Looking Back: Best VL Posts of 2013

Ave Maria Grotto by Brother Joseph Zoettl

What a year it’s been, filled with so many adventures! These are my favorite experiences of 2013, including some Cincinnati gems as well as public art and architecture elsewhere, plus some crazy nature to boot. There was a lot of Art Deco exploration this year, from Miami Beach to Rockefeller Center.

We started the year by exploring the South. In Cullman, AL, we visited the Ave Maria Grotto, which was absolutely incredible. Continuing on, we eventually ended up in Southern Florida, where we toured Coral Castle:

Coral Castle by Ed Leedskalnin

Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham was another highlight of this trip. What can I say? I like machines and stuff. The bigger, the better, and these are huge:

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

Along similar lines, in Mobile we visited the USS Alabama and its next-door neighbor, the USS Drum:

USS Alabama (BB-60) in Mobile

I saw tons of amazing street art this year, including the mural-based Open Walls in Baltimore and The Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn, plus two efforts that focus more on graffiti: Art Alley in Rapid City, SD and the annual SubSurface in Indianapolis. Since I’m picking favorites here, I have to go with the star-studded, tightly curated Wynnwood Walls in Miami:

wynwood1

The sculpture park 100 Acres has become one of my favorite Indianapolis destinations, and I love NOTICE: A Flock of Signs by Kim Beck, which was just installed this year:

100 Acres: NOTICE: A Flock of Signs by Kim Beck

I went home to NYC twice this year and managed to play tourist a bit, which is always fun. I finally fully explored the New York Public Library main branch in Midtown:

The New York Public Library by Carrère and Hastings

I even braved the crowds at Rockefeller Center, and I’m so glad I did because I’d never fully checked out this Art Deco complex before:

Rockefeller Center in NYC

While we’re on the subject of Art Deco, walking around Miami Beach was incredible. It even inspired us to watch a few episodes of Miami Vice when we got back to Cincinnati, until we realized that, Art Deco architecture and trailblazing 1980s fashion aside, it’s a pretty dumb, dated show:

Art Deco South Beach in Miami Beach

Back in Cincinnati, I took a docent-led tour of the Cincinnati Union Terminal, yet another Art Deco gem:

Cincinnati Union Terminal by Alfred Fellheimer, Steward Wagner and Paul Phillipe Cret

But there was even more Art Deco this year! We gladly seized the one-night-only opportunity to tour the abandoned Shillito’s department store in downtown Cincinnati:

abandoned Shillito's department store in downtown Cincinnati

On the nature front, we visited Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Rugged-N-Raw is an apt description:

Badlands National Park in South Dakota

But the single most astounding experience of 2013 was visiting Yellowstone National Park! That trip was in the works for a long time, and I kept telling friends that we were going to Yosemite. Duh, not! We spent several days exploring different parts of the park, and I took so many photos that I had to split them into two posts — one devoted to the place as a whole and one focusing just on form, color and pattern:

Yellowstone National Park Historic Entrance

That’s my year in a nutshell! While you’re here, please check out my favorite posts from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

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One thought on “Looking Back: Best VL Posts of 2013

  1. Pingback: A Few Iconic Landmarks in Cincinnati | Fabulous 50's

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