Otherworld

It was situated in a desolate parking lot. Where are we? We drove in to be greeted by empty store windows, brand names peeled from the exterior walls with only the glue and sun stain to mark it’s past box store resident, abandoned trash cans, and aging pavement throughout the parking lot.

We were in Columbus, Ohio, which made the emptiness feel even more strange. This is large city crawling with people and then there’s… this? A desert of sorts. This itself was possibly an unintentional (but maybe completely intentional) introduction to the immersion art we were about to experience.

Otherworld.

When you walk in, there are a few ways you can go. There are lights. There are noises. There is art. There are hidden passage ways. There are secrets written in the art. You can make music with the art.

There are eyes everywhere. A room where the light follows you. A room where if you touch the gems on the wall, the shatter. Mirrors echoing neon lights as you walk through them.

You really have to feel your way around because there are hidden rooms right behind curtains that don’t look like curtains. Touch everything. Crawl through everything.

Visit the room full of your childhood toys. Visit the room full of spiders. There is an office full of psychology books. There is a room with a graveyard and large manic looking figures. Twins. Visit the ocean room. Visit the room with the man eating plants, close to the center of it all.

Just go. Immerse yourself in the strange yet beautiful art. Look at it all. Touch it all.

*I would like to add – it is pretty kid friendly. I took my 2.5 year old and she loved it.

Oakes Quarry

We went on a little adventure recently and guys, this is a true hidden gem. I’ve always casually heard about an old quarry that was turned into a park. Never really thought anything of it even though it’s under 10 minutes from my house – That’s it!

So you know how long it took me to get there? 2 years since I heard about it. Well we headed out there the other night for an evening adventure… and fell in love.

Walking down the rocky path sends you into another existence. I did not feel like I was in Ohio at all. It was 89° and the sun was beating down on us and this rocky desert like scene.

Yes, this is an appreciation post just for an old quarry in Fairborn, Ohio. Pics below and if you live near here – GO! It’s got plenty to see and a nice 2 mile walk amongst the rocks. (There is a quick history below the photos)

I even headed back out there a few days later to do a photo shoot with the ever so lovely and dark Aniyahlationn

Back in 1929, it was surface mined for limestone. The Oakes family purchased it in the 90’s and eventually donated the land to the city of Fairborn in 2003.

The park has a 2 mile foot trail and 1 mile horse trail. It’s the 2nd largest park in Fairborn and it is a beauty. Keep a look out for wildlife and fossils! The last time I was there, we saw swarms of Buckeye Butterflies!

Florida Mural Trail

CJ and I went to Florida for the month of May and though it was full of family time, we headed out for adventures of our own. I grew up in Vero and though she may not remember this trip, I wanted to show her my hometown.

One thing that Vero Beach didn’t always have was the mural trail. Florida has this huge mural trail and it was nice to see Indian River County join in on the fun. We made it to all but 3 murals in IRC. We didn’t make it to the ones in Sebastian, but we hit up all of the others.

We broke the adventure up over a couple of days to keep from being overwhelmed…. because you know, toddlers. A lot of them are located right in downtown Vero and down Old Dixie Hwy. There are a couple on the beach side and one down the dirt road part of Oslo, towards the river.

It was nice revisiting some of my favorite spots, but it was especially nice doing it with my daughter. She had a lot of fun taking walks and posing in front of the murals. She had so much fun at the bird mural that she didn’t want to get back into the car.

Click here if you want a quick list to IRC’s mural trail *or* keep reading my version for recommendations of what to do in those areas! Almost all of them are done by different art clubs, schools, and artists. They are credited on the link above!

Audubon Center, Oslo Road

Audubon Center on Oslo Road – The first one I want to share with you is this gorgeous mural full of Vero’s wildlife! Check the hours before to go – we did show up when they were closed, but you can still walk in and see the mural. They also have a little wildflower garden in the back! Afterwards, head on over to the Oslo Shopping Center for ice cream at Smiley Riley’s. Totally kid friendly, but if you are over 21 they have a special menu for you!

Mr. Smokes, 20th Street

This one is close to downtown, but set off from the others. It’s such a cute mural and it’s located right on the side of the Mr. Smokes on 20th Street.

Downtown Vero

The next collection of murals are all located on 14th Ave and Old Dixie Hwy. The Vero Beach Mural is across the street from Southern Social. The Native Indian/Citrus Mural and the Firefly (first pic of the blog post) are in the alley next to Southern Social. The mermaid is on the entrance to the amazing Kilted Mermaid restaurant – great place to grab a beer and some roasted olives. They also have cheese AND dessert fondue. The hibiscus mural is located next to the railroad tracks, right across from the Blue Octopus (great place of unique artwork & furniture). The floral mural is on the side of The Hazel House. Another great home decor store. And last, but not least, the restaurant mural is located across from Kountry Kitchen.

Downtown Vero has a lot to offer – shopping, food, beer, and businesses. I totally recommend walking around some time and checking it all out.

Riverside Park

This one was by far our favorite! It’s located in Riverside Park right by the tennis courts. Charlotte had a blast here. We actually saw a blue jay and a wood pecker in the trees approaching this mural! There is a walking trail right in front of this mural, so it’s a great place for a walk with a view!

Sticking with the beachside for a second! Here are two more murals located in East Vero. These are so close to the beach that you’d be totally missing out to not make this apart of a beach day. The first is located on azalea lane, between cardinal drive & ocean drive. Fun fact! The second mural, the beach scene, is located at Bethel Creek House – where my husband and I held our wedding reception back in 2009!

There were several murals by Christopher Sweeney and they are all similar to this mural. This one is located on 14th Avenue in Vero, right near the FLC. He has several other murals located up and down Old Dixie Hwy and I believe I even saw one in Ft. Pierce. Keep a look out for these in Vero! If it isn’t a heart, it may be a cute little robot.

I’m throwing in some honorable mentions that weren’t on the list provided by VisitIndianRiver.com.