Saturday, May 23, 2009

The "Staycation" - Part 6

Wednesday was another beautiful day in Indiana. We couldn't believe our luck in having a string of great weather for the "Staycation".

Our first stop was the City County Building, the home of Indianapolis and Marion County government. At 28 stories, it is a prominent part of the skyline we see from our roof.

At the very top of the building is an observation deck. We headed up for what we expected would be a great view of the city. We weren't disappointed.

We arrived just before 10am, which was when the observation deck opened. We took the service elevator to the 26th floor, and then a separate elevator to the top. On the way up, we met Robert Short, the attendant in the observation deck. We were his first "customers" of the day, and he welcomed us warmly. Like everyone else we've met this week, Mr. Short was interested in the "Staycation". He thought it was great that we were exploring Indianapolis.

The observation deck is enclosed, with windows all around. It is bright and airy, with lots of Indianapolis artifacts on display.

The walls of the the deck are set back from the outer walls of the building. When you look out over the city, you have a floor just outside the window. This helps people with a fear of heights - you're not looking directly down all those 28 floors!

It was easy to pick out some of the more familiar landmarks of the city. Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium were clearly visible.

The City County Building was completed in 1962 and was the tallest building in Indianapolis until 1970. It was the first building taller than the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

The other great thing about the observatory is the price: free!

After taking in the panaramic views of the city, we thanked Mr. Short and rode the elevator back to the ground floor. Our next stop was just outside. On Wednesday mornings in the summer, a Farmers' Market opens on Market Street.

We browsed among the stalls and found some bread from a local bakery and fresh strawberries. We needed both for our picnic lunch.

From the market, we headed back to the condo, where Mary packed a picnic lunch of California BLT's, Traders Point Creamery cheese, and fresh Indiana strawberries. We threw in a carafe of white wine and headed for the IMA.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art sits on a 150+ acre site at 38th Street and Michigan Rd. The museum grounds include the main galleries (at left) as well as Oldfields, a 22 room mansion that was the home of Josiah K. Lilly, the grandson of Eli Lilly. A 100 acre park, the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, will open in June, 2010. Another bonus: Admission to the museum and grounds is free. Special exhibits in the museum usually have a fee, but there are three floors of galleries that can be viewed at no charge.

We had visited the museum grounds once before and had enjoyed walking through the Oldfields gardens. Today we found a shady spot by the fountain and spread out our picnic. It was cool and quiet - a very relaxing spot for a picnic.

After lunch we toured the third floor gallery in the museum where the contemporary art is housed. We enjoyed most of what we saw, then Mary got the giggles in the room with the yarn pieces (a 20 foot strand of yarn stretched diagonally from a window to the floor, several strands of black yarn stretched from floor to ceiling, and a wall with yarn stretched in "L" shapes). We decided it was probably time to leave, before we disturbed the silence and the attention of the serious art afficianados. We'll go back some other day and look at the Asian art or the textile exhibits. Its easy, and best of all, its free!

No comments: