Quick trip to Indianapolis for a writing project and I had just enough time to wander around for a few hours in the Mass Ave Arts & Theater District which is still fledgling but has potential. Kind of makes the East Village in Des Moines seem like a long-established hip neighborhood by comparison. It dawned on me today – and I don’t know why it didn’t earlier – that I’m drawn to these revived neighborhoods where small entrepreneurs open up little galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants in old renovated brick buildings because my mom and dad did the very same thing in the 1960s when they opened their gallery in a then-very-unhip Royal Oak, Mi. (The hipness there came, alas, after they moved the gallery.)
Anyway, it was a gorgeous day in Indy – in the 70s and sunny so fun to walk the few blocks down Mass Ave. I stopped at a good gift shop – Silver in the city – and bought some tchotkes for friends; then ate at Yat’s, a hippie dippie fast food creole/Cajun restaurant. It had a line out the door at noon – and better yet a fast moving line – so I joined the crowd. Didn’t care much for the jambalaya (where’s the sausage?) but liked the moch chous or macque choux (or”mock shoe”) a lot – a sweet spicy cajun dish made w/carmelized onions, sweet corn and chicken. Also found a cute cupcake store and great old shoe store. I wished I had a bike to ride around some of the residential streets just west of Mass Ave which looked like they were filled with restored wood frame houses re-painted in lovely bright colors. Next time.
Walked past the amazing Soldiers and Sailors Monument/fountain downtown which was full of sunbathing office workers lounging on the steps leading to the tall ornate tower erected in the 1860s to honors Hoosiers who fought in various wars. Reminded me a bit of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square – so I got some postcards of it to send my London pals.
I stayed overnight at The Canterbury Hotel – (yes, someone else was paying ) a lovely boutique hotel right downtown. I had a tiny room on the 12th floor – the door looked like it would open right into the wardrobe but narrowly missed smashing it. I had a great view of downtown. Ate dinner at 14 West Restaurant – nice ambiance, so-so food – too much mayo-or-cream inspired sauces on things. Word to wise – instead of paying $39 for a cab to the airport (which we did on the trip into town) the best deal around is the $7 airport shuttle which stops near various hotels including mine.