Travel Photography: The Midwest
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I have 2 very conflicting takeaways from my month of bouncing from Detroit to Minneapolis and back home to Chicago. One, I really think there should be a True Detectives season set in the Midwest. Two, there are a lot of really great new hotels and hotel alternatives around the Midwest that make Midwestern trips feel surprisingly special.
Eli and I drove to Detroit for a wedding. I should clarify that Eli did all of the driving while I gleeful gawked out the window. This typical dynamic is probably why I’m obsessed with road trips and Eli is totally ambivalent about them. Anyway, living in Chicago, it doesn’t always feel like we’re in the Midwest so it’s weirdly delightful to see people ice fishing and fields of farmland an hour away from home.
I grew up in Chicago and so most of my sensibilities have developed from city living. Years ago, I was on an evening run with a bunch of college friends. We were running through a suburban neighborhood and when we reached the edge of civilization, a friend from New York City and I froze. The path we were on continued but there were no street lights further up and to us darkness meant danger. The other 3 people we were with had all grown up in the countryside out in Colorado and California. They were totally baffled that we had stopped and didn’t even entirely register that the street lights ended. They tried to coax us to continue but we turned back, choosing the safety of light over the safety of numbers.
The space between cities is fascinating to me. For me, it’s a mix of charming and creepy. I don’t always love True Detective. The narratives are just fine but the cinematography is amazing. I loved how the first season really captured Louisiana in a way that it felt like a silent character and I’d love to see the Midwest captured similarly.
I’m not knocking the Midwest. I love it here, it’s home. When I was younger and couldn’t quite afford to go very far, I often scratched my travel itch by taking a quick weekend trip to Madison or Detroit or Milwaukee. On these recent trips, I’ve been surprised by how many lovely hotels and restaurants there are in all of these places. I’m not sure if things have changed or if I’m just older and can afford to venture beyond Panera bread and clean motel on a road trip.
In Detroit, I struggled between 4 hotels: The Detroit Foundation Hotel, Shinola Hotel, Siren Hotel and Trumbull & Porter. We ended up staying at The Detroit Foundation Hotel and stopping in for a visit to the Shinola and Siren hotels.
The Detroit Foundation Hotel
In Minneapolis, Eli and I skipped a hotel and stayed in a Sonder, which is a hotel like experience but in a residential building. It’s sort of the best of all worlds.
I’m not sure that I’m quite ready to argue that you should visit the Midwest over everything but it has it charms and is worth a visit.