galleries, restaurants and boutiques are everywhere, giving life to the warehouse district that could easily have been leveled as the the various Omaha industries changed and no longer needed these brick beauties.  The 1800’s condemned and abandon warehouse is a common phenomena in many cities…and the soft spot in my heart for these old giants is grateful for the vision and hard work of Omaha.

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Why puddle-jump to find brick and bistros?  The Old Market Passageway might be closer…

 

 

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A closer look at the sidewalk.  It was one of the 104 degree days so people were hiding in shops and did not trip over me as I crouched in the walkways taking pictures of the baubles on the ground.

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I laid on the stairs to take this picture—even the brick steps have incredible detail.  Love the micro.

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There are numerous restaurants in the Old Market area, but when in Rome….we decided to eat beef at M’s Pub.  Heavenly it was!  The whispered rumors are true, Omaha is the mecca of all things beef.   I’m certain there are enticing vegetarian options in that cow town, but we let ourselves indulge our carnivorous cravings and proceeded to protein-load for the hunting and gathering to follow (at the shops).

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Will this last?  Is an arts community sustainable?  It takes a lot of work to keep places like this alive, we should at least stop by and enjoy the scenery.

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And now for something completely different…another batch of FAVORITES:

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Outstanding In The Field—a “roving culinary adventure…a restaurant without walls”  Farm Dinners that could come to a field near you…

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I am ordering this book: The Elephant Whisperer

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Fold My Ride bikes!

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Delicate Crystallized Flowers  by Fresh Origins Farm

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Light installations by Lee Eunyeol (wow!)

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Carolyn Casey Looking Past Limits  15 minutes of inspiration

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Recycled Wood and Leather Shelf for anyone feeling crafty

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Extraordinaire instrument de musique

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Gluten Free Girl introduces us to Lost Crates

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Vamp Snow White next to awesome wallpaper

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More Passageway shots…

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One of four massive sculptures at the exit for Council Bluffs:

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah Rutledge says:

    Ah, such memories! It was a fantastic trip to the land of Nebraska.

    Sarah

  2. Barb says:

    If it makes you feel any better, Ruth, that area of Omaha did NOT look like this back when we were traveling through. This transformation happened in the 80’s.

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