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Under the Stars

Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth. Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right [...]
614now Staff

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Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark

The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth.

Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right time.

But every once in awhile, the clouds part on your iCal, and an email arrives that will lead to one of those rare times where you get to do something special.

Yes, in fact, I would like to spend a night in Leveque Tower. It’s an offer I couldn’t refuse, and now for a few hundred bucks a night, you can take in the impressive art deco luxury of the city’s most famous building—one that, most people don’t know‚ has spent a large part of its modern years mostly vacant.

Now, with the new 10-floor Hotel Leveque, a new venture from Marriott’s Autograph collection, the structure that once was the fifth tallest building in the world, has a revitalized purpose.

“It’s basically a rebirth,” said Michael Shannon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “This building is alive again.”

Shannon took us (and now we take you!) on a tour of the new facility, the capstone of  a multi-million dollar renovation to what was just added to the Architectural Digest’s Top 10  Art Deco Buildings in the World.

The team at Hotel Leveque didn’t have to do much reinvention when it came to the look of the hotel. It’s art deco, all-day. Tiles, furniture, artwork—every piece of the hotel (other than the main floor Starbucks) looks plucked from the 1930s, when the Leveque was the tallest building between NYC and Chicago.

Literally one of the first American skyscrapers, The Leveque was thought to “touch the sky,” which is alluded to in the many stars and half-moons featured on the building’s terra cotta exterior.  Hotel Leveque was built on that celestial theme, from the chandelier above the lobby, to the astrology-themed decor you’ll find in most rooms. (There’s even a turndown service that lights up constellations on the ceiling above the bed—sleeping under the stars!)

Fun fact about a new hotel in an old, unique building: you kind of have to design around the structure’s bones, which resulted in a bit of serendipity: every room in Hotel Leveque is a unique design, 33 variations in total. “You’ll never stay in the same room twice,” Shannon says. In total, the hotel features six suites, all stacked on top of one another, which Shannon expects to be a target of Red, White, and Boom fans for their view of the Scioto. The bathrooms are perhaps the hotel’s most consistent feature, featuring impeccable tilework, incredibly spacious showers, and as a nice local touch—free grooming products from Columbus’s Cliff Original.

While the restaurant is slated to open its doors later this summer, overnight guests and anyone in Columbus can amble up the steps to hotel’s second-floor bar, The Keep. In Shannon’s words, “the new traveler is looking for adventure and experience,” and they can find plenty at The Keep, which, along with finely crafted cocktails comes the feeling you’ve snuck into a little secret spot.

The arrival desk is a good mix of all the things that separate Hotel Leveque from your average fancy hotel. From valet to bellman to check-in, I’m greeted by a different person each time, yet they speak to me with knowledge of something from my background. Shannon later tells me this is what they call “tough points.” Other little touches: Their uniforms have been designed by local fashion designer Liz Bourgeois. With just 149 rooms, Shannon boasts that such a small guest list enables them to do other things larger hotels can’t. “If you became a regular here, we’d know you like Diet Coke,” he says.

For more information about Hotel LeVeque, visit bit.ly/2qdq0K1.

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Getaways

Enemy Territory

My heart bleeds scarlet and gray. I graduated from OSU, and then worked there for several years, inside a building with a perfect view of the ’Shoe. So it made me squirm in my seat with discomfort when we discussed writing a piece for the magazine on Ann Arbor getaways. Imagine my surprise when I [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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My heart bleeds scarlet and gray.

I graduated from OSU, and then worked there for several years, inside a building with a perfect view of the ’Shoe. So it made me squirm in my seat with discomfort when we discussed writing a piece for the magazine on Ann Arbor getaways. Imagine my surprise when I found myself wandering the streets of our rival city on a clandestine mission for photographs, in a sea of maize and blue.

This November, Buckeyes will flood into the streets of Ann Arbor in preparation for the Big Game, where we’ll face off against the Wolverines on their home turf.

Much to my amazement, my trip to the state up north was surprisingly idyllic. Expecting a barren wasteland of sour-faced losers and actual wolverines, I found friendly people, a beautiful campus, and plenty of attractions to keep fans from both sides of the line entertained before and after the main event on November 25 at noon.

So if you’re planning on spending a weekend up in their neck of the north, here are some suggestions that will keep you right around campus, while letting you get away from the pressure of The Big Game, if you so choose.

Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market

a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation

Located close to the city hustle and bustle, the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is home to over 100 producer-only vendors. This means there is no middle man; you’re buying straight from the planters and makers. Despite the chilly northern winters, the market is open year-round. By the time late November rolls around, it’ll be up and running Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get up early before The Big Game for some local souvenirs and start your day off with more than a beer bong.

The Ark

theark.org

A classic local music venue with a reputation for putting on amazing shows, The Ark is like Ann Arbor’s version of our Newport. No it’s not better. I didn’t say that—you said that. The gigs and players lean folksy here, and the night of The Game, you can escape the street hordes by buying a ticket to see none other than actor Jeff Daniels play the night away onstage. Just don’t be the drunk guy that yells out Dumb and Dumber quotes from the back row.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

zingermansdeli.com

This staple of the campus sits on a picturesque street corner. There’s a coffee shop right next door called, well… Zingerman’s Next Door. It would be a perfect spot to grab a sandwich and do your homework while you stare out the window and daydream about your future. But you don’t have any homework. And this is your future. Oh, boy… Don’t blame the folks at Zingerman’s, they just work here.

UM Museum of Natural History

lsa.umich.edu/ummnh

This spot will be especially perfect if you’re visiting with kiddos in tow, but there ain’t no age limit on wonder. The museum has a massive collection, including mastodon skeletons, and live demonstrations like “exploring neuroscience” and dinosaur tours. The doors are open Monday through Saturday 9-5, and Sunday 12-5. This seems like a good way to decompress after the wild ride that’s going to be Saturday night.

Frita Batidos

fritabatidos.com

To clarify, Frita is not the head chef here. The menus’ two staple items are the frita: a spicy chorizo burger with shoestring fries on top, and an egg bun. And the batido: A shake made with ice, fruit, and sweetened milk (and sometimes rum). The Cuban-inspired fusion menu at this spot, along with the colorful atmosphere, will be a surefire warm-up after braving the chilly November weather. And those cold northern glares.

Grizzly Peak Brewing Company

grizzlypeak.net

Stop what you’re doing and add this spot to your Ann Arbor itinerary. With eight different craft brews on tap daily, all of their award-winning hand-crafted beers are brewed on-site. Their mouth-watering menu runs the gut gamut from artisan pizza and specialty burgers to ribs, fresh mussels, and truffled mac n’ cheese. They even have a dog menu. Pups are welcome on the patio, and all the proceeds from dog snacks like salmon and rice, or ice cream with peanut butter sauce, go to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. You even get a little dog dish to take home. *ichigan might just be onto something.

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Getaways

Glamp-Away

June is national camping month, according to someone who told me that on the Internet. This is great news for those of us that love dirt, bugs, hiking, and the occasional four days without a shower. But what about the more docile members of your friend group, or your tame and domesticated partner that wants [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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June is national camping month, according to someone who told me that on the Internet. This is great news for those of us that love dirt, bugs, hiking, and the occasional four days without a shower. But what about the more docile members of your friend group, or your tame and domesticated partner that wants to share everything with you... everything except the responsibility of starting a fire, and tying your food into a treetop to avoid tempting bears?  Well good news, adventurous Columbusites. You can sate your thirst for experience and freedom without sacrificing comfort or risking life and limb. Some call it a vacation, some might even call it “Glamping.” One thing is for sure: We have plenty of options for getting outside 270 and copping a new view of starrier skies.

Hit the Road, Jack

Among the defining societal tropes of Americans is the love of the open road. Our collective cultural memory includes Manifest Destiny, the Wide Wild West, roadside attractions, and Route 66. The question of whether to hit the road has never included a why, only a how. Columbus-based Road Adventures has built a company founded on the idea of helping you plan the road trip of a lifetime.

Through Road Adventures, you can rent a vehicle, like a tow-behind trailer, an RV, or even a vintage-style Airstream Trailer. Never driven an RV? No problem. Road Adventures will teach you the finer points of operation, and provide 24-hour roadside assistance and customer service, in case your road trip goes the way of a National Lampoon Vacation movie.

But Road Adventures isn’t just a rental service for travel vehicles. They are a complete travel package and planning company. From Ohio’s own Lord of the Rings fantasy, Hocking Hills; to national treasure and wildlife lover’s destination, Yellowstone National Park; Road Adventures has planned routes you can follow. These are complete with places to camp along the way, and plenty of attractions to break up the long miles.

Camping vehicles are the perfect way carry your comfort with you. You can rent an RV to get you to that music festival you and your buddies got tickets for. Let them help you find a spot with the proper hookups, and you can avoid the long lines leading to the hell on Earth that are festival shower and toilet facilities. Always wanted to see the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota? Take an RV through the Black Hills and arrive in comfort and style for a wild weekend.

Leave the planning and logistics to Road Adventures, if you wish. Or, just pick up the keys and head out on a magic American carpet ride.

For more, visit roadadventures.com.

The Air Up There

Some folks were lucky enough to have tree houses as kids. It was a little place of your own, where you could hide away from the grownups, and spy down on your surroundings. A cozy little place away from the every day. Turns out, you can go back to that little nest up high.

There are plenty of options for treehouse rentals in Ohio if you want to get away from all, or above it. The standout option is The Mohicans Treehouses. A set of four true-to-name structures suspended high in the trees, these rentals look like something from a story book. Two of the houses were designed by Treehouse Masters star Pete Nelson, and an episode of the show focuses on The Little Red Treehouse, one of the rental options complete with indoor plumbing and electricity. Little Red was originally constructed as a tasting house for Tree House Brewing, and later converted to accommodate an overnight stay. Small and cozy, Little Red is the perfect size for two people. The other three treehouses can host two couples, making them perfect for a double date weekend getaway.

The creation of the buildings was mindful in its sourcing and fabrication. The owners and designers made use of reclaimed barn wood for materials and hired local Amish workers to contribute to design and construction. The owners, Laura and Kevin Mooney are committed to sustainable operation of their fairy tale getaway. The site has become a destination not only for vacationers, but for event planners and partiers. The Grand Barn is a glorious and woodsy venue for weddings and other events, where guests are encouraged to spend their night in a treehouse after their festivities.

Visitors walk a gently swaying suspension bridge from a hillside to reach their treetop hideaway. It’s just like you always imagined.

And for those of us that never had a treehouse… it’s never too late.

For more, visit themohicans.net.

A Walk On the Wild Side

There’s an old romantic notion of waking up to a misty morning on safari, and you can have that experience without leaving The Heart of It All. Located on over 10,000 acres of reclaimed mine land, The Wilds is a safari park in every sense of the word. Visitors can take a tour by bus or by truck through the spacious fields provided to the many animal inhabitants of this sprawling, wild partner to the Columbus Zoo. From rhinos and cheetahs to takins and dholes, the resident creature roster is long and growing by the season.

A stay at the Grand Yurt on Nomad Ridge includes a safari for two. Dinner and breakfast are provided. The interior of the yurt is exotically inspired and gorgeously designed. A little slice of luxury in Southeastern Ohio. They are climate-controlled with indoor plumbing, and provided is the one thing you might be unwilling to sacrifice in your search for escape from daily life: coffee. Outside the Grand Yurt is an elevated patio with a fire pit, where a view of the prairie will greet you with the sunrise. You may even catch glimpses of animals roaming the open fields, seemingly oblivious to the fences.

For more info, visit thewilds.columbuszoo.org.

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Getaways

Under the Stars

Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth. Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right [...]
Avatar

Published

on

Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark

The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth.Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right time.But every once in awhile, the clouds part on your iCal, and an email arrives that will lead to one of those rare times where you get to do something special.Yes, in fact, I would like to spend a night in Leveque Tower. It’s an offer I couldn’t refuse, and now for a few hundred bucks a night, you can take in the impressive art deco luxury of the city’s most famous building—one that, most people don’t know‚ has spent a large part of its modern years mostly vacant.Now, with the new 10-floor Hotel Leveque, a new venture from Marriott’s Autograph collection, the structure that once was the fifth tallest building in the world, has a revitalized purpose.“It’s basically a rebirth,” said Michael Shannon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “This building is alive again.”Shannon took us (and now we take you!) on a tour of the new facility, the capstone of  a multi-million dollar renovation to what was just added to the Architectural Digest’s Top 10  Art Deco Buildings in the World.The team at Hotel Leveque didn’t have to do much reinvention when it came to the look of the hotel. It’s art deco, all-day. Tiles, furniture, artwork—every piece of the hotel (other than the main floor Starbucks) looks plucked from the 1930s, when the Leveque was the tallest building between NYC and Chicago.Literally one of the first American skyscrapers, The Leveque was thought to “touch the sky,” which is alluded to in the many stars and half-moons featured on the building’s terra cotta exterior.  Hotel Leveque was built on that celestial theme, from the chandelier above the lobby, to the astrology-themed decor you’ll find in most rooms. (There’s even a turndown service that lights up constellations on the ceiling above the bed—sleeping under the stars!)Fun fact about a new hotel in an old, unique building: you kind of have to design around the structure’s bones, which resulted in a bit of serendipity: every room in Hotel Leveque is a unique design, 33 variations in total. “You’ll never stay in the same room twice,” Shannon says. In total, the hotel features six suites, all stacked on top of one another, which Shannon expects to be a target of Red, White, and Boom fans for their view of the Scioto. The bathrooms are perhaps the hotel’s most consistent feature, featuring impeccable tilework, incredibly spacious showers, and as a nice local touch—free grooming products from Columbus’s Cliff Original.While the restaurant is slated to open its doors later this summer, overnight guests and anyone in Columbus can amble up the steps to hotel’s second-floor bar, The Keep. In Shannon’s words, “the new traveler is looking for adventure and experience,” and they can find plenty at The Keep, which, along with finely crafted cocktails comes the feeling you’ve snuck into a little secret spot.The arrival desk is a good mix of all the things that separate Hotel Leveque from your average fancy hotel. From valet to bellman to check-in, I’m greeted by a different person each time, yet they speak to me with knowledge of something from my background. Shannon later tells me this is what they call “tough points.” Other little touches: Their uniforms have been designed by local fashion designer Liz Bourgeois. With just 149 rooms, Shannon boasts that such a small guest list enables them to do other things larger hotels can’t. “If you became a regular here, we’d know you like Diet Coke,” he says.For more information about Hotel LeVeque, visit bit.ly/2qdq0K1.
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