Detour for Architecture!

The middle part of the country is not-so-kindly referred to as the “flyover” zone – but we’ve enjoyed the drive.  And though it’s not an area that we’ve considered living in, we did take a full day to detour from the direct route to St. Louis, and headed north to Columbus, Indiana, one of the most important cities for architecture in the U.S. – right behind places like Chicago, New York, Boston and Sand Francisco.  The generosity of institutions like The Cummins Engine Foundation and individuals, including J. Irwin Miller, has created a community that enjoys a cornucopia of buildings, sculpture and gardens created by some of the world’s best architects and designers. (

Columbus Indiana Fire Station

We started at the Columbus Visitor’s Center  and picked up a map to take our own walking tour.  We saw a library by I.M. Pei, and church by Eliel Saarinen, and a Henry Moore sculpture before we’d walked two blocks.  A quick stop at the Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor was a treat for our taste buds and a feast for the eyes – an amazingly restored shop from 1900 with original marble counters, Tiffany-like glass,  charming syrup dispensers and an old-timey candy store.  And the ice cream was pretty special too! (

Zaharakos Decoration

Syrup Dispenser

Syrup Dispenser

The afternoon ended with a superb guided tour of The Miller House ( a 90 minute visit to a wonderful example of Modernist architecture, and a lived-in family home.  I wanted to leap into the conversation pit and invite friends over for wine and talk!  The house is starkly beautiful and the Alexander Girard interior design filled the house with color, joyful fabrics and folkloric collections.

Miller House Perimeter

For the evening, friends pointed us to the ramshackle Story Inn, ( a former general store in a town that almost disappeared, but didn’t.  The winding and rolling back roads were beautiful and we arrived in time for a walk and exploring.  Breakfast was great!  House made raspberry jam and apple butter, smooth Brown County coffee, biscuits and local eggs and best of all, a leisurely hour in conversation before the long drive to St. Louis, Missouri.  Haven’t found a place we’d like to settle yet, but the exploring has been great fun!

The Story Inn