Our fathers’ founding food court.

A recent visit to a popular attraction in northern Virginia revealed an unexpected little food court.Though it looks pretty lifeless from the photo, I don’t think it was struggling; I caught it right before the end of the business day, so things were winding down. Needless to say, this food court boasts plenty of sunlight

Self-serve from a sleeper: train cars out of context to coax new customers.

Growing up on the south side of Indianapolis (the city limits but still highly suburban in character), one of the most coveted places to celebrate birthdays for the under-ten set was in a tiny McDonald’s operating out of a repurposed train car. And to this day, a popular, long-standing accommodation in downtown Indy is the

Martin Guitar shows its pluck.

The Borough of Nazareth may not register strongly to most people living outside of eastern Pennsylvania, but it does have one ace up its sleeve: it’s the headquarters for the C.F. Martin & Company, maker of the Martin Guitar since 1833. Widely distributed across the world for at least the last century, the guitars have

Mystic and the tourist main street: undermined by its own eclecticism?

Southeastern Connecticut boasts a flourishing, well-preserved hub of commercial activity, popular with tourists but hardly neglected by the locals. This hub is not New London, historically the largest city in the region, a former shipping center and home to the Coast Guard Academy. It also isn’t Norwich, a mill city up the Thames River that

From offal to awe-ful: branding the Meatpacking District.

Forgive the awful triplicate pun, if you can, and step back in time for just a moment. If we were to take some fashionable New Yorkers from 1986, shove them into a DeLorean, then shuttle them to the present, can anyone imagine the shock on their faces if this were the first thing they saw

Tipping the hat to heritage.

It sneaks up on us again: a cultural curiosity in the most unexpected of places. And, as is often the case, the object in question is not an overt landmark. The setting this time? Lewes, Delaware.This town of under 3,000 people sits just northwest of the flourishing Delaware Beaches region—on the opposite side of Cape

A star is born…and stepped on.  

The remarkable, resilient city of Hoboken, New Jersey is worthy of blog posts far longer than this one, and someday I will give it justice. But it’s time to start with a snapshot, evoking one of this densely populated burg’s most cherished cultural artifacts. Not surprisingly, the city, directly across the Hudson River from New

Dethroning the top brass.

When it first opened in 1997, local and regional media acclaimed the Brass Mill Center of Waterbury, Connecticut for transforming a long-blighted, desolate, contaminated old industrial site. And, considering that the retail hub replaced an expansive collection of derelict buildings visible along Interstate 84, it probably improved Waterbury’s image not just to its natives but

And on the seventh day…He created a market.

With this article I venture into what may prove one of my most overtly political topics ever, possibly against better judgment.  Yet I wade into these waters as a deliberate challenge to myself, since I strive to separate the intensive political controversy that this tourist attraction elicits from what I think is more interesting and

Our fathers’ founding food court.

A recent visit to a popular attraction in northern Virginia revealed an unexpected little food court.Though it looks pretty lifeless from the photo, I don’t think it was struggling; I caught it right

Martin Guitar shows its pluck.

The Borough of Nazareth may not register strongly to most people living outside of eastern Pennsylvania, but it does have one ace up its sleeve: it’s the headquarters for the C.F. Martin &

Tipping the hat to heritage.

It sneaks up on us again: a cultural curiosity in the most unexpected of places. And, as is often the case, the object in question is not an overt landmark. The setting this

A star is born…and stepped on.  

The remarkable, resilient city of Hoboken, New Jersey is worthy of blog posts far longer than this one, and someday I will give it justice. But it’s time to start with a snapshot,

Dethroning the top brass.

When it first opened in 1997, local and regional media acclaimed the Brass Mill Center of Waterbury, Connecticut for transforming a long-blighted, desolate, contaminated old industrial site. And, considering that the retail hub

And on the seventh day…He created a market.

With this article I venture into what may prove one of my most overtly political topics ever, possibly against better judgment.  Yet I wade into these waters as a deliberate challenge to myself,