Top USA Bars with a View

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From JetSetter.com – Saving because I love to have cocktails with a view in the best places. And unbelievably I’ve never had a tipple in any of these so I defo need to start checking some off my list.  Do you have any good recs for me from your state? Do tell!

 

 

 

50 States of Cocktails: Where to Drink (With a View) Across America

Nothing has us pining more for a refreshing drink than the long, hot days of August. Thankfully, America is absolutely brimming with fabulous cocktail dens, hometown breweries, and rooftop bars where you can toast the season in style. From an open-air deck on a Delaware beach to a swanky loft in New Orleans, here are 50 spots (and 50 drinks) to try this summer in each state.

1 Maine: Portland Lobster Company

Winter can be downright brutal in coastal Maine, so when summer hits, locals spend as much time as possible outdoors. Where better to enjoy the sun and salty sea breezes than at a lobster shack? They’re ubiquitous up and down the coast but Portland Lobster Company, situated right on the water overlooking Casco Bay, might just be the best. Its alfresco picnic tables are perpetually crowded with Portlanders, who come to enjoy local craft beer (go for the Allagash White or Black, brewed right in town), live music, and some of tastiest lobster rolls in the state.

2 Pennsylvania: Assembly Rooftop at the Logan, Philadelphia

As far as views in Philly go, it doesn’t get much better than the Logan Philadelphia‘s Assembly Rooftop Lounge, whose terrace affords sweeping views of Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art with its famous staircase (any Rocky fans out there?). Grab a group of friends and cozy up on one of the semi-circular couches surrounding the fire pits for a drink or two. On warm days, cool down with the Celery Stalked—a refreshing combination of local Bluecoat barrel-aged gin, St. Germain, and celery and lime juice.

3 New Jersey: Rooftop at Exchange Place, Jersey City

Many New Yorkers would agree: in order to truly appreciate Manhattan’s skyline, you need to get out of the city. No place proves that point more than Jersey City’s new Rooftop at Exchange Place, where you can take in unbeatable panoramas that stretch from the Empire State Building all the way to the Statue of Liberty. We doubt anyone will judge you for snapping pics of the Skyliner (sparkling wine with crème de violette) held up against One World Trade Center’s silhouette.

4 Rhode Island: The Roof Deck at the Grace Vanderbilt, Newport

American businessman Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt commissioned the Grace Vanderbilt in 1909 as a mansion for his mistress. Now a boutique hotel, this property has some of the best views of Newport’s marina. Drink like a Gilded Age tycoon at the Roof Deck, where guests settle into Adirondack chairs with champagne cocktails in hand and watch the sun set over the water. New this summer: a crudo bar, which will serve oysters and seafood all season long.

5 Connecticut: Treehouse at the Oyster Club, Mystic

You might recognize Mystic from its starring role in the 1988 Julia Roberts film Mystic Pizza, but there’s lots to discover in this quintessential New England seaside town beyond its Hollywood roots—including the largest maritime museum in the United States. After exploring the quaint downtown, grab a seat on the string light-lit wooden deck at the Treehouse above the Oyster Club during daily happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.) to take advantage of $1 freshly shucked oysters alongside a signature Bloody Mary.

6 New York: The Ides Bar, Brooklyn

The Ides Bar at Williamsburg’s hip Wythe Hotel may not be New York’s newest rooftop bar, or even its highest, but it’s still one of the best places in New York to take in Manhattan’s storied skyline. As Williamsburg’s original boutique hotel, the Wythe’s got street cred in spades: the top floors (which were added onto the original cooperage) feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows that guarantee gorgeous views all year long, but Ides really comes alive in summer when it opens its outdoor terrace. Toast the end of the season with a Storm in the Summer, a house cocktail made with Reyka Vodka, raspberry brandy, bianco vermouth, and soda.

7 Vermont: Falcon Bar, Manchester

Talk about a piece of living history: the Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa has hosted no less than four U.S. presidents in its historic rooms and suites, and rumor has it Marsh Tavern (located in the original 1769 building) was a watering hole for revolutionaries during the Civil War. The place to savor a drink alfresco is the Falcon Bar, just off the main lobby, where (in addition to classic cocktails) you can sip local craft beer and over 50 varieties of wine and single-malt scotches. There’s even a fire pit for cooler nights.

8 New Hampshire: Cabonnay, Manchester

Opened last year in Manchester, Cabonnay (a blend between cabernet and chardonnay) occupies two spectacular spaces inside an otherwise unassuming office building: there’s the rooftop patio lined with flower boxes, umbrellas, and tables for two along with a ground-floor dining room whose menu of New England favorites with an Asian twist (tempura fried chicken; avocado toast with a soy poached egg) earned it a spot on New Hampshire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants list in 2017. You won’t go wrong with any of their wines.

9 Maryland: Pool Bar & Grill at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, which debuted earlier this year in the landmarked Recreation Pier in Fell’s Point, is drawing hip locals and out-of-towners to its innovative pool bar, shaped out of recycled shipping containers. After enjoying a refreshing Aperol Spritz and views of the real shipping frigates docked in Baltimore Harbor, order up something from the food menu (crab cakes; fish tacos), which is overseen by none other than New York-based chef Andrew Carmellini.

10 Massachusetts: Lookout Rooftop, Boston

The Lookout Rooftop & Bar at the Envoy, an Autograph Collection Hotel has been Boston’s hot spot for drinks with amazing waterfront views ever since it opened in 2015, but a recent $4 million expansion has made it even better. We’re talking 2,500 square feet more space and a plush seated section overlooking the Seaport District, where you can while away happy hours among the city’s stylish locals. House cocktails are the way to go; spring for their take on a Moscow Mule (made with Absolut Lime, lime juice, simple syrup, and ginger beer).

11 Delaware: Big Chill Beach Club, Bethany Beach

Delaware is all about its beach towns, and locals know that North Bethany Beach has some of the best venues to hang out at when the summer season hits. Our favorite: the wooden rooftop deck at the Big Chill Beach Club, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Bay and seats up to 200 people (so you rarely have to fight for a seat). Bring all your friends and order a Beach Bucket to share like the South Side Punch, made with Cruzan Passion Fruit rum, orange juice, pineapple, and grenadine.

12 Mississippi: The Coop, Oxford

You don’t have to be a University of Mississippi student to appreciate the Graduate Oxford, a funky hotel near campus that exudes southern charm. The place to be is The Coop, the property’s fourth-floor terrace lounge with a modern farmhouse vibe, for barrel-aged whiskey cocktails and Southern classics (including four excellent Moscow mule variations like the Kentucky, mixed with Four Roses bourbon).

13 West Virginia: Restaurant at the Glen Ferris Inn

For a taste of historic charm on the banks of the Kanawha River, it’s hard to beat the restaurant at the Glen Ferris Inn. Built in 1816, the inn was first conceived as a family residence for retired army colonel Aaron Stockton. Over time, the inn began to take on lodgers including presidents, governors, and the naturalist John James Audubon. Follow in their footsteps by sipping something classic—a gin and tonic, perhaps?—with views of Kanawha Falls.

14 South Carolina: The Rooftop at the Vendue, Charleston

For a bird’s-eye view of Charleston’s steepled skyline and the waterfront, take the elevator to the top-floor bar of The Vendue, a historic hotel in the city’s French Quarter. Downstairs, sparkling chandeliers and original wood beams recall the property’s 18th-century heritage; upstairs is far more modern—a two-tiered space of covered and uncovered wooden decks with fun pop art installations. Watch the sunset over a refreshing Southside Fizz, made with Seersucker Gin, lime juice, fresh mint, and club soda.

15 Kentucky: Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington

When it comes to bourbon, all roads lead from Lexington, where world-famous distilleries Four Roses and Woodford Reserve are just a half-hour’s drive away. For something right in town, locals love Belle’s Cocktail House. Named for Belle Brezing (a real-life Victorian-era southern belle who ran a high-class brothel out of her mansion and was the inspiration for the fictional character Belle Watling in Gone With the Wind), this watering hole stocks more than a hundred varieties of Kentucky’s famous whiskey. The rooftop bar (Lexington’s first) is an added bonus—perfect for sipping an Old Fashioned on hot summer nights.

16 Florida: Sugar, Miami

Competition for the best outdoor bar is fierce in Miami, where over-the-top hotels like the Faena and creative cocktail dens like the Broken Shaker offer up ambiance in spades. This summer’s rooftop du jour is Sugar, a 40th-floor hangout at EAST, Miami where revelers dressed to the nines sip Asian-inflected drinks in a tropical oasis of Balinese-inspired décor and copious potted palms. Try the refreshing Toki Highball, made with Japanese Suntory Toki whiskey, yuzu, Lagavulin 16, and soda.

17 Georgia: Peregrin, Savannah

Savannah’s highly anticipated Perry Lane Hotel (a member of the Luxury Collection) has finally opened its doors, bringing a hot new rooftop bar to Georgia’s oldest city. Designed by award-winning firm AvroKO, the hotel embodies southern charm with a modern twist—and the rooftop, dubbed Peregrin, is no different. A lush oasis of jasmine blossoms and boxwood plants surround an inviting patio where both locals and visitors come to play lawn games and sip local craft beers, frozés, and signature drinks like the Perry Lane Special—made with cognac, dry curaçao, absinthe, sparkling wine, and lemon.

18 Tennessee: L.A. Jackson, Nashville

Instagram lovers will find everything their feed needs next at L.A. Jackson, the rooftop bar at the Thompson Nashville beloved as much for its panoramic views of downtown and the Gulch as it is for its ice cream sandwiches (of which there are three mouthwatering varieties—in addition to bar bites like catfish chips and venison poppers). The daiquiris are worth their salt, too. JS Tip: time your visit for a Monday night, when Jack White’s record label Third Man Records hosts DJ nights featuring local musicians and influencers that spin their favorite tunes.

19 North Carolina: The Roof at the Durham Hotel

Sleek midcentury vibes prevail at the Durham Hotel, a 53-room boutique hotel in a 1969 former bank building downtown. For alfresco cocktails, look no further than the hotel’s 3,000-square-foot roof deck, which includes an indoor bar with covered seating in addition to its open-air space. Wherever you choose to hold court, you can’t go wrong with the hotel’s namesake cocktail, which blends rum, cognac, port, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters.

20 Arkansas: The Preacher’s Son, Bentonville

Bentonville, Arkansas, is one of the best under-the-radar small cities in the United States, particularly when it comes to its art scene (you’ll find everything from Andy Warhol’s COCA-COLA to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bachman-Wilson House at its ground-breaking Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art). When it comes to drinks, there are some great places to imbibe, too. The Preacher’s Son, housed in a former Neo-gothic church, debuted a new rooftop patio last summer—a great place to enjoy a Rhubarb Cup (gin, Sfumato, strawberry-rhubarb syrup, lemon, and soda).

21 Louisiana: Hot Tin, New Orleans

If you’re not in the mood to deal with the masses on Bourbon Street, head for NOLA’s rooftops. A swanky evening out is guaranteed at Hot Tin, in the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, which was designed to look like a 1940s artist’s loft (Tennessee Williams reportedly lived on property when he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire). Spicy drinks dominate this summer’s menu; for something more low-key with just a little kick, try the Hibbity Dibbity—a bourbon-based cocktail mixed with blueberry hibiscus tea, lemon, and ginger.

22 Virginia: Q Rooftop Bar, Richmond

Since its opening in 2015, Richmond’s Quirk Hotel has been a magnet for creative types, who are drawn to its sleek design and the adjacent Quirk Gallery that exhibits work by established and emerging artists. You might even meet some of them at Q Rooftop Bar, where locals and visitors mingle over craft cocktails, wine, and beer. Grab a spot on one of the white couches or chairs and soak up the views of downtown that stretch all the way to the Richmond Coliseum.

23 Alabama: Carrigan’s Public House, Birmingham

Carrigan’s Public House occupies an industrial space in the heart of Birmingham with a cool rooftop deck that’s perfect for catching the breeze on hot summer nights. You’ll find a great selection of craft beer here, but they’re most known for their elevated cocktails. Try the Fightin’ Words, a unique take on an Old Fashioned with rye, Cocchi Americano, Fernet Branca, orange blossom water, Angostura bitters, and flamed orange.

24 Washington: Canon, Seattle

A line often extends out the door at Seattle’s tiny 32-seat bar, Canon. It’s little wonder why: the spot won an award at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktails celebration (often considered the industry’s Academy Awards) for housing one of the largest and rarest collections of spirits in the world. The interior looks like a library of sorts, with tall shelves extending up to the ceiling (and reached only by ladder). The Capitol Hill drinkery also has a fun summertime secret: a hidden patio. If you manage to nab a coveted outdoor seat, we recommend indulging in the refreshing Streamline, made with gin, strawberry juice, pineapple, and bitters.

25 Idaho: 315 Martinis and Tapas, Coeur d’Alene

Tucked away in the northern city of Coeur d’Alene is Idaho’s historic Greenbriar Inn, which opened in 1908. Its restaurant, 315 Martinis and Tapas, has the foremost cocktail program in town—and a patio and two porches for alfresco drinking. Order a Tuscan Pear (citrus vodka, ginger liqueur, pear juice, and orange bitters) then kick back, relax, and enjoy being outdoors.

26 Montana: Tiki Bar at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Nature reigns supreme in Montana, and during the summer at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, you can drink lakeside at a tiki bar. (There’s a poolside space, too, if that’s more your scene.) The summertime hot spot is an extension of the Boat Club Lounge and Restaurant, which has been named one of the best happy hours in Whitefish. Try the Big Mountain Mojito for a refreshing tipple under the sun.

27 Oregon: Departure Restaurant and Lounge, Portland

Portland, Oregon, might have more of a reputation for its outdoorsy personality, but it has some seriously swanky drinking dens as well. You’ll find a bit of both at Departure, the Asian-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant inside the artsy-luxe Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel. While the mountain and river views from the dining room are amazing, the vistas from its two patios are even better. Order the tequila-based (and easily Instagrammable) Madame Cheng: coconut ash colors the cocktail black, but guanabana and lemon verbena make it surprisingly fruity and fresh.

28 Wyoming: The Deck @ Piste, Jackson Hole

With a landscape as beautiful as Wyoming’s, you’re best off imbibing somewhere where you can take it all in. Though you might be more used to seeing white ski slopes in Jackson Hole, during the summer, you can take the gondola up to The Deck @ Piste, which has a beautiful patio overlooking the greenery. For a simple but tasty tipple, order the Huckleberry How Pow, made with huckleberry vodka (it’s the state fruit of neighboring Idaho), lemonade, and soda.

29 Alaska: Crow’s Nest, Anchorage

Most bars in Anchorage don’t have outdoor space (for a city whose summertime temperatures typically top out at 61˚F, we’re not surprised), but you can still get incredible 360-degree views of the mountains and the sea from the Crow’s Nest, Hotel Captain Cook’s rooftop bar and restaurant. Despite the name, you won’t find a tacky pirate theme here: the bar is sleek with warm woods that mimic the interior of an elegant ship, and the dress code is business casual. Order a classic Sidecar—it might not be the most summery of drinks, but it certainly feels like the right choice given the space.

30 Nevada: Mandarin Bar, Las Vegas

Las Vegas has no shortage of places to imbibe, but in our opinion, the best are the ones overlooking the Strip. The sophisticated Mandarin Bar on the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s 23rd floor offers a quieter, more luxe experience than other spots in Sin City, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides framing neon-lit views of the famous Vegas skyline. The five elements–inspired Wu Xing cocktail (mixed with Johnnie Walker Blue and baiju with flavors of lemongrass, ginger, lychee, oolong, and sandalwood) is new this year and makes for the perfect summer sip while enjoying the twinkling lights.

31 New Mexico: Bell Tower Bar, Santa Fe

Fun fact: the artsy town of Santa Fe, founded in 1610, is the oldest capital city in the U.S. Get a taste of history at La Fonda on the Plaza, the grand dame in town, whose site has hosted inns since 1609. Of all the margaritas on the menu (and there are a few of them) at the property’s seasonal Bell Tower Bar, located on the fifth floor, we’re partial to the Daizy—mixed with Cointreau, St. Germain, and a Patron tequila made just for the hotel.

32 California: Broken Shaker, Los Angeles

In downtown L.A., you’ll find this summer’s hottest scene at the Broken Shaker, the new Freehand Hotel’s loosely tiki-themed rooftop bar featuring a pool surrounded by pink loungers (note that swimming is for hotel guests only) and a vibrant atmosphere that transitions from day to night. The Funky Monkey—gin, Tempis Fugit crème de cacao, banana purée, and coconut cream—is the perfect boozy delight and packs quite the tropical punch.

33 Arizona: Jade Bar, Scottsdale

If it was good enough for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s honeymoon, it’s good enough for us. The luxurious Sanctuary Camelback Mountain has one of the best views of all the hotels in Scottsdale, thanks to its location on the slopes of Camelback Mountain. Another romantic draw: the seriously swanky Jade Bar, which often has live music and maximizes those views with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the desert and Arizona’s magical sunsets. For a spicy, smoky riff on a margarita, try the State of the Union (made with pineapple-infused mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, a five-spice simple syrup, and lime).

34 Oklahoma: O Bar, Oklahoma City

The seventh-floor rooftop of the boutique Ambassador Hotel, an Autograph Collection property in downtown Oklahoma City, possesses one of the best views of the skyline. Though the indoor bar has great vistas itself, there’s a small outdoor area open in the summer, which is a great spot to sip an Airmail—a refreshingly sweet mix of rum, lime, honey, and sparkling wine.

35 Utah: Red Rocks Grill at Zion Lodge

As the only lodge located within the borders of Zion National Park, Zion Lodge is perfectly situated to soak in the beautiful views of its majestic rock formations. Head to the terrace at Red Rock Grill and order the Prickly Pear Margarita—an indigenous fruit to the area that’s just the right amount of sweet you can indulge in all day long.

36 Colorado: Corrida, Boulder

Right in the heart of downtown Boulder, the newly opened Corrida is a Spanish-inspired steakhouse with a killer cocktail menu and a great deck with mountain views. The restaurant serves a menu of gin and tonics in the Spanish style—that is, poured table-side. Our favorite is the herbal Sweet Citrus, made with Damrak & Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic, orange, rosemary, and coriander.

37 Texas: Arlo Grey, Austin

The Line, Austin’s newly minted boutique hotel, is already one of the most popular spots to be at this season thanks to its fantastic pool scene and highly-anticipated restaurant by Top Chef winner Kristen Kish called Arlo Grey. The latter offers a great view onto the pool, so it’s a prime people-watching spot made all the better with a cocktail in hand. Try the Devil’s Backbone, a concoction of mezcal, pineapple, and lime that practically sings summer.

38 Hawaii: KOA Oasis Booze Shack, Honolulu

Beachfront bars lining the shores of Hawaii are a dime a dozen, but for a funky spot that drastically differs from Honolulu’s typically swanky hotel pool scenes, head to the KOA Oasis Booze Shack. It’s just a trailer parked along the Fort DeRussy Boardwalk (so don’t expect any frills), but it serves one of the best Mai Tais you’ll ever have. Grab one and take in the views of the water while you people-watch.

39 Wisconsin: Outsider Rooftop, Milwaukee

Indoor-outdoor living might be the norm in California, but in Wisconsin, it’s a rarity—unless you’re at The Outsider rooftop bar in Milwaukee, where you can get the best of both worlds. There are six different areas of the bar to choose from (including booths on the terrace warmed by fire pits) and many have retractable glass walls, making this a destination in any season. This summer, order a Toucan House Rules for a strong tropical tipple: it’s made of rum, gin, pineapple-infused Campari, orgeat, lime, pineapple, mint, and bitters.

40 Minnesota: Seven Steakhouse Sushi & Rooftop, Minneapolis

After a major overhaul last year, the Seven Steakhouse Sushi & Rooftop in downtown Minneapolis debuted not only all-new interiors—very sleek and modern ones, at that—but also a brand-new menu that makes even the most classic choices exciting (there’s champagne in the potato soup and sirloins are aged for 40 days, New York strip-style). As the venue name suggests, there are several components to this complex, but we recommend going straight to the massive Haven rooftop (which serves Asian-inspired bites as well as steaks) and ordering the Ginger on the Rye.

41 Illinois: Cindy’s, Chicago

Once home to a landmarked men’s-only private club, the Chicago Athletic Association received a gorgeous refurb courtesy of hit design firm Roman and Williams and its rooftop bar, Cindy’s, now consistently ranks among the city’s best bars. The vaulted glass-and-steel atrium reminiscent of a Beaux Arts train station keeps the space bright and airy, while an open-air terrace offers panoramic views of Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Lake Michigan. Ask a bartender to shake up one of their creative concoctions like the Grey Garden (made with Tito’s, Dolin Blanc, crème de violette, jasmine tea, and lemon).

42 Indiana: Rooftop Garden Cocktail Lounge, Indianapolis

Indianapolis’s food scene has been heating up over the last few years and gaining lots of acclaim. If you’re headed there this summer, discover one of the city’s most unique attractions at the historic Fountain Square Theater Building, where you can savor excellent cocktails and pizza with panoramic downtown views at the new Rooftop Garden Cocktail Lounge. Try one of their Moscow Mule variations like the Gin Gin Mule, made with Tanqueray, ginger beer, mint, and lime.

43 Iowa: UP Skybar, Davenport

Situated just a few blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River, the Current Iowa, an Autograph Collection Hotel, boasts one of the best rooftop bars in Davenport. The appropriately named UP Skybar features lounge-style seating with sofas and chairs surrounding fire pits. Sip on a “Summers Are For Shandies” cocktail, which blends sweet tea vodka with lemon juice and Old Davenport Gold blonde ale from the local Front Street Brewery.

44 Missouri: Element, St. Louis

For a small city, St. Louis has a surprising number of rooftop bars. Our current favorite is the third-floor terrace of Element St. Louis, a casual fine-dining restaurant serving up American cuisine inside a former power plant. The outdoor space offers more than views; you can also enjoy live music on Friday nights during the summer. If you’re looking for a perfectly fruity-but-not-too-sweet cocktail, consider the Collinsville, which is mixed with gin, aloe, grapefruit, lemon, and simple syrup.

45 Nebraska: 1912 Benson, Omaha

Nebraska might be considered a flyover state, but Omaha is well worth a stop, especially for its food and drinks. In the summer, do yourself a favor and head to the rooftop of 1912 Benson in the historic district of Benson—one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods. While the restaurant might be best known for its delicious food (get the poutine), we’re partial to its cocktails, especially the Benson Mule with its mouthwatering ginger and pineapple combination.

46 South Dakota: Vertex Sky Bar, Rapid City

At the nexus of Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands, Rapid City has a flourishing food and drink scene that’s putting South Dakota on the map. For the best views in town, head to the Art Deco-style Hotel Alex Johnson, which is home to the luxurious Vertex Sky Bar. Though you can imbibe and take in the views from indoors year-round, the atmosphere is best in the summer, when the terrace opens up. Order the Black-Berry Hills Smash—the bar’s riff on a Mint Julep featuring bourbon, simple syrup, blackberries, mint, lemon, and soda.

47 North Dakota: Luft Rooftop Beer Garden, Bismarck

When summer rolls around after a frigid winter, North Dakotans flock to outdoor bars to enjoy the much-missed rays of sun. In the capital, Bismarck, the Lüft Rooftop Beer Garden offers imbibers a greenhouse-themed space decorated with warm woods and quite a bit of greenery, with a roof that remains open in the warmer months so you can enjoy the fresh air. Embrace the summertime spirit with a Swipe Right, a rum-based drink mixed with lychee, lime, and mint.

48 Kansas: Public at the Brickyard, Wichita

You don’t need to score tickets to enjoy the tunes of Wichita’s largest outdoor music venue. Public at the Brickyard offers its own patio space, which is a great spot to listen to the music being played next-door. The bar and restaurant are dedicated to all things Kansas—bar bites incorporate ingredients sourced from local businesses like Yoder Meats and Creekstone Farms, while many of their craft beers are brewed right in Wichita—but when it comes to cocktails, we’re a fan of something a bit farther-flung: namely, the seasonal Verano, comprised of tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, pineapple, habañero, mango nectar, and a Tajin-spiced rim.

49 Ohio: Cocktail Terrace at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati

The pop-tails at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati’s Cocktail Terrace might be the summer’s most Instagrammable drinks, but the boozy slushies are a close second. This intimate rooftop bar clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously—just look to the yellow plastic penguins, the 21c brand’s mascot—which makes it the perfect place for day drinking with a group of friends.

50 Michigan: Lumen, Detroit

It’s no secret that Detroit is seeing an infusion of energy into its restaurant and bar scene. One of the coolest new spots to take it all in is Lumen, a 4,000-square-foot restaurant that’s also home to a green roof and a 45-seat rooftop patio. Grab one of the tables or have a seat around the fire pit and start off the evening right with one of their Michigan-brewed ales from Griffin Claw Brewing Co. (like the fruity Mr. Bluesky or El Ligero).

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Madison, Wisconsin

GOOOOOOOO BADGERS!!!

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Madison was famously described by a candidate for governor in 1978 as “30 square miles surrounded by reality.” He meant it as a dig, but many Madisonians embraced it, then and now. And for the record, it’s now 77 sq. miles.

Being born in Madison, WI and having lived there for the first ten years of my life, it holds a place in my heart that I will never let go. I think back fondly on that first house my parents built in DeForest, a suburb just outside of Madison. My brother and I making our first friends, running down to the lake behind us to throw bread at the ducks who always seemed to hang out on our yard and my mom letting me run up to my friend’s house for the very first time on my own. I can still picture the house, it was dark brown and split level, a pretty cool house that my parents designed. We drove by it when we passed through Madison last week, it’s now a beige color and I remembered it being a bit different but still put a smile on my face to see it again.

After DeForest we moved into a duplex in Madison. We drove by this too and I have even fonder memories of this house, but maybe not the scary basement – I still have nightmares sometimes of this basement. Fonder memories possibly because I was older and could remember more but maybe just because those first years of your life are quite meaningful.

 

 

I’m still in contact with a few of my friends from then – Jackie was my bestie in those years, Kathy lived the next block over and Joyce would visit from New York during the summer and sometimes at Christmas to her grandparents house behind ours. I would walk to John Muir School with my brother, slowly picking up our gang of friends along the way. After school we would walk over to the small store run by the chinese man where I would buy grape Hubba Bubba gum or those huge, chewy SweeTarts. I can still smell that gum when I think of it.

My gang of girlfriends ruled the neighborhood. We had our secret hideouts in the forest close to my house where I had my first kiss with Jason Cook. Oh those sweet innocent years in the 1970s. No cell phones, no Instagram, no need to make a duck face. In the summers we ran around from after breakfast til before dinner, we never wore bike helmets, we made gross concoctions of mustard, mayo, bugs and more to dare each other to eat and we still made it out alive.

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My Wisconsin girl gang. We were tough! 😉

The duplex is where my love of musicals began. I remember my parents taking me to my very first movie – Grease and I was in love. Not necessarily with Mr. Travolta but just the beauty of movies with singing and dancing. And the joy of music evolved from there – Billy Joel was my first record, then Xanadu, J. Geils Band, The Muppet Movie soundtrack – it wasn’t until my later years that I got into the big hits from the 70s – Joni Mitchell, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac.

My parents both graduated from UW – Madison so we drove around the huge campus while my parents told stories about their days. The campus has changed a lot since they were there and I loved all the stories. There was a terrible snowstorm and the streets were too icy and full of snow for any vehicles; Mom had to walk all the way from campus to our duplex – it took maaaaany hours and by the time she got home she was practically frozen. Another story – There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln that has watched over campus atop Bascom Hill for over a hundred years. Dad said the story goes that Abe would stand up whenever a virgin would walk by, and he hasn’t stood since 1953. Haha Dad.

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We parked the car and walked down State Street. A pedestrian street lined with shops and bars. And sadly this time we walked down it there were a lot of beggars. It was a bit depressing to see. It was really warm that day and I stupidly wore jeans for some reason so we rushed through it a bit but I can see where it would be a lot of fun during the night. Definitely go get a brat at State Street Brats!

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At the end of State Street is the Wisconsin State Capitol which houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. It is a beautiful building both inside and out. And it was air conditioned! ahhhhhhh

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The UW – Madison campus is so beautiful and next time I would like to explore it even more. Both my mom and I were craving a Garibaldi sandwich and a brandy old-fashioned sweet from Paisan’s so we headed there, enjoyed our food and drink and looked out over the serene view of Lake Monona. If you want a cool spot for dinner which also serves the Garibaldi go to Porta Bella just off State St. It’s funky, cool, old vibe, the small rooms and wooden booths make it perfect.

Madison, Wisconsin thank you and I love you.

Thankful and Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving! Gosh I am so grateful for so much. I’m always surrounded by an amazing amount of love and support from Felix, my family, my friends; and grateful for a happy and healthy life. I get to be here this year in the states to celebrate turkey day with my parents, uncles and aunt. And tomorrow is Dad’s 75th birthday, so pretty much a celebration lasting through the weekend. Happiness and drinks all around!

And I got to enjoy one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But darn it, I missed Gwen Stefani’s performance. Oh well, I got to see SpongeBob.

Enjoy that turkey or fish or cranberries or stuffing, whatever is your favorite. Don’t forget the extra gravy. Big hugs to you and yours this Thanksgiving. #sothankful

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A Weekend In New Orleans

SATURDAY

12:00  MEAUXBAR

You MUST hit this place for two hour unlimited mimosas (offered on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch). And I’m not talking about watered down mimosas that they bring to you. No Sireeee, you get fresh OJ and a bottle of champagne, plus some bitters, tinctures and um, shrubs (I asked about the shrubs but forgot what they said).

IMG_2162 So, you can add shrubs (whatever the heck those are), if you like greenery and want to be fancy. Ha. Okay, sorry. It was fabulous. The food is awesome too. Jeannie had the sweet potato hash and I had the petit dejeuner (the grits! the biscuit!).

The place is chic and the dinner menu looked superb as well.

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Meauxbar  –  942 N Rampart St, New Orleans   504.569.9979

2:30  We meandered around a bit in search of a cold brew coffee. And we ran into this funky camper covered in all kinds of stickers. Pretty fun. Not sure if it’s always parked on N Rampart St or it moves around. IMG_2185

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I promise, Jeannie really is happy. She’s just one cool chica.

We found our cold brew coffee! And headed back towards Bourbon St.

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3:30 Bourbon St to find the web cam

Back on Bourbon St. and it was packed with tourists with huge ass beers. Never saw one with a huge ass burger though. I couldn’t believe people were already drinking. I was only 3:30 in the afternoon! Oh, wait. Ahem.

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The day before we flew to NOLA, there was a hurricane building up and there was a chance it would hit New Orleans. Both of our airlines sent us messages about it and that we could change our flight. We decided to stick it out and thank goodness we did because it changed its path and we had no problems getting into New Orleans. BUT, I wanted ot check out the weather while here in Spain and I found this New Orleans web cam. And naturally it’s on Bourbon St. (it’s pretty entertaining to watch at all times) We were determined to find it and do a dance or something crazy. It’s on the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter. We found it, did our crazy dancing – did you see us? Go do it. Feel the web cam love.

4:00  St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, Café du Monde, some shopping on Decatur St. and finally a Bloody Mary.

Headed south on St. Peter to walk through Jackson Square on our way to Café Du Monde. A must stop for all people! Some great sites to see on the way.

The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States, built in 1718. I love cathedrals and this one is gorgeous.

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Jackson Square with of course – Mr. Jackson on a horse (not Michael). That would be Andrew Jackson, our seventh President of the United States. I wonder if this statue will be coming down? He was definitely on the side of favoring slavery and his role in Indian removal. Not what our country should idolize – even though I do understand that it is our history. So, shall it stay or shall it go? That is another blog post entirely.

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Alright, time for some chicory coffee and beignets at the famous Café du Monde. So YUM. The menu is quite simple: dark-roasted coffee with chicory (you can add milk for a café au lait), beignets, white and chocolate milk, hot chocolate, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. And the famous restaurant is open 24 -7, except for Christmas Day and when a hurricane gets too close for comfort.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

It’s a scrumdillyumptious as it looks. Now I want to go back immediately for more.

Café Du Monde    800 Decatur Street   504.525.4544

After getting extra caffeinated from our second coffee in a matter of an hourish, plus a nice sugar rush from the beignets we decided to do a little shopping on our way to get a Bloody Mary at Molly’s At The Market. Check out some of these hilarious finds. Decatur street is a fun street with stores, restaurants and for good ole people watching.

Some funny stuff found during our scouring of the stores.

Finally got to Molly’s at the Market for a Bloody Mary.

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7:00  Dinner at Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Time for some fried pickles and oysters. And don’t forget the Purple Haze.

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Usually there is a line to get in but it moves pretty fast. And there is not a single bad thing on the menu. My mouth is watering now for an oyster po-boy sandwich.

Felix’s Restaurant & Bar  

10:00   Taxi to Frenchmen St.

There is much more than just Bourbon St. for nightlife in NOLA. Frenchmen St. is pretty happening with lots of bars, music venues, buskers, etc. and here is where you will find the locals. Its more popular section is the two-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Our favorite stops where Maison, a live music venue where there is always a good band playing and a busker where you could yell out a word and he word make up a rap to it. We were dying to be chosen and our word for him was going to be …… PLATYPUS. I think he could’ve come up with something good.

I also was almost killed by these women on this portable swing thing. What in the world?

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Busker dude, doin’ his thing. Platypus!!!!

And The Maison. Good tunes.

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SUNDAY

11:30   Brunch at Red Dog Diner

Nothing like hair of the dog to get your day started. And this was a good one. It’s like a salad with your drink.

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My reuben sandwich was really good (but I think the normal rye bread choice would have been better then their choice of focaccia, jeannnie warned me) but Jeannie’s dish was the best – Huevos Rancheros with a side of grits. I stole some of everything when she wasn’t looking.

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Red Dog Diner    3122 Magazine St.   504.934.3333

1:00 Shopping along Magazine St.

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This six-mile-long stretch from the Garden District to Uptown is full of antique stores, boutique shops, art galleries and craft shops. We had probably a bit too much fun in one antique shop where everything we found somewhat scary (think anything with clowns, dolls, and general weirdness) we would hand it to each other saying, “this is for you…” in a creepy voice. It was quite a large store and we found the jackpot near the end. An extremely freaky wicker thing with a baby face coming out of it. Hard to explain and I wouldn’t let Jeannie take a picture for fear it would haunt us forever.

Lots of hip boutiques and the coffee shop across from the Red Dog Diner had great cold brew coffee and free wi-fi.

3:00 Check out a cemetery.

Whether it’s the famous St. Louis Cemetery (voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is buried here plus many other famous New Orleans peeps) or just one you happen to walk by, there are many around, go do a walk around. There will most likely always be someone wanting to give you a tour, your choice, but I think either way I think it’s something to see when in NOLA.

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The above ground tombs are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” Burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is very high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float. And nobody wants a floating casket.

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4:30 Garden District

Since we were already down by Magazine St. and had just checked out Lafayette Cemetery we decided to head up to St. Charles Ave and look at all the beautiful homes in the Garden District. You could make this into as long as you want, there are so many gorgeous places. I pretty much wanted to move into every house we saw. I loved the light blue upstairs patio ceiling on this one.

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7:00 Ghost Tour

You know there are ghosts in New Orleans. It’s one of the things they advertise! Ghosts, voodoo, fortune tellers and all that. And I love it all. I might have had to twist Jeannie’s arm to do a ghost tour because I guess it can be a bit cheesy but we did it. And it was so much fun. Plus we had a few ghost encounters on the tour. Are you a believer? Check out my blog post here for the whole scoop on the tour. But here was the place I found the creepiest of all. The Ursuline Convent. Oooohhhhooooooooghheeheh.

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9:30   Dinner at Coop’s Place

Back to Decatur St. for the best fried chicken in NOLA. I love the Zagat’s Guide description “Where the not-so-elite meet to eat”. It’s true. It’s a fun place with wooden bar tables and snarky waiters and a lot of fun and helluva good fried chicken.

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Coop’s Place  1109 Decatur St.

11:30   Fritzel’s European Jazz Club

Okay you guys, this place CANNOT be missed. They have amazing jazz bands here every night playing their heart out. I love listening to the trumpet, the bass, whatever instrument you want to play I am ready to listen. This was our perfect last stop for our fun-filled weekend. It’s the coolest place on Bourbon St. Want to hear the man sing? Click here. Man he is good!

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Fritzel’s   733 Bourbon St.    504.586.4800

Monday morning we hung out at the pool at our hotel – The Roosevelt (nice place! ask for a room higher than the 10th floor for some sort of view). We grabbed a taxi to get a Muffuletta from Central Grocery which is another must during your NOLA trip. You can thank me later. And then sadly our NOLA trip was over and we had to head to the airport.

New Orleans has so much energy and so many things to see and do and drink. Until next trip my friends! I hope you enjoyed the post and places to see as much as I did. xo

 

 

 

 

Dine With A Ghost

You know there are TONS of ghosts in NOLA. Ghosts, voodoo, spirits, you name it, they got it. Some stories are down right scary and some are a bit, hmmmmm, not so sure about that one – skinned rolled back to look like a caterpillar?? You can take the stories with a grain of salt or you can fully believe or you can relax enjoy the ride and who knows! Maybe you will feel a cold hand on your shoulder or take a picture and when you look at it later you do see some kind of apparition. I believe in ghosts. One day I will tell my ghost story.

I think the ghosts tours are pretty much the same no matter which company you choose. We saw people on other ghost tours and they were all stopping at the same places we did. Now you MUST read this in a spooky and sinister voice.

Here are the stops we made:

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – In 1823, Louis Dufilho became America’s first licensed pharmacist and opened his apothecary shop on Royal St. But he is not the one haunting this place, that would be Dr. Dupas. The mysterious Dupas bought the pharmacy from Dufilho right before he died. According to legend, Dupas did many experiments on pregnant women and slaves. It was said, you would go in healthy, and never be seen again. It seems, he was conducting experiments on people upstairs, giving them large doses of his voodoo medicine. He is usually seen in a brown suit and likes to move potions around on the shelves and sometimes throws a book. I had a strange experience there while trying to take a picture of the inside. My phone did over 60 photo bursts, I’ve looked through them and maybe I see something near the back in the middle, but I’m not sure. What do you see?

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Zach Bowen/Omni Hotel – Zach Bowen joined the military to support his wife and two children. He did a tour in Kosovo and a tour in Iraq (parts of which were spent at Abu Ghraib), where friends say he changed. Upon return he became a bartender in the French Quarter of New Orleans and soon after he separated from his wife. He met Addie Hall, a fellow bartender and the two of them liked to party – drinking a lot and doing cocaine. Also, Hall was said to be a mean drunk and abusing Bowen. Hurricane Katrina hit and they were one of the few who stayed and weathered out the storm. Many people said that going back to “real life” after the tragedy of Katrina was their downfall. On Oct. 5, 2006, they got into a fight (Hall claimed he was cheating on her) and Bowen strangled Hall to death before cutting her up into pieces. He placed her head in a pot on the stove, her feet and legs were either in other pots or in the oven where he tried to cook the body parts. During the next two weeks he spray painted messages on the walls, wrote his five page suicide note and went out drinking, getting strippers and doing drugs with friends. Late October he went to the Omni Hotel, had a drink and then threw himself out of an upstairs window where he landed on the roof of a parking garage. Police found the suicide note and where to find Hall’s body. Some claimed he had been possessed by a demonic spirit that was terrorizing them from the voodoo shop that was below their home. Was it that? Was it PSTD from his two tours overseas? We will never know. But there are still claims that people see someone jump from the Omni Hotel window. The police will show up but there is never anyone there.

Muriel’s Restaurant – Here you can dine with a ghost. The restaurant that is now Muriel’s went through many changes, owners, etc. On March 21, 1788, the Great New Orleans Fire started on Good Friday and burned 856 of the 1,100 structures in the French Quarter, and one of these was a portion of Pierre Phillipe de Marigny’s mansion that was burnt. During the next decade the city was trying to rebuild and Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan purchased the property from Marigny. We will call him Antoine from now on (why did they all have such loooooong names back then). Antoine LOVED his home but he was a huge gambler. In 1814 he wagered his home in a poker game and lost. He was devastated and before vacating the premises he went up to the second floor and hung himself. Supposedly he haunts the second floor – he can be seen as a bright glimmering light. In the past he would throw wine glasses off tables, but ever since the restaurant set up his own table, leaving bread and a bottle of wine (he prefers Cabernet) every night the “tantrums” have diminished. You can have a private dinner with Antoine but you need to call Muriel’s to set it up. Whether or not Antoine will show up, it is still one helluva a good promotion.

The Ursuline Convent – I thought this place was truly freaky. Here is where vampires arrived from the Old World to the New World. This three-story Colonial masterpiece (no nuns live here now) sits behind a high wall with gothic gates and a big courtyard. In 1727,  France sent young women (very poor and possibly homeless) to help populate the city of New Orleans. When the girls arrived they came with casket shaped boxes supposedly holding their belongings and both (the girls and the casket boxes) were placed at the Convent for the nuns to watch over them until they found a husband for them to marry. Thereby earning them the name of the Casket Girls. After they arrived the mortality rate skyrocketed – because what was in those caskets were vampires. Once the girls found suitors the caskets were opened and were found empty. Dum dum Duuummmmmm. Fear of what had escaped from those caskets brought the Archdiocese to the convent. He had them immediately moved to the third floor, where to this day unless you are from the Vatican you cannot go up there. Plus, the shutters are continuously closed. And on top of that they have closed them with 800 screws EACH, that supposedly the Pope blessed. That’s 8000 Pope blessed screws keeping whatever needs to be kept in there! But locals have witnessed the shutters fly open in the middle of the night. I could stop there, but there is one more story to this. Back in the 70s a group of paranormal researchers came to NOLA to check out the convent. Two stayed overnight, in front of the convent to finish their research. The next day they were found dead, and drained of their blood. Drained of their blood!! Now, nothing can be found on the news about this from the 70s but the people in New Orleans say it happened.

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Alright, finalizing things up. If you watch American Horror Story you might have heard about this last one, or at least about the lady – Madame Delphine Lalaurie.

The Lalaurie Mansion – This haunted history is perhaps New Orleans most famous ghostly tale. For more than 150 years, the Lalaurie House is said to be the most haunted location in NOLA. Delphine married her third husband, wealthy doctor Louis Lalaurie in 1832. They threw lavish parties and everyone wanted to be invited inside their gorgeous three story mansion. People started wondering about all the slaves that were being bought – they saw them go in but never saw any go out. Once in 1833, a neighbor saw Delphine chase her 12-year old slave around the roof with a whip. The child jumped to her death and was buried in the courtyard. Investigators came to the house and punished Delphine with a fine and making her sell all her slaves. Unbeknownst to authorities she had relatives buy them and she got them back. In 1834 the truth came out. A fire was started in the kitchen by her cook who was chained to the stove. When authorities came they found a very grisly scene in attic – slaves chained to the walls, badly scarred and starving. It gets worse. Reports say one man had a hole drilled into his head with a wooden spoon sticking out (to stir the brains), another woman had her arms amputated and her skin rolled down making her look like a caterpillar, a woman with her stomach cut open and her intestines wrapped around her body and another had her arms and legs broken and reset so she looked like a crab. Horrifying! Gives me the creeps. After finding this an angry mob grew outside the Lalaurie mansion, soon Delphine and her children came roaring out in a carriage and Delphine was never seen again. Some say she died in France, some say she is buried in a New Orleans cemetery. After we left, Jeannie told me she had felt a very cold breeze go by her. Here is where most people do feel something or see something.

Spoooky stuff right there. And even if you don’t believe, it is still some fascinating stories. Next time I think I will do the vampire tour. Do you have any ghost stories? I would love to hear them. BOO.

 

 

Taliesin West ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the biggest names in architecture. I had only seen pictures of his marvels, but when I was in Phoenix my Mom and I went to his winter residence (and school) – Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course he doesn’t live there anymore, Wright died in 1959, but it continues today as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, an accredited school. It was built and maintained entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it the most personal of his creations.

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Taliesin is in Spring Green, WI and was his summer residence. He built it for his lover Mamah Borthwick, in part to shield her from aggressive reporters and the negative public sentiment surrounding their non-married status. Both had left their spouses and children in order to live together and were the subject of relentless public censure. In 1914, while Wright was working in Chicago a male servant hired from Barbados set fire and murdered seven people with an axe. One of those being Mamah and her two children. I could continue on but this post is not about Taliesin, it’s about Taliesin West.

With everything that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, he believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Not to overtake but to become one with it. I love this idea.

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Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship (his apprentices) began to “trek” to Arizona each winter in 1933. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West. He paid $3.50 an acre on a southern slope of the McDowell Range, believing this to be the perfect spot to build: a residence, a business, and a place to learn.

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Drafting Room at Taliesin West

I am in love with this red door of the drafting room.

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He wanted Taliesin West to connect with the desert, the structure’s walls are made of local desert rocks, stacked within wood forms and filled with concrete. Natural light was used as much as possible with windows but no glass, only an open space for birds to fly through and sunlight to beam its rays throughout the rooms. Light beige canvas was used for the roofing and could be rolled up or down depending on the day.

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For Wright everything he did was intentional. He was fascinated with the petroglyphs found on the Taliesin West property, the clasped hands of the American Indian symbol of friendship. This is often referred to as the running arrow; however, Mr. Wright preferred to call it the whirling arrow. Found in many places around the property but seen here on a rock and near the water fountain at Taliesin West.

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Wright enjoyed entertaining. Almost every Saturday he would invite people over for cocktails, dinner, maybe a movie or a dance production. They would start in the Garden Room, one of the most popular rooms at Taliesin West. Here you have a long bench but also Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous butterfly chairs.

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Every year upon his return to Taliesin West he would walk around with making changes and shouting orders to his apprentices. Taliesin West was a continuing project for Wright, always changing things with new ideas and improving the space with different concepts. Throughout the years he added to the dining room and one brilliant addition was the cabaret theatre with six-sides in an irregular hexagonal shape, it provides its occupants a “95% acoustic perfection”. Someone in the very back can hear even the slightest whisper from the stage.

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Piano space cut into stone in cabaret theatre

And speaking of the stage, his apprentices would learn more than just architecture. The Taliesin Fellowship were taught to learn all aspects of life, integrating not only architecture and construction, but also farming, gardening, and cooking, the study of nature, art, music, and dance. He would have parties almost every Saturday and half of his apprentices would cook and the other half would serve and clean up. Or if he wanted a special dance or music set for his guests, the apprentices would learn the dance or the song and perform.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Taliesin West and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you love architecture. There are many different types of tours, we did the Insight Tour which lasted about an hour and a half. Ticket prices are $34 for advanced purchase but if you are an Arizona resident you get 50% off, so don’t forget to mention that if you are! Enjoy and I would love to hear about your favorites of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Taliesin West. 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480.627.5378