Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

American Tobacco Historic District

Now this is what I am talking about!

A great city, or shall I say, a city that wants to be great, puts forth a vision and implements it and ta-da! You get something like the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham.

I've been here before over the past few years. And each time I go, I am awe-struck. It is just innovative and beautiful and it's like "I can't believe we have this!"-feeling.

One tends to get cynical when we see that we have no sheltered bus stations, or no bike lanes, or well, nothing really 'unique', in our city.

And while I primarily refer to Raleigh, Durham is close by that could pick up the 'bad-vision' virus from Raleigh. But as Durham has a reputation for, um, also being unique (in a slightly different way), it obviously has more depth to put together a very wonderful user experience for its visitors.

We went to the Durham Bulls game this past Friday. Apparently, this was a big game or more apparent, we just don't go to these often enough to realize how bad traffic is to _get_ to the game. I thought we were at the ugly RBC center...but it was too pretty around us to be the case...

We finally parked in one of the many parking garages and had to walk the length of the tobacco warehouse to get to the ball park.

But what a walk it was!

A stream follows us the entire walk. My youngest was just in heaven staring at the water and the waterfalls that occurred throughout. She was just enamored, as though she were at Disney World. Quite honestly, so was I. There's something about the sound of water that is soothing and I didn't even get mad at the walkers who stopped dead in the tracks, or walked to the LEFT instead of the right. You know, those ignorant, irritating bunch (which doesn't include me).

The office spaces we passed were nice-looking. For the most part, I couldn't tell what types of businesses we were passing. But some of them had busts (sculptures) in the window, and again, it made for a pleasant experience as we passed.

There is one particular place, during the walk by the stream, that is sort of cordoned off in a way that says "if you want to cross the stream on these rocks, you can, but you have to go around this way so that everyday idiot's do not accidentally fall in". So one has to consciously choose to cross the stream on these very large rocks, which would make it improbable for a sober person to fall in.

I've been to one of the restaurants housed in this warehouse, Tyler's Taproom. Great food, amazing selection of beers and as far as I know, home-grown (not a chain). There were a few other dining places that I had not heard of, which led me to believe that they too, were local.

So Raleigh, you don't have far to look to see how to do it right. I haven't been to the place in Wake Forest and Rocky Mount, but it sounds similar...someone else nearby is thinking "ahead" and Raleigh, you sure can find inspiration right around the corners...

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