Thoroughly Modern Milwaukee (MKE)

We at OTR had never visited Milwaukee until this trip but a bit of advance reseach convinced us that it would be a good city to spend several days exploring. So after spending a week or so biking and camping in southwestern Wisconsin, we made our way east to the state’s largest city (pop. 595,000).

As some of you may recall, our city visit criteria are well established and straight-forward: third wave coffee and tea cafes, high quality street art, an art museum (or two), an excellent Italian restaurant (and professional baseball is always a plus).

milwaukee Art museum

Crying Girl, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and it’s predecessor organizations have been in existence since 1888. The Quadracci Pavilion pictured below was constructed in 2001. The impressive Pavilion with its moveable sail sits on the waterfront of Lake Michigan as the signature work of architecture in the city. http://collection.mam.org/

The MAM has several galleries devoted to modern, pop and abstract art which seems fitting with the architectural style of the Pavilion. The museum collections includes a number of works by major Pop and Abstract icons including Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Mist, 2012, David Schnell

fika

Colectivo Coffee served as our cafe host for our stay in MKE. Colectivo is MKE based with cafes on the waterfront and in the Historic Third Ward. Colectivo is also a force in the roasting business and operates the Troubador Bakery as well.

Colectivo has been in a business for quite a while but clearly has not lost its edge and sits firmly in the realm of third wave coffedom. Our experience was excellent because of the professional baristas, friendly staff, great coffee, tasty sandwiches and treats along with an interesting and comfortable cafe space.

There are other solid third wave coffee cafes in MKE which are worth visiting but for a short stay in town you cannot miss with any of Colectivo’s locations.

Street art

MKE provided us with several excellent street murals nicely placed in the Historic Third Ward while the epic mural by @AEROSOLKINGDOM pictured above and below required a short drive down to an industrial area along the waterfront.

As you can see from the photographs there is an eclectic mix of fun and serious art to be found in MKE.

Historic third ward and Riverwalk

The Historic Third Ward District is a former warehouse area which has been revitalized into a thriving entertainment district. There are over 450 businesses in the district. The center piece of the district is the Milwaukee Public Market which houses restaurants, bars, wine shops, live entertainment and retail shops in an large open space.

The district is bounded by the Milwaukee River and the riverwalk which allows pedestrians to stroll along the river and of course provides direct access to the district. Nicely done MKE!

Our recommendations for the district – Onesto for excellent Italian fare, Thief Wine Bar for delicious and very reasonably priced wine, St. Paul Fish Company for fresh fish from the Lake and of course Colectivo Coffee.

Sports

Our timing was fortuitous in visiting MKE while the Brewers were at home. The Brewers did not play when we saw them, but have played better since we were in town (won nine of last ten games). Nonetheless, it is always fun to take in a MLB game, particularly in a stadium not previously visited.

The stadium – American Family Field – opened in 2001 and, like the MAM, is architecturally impressive. The stadium has the only fan-shaped convertible roof in the United States – which worked out well for us as rain moved into the MKE area on the afternoon of the day we were attending.

As you can see in the photos below the crowd was sparse as the city was still limiting attendance to 25% of capacity. The bewildering part of the rule was that while attendance was limited there was no social distancing with seating.

Our thoughts

We had a great time visiting MKE. The city is a good stop for three to four days, depending on your interests. There are plenty of options with professional sports teams, museums, fine and casual dining and live entertainment.

MKE is also very pedestrian- and bike-friendly with numerous paved paths in downtown and along the waterfront. Also, and very importantly from our perspective, is that the local folks we met were uniformly very friendly and open.

MKE – modern and friendly – worth a visit!

Our next planned post will be based on our travels through Minnesota.

Be seeing you!

It Must Be Columbus: Street Art, Great Coffee and New Friends + Some Excellent Bike Trails!

Spring Flora by Maureen Clark

Franklinton Arts District

We discovered the Franklinton Arts District (FAD) during our brief visit to Columbus last fall when we visited One Line Coffee. In addition to a terrific coffee experience at the cafe we found ourselves surrounded by amazing mural art everywhere we looked (or so it seemed). As a result we knew that we wanted to pay another visit to Columbus as we journeyed west on OTR 6.0 to take advantage of the excellent coffee and street art opportunities.

The FAD is not just a geographic district but also a non-profit organization http://www.franklintonartsdistrict.com/ created to support and advocate for artists and art organizations in the district.

The photographs above and below are just a small sample of some of the murals we saw during this visit. We have also included several more mural photos at the end of this post.

Our first rails to trails ride in Ohio was on the Heart of Ohio Trail (HOOT) and the Kokosing Gap Trail. We rode from the Centerburg Trailhead to the end of the HOOT in Mt Vernon and then continued on the Kokosing Gap Trail several more miles to Gambier where the trail runs through the Kenyon College Campus.

Our departure from Centerburg was delayed slightly by the arrival of two gentlemen who approached us to inquire about the Beast (not an uncommon occurrence). We are always happy to share our travels and provide a tour of the Beast and even more so because we found ourselves talking to two of the top specialty coffee people in the Columbus area.

Kenny (@kennysipes) and Frank (@franksbusy) are the creative and business leaders that have made Roosevelt Coffee Roasters and Roosevelt Coffee House a very special force for good (as well a very successful business) in the specialty coffee industry. https://roosevelt.coffee/ https://the-roosevelt-coffeehouse.square.site/

Roosevelt Coffee House

Kenny had served as a youth pastor for a number of years before deciding to jump into the specialty coffee business while Frank had been in the industry working for one of the top specialty coffee organizations in Columbus.

After chatting about the Beast and some of our adventures Kenny and Frank graciously invited us to visit the roastery and the cafe the next morning. We said YES!!

Frank explains the operation of the Loring Roaster as he expertly roasts a batch of coffee.

We had a fantastic experience visiting the with Kenny and Frank and found out that they are more than just two really nice guys. Kenny started this business in order to help people in need and Frank signed on for the mission. The Roosevelt businesses are owned by the Roosevelt Foundation https://www.rooseveltcoffee.org/ and donate a portion of the money generated by the two businesses to organizations fighting against hunger, unclean water and human trafficking.

The Mission

We are humbled to have had the opportunity to meet Kenny and Frank and learn first hand about the business and their mission. Thank you Kenny and Frank.

Alum Creek Trail

We took advantage of the fine weather on our last day in Columbus to bike the Alum Creek Trail. Although this trail runs through the city of Columbus it provides many miles of greenway as it meanders back and forth across the Alum Creek. This trail is a wonderful asset within a major metropolitan area as you feel transported to a much more rural environment. We encountered many deer along the route – some who seem perturbed by our desire to proceed on the trail!

Historically, Alum Creek was a key route in central Ohio for escaped slaves and free blacks to move north to free states and Canada. The sycamore trees which line the banks of the creek and the creek itself provided cover for the railroad’s “passengers” seeking freedom.

A key group in the operation of the Underground Railroad in central Ohio were the Quakers that created the safe haven known as Quakertown. The number of escaped slaves that came through on this route is not documented for obvious reasons but it is a credit to the abolitionists that risked their own safety to assist with this humanitarian initiative to right the horrible wrong of slavery.

Franklinton Arts District

Elijah Pierce by Hakim Callwood

Next stop Wisconsin to bicycle the Badger State Bike Trail and possibly eat cheese! Be seeing you!

Street Art Tourist: Street Art from the Road: Richmond

Artist: ARYZ, Spain

We made two passes through Richmond as we criss-crossed Virginia. So while we were there just a couple of days, the sheer number of works clustered in various neighborhoods allowed us to take in an amazing sample of great murals (although we have hardly scratched the surface).

Artist: ARYZ, Spain

One of the driving forces behind all of the fantastic street art in town is the Richmond Mural Project. The RMP is an annual event which brings internationally recognized artists to Richmond with the goal of having 100 murals created over five years. Richmond is comprised of 11 primary neighborhoods and murals are planned for all of them.

Artist: Pixel Pancho, Italy

Additionally, the non-profit organization, RVA Street Art Festival, sponsored its fifth three day festival in 2020. The RVA focuses on painting in a different area of the city at each event. The festival provides opportunities for local artists and students to work together to create art and add color to the city. The Festival donates proceeds to local charities including the Richmond Public School system arts program.

Between these two organizations and a number of privately commissioned murals it seems as if around every corner in every neighborhood there is another terrific mural to behold.

Artist, Ed Trask, Virginia

Right: Artists: ASVP, New York City and Switzerland

Artist: Onur Dinc, Switzerland

Bottom Left: Artists: INKTEN + CLOGTWO, Singapore

Richmond also has a robust specialty coffee and tea culture, and we are confident that when pandemic conditions improve we will return to Richmond to explore many more of the neighborhoods in search of great street art and cafes.

Be seeing you!

Street Art Tourist: Street Art from the Road: Columbus

Artist Unknown, Discovery District

After departing Fort Wayne we decided to make a couple day stop in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has three of the things we look for in a city: excellent third wave coffee cafes, a vibrant street art scene and distinctive neighborhoods.

While our stay was brief, we did quite a bit of walking through the various neighborhoods searching for murals. Of course, we fueled up at the coffee cafes that are conviently located in the various villages or districts.

Columbus has taken full advantage of the river waterfront (Scioto River) by creating many public greenspaces providing access to the riverfront for recreation and entertainment.

We will definitely weave Columbus into a future journey to get deeper into the museum and restaurant options (post pandemic) in addition to the coffee, street art and neighborhood history.

We hope you enjoy the selection of street art we have included in this post.

Onward to West Virginia…be seeing you.

Artist Unknown, Columbus – Discovery District
Untitled by Gabriela Torres @ms.torressss, Franklinton Arts District
Teenuh Stays The Same by Bill Miller, Short North District
Eternal by Natalia Sanchez @nauti.luz, Franklinton Arts District
Deeper Connection by Edmund Boateng, Short North District
Artist Unknown, Short North District
KNOW JUSTICE, KNOW PEACE Artist(s) Unknown, Franklinton Arts District
Panel from Mural of Hope by Maureen E. Clark @maureeneclark, Franklinton Arts District
Stolen Joy, Franklinton Arts District
Arist Unknown, Franklinton Arts District
Listen to the Hummingbird, Artist Unknown, Short North District
Here We Are by Alejandra Zanetta, Short North District

Street Art Tourist: Street Art from the Road: Fort Wayne

Our current trip got off to a rough start when we found ourselves in southern Pennsylvania with multiple issues with the Beast. The first issue required us to backtrack north to Wilkes-Barre to have repairs performed on the diesel exhaust fluid sensors. We were fortunate that the dealer was able to accomodate us quickly and resolved the issue.

The second issue involved our penthouse roof which malfunctioned leaving the pop top partially and unevenly deployed. Unfortunately this particular issue required us to head approximately 600 miles west to Huntington, Indiana for repairs (Sportsmobile).

The good news, besides having the Beast back in full working order, was that we found ourselves with the opportunity to spend some time in Fort Wayne as we started our journey back towards our original first stop in West Virginia.

Fort Wayne is making a major investment in beautifying the city with street murals by both local and international artists.

While you are in downtown taking in the art scene, please visit the excellent @Fortezzacoffee.

Fortezza Coffee

We hope you find these murals as interesting and beautiful as we do:

Untitled by Jaliyah Rice @artby_jaliyah
Where am EYE? by @sarah_e_costumes
NYANE by @jeffpilkinton
Untitled by 1010@1010ZZZ
Woven by Lyndy Bazile @afroplump
Through a Child’s Eyes by Jeff Pilkinton @jeffpilkinton
People Walking by Theoplis Smith, Terry Ratliff, and Alexandra Hall
Bison by Tim Parsely

Next stop Columbus. Be seeing you!

Street Art From The Road: OTR 5.1

Our recent trip took us through portions of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. We have included a sample of some of the street art and murals that we found along the way. We appreciate the range of emotions these very different works of art evoke in us. Please let us know what you think.

Stay tuned for another post on OTR 5.1. Of course you can see more of our street art photographs on @streetartfromtheroad.

Be seeing you!

Northampton, Massachusetts

Mona June, Littleton, New Hampshire
XB-500, Location: Portland, Maine

Damien Mitchell @damien_mitchell Location, Worcester, Massachusetts

Ryan Adams @Ryan Writes on Things, Portland, Maine
Flyn Costello @flyncostello, Black Elephant Hostel, Portland, Maine
George Floyd by Ryan Adams, Jason McDonald, Mike Rich, Aura, Portland, Maine
Lola by Matt Bassett @mattbassett.mojodesign, Littleton, New Hampshire

Clam Diggers by Susan Bartlett Rice, Portland, East Bayside, Maine

Biddeford, Maine
By Susan Bartlett Rice, Biddeford, Maine
Portland, Maine
Rest Easy, Portland, Maine
Mary Mitchell Gabriel by Abigail Gray Swartz, Portland-East Bayside, Maine
By Greta Ault Van Campen @gretavancampen.art, Bayside Trail, Portland, Maine
Musician Mural, Bayside Trail, Portland, Maine

King Ember by Tim Clorius @timclorius aka SUBONE, Bayside Trail, Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine
By Insane 51, Worcester, Massachusetts
Portland, Maine