A road trip from Buffalo to KCMO and back!

I had the extreme pleasure of keynoting the Historic Kansas City  Old Home Week Preservation Conference this past week!

Instead of flying, Drew and I drove my awesome new orange Subaru XV – spending six days on the road visiting all kinds of cities and friends along the way! We were fueled by random stops for biscuits, ice cream and coffee… we slept in the coolest places including a DIY style loft in downtown STL, in a tiny shotgun style brick house in Louisville, a historic inn in KCMO owned by two super sweet guys and a random airbnb with two cool cats… and we had the chance to meet up with preservationists across the rust belt including Sarah Marsom from Columbus, Michael Allen from STL and Kristine / Amanda / Julie and the rest of the KCMO crew.

About KCMO: With 20,000 people living downtown, a rich history of food and music and a brand new street car starter line rail system, KCMO is a pretty cool city! Kansas City is home to the sweet heat BBQ sauce that everyone loves. They also have shuttle cocks on the lawn of their art museum, an iconic historic plaza built by Nichols (who is also responsible for establishing red lining across America – ugh!), and a cornucopia of incredible parks and parkways laid out by Kessler – all which are extremely vast and well maintained. The KCMO architectural claim to fame may be the “shirt waist” style house that features local limestone on the porch and another 1.5 story above it (second floor and attic).

The KCMO preservation community was all up in arms about Nelle Peters, a grouping of historic tudor style apartment buildings right near the plaza. As you can guess, the owner was demolishing them without a plan. Everyone wanted them saved and I worked with the community to get a petition, heart bombs and Facebook group started… but I am extremely sad to report that I found out today that they have begun tearing them down. KCMO, I am very heartbroken for you tonight.

On a personal level, Drew and I had some great heart to heart conversations, listened to a ton of podcasts and some our favorite bands we listed to were Neon Indian, Tame Impala, Youth Lagoon, Mac Demarco and Tyco. Our trip cost less than two plane tickets, the lowest gas price we paid was $1.38 a gallon and Drew was going nuts over the mid western water towers. We want to badly go back to Louisville, too… it is like an older, slightly more hip Buffalo. I was thrilled to spend some quality time up with my Uncle Norman and Aunt Pauline in KCMO – they came to see me speak!! STL seemed to be our favorite stop – the arch was amazing and we had a delicious breakfast at the Mud House in the Cherokee Historic district! We had a ton of fun!

That wraps it all up!!

 

 

 

Perry, New York… A Dreamy “Brooklyn – esque” Town! 

On our way to Ithaca today, we stopped in Perry!

Chris calls Perry the “Brooklyn of Wyoming County” because it has a contiguous dense urban fabric and a fantastic group of do gooders / movers and shakers doing some cool stuff.

We arrived unannounced but Ann (owner of Burlingham Books!) gave us a tour of the neighborhood and we ran into Ryan Fitzsimmons, a local architect who I spoke with at a preservation conference a few years back in Rochester!

(note: every time we travel randomly this scenario seems to happen where we run into awesome people… It’s actually very strange but I’m not complaining!)

Running into Ann & Ryan was awesome. We got to see the inside of the new brewery (coming 2016!) called Silver Lake Brewing, did a small hike to see Perry’s secret waterfall and we were given a tour of an old Victorian house that Ryan is renovating! Ryan, Ann and the other civic leaders in Perry, NY are working hard to bring people downtown, excite the community  and build civic pride… and it is paying off, truly!

Here are a few photos Chris & I took. If you get a chance to check out Perry, it’s right outside of Letchworth and well worth a visit!