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polar plunge

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! It sure is hot again today but we have a beautiful weekend in store! Today’s favorites come from Nate Brown, Manager of External Relations at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. You may also know him as @touristinresidence on Instagram – if not, check out his great CoMo photos! Today’s blog features his photos as well.

Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge

Sure, it’s easy to accept an ice bucket challenge during a hot summer day. But would you run or dive into a frozen lake in winter? That pretty much describes Polar Plunge Columbia, a local fundraiser that benefits Special Olympics Missouri. Braver souls than me take the plunge every year at Stephens Lake. The next Polar Plunge is February 21, 2015.

Mizzou Volleyball

Mizzou Volleyball Autograph Session

No matter the final score, the women of Mizzou Volleyball are winners. Their home games at the Hearnes Center are family friendly, and include the opportunity for children to come down to the floor and give high-fives to the athletes during player introductions. A fan favorite: autograph sessions after select games. The players are most gracious during the meet-and-greets, and they wield their magic markers until the last person in line gets an autograph. I suspect some of the little girls who attend these games will some day wear the black and gold for Mizzou Volleyball. The 2014 season home opener is today.

Hittsville

Hittsville

Where in Columbia can you flip through vinyl records, rent or buy a video, have a drink or a meal, and enjoy said nourishment while watching a big-screen movie — under one roof? The answer is Hittsville, the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Hitt Street. Ragtag Cinema, Uprise Bakery, Ninth Street Video and Hitt Records share a roof — and their employees share a spirit of camaraderie — but they’re four separate entities. Speaking of movies, watching one at Ragtag is the closest thing to seeing a flick at home without having to clean up after your friends leave. Did I mention leather sofas? (They have upholstered seats as well.)

Historic brick streets

Cherry Street at sunset looking west toward Fourth Street

There’s buried treasure in Columbia: the city’s original brick streets. Many are covered, including Broadway (between Aldeah Avenue and William Street), Ninth Street and Rollins Street. Fortunately, some of historic brick streets can still be seen and enjoyed, including Cherry Street (between Fourth and Seventh streets) and University Avenue (between College Avenue and William Street). Many of these streets are more than 100 years old and in good shape. In March, the City Council approved a policy to maintain and restore the brick streets (including removing the pavement from some of the covered blocks). This is a map of the city’s brick streets.

Shelter Gardens and Fountain

Shelter Gardens Collage

After a busy day at work, it’s nice to stop at Shelter Gardens to see the waterfall, listen to the birds or sit a spell in the one-room schoolhouse. This oasis of calm behind Shelter Insurance is a nice respite before continuing your journey home. Afterwards, depending on the time of year, you also could stop by the fountain in front of Shelter Insurance and watch the sun set. The fountain is a popular destination after dark as well.

Peace Park

Peace Park

Peace Park is one of the largest green spaces in the city center. Full of trees, walk paths and a stream, the park is a refuge for book-reading students, a rehearsal space for musicians and — if you bring a hammock — a place to catch a quick nap. I’ve also seen residents and preschoolers enjoying the former McAlester Park, which was renamed Peace Park after the 1970 shootings at Kent State.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards

Les Bourgeois Vineyards

As long as the earth continues to rotate on its axis, the best sunset is at Les Bourgeois Vineyards, enjoyed with a picnic, a bottle of wine and good friends.

Quick bites

Ice Cream Collage

I could live on ice cream (and I have the waistline to prove it). My favorite flavors in Columbia are Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream’s honey lavender and Buck’s Ice Cream’s Tiger Stripe. And every couple of weeks I stop by Kaldi’s and treat myself to a slice of gooey butter cake.

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