The Best Place For Hoop Cheese Is On The Roof Of Your Car, And General Stores

Since 1884, the Simmons-Wright Company general store (called “Simmons and Wright”) has served the Kewanee, Mississippi area. This is actually the 1926 brick building that replaced the original which was destroyed in a fire. At one time, there was a blacksmith shop, a gristmill, gin, and sawmill in addition to selling…well, everything else. And apparently cotton served as currency at a certain point, too.
Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

It seems as though just about everything’s for sale, from this old barber chair ($2200) to those old phones behind

And there’s someone in the world who I *know* would love to have this Holsum Bread cart

and this appears to be some new really old stock
Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Nilla wafers to hoop cheese, they’ve got it. In fact, I asked the gentleman running the store for a slice of cheese, and since it was warm outside, as he wrapped it in paper, he gave me advice to go put it on the roof of the car while I finished looking around so it would melt just a little and taste even better. Who can resist?

FDR looks over the whole place.

Not all, but here are a few other general store pics we’ve taken:

Paul C. Marsh General Store in Locust Fork AL
Paul C. Marsh General Store, Locust Fork AL//

Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL
Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL//

Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL//

Turner General Store, Reece City AL (though I think they sell their antique signs and such, I’m not sure how much of a general store it truly is — but they do sell fresh eggs via the fridge on the porch)
Turner General Store//

R.E. Ringer General Merchandise, South of Carrollton GA
R.E. Ringer Gen Merchandise, S of Carrollton GA//

‘The Lrd Provides’ Shinbone Valley General Store, Shinbone AL
Shinbone Valley General Store, Shinbone Alabama

J.F. Suttle Company, Suttle AL
J.F. Suttle Co. Inc, Suttle AL//

In 2006, I took a pic of the Sprott Store (in Sprott, AL) as compared to what it looked like (on the left) when Walker Evans photographed it in 1936
Sprott Store, Then & Now - Sprott AL//

Causeyville General Store, Causeyville AL
Causeyville General Store, Causeyville MS//

Rural Museum Neighbors: Jesse Owens Memorial Park, And Oakman Indian Mounds Education Center

A super-friendly staff is here to help interpret the exhibits at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park in the Oakville/Moulton area of north Alabama. Though the Owens family moved from the region to Ohio when Jesse was still a young boy, the community takes pride in his accomplishments — and what he was able to overcome when just a small child here.

Jesse Owens Museum, Danville AL//

Here, the Owens family donated this telegram from the Philadelphia Tribune Jesse received at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. “America justly proud of your outstanding victories we join with the sport lovers the world over who are acclaiming you the world’s greatest athlete.” 

Here, a replica of his Olympic uniform. He won four gold medals in those Olympic games, and was the first person to ever do so.

and a track time program from the ’36 Olympics

While many of the items on display are replicas, that doesn’t subtract from the experience
Jesse Owens Museum, Danville AL//

Adidas also donated items to make up an exhibit on the differences in track conditions and equipment to show that even in Jesse’s time, his 10.3 second 100 meter was less than .4 seconds slower than the more contemporary Carl Lewis…when track technology now plays much more in favor of the athlete, with aerodynamic uniforms and track surfaces and such.

Outside, there’s a long jump area at which visitors can see how far they can go compared to Jesse, and what was most powerful — a replica of the small home his family lived in
Jesse Owens Museum, Danville AL//

There were two bedrooms — one for the parents (and I imagine where newborns would have slept too)
Jesse Owens Museum, Danville AL//

and another for the children. A button one may push along one wall activates a recording of one of Jesse’s brothers telling about life here. In this room, the children slept in both directions of the bed, which is why there are pillows at each end. Jesse was the seventh child — and it should be noted that at this time, he went by the name J.C. It wasn’t until the family moved up north that the teacher misunderstood and called him ‘Jesse’.

Jesse’s father was a sharecropper and his mother took in washing, but he was too sick to help much like his other siblings did, as he would fall sick and stay that way for long periods. When well enough, though, he enjoyed running and by high school, was able to turn it into a real sport, and found much success in those years.

Ohio State recruited him although they didn’t have a track scholarship to offer, and he took on all kinds of jobs to support himself and his wife Ruth through the college years. After attaining so much success in the Olympics, for decades Jesse traveled the world giving motivational speeches and served as corporate consultant. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Posthumously, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990.

President Carter said about him:
“Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty and racial bigotry. His personal triumphs as a world-class athlete and record holder were the prelude to a career devoted to helping others. His work with young athletes, as an unofficial ambassador overseas, and a spokesman for freedom are a rich legacy to his fellow Americans.”

Jesse Owens Museum, Danville AL//

Only five or so minutes away from the Jesse Owens museum is the Oakman Indian Mounds Education Center, which from the outside belies its striking interior, with its centerpiece being this statue of Sequoyah, with a plaque about his life and the alphabet he developed

…surrounded by case after case after case of arrowheads and other tools
Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

One thing that especially makes this museum different is that it is actually owned by the local school system.
Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Other displays included taxidermy and these hides, but inside there wasn’t as much as one would expect about the moundbuilders and what we know about the mounds they constructed just outside
Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Of the exhibits, though, there was one case with a civil war diorama. In fact, its label was a simple typewritten sheet by the author which begins, “Hello, this is Robert Hughes speaking! I made everything in this display by hand, it took three years…”

further, “…The reason for showing a Civil War Display in an Indian Museum is because Native Americans fought on both sides of the conflict…”
Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

and further along still “…Each figurine, each building, each tree, and everything you see before you were hand made. The tiny soldiers were crafted from one-eighth wooden dowels, solder wore and dental plaster. Each head was carved from an 8mm wooden bead. No two faces are just alike. I have 300 tiny soldiers and other figurines in this display…”
Diorama, Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Diorama, Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

There’s a road around the property, and just behind the museum is this Copena burial mound. The historic marker here reads:
Copena Indians built this mound with baskets of dirt some 2000 years ago. The Copena name was derived from their use of copper and galena (lead ore) found in their burials along with gorgets and celts. The mounds were a burial site with the dead encased in a plaster of clay covered with layers of soil. The many burial mounds within a few miles are evidence of an extensive cultural center. The perennial springs and fertile lands encircled by West Flint Creek contributed to a large population. The Copena society flourished here for hundreds of years and they raised a variety of domesticated crops. some 17 miles north of here the Tennessee River provided an inexhaustible food supply of fresh water mussels. In the mid 1800’s settlers were buried on the mounds under false stone crypts. In 1924, Smithsonian archaeologists noted three other burial mounds in the areas that were being leveled by farmers.

Atop this mound are graves from the 1840s with box tomb monuments (I don’t go up on burial mounds, but you can see the monuments in this image)
Copena Burial Mound, Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Another historic marker for this mound:
Rising 27 feet high, this is the largest woodland mound in Alabama, with a base covering 1.8 acres and a flat of over one acre. Built by prehistoric Copena Indians, the mound is 2,000 years old and constructed from earth probably carried one basket at a time from the Oakville pond area, 300 yards to the east. The Copena, named for their use of copper and galena, were prolific mound builders, as shown by the remains of over 20 mounds in the surrounding area. They were primarily farmers and hunter~ gatherers who engaged in ritual burials, with the dead often encased in a putty mixture of clay, ash and crushed shells. They were great traders in conch shells, marble, greenstone, copper and galena, all of which were found as mortuary offerings during the 1924 Smithsonian excavation of the Alexander Mound four miles to the southwest. Although the Oakville mound has never been excavated, it was the center of the Copena society of the Moulton Valley and was used for ceremonials, religious, social and cultural purposes.
Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center, Danville AL//

Graveshelters At Sivley Cemetery, Dancy’s Chapel, And Ballinger Cemetery In North Alabama

I visited another large graveshelter, this one in the Sivley Cemetery in Lawrence County, Alabama, and it covers five graves including one for a baby.

Sivley Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Graveshelter, Sivley Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

This graveshelter is more of a carport style, with the metal roofing, and has chain link surrounding.
Graveshelter, Sivley Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Bricks are used for curbing — those are just regular house bricks painted white — and artificial turf carpeting covers each grave. Other areas are covered with pea gravel.
Graveshelter, Sivley Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Though on this side, the wife’s section has no curbing or cover other than the gravel.
Graveshelter, Sivley Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

The cemetery’s sign notes that it’s a community cemetery, but that one of the committee members (there are four listed, with phone numbers for three) must give approval before any grave is dug or disturbed, and approval must also be given before a monument is placed.

Also in Lawrence County is Dancy’s Chapel, which also has elements of a more traditional Upland South cemetery — coping/curbing around the graves, many topped with sand or gravel.
Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

The grave shelter here is constructed of brick and was likely built in the late 1940’s as the burials for the Morgans here are 1947 and 1975.
Graveshelter, Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Graveshelter, Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

Deer and raccoon tracks here.
Graveshelter, Dancy's Chapel Cemetery, Lawrence County AL//

At Ballinger Cemetery in rural Morgan County, Alabama, there is another small graveshelter for Eliza Marie Ballinger, “Infant Child 1908”
Ballinger Cemetery, Morgan County AL//

Graveshelter, Ballinger Cemetery, Morgan County AL//

Graveshelter, Ballinger Cemetery, Morgan County AL//

For the gentleman on this monument, it reads:
‘Field and farm, creek and wood, Sunday church, and love of home’
Ballinger Cemetery, Morgan County AL//

This one reads ‘Memories of you dear brother, give us roses in the winter.’

Unexpectedly Playing The Game of ‘Clue’ At A Hotel In Mobile. Oh! And That Fun Time I Was Accidentally Sprayed With Weaponized Hawaiian Breeze

We’ve stayed at fabulous hotels and occasionally crummy hotels — I’m thinking of those so bad we gave them pet names, like the Malady Inn and (the now shuttered) Edison Warthog, and the Worst Western in the Delta that practically tasered our ears with the fire alarm when ***shower steam*** set it off. Oh yeah, and then this summer at 12 Atlantic Station in Atlanta when we found something in the couch that still makes me shudder.

Mostly, it’s wonderful, though.

But then there was this one time…

…there was the…I don’t know…something like a game of Clue that we took part in unexpectedly at the newish Admiral Hotel, a Hilton Curio Collection, in Mobile.

We checked in uneventfully and went up the elevator to our room.

The first thing we noticed odd was that there was a little bit of trash on the floor of the bedroom, and the pillows didn’t look right — as though someone had reclined on the bed after it was made — see, on the bed that’s closer in this pic?
The Admiral Hotel, Mobile AL//

So we further inspected what was going on. There was a wet washcloth on the bathroom counter (yeah. I’m gagging right here with you), the tissue paper hasn’t been folded properly, and there’s some other trash in the bin:
They didn't clean our first room. The Admiral Hotel, Mobile AL//

Av calls downstairs to get us another room. The front desk at first tells us that indeed the room shows in their system it’s been cleaned. Av says welllp, it actually hasn’t.

They say that as it’s so late, they don’t have any other rooms in the entire hotel to put us in. Not in the entire hotel? No, sorry.

We tell them that we’ll just go to the lobby so they can send someone up. Av is super nice about all this, but it needs to be fixed. No one stays in a room that hasn’t been cleaned.

They reply that they don’t have any maids at that hour, but they’ll send someone up with linens for the bed.

We talk about maybe all sleeping like cordwood on the bed that was changed, because this is just weird. And there’s still the bathroom. Yuck.

A bellman comes up and I help by starting to take the sheets off the bed. I lift the pillow, and there’s a. Y’all. There’s a ***dirty Kleenex***. I need to shower in a stream of high-concentrate Purell now, with a Lysol chaser. I’m going to study the construction of CDC ebola decontamination stations and handcraft my own. We are leaving.
They didn't clean our first room. And GROSS. The Admiral Hotel, Mobile AL//

Av calls the downstairs and tells them if there are truly no other rooms, we’re finding another hotel right now. Check us out, refund us, we’re done. We’re Audi 5000.

This above, except for the part where we’re completely skeeved out now.

They magically find another room after not having one ten minutes earlier.
The Admiral Hotel, Mobile AL//

The Admiral Hotel, Mobile AL//

…and considering how disgusting it all was, please accept with the hotel’s compliments breakfast for four.

How weird was all that?

Speaking of really weird things, last summer we were in Jackson and finally, finally had lunch at Saltine in Fondren.

None of the food was very interesting or very good, so just very quickly, there were these oysters that supposedly had Alabama white sauce, but none that could be detected
Not again: Saltine, Jackson MS//

a po’ bao with fried oyster that wasn’t particularly tasty
Not again: Saltine, Jackson MS//

and a ‘Nashville hot chicken’ biscuit that wasn’t spicy. So.

We’re almost ready to go, so I leave for the ladies’ room and once my hands are washed, I turn to get a towel, and *can you see where this is going to go wrong*?

It’s so terrible I can only laugh about it. I actually heard a millisecond before the little click for it to depress the aerosol arsenal and as the thought of my tropical-smelling fate came into my head, it was quickly dissipated by a weaponized fog that went into my eyes, my hair, my clothes. There was no time to do some kind of Matrix thing where I arch backwards or cartwheel on out of there.

There was a canister of Glade on automatic, timed sprayer, at eye-level above a place where people would naturally have to stop. What. 

Girls of Jackson who have similarly met this fate, I stand in Hawaiian Breeze solidarity (or maybe you got a face full of Clean Linen, which I would have preferred, thanks). Actually, I went to the manager to tell him in the sweetest way why this was a really terrible idea, and maybe because he was overtaken with my aroma, he thought it was a great idea to send out a free key lime pie to our table. Because Margaritaville.
Not again: Saltine, Jackson MS//
And I was just wanting to pour myself into a bath. Of, you know, that same high-test Purell as before.

Hahahaha! May you be blessed with catlike reflexes when reckoning with automatic sprayers, and decontamination suits when needed. xoxo!

Intertwangleism Meets Beautiful Eggs, And Seeing A Heart Through That Tough Exterior Over At The Auction

Peppered with Butch Anthony‘s intertwangleism paintings and filled downstairs with somber paint shades and deep shades for floors and furniture, Justin Devallier’s Balise in New Orleans has a certain dark (though smart) vibe.

The manager noticed me admiring the artwork and explained that Justin and Butch are big friends. He invited to take me upstairs so we could talk more about the art, which was such a generous thing to do. Like me, he wasn’t sure what these other works are downstairs, and at first I couldn’t decide if these were x-ray prints of botanicals and such, or tintypes.

Balise, New Orleans//

Back to the food, Shug wanted a cheeseburger with everything on the side, so voila
Cheeseburger, Balise, New Orleans//

Shugie and I each had the blue crab omelette ‘with fines herbes, english peas, pickled shallots, rye bread, and bernaise and ohmygosh that was the best omelette of my liiiiiiiife. Every omelette from now on will be judged against this one.
Blue Crab Omelette, Balise, New Orleans//

The only thing that wasn’t just terrific was the sticky toffee pudding — the boys wanted the three of us to share a dessert, so we settled on this. I haven’t had sticky toffee pudding since Leslie and I went to Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse in Las Vegas last year, but this one was disappointing and the only miss.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, Balise, New Orleans//

Butch Anthony has been featured all over, but this slideshow from the NYT shows how gorgeous his aesthetic truly is. I’ve seen this trailer he brings to Kentuck.
Butch Anthony Trailer, Kentuck//

Besides Kentuck (these next two pics are from there), he sells his works on Etsy, and this is beyond fabulous.

His pirate ship, though, is kinda the best thing ever.

I’ve been out to Seale just a few times, on one trip there was this large painting on the porch at the Possum Trot Auction:
Alabama’s Possum Trot Auction sells anything that’s legal, but it’s not about the stuff from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

We visited it again this week
Possum Trot Auction, Seale AL//

…bordered in…unconventional planters in retro colors. There’s avocado green, sunflower, Mamie pink. What’s missing: harvest gold and poppy.
Possum Trot Auction, Seale AL//

and tire planters

Tough on the outside, tender on the inside

And yes ten million times to Alabama’s Secret Sisters who filmed their ‘Tennessee River Runs Low’ music vid with BA (and at the end, there’s your Alabama Dia de los Muertos facepaint for this year)

Atrium Love, And Selfie Photo Booth Elevators

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta so the boys could get a good look at its fabulous atrium — when the hotel was completed in 1985, it had the highest atrium in the world at 470 feet (there are 52 stories). That record was only surpassed when the Burj in Dubai was built.

Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Georgia//

They *loved* it (but they think that as far as hotels with great atriums go, the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans has them beat because of their ‘magic’ elevators (Schindler’s PORT system)).

The rooms are pretty standard-issue Marriott. The only difference, I think, between a Marquis Marriott and standard are that Marquis are exceptionally, perhaps 1k+ room, large properties.
Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Georgia//

Our view

Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Georgia

The hotel’s architect, John Portman, was featured in an Atlantic piece from two years ago called How 1980s Atlanta Became the Backdrop for the Future.
Marriott’s new Moxy brand received a Boutique Design award for up-and-coming hotelier (there’s a new Moxy in New Orleans I’m hoping to check out in the next month or two) but what I found most interesting was Marriott’s description of some of Moxy’s features:

Moxy Hotels fully embraces today’s fun-hunting traveler with smartly designed tech-enabled rooms featuring motion sensor lighting; internet TV in-room featuring Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora and Crackle; selfie photo booth elevators; Moxy Digital Guestbook; abundant power and USB outlets; furiously fast and free Wi-Fi for ultimate connectivity; and Moxy ‘B and F’ (beverage and food) strategy that offers 24/7 self-service to give guests access to what they want, when they want it.

I wonder if the boys will forget the Regency’s ‘magic elevators’ once they check out the Moxy’s selfie photo booth ones.

International Spam And Blackmarket Moon Pies

First, a moment of pause for the the monumental bounty that is the international SPAM section at (truly, I mean this) Atlanta’s best grocery store: the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market.

International SPAM//

International SPAM//

International SPAM//

International SPAM//

International SPAM//

Actually I don’t eat it but just *wow* at the selection.

I think Buford is actually better than Your Dekalb, though they do have such great flowers and breads there.

At Buford Highway the employees are super, super nice.

The selection of just about everything here is amazing — it’s from all over the world. And beyond the fresh staples of produce and meat, there’s so much to admire in the packaging designs, pastries…and the clientele is not like one’s neighborhood Publix or Whole Foods — it’s something like the international concourse from a giant airport somewhere in the world was beamed in, and ta-da, we’re all hungry Atlantans here. It’s a beautiful thing.

Food at Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

Food at Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

Food at Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

Food at Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

They had Choco-Pie here. It was in the news a couple of years ago as a black market opened in North Korea for them, and Pyongyang was forced to start making their own version to shut things down. In response, people from South Korea loaded balloons up with real Choco-Pies and flew them over the border in goodwill. The allure of the Moon Pie is strong.
Food at Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

More fab grocery packaging pics, especially retro drinks, from Jungle Jim’s outside Cincinnati.

Outside at Buford Highway Farmers Market, someone had a #parkingfail:
Buggy Return Fail, Buford Highway Farmer's Market, Atlanta GA//

The Original For Original, Igloos From McRib Boxes, And Itinerant Scoundrels With Two Cents

On our way back from Cincinnati, we were passing by Corbin, Kentucky, which is the home of the original Sanders Cafe (well, I guess second since the first was destroyed in a fire in the late 1930s) — where Harland Sanders first fried chicken. At his first restaurant across the street, he figured chicken took too long to cook and stuck to ham and steak. This building serves as museum of the original compound with the restaurant and motel as well as…a regular KFC.

My own KFC story is that I worked at one for a couple of years in high school and college, and I chose to work there specifically because I figured everybody from school was too ‘cool’ to ever be seen in a KFC (my tender teenage ego wasn’t prepared to have to ask a classmate ‘original or extra crispy?’). And my plan worked: not once in those two years did I ever see a classmate. Seriously.

Ah, here are some other KFC stories:
Our busiest day was always Mother’s Day.
Working drive-thru was more fun than the counter for some reason.
The gentleman who owned our franchise looked like Colonel Sanders and would dress like him sometimes to the delight of…only the older customers.
Now that I’m grown up, we have friends who own Popeye’s restaurants.

Ah. Oh wait I have another couple of restaurant-working stories.
When I was 15, before the gleaming spinning bucket of KFC lured me away from the golden arches, I worked at McDonald’s (thankfully never saw anyone I knew there either) and fell when I was getting french fries out of the walk-in freezer — counter service there was in charge of fries. Because the bottom of my shoes were so slippery and the door closed behind me, for two seconds I planned out how I could survive before freezing. Igloo from McRib boxes?

I worked as a hostess at a Cracker Barrel for a few months right before my college internship which righted my course to the delights of office life. So I went from saying ten thousand times a day: “original or extra tasty crispy?” to “smoking or non?”. Also: occasionally people from outside the South would come in thinking they were going to have some sort of weird authentic cultural experience (y’all. please.) from dining at a Cracker Barrel (again. please.), and as part of that would ask me to say something so they could revel in my accent. I beseech thee: never be that kind of person.

And always, always be kind to everyone you meet and especially kind to people who work in the service industry.

William Faulkner famously quit the Oxford post office and in that letter:
As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.

Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY

It isn’t the typical museum, but there are some pieces, like this 1960s weathervane from a Shelbyville, Tennessee Kentucky Fried Chicken

This restored highway sign was once used roadside in North Carolina

Here, a recreation of the old kitchen
Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY//

Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY

Since we were here…

21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, And Finally Some Graeter’s

The last night of our Kentucky/Ohio trip, we stayed at the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati. Like the 21c in Louisville, this one is also downtown. Out front, this Werner Reiterer brass chandelier:

Inside, like the other 21Cs that we’ve been to, there’s lots of artspace to explore. this is the Norbert Brunner ‘You are Enchanting’
Norbert Brunner, You Are Enchanting, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Grimanesa Amoros’ Uros
Grimanesa Amoros, Uros, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Astrid Korgh’s Lightmail
Astrid Krogh, Lightmail, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Astrid Krogh, Lightmail, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Paul Rucker’s September 15, 1963 Birmingham, Alabama
Paul Rucker, September 15 1963 Birmingham Alabama, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Paul Rucker, September 15 1963 Birmingham Alabama, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Walter Oltmann’s Shel
Walter Oltmann, Shel, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Brian Knep’s Healing Tiles were fun to walk on to see the shapes morph
Brian Knep, Healing Tiles, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Our room — like the other 21Cs, it was rather plain and functional — not especially luxurious
Hotel Room, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Hotel Room, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Bathroom, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

the shower had body-part tiles
Bathroom, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

…and we got to play with the penguins, which in Cincinnati are yellow
Shugie and Me and Yellow Penguin, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Shugie and Yellow Penguin, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati OH//

Now that we’ve stayed at the Bentonville, Lexington, and Cincinnati 21c hotels, we’d like to visit the others — Durham, Louisville, OKC, Nashville (the newest), and soon, Kansas City. 
We had something to celebrate, so we went to supper at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, which is very close to the hotel. It’s ‘modeled after the 1940’s-era French Art Deco Steakhouses of New York City‘ and there was someone singing in the bar area. We were seated in this area:

Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Cincinnati OH//

butter, and truffle garlic butter for the bread

Shugie had the crab bisque, which he loved

Av had a perfect, perfect, perfect steak
Steak, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Cincinnati OH//

We all shared the Potatoes Anna which is absolutely so pretty (so pretty that we saw it served at another table and had to ask what it was so we could have one)
Potatoes Anna at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Cincinnati OH//

I just wasn’t in the mood for a steak or salad, so had a hamburger (which I rarely order anywhere) which was so incredibly good
Hamburger and French Fries, chJeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Cincinnati OH//

We had just a lovely, lovely supper and walked back to the hotel to take in more art before bed.

Oh — and since we were in Cincinnati, we found a Graeter’s for a little ice cream the next day

Back to the hotel: Pableaux Johnson wrote for the NYT Come for the Guest Rooms. Stay for the Art Galleries. about the small 21c hotel collection:

The multiple locations significantly increase operational complexity, because different historic venues impose structural limitations on which works can be shown, and exhibitions are often reinterpreted as they move between locations. A show that works well on the former factory floor in Oklahoma City might not lend itself to Lexington’s taller spaces.

Mr. Wilson, Ms. Brown and Ms. Stites also travel with acquisition in mind; exhibition inventories frequently change, and the collection evolves. “We’re always on the lookout for new work that will welcome, intrigue and inspire,” Ms. Stites said. “Contemporary art is getting more global in nature, and we want to find a way to integrate it into daily life. We can’t really understand our times until we look back, so we need artists to help us look ahead.”

…and Conde Nast Traveler on Why Nashville’s Hotel Scene Is Hotter Than Ever mentions the new 21c there *and* another I’d really like to give a try: the Thompson