Sunday, April 27, 2014

Discovering Columbus, plus a Basket Building & More in Newark, Ohio, and the Birthplace of Aviation in Dayton

I recently took a road trip to Columbus, Ohio.

Actually, it was a Thunder Road trip, as I was motivated primarily by the chance to see a Bruce Springsteen concert. I am a huge fan and so far the Boss has not booked any shows in Chicago in 2014. You can read my review of his Columbus show here, which includes several statistics about the number of times I've seen Springsteen and other entertainers.

I drove to Columbus from my home near Chicago on a Tuesday, and other than checking into my motel, didn't do anything much that day except get to the concert at Nationwide Arena, and see a bit of the Arena District and the Short North area, which has some fun exterior artwork.

Wednesday morning I drove about 40 miles east to Newark, Ohio, primarily to see and photograph the Basket Building, which is the headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company.

But in wandering to downtown Newark, I was pleasantly surprised by a charming courthouse square that not only had a grand old courthouse in which I was allowed to view a courtroom, but a beautifully-renovated classic old theater, the Midland, and a small Louis Sullivan-designed building for the Home Building Association. I lucked my way into being able to see and photograph the interior of both of these.

Back in Columbus, I ate at Katzinger's Deli in German Village, where I also got some pastries at the Pistacia Vera bakery, which is the #1 rated restaurant in Columbus on TripAdvisor, despite not actually being one.

I took a brief drive through the campus of Ohio State University and prior to visiting the Columbus Art Museum, which was solid if not spectacular, I loved visiting the nearby Topiary Park, which has recreated my favorite painting (Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte, housed at the Art Institute of Chicago) in shrubbery.

I also took some pictures of Columbus' replica of Columbus' Santa Maria ship, which currently seems to be moored in a construction zone, as well as the Ohio State Capitol.  

That evening I had dinner with a friend I've known since Kindergarten, who now lives in the Columbus area with his family. We ate at a local chain called the Rusty Bucket, which was pretty good.

The next day I went to Dayton, for the first time, which is a bit over an hour east of Columbus.

I was intending to get home that evening, which I did, so didn't stop at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which I had read good reviews about, nor Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott House in Springfield, Ohio, which I didn't know about until I got home.

But as it was, I spent considerably more time in Dayton than I was intending, but I really liked what I saw.

This included the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, with a museum housed in a building in which the Wright Brothers ran a print shop, and one of the brothers' bicycle shops, though not the one in which they devised the first airplane (that one is at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan).

Even better was the Carillon Historical Park. This features a collection of historic buildings signifying Dayton's past, including one housing the Wright Flyer III, the first plane to achieve sustained flight. But there is also a terrific museum that educated me on Dayton's proud history of industrial achievement, including companies that became NCR and Delco, and the creation of the pop-top can. The animatronics production featuring the Wright Brothers and other early industrialists was one of the best I've ever seen.

Much like the Toledo Museum of Art, the Dayton Art Institute is a much better art museum than one might suspect in a city the size of Dayton.

I ran out of time to visit Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis, but all-in-all it was a really good trip, even beyond another sensational show by Springsteen. And I even left myself reasons to return.

I'll put my photo gallery of Columbus, Newark and Dayton after a page break, so click below if you want to see it but can't.

All photos by Seth Arkin. Please do not re-post without attribution. 




Notice the Wright Bros. hats and the jet stream.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Wow! I never knew Dayton was so pretty. This was a really great, and picturesque travelog.