Broad Ripple Village is an area about six miles north of downtown full of art galleries, restaurants, boutiques, and shops. It is a quasi-residential area, a warren of narrow, twisty streets, with minimal parking options. I suspect that during the summer it swarms with tourists, but in the middle of January it was easily navigable.
We stopped first at a busy Starbucks in order to get coffee and bearings, and we stayed for about an hour. It was an excellent Starbucks; superior to most I’ve been in. The menu and service was typical, but unlike most of the ubiquitous chain’s coffee shops, this one had an atmosphere, a vibe, and a roaring fireplace. Most Starbucks are great for coffee to get-and-go, but relatively few invite you to hang out. This one does.
From there we went to Big Hat Books, a great little-privately owned bookstore. It was well-stocked with a broad selection of books and what it may have lacked in depth compared to a large chain bookstore, it more than made up in atmosphere. We enjoyed visiting with the lady that worked there and bought an excellent book, a graphic story by Shaun Tan, The Arrival (click through to see the artwork).
We also visited BR Fashionista, Another Time Vintage Fashions (which had everything that you now regret having worn in the groovy 70’s), and another excellent CD/Record store called Indy CD & Vinyl. What I love about independent CD shops like this one and Luna Music is how devoted they are to supporting local artists (MBPYNHO) and venues. The customer service is usually great and the people that work there are often wells of musical and cultural knowledge, eager to help and to talk to you about music. This type of music-buying experience is also not something you get when you buy mp3’s on line, but I’ll beat that dead horse later.
There were several other shops and boutiques we stopped in. We didn’t have time to do near everything that was available in Broad Ripple, and many of the art galleries and studios are closed on Sunday, as was a very interesting-looking guitar store called About Music. But we’ll be back.
After a superb and very late lunch at the CWB and then headed home, getting in around 6:30. Upon arriving home we listened to our new music, admired our souvenirs, played on our laptops, and reflected on the weekend and on 25 years of marriage. It is good and we are blessed.