The thing about Bloomington is that though almost everybody at IU is vaccinated (in theory), none of the places in town ask for proof of vaccination.  Fortunately, masks are required.  But not when you’re eating or drinking.  Things seem a little lax.  NPS bets that one day pandemic processes will be more like NY or Portland.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

The old IU stomping grounds

Bloomington is an oasis of intellectual goodness in a sea of rural America.  This has its positive aspects.  The Midwest is a thing.  For example, though NPS has stayed at the Grant Street Inn countless bazillions of times through the years, this trip happened to coincide with an important big ten football game.  That meant that every hotel within 150 miles was filled to the gills with football fans.  Heck, even the Dean’s Advisory Council arranged to send people to the game. No sportsball for us though.  Instead, we focused our energy on intellectual pursuits.

The upshot was that we needed a place to stay Friday and Saturday nights.  Fortunately our friend (and thesis advisor of yore) Rob and his partner Katy put us up in their gorgeous house on Lake Monroe where we kayaked, fossil hunted, and even tried an e-foil.  Honestly, the weekend was the highlight of the trip with excellent conversation, shared art, baking, and fun in the lake. Real life, well lived.

View from the deck


Our fearless leader paddles with his feet


The best fossil (which also caused the bag to switch guardians)



Hiking the ridge at scout camp


The take: fossils and geodes.


The best geode


We kayaked on Saturday which was cooler but not raining.  E-foil experimenting was left for Sunday in wet suits.  The weather was shockingly warm for mid-October.


We ended up staying at the Grant Street Inn Thursday and then again Sunday and Monday.  NPS chose the usual room (number 30).

Room 30 has a bed


Room 30 is quiet with a nice bathroom

You can read more about the Grant Street Inn elsewhere on NPS.

The DAC meeting included a tour of the new Luddy AI Center.  One day it will be filled with students.  For now, it is still being set up.

The VR room of the Luddy School AI Center


Tuning the system

Of course, Indiana places a big emphasis on breakfast (at least outside the confines of Rob and Katy’s house).  Here is one example.  This is a light breakfast.

While in town, we made a couple of visits to C3.  One with Kay and one just ourselves.  The cocktails are (still) excellent.

A dughof sighting (at the Spoon of course).  This was a delightful lunch as usual.


The icing on the cake of our Bloomington run was a visit to the IU Art Museum which has been completely renovated and updated.  Going to a museum chock full of history certainly puts things in perspective.  9000 years from now, we wonder if some off-planet Earth museum will have one of our everyday items on display.

Read about our visit to the museum here.

IU Art Musem


You know how we feel here at NPS when it comes to generic hotels. The good news is that this trip (off season and not on a game weekend) the Grant Street Inn had our favorite room available. Needless to say, this place beats the heck out of the Hyatt Place.

So here we are in room 31. Sadly the fireplace has been disconnected and no longer functions. In fact, there are a few things that could use sprucing up…like better furnishings, no ancient radio, no phone that plugs into the wall, and some outlets built into the bedside table. You can do it guys!!

The first trip of 2020 started out great with a last minute upgrade from United who seems to have changed their upgrade policy to make things more nail biting for Global Services members. Not sure how we feel about that.

And then there was the hilarious stretch limo that the car service used to get us from Indy to Bloomington.

While in Bloomington, visit the Irish Lion for a stiff drink. And have some food at Anyetsang’s Little Tibet Restaurant.

The Grant Street remains our favorite location to stay in Bloomington. Four showerheads.

Though NPS has lost track of just how many times we’ve stayed at the Grant Street Inn, our previous visit seems to have been in October 2015! Whoa. Well, it’s nice to be back.

The good news is that room 30 was available (or rather, became available) for this visit. Thanks to the staff for freeing it up!

The fireplace in 30 no longer seems to function

The bed, on the other hand, functions just fine.

Still no opportunity to try out this hot tub thing

The plastic shower can be forgiven due to the hot tub thing. We guess.

It was a nostalgic visit this time, back to the town where NPS went to grad school. The weather was awful, rainy and chilly, so, as a result, much time was spent inside.

A new cocktail club in town called C3 Bar is worth a visit. Had to teach them how to make a Lion’s Tail, but they did a fine job. The food is good and beats the kind of weird suburban location hands down.

A visit to the Irish Lion was an absolute blast as always. So much laughter! And great Sazaracs made with Whistlepig 10 rye.

Back up to four showerheads for the Grant Street Inn. One of these years, maybe the hot tub will come into play.

Yeah well the Grant Street Inn was full. So we ended up at a Hyatt Place. Nope. Hamster cages for all.

Bloomington Morning

Hamster cage 229



Not plastic, but might as well be

NPS will try hard to avoid Hyatt Place in the future. About the only good thing about it is that the Irish Lion is across the street.

Irish Lion across the street

The bar at the Irish Lion

Old Fashioned

There was also a house concert.

Ritt and Wilder Deitz

Two showerheads for the Hyatt.

I have been coming to the Grant Street Inn for about twenty years ever since they opened. They know me, and theoretically they know that I am a big fan of room 30. Alas, on this trip they put me in room 31. The room is nice, but its biggest feature is also its biggest flaw.

The room 31 pod sticks out by 7th street

The room 31 pod sticks out by 7th street

The problem with 31 is noise from the 7th Street bus route. It’s OK during the day, but it starts early. Room 30, just around the corner from the pod is much quieter. And room 30 has a fireplace and a nice shower thing with a hot tub feature.

The deck off 31

The deck off 31

The door to the outside deck is very nice. And the deck makes a great place to delete email as big buses rumble by.

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Bathroom/sink area room 31

Bathroom/sink area room 31

The shower in 31 is reasonable. It is a cube with glass, but not as fancy as it could be.

The shower is reasonable

The shower is reasonable

While in town, try restaurant DO for some interesting Korean food.

Anyway, for forgetting that I really prefer room 30, the Grant Street gets a temporary three showerheads. Until next time!

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

As a creature of habit, I always look forward to returning to my favorite haunts. The Grant Street Inn is my Bloomington home away from home. And room 30 is my room…though they changed it up!

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Traveling at the height of Spring in Virginia is a tough row to hoe, but at least it is the height of Spring here too!




Four perpetual shower heads forever. Plus a garland of flowers.

Very sad Bloomington news though, the Rail has closed. This leaves precisely zero high end mixology bars in town. So it will be the Irish Lion for some bourbon I suppose. So bummed.

Dinner at Janko’s.


After a salubrious summer respite from travel, it’s back on the road in a serious way come mid-September. This is good and it’s bad. Let me explain:

1. Washington, DC = GOOD because Kimpton (The Donovan)

2. Boston = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Hotel Marlowe)

3. Bloomington, Indiana = BAD because United; GOOD because Grant Street Inn

4. NY = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (The Muse)

5. Chicago = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Palomar)

6. Palo Alto = GOOD because Virgin America; ??? because new hotel

7. Seattle = GOOD because Virgin America; GOOD because Kimpton (Alexis)

8. Pittsburgh = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Monaco)

9. Denver = BAD because United; ??? because new hotel

10. Las Vegas = BAD because United; BAD because Las Vegas just sucks

11. Hartford = BAD because United; ??? because new hotel

Anyway, we can conclude that flying United is unavoidable when you are stuck flying out of Dulles. Too bad United just sucks. At least the cross country flights are mostly with Virgin America!

We can further conclude that Kimpton is a fantastic hotel chain.

And finally we can conclude that Las Vegas is a living hell, equal parts Disney, porn, and Walmart shoppers.

At each destination, we’ll seek out great cocktails and fantastic food.

Follow along as we blog up the 11 trips. Should be fun.

Yes, we know the governor of Indiana is a jackass. And as a serious participant in the Indiana business community, my company is not happy with the exclusionary stupid laws recently enacted. But it’s not like we can just pull up stakes and leave. So we sometimes have to go to Indy.

Last trip out, NPS gave the Alexander a shot with mixed results. This time, we found a better room (3044) and had a much better shower. Much less hamster cage. Much more bathroom kung fu. If we find a higher floor version, we will have what we actually want. Oh, and about that morning newspaper…

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Not only was the shower glass, it had great shower pressure and plenty of hot water. YES!



Homage to the American TV

Homage to the American TV

I was so beat when I got to the Alexander, that I did not even go to the fabulous bar for a night cap. Slept like a log. Maybe next time.

Four shower heads for the Alexander. So much better than the awful Conrad!

In other Indianapolis news, other than a stupid jackass governor, the Libertine has moved to new fancier and hipper digs. Still the same great cocktails though.

Arriving too early for the event and just in time to squeeze in a cocktail, my companion and I were served by Benjamin Moran. After the event, three hours later, we returned for more. Here is the as yet un-named Libertine Experiment One:
2 oz Ford’s Gin
.5 Cocchi Torino
.5 Gran classico
.25 Dry curaçao
1 dash angostura
2 droppers scorpion grapefruit tincture (in house)
Stir down. Big rock. Grapefruit peel garnish for nose.

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

Benjamin was nice enough to make this for me even though his shift was over. But not to fear, Colin Lime was in the house to take over. Colin made us an Indiana Diamondback:
2 oz Bonesnapper Rye (local)
.75 Green Chartruese
.5 Demerara syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura
3 dashes lemon bitters
shake. serve over big rock. lemon peel garnish.

Then it was back to Bloomington and the Grant Street Inn, but not before stopping in at the Irish Lion again for a Sazarac with Hendry.

Well, more like thunderstorms. This week is wet. Fortunately, the Grant Street Inn will provide umbrellas for those guests too clueless to plan ahead with the Interwebs.

Radar around Bloomington

Radar around Bloomington

Sometimes I miss the thunderstorms in the midwest. You can see them coming for miles and then they arrive in a hurry. Lightning, thunder, heavy rain in sheets, wind. It’s not tornado season now, but those happen too.

Sometimes I don’t miss the thunderstorms at all. Here’s what it sounds like at 6am in room 30.

After some finagling during prep for this trip, room 30 magically became available. The management does know its guests. As always, the only place to stay in Bloomington is the Grant Street Inn. Room 30 has a good shower.

Rainy days on Grant Street

Rainy days on Grant Street

In other news, Farm is OK, Soma coffee is still the best in town, the Irish Lion continues to have an outstanding selection of fine bourbon and rye (served by delightfully sassy waitresses), and The Rail will serve you breakfast for dinner if you want, along with a world class cocktail.

Try this little number, whose clever name escapes us:
1.5 oz buffalo trace bourbon
.5 oz eldorado 8 yr rum
.25 spiced honey syrup (1:1 with cinnamon, allspice)
.25 amaro abano
3 dashes mole bitters
Stir down, serve on the rocks with an expressed orange peel dropped in. (this drink needs to be adjusted toward the bitters.)

Almost forgot, United Express (operated by Shuttle America) flew a nice new Embrear 170 this trip. No net, but plenty of room for a commuter jet. Then again, it was April Fools Day.

There have been so many visits to this fine property over so many years (almost all in room 30) that I will skip the pictures this time.

Here’s a VINE posting from the porch

If you stay anywhere in Bloomington, Indiana, stay at the Grant Street Inn. Four perpetual showerheads forever.

In other news, the Irish Lion has a very nice selection of decent bourbon. Rumor has it, they will have a shipment of antique collection bourbon soon. Meanwile, rye concoctions with Handy Sazarac Rye are available.