Parklet Sighting in Montreal

What’s lovelier than sitting outside on a warm summer day for lunch or enjoying a drink and your company at the end of the day? Many restaurants, particularly in our cold northern climate, do not have permanent outdoor seating. Why? Because sitting outside is only a good idea for a few months out of the year. For the rest of the year the sidewalks and patios are cold, covered in snow and inhospitable. But, come summertime we want to take advantage of that nice weather and soak it in as much as we can.

Remember learning about parklets? It’s a conversion of parking space (temporary or permanent) into public space. Some are free for the public, outfitted with benches and plantings and designed to be meeting spaces for community members. Restaurants are catching on and creating outdoor dining areas from parking spaces – a twist on the “park” of parklets. While these are clearly affiliated with restaurants (meaning, not free for the public because you need to make a purchase), it’s still a great use of space to bring the community to the street.

These restaurants parklets are from Montreal, Quebec. While they vary in design and style, all are enclosed and encompass part of the sidewalk and parking spaces.

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A casual parklet with pink picnic tables.

This view shows the parklet platform half on the sidewalk, half in the street.

This view shows the parklet platform half on the sidewalk, half in the street.

Enclosed in, metal fence. Across the street is the Old Port of Montreal.

Enclosed in, metal fence. Across the street is the Old Port of Montreal.

Almost completely in the parking space, this parklet dresses up the scene with flower boxes and planting.

Almost completely in the parking space, this parklet dresses up the scene with flower boxes and planting. And check out the view across the street. Beautiful buildings!

A closer view of the restaurant parklet. (Side note: In the life of a preservationist, I always feel like people think I'm taking photographs of them. Nope, sorry, just the environment!)

A closer view of the restaurant parklet. (Side note: In the life of a preservationist, I always feel like people think I’m taking photographs of them. Nope, sorry, just the environment!)

What do you think of restaurant parklets? Do you want to be eating next to traffic? It’s a great use of space if your town or city has narrow sidewalks, but maybe sipping your drink and enjoying your meal is more difficult if a car is idling in traffic next to you. Yay or nay? Seen any in your neighborhood? Would you prefer a parklet for a restaurant or free for public use?

Westmount Conservatory

An answer and a follow up to the most recent Preservation Pop Quiz

In the Westmount neighborhood of Montreal, this 1927 conservatory (also called a Victorian greenhouse) sits adjacent to the Westmount Public Library. It’s open year-round to the public and is filled with plants, flowers, and water fountains.

The view inside the conservatory.

The view inside the conservatory. 

Looking up at the ceiling on a rainy day. Imagine the warm sunshine beaming through those panes!

Looking up at the ceiling on a rainy day. Imagine the warm sunshine beaming through those panes!

Pink flowers!

Pink flowers and tiled floors.

The still-operational ventilators inside the greenhouse. The wheel and shaft open the windows.

The still-operational ventilators inside the greenhouse. The wheel and shaft open the windows.

The conservatory is adjacent to the Westmount Public Library.

The conservatory is adjacent to the Westmount Public Library.

Any greenhouses by you? I’m not a plant expert, but the sight of flowers and historic buildings is enough to draw me in for a stroll through a conservatory.

Touring Providence, Round One

The recent jaunt to Rhode Island included a visit with my preservation pals in Providence. Undoubtedly you saw the many Mr. Stilts photo pop up on Preservation in Pink. Instead of a flamingo invasion, here are some of my favorite sites along the tour.

Along the riverwalk in downtown Providence.

Along the riverwalk in downtown Providence.

Providence Public Library.

Providence Public Library.

I cannot take my eyes off this building.

I cannot take my eyes off this building.

Westminster Street.

Westminster Street.

Another view on Westminster Street, a great place to stroll, shop, get coffee.

Another view on Westminster Street, a great place to stroll, shop, get coffee.

Westminster Street, looking up. Rhode Island is ahead of Vermont in the flower count.

Westminster Street, looking up. Rhode Island is ahead of Vermont in the flower count.

Providence, RI. Another one of the beautiful buildings to catch your eye.

Providence, RI. Another one of the beautiful buildings to catch your eye.

New use of an old, hidden space: an outdoor movie screen. Creative use of a formerly underused space?

New use of an old, hidden space: an outdoor movie screen. Creative use of a formerly underused space?

To be continued.

The Movers & the Shakers

Following up with Where Are the Running Preservationists?: It’s nice to know you fellow running-preservationists are out there! Thanks for speaking up, including those of you on Twitter. Check out the fun responses below.

Bottom line, you’re out there. And we’ll have to meet up at conferences to go running and exploring. However, not everyone is a runner. (Or some of you are, but are hesitant to admit it, see comments). This leads me to ask:

What is your favorite mode of transportation for exploring? Foot? Bicycle? Horse & carriage? Trolley? Car? I’d love to know. John Stilgoe, author of Outside Lies Magic, encourages everyone to walk or bike, because it enables to observe elements of the built and cultural landscape that we’d never see otherwise. Of course, certain modes are more fitting than other, depending on where you are and what you aim to do. When would you bike or drive?

I’d take a bike around a city so I can stop where I please, but still carry water, my bag, camera, and other essentials. Biking was the best way to see Minneapolis. I’d drive in rural areas because I don’t like to bike on roads with narrow shoulders. And there is the appeal of the open road. I’d take a trolley in a big city for the experience. In New York City, one of my favorite modes is the elevated train because you see cornices and rooftops and life from an entirely new perspective. What else. Where are you going next and how will you explore?

Bread Loaf Mountain Campus

A view to the Green Mountain range.

A view to the Green Mountain range, with a ski meet set up in the background.

Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Mountain Campus sits in the hills of Ripton, Vermont, among the Green Mountains and Robert Frost’s country. Driving by, you could not miss this striking collection of matching buildings with yellow ochre wood cladding and deep green shutters, mostly in meticulous condition. What started as a summer resort in the 1860s by Joseph Battell, a prominent Middlebury resident, became the Bread Loaf School of English in 1915. Robert Frost lectured at the school from 1921 – 1963. In the summers, the campus hosts the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In the winter the Rikert Nordic Ski Center operates out of the campus. It’s a beautiful site, winter or summer.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

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Another view of unique windows and impressive porches.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

Real shutters, original winows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Real shutters, original windows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

Bread Loaf Campus is worth a weekend drive if you’re in Vermont, whether you are skiing or sight-seeing.

Winter Festivals in Historic Places

Are you in need of traveling? Or in need of good weather? It’s that time of year to be wishing for such things. But we have four more weeks of winter. Accepting that fact, I’m adding a few winter festivals to travel-list, hoping to remember these for next year. There are plenty of small festivals, including many in Vermont (Stowe, Burlington, Middlebury), but I’m thinking of larger festivals or carnivals.

(1) Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada – particularly for the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’ largest skating rink. The entire site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A winter destination for next year: skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

A winter destination for next year: skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. Photo from wikipedia.

(2) Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, particularly for the ice castle.

An ice palace and fireworks at Saranac Lake in the early 1900s. Click for photo source.

An ice palace and fireworks at Saranac Lake in the early 1900s. Click for photo source.

(3) MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE (Montreal High Lights Festival) for vibrant culture, lots of lights, music and a big party in downtown Montreal.

What’s on your list? 

Places I’d Like to Visit: Washington D.C.

Fitting for Presidents’ Day, it’s a good day to mention how much I’d love to visit Washington D.C. Many preservationists are fortunate to live and work there, and thanks to social media, the rest of us can catch glimpses of life in and around D.C.

From the monuments to the free museums to the rich architecture and significant history, Washington D.C. is a must visit for all. It’s been almost 20 years since I spent time in D.C., so it’s verging on not counting anymore, and really beyond my recollection of places. Here are places in D.C. in my list, three or less in each category to keep it reasonable. How long would these take me to see? Please add your own, too.

The National Building Museum was formerly the U.S. Pension Office. Click for source.

The National Building Museum was formerly the U.S. Pension Office. Click for source. This is the museum on the top of my list.

Museums

Memorials

Preservationists I’d Like to Visit

Have you seen the U.S. Interior photos? This recent one of the Lincoln Memorial is beautiful.

But beyond that, I don’t know much of D.C. Where are the best places to live? Where are the best places to visit? To eat? This is a pretty standard list, probably, but it’s my starting point. What about you, fellow travelers? Let’s talk road trips and adventures!Which places do you know you’d like to visit, despite not knowing exactly what you’d do when you got there?

Spotted: A Giant Stride in Hines, Oregon

The Giant Stride remains a popular topic on Preservation in Pink, and it brings a smile to my face when a reader sends along a “newly discovered” giant stride or shares a story. Today’s giant stride sits in City Park on Highway 20 in Hines, Oregon. Zoom in and you’ll see that the chains/ladders are still in operation.

Giant Stride in Hines, OR. Photo and information courtesy of Kristen Zschomler.

Giant Stride in Hines, OR. Photo and information courtesy of Kristen Zschomler.