Sunshine, blue skies, pleasant temperatures and a golf cart are a great combo just about anywhere. Put them in Madison, Indiana on a fall day during a Loft Tour of commercial district properties? Awesome!

There was plenty of time between 10am & 4pm to have a relaxing day enjoying downtown while seeing the six properties offered in Madison Main Street‘s one day Loft Tour. Good thing, because we started the day off with a stop at Acree Alley Carts on Second Street for a golf cart repair. Duck tape is a wonderful thing, but we were OVER backing up to retrieve our fallen yield sign. Then, off we went!

Featured Loft Tour sites ran the gamut of decor style and property use, just as you would expect in a small town serving its downtown residents and attracting out of town visitors. A barber shop & art studio with its owner’s upstairs dwelling, an Airbnb over a soon-to-open restaurant, a spa & owner’s apartment above a salon, an artist’s studio-apartment, and a renovation in progress condo. And a hospitality site at a local coffee shop.

Our first stop was Mulberry Street Airbnb, just half a block off Main Street. Larry & Pam Newhouse were the friendly site hosts during our visit. Always fun to visit with people you know! The owners had a great information visual outside the entrance, and it really added interest to the stop.

Two steep & narrow flights up, the charming rental accommodation offers a deck with a great view of the east end of downtown. The Jefferson County Courthouse is on the left, and the tower of the old Knights of Pythias Building is on the right. Views north and south are typical from the rear of downtown upper stories.

From there we visited Cultivate Nature, a shop that has been a favorite for garden and nature enthusiasts for the last 17 years. Owner Kelly Misamore is selling the building and business, which closes the end of this month. The beautifully restored storefront leads to a first floor shop with a an interior staircase to the spacious second floor. Looking at the open space upstairs, I wondered what might find a new home in the second story. My vote is for a Pilates studio, but the new owner will probably have ideas of their own! Great view of Main Street from up there.

We had recently toured the 420 West upscale apartment project last July during Cornerstone Society’s “Trio Tour” of examples of adaptive reuse of historic properties. Hats off to Valecia and Larry Crisafulli for tackling the rehabilitation of the former Elks Lodge built in 1902, extensively damaged after a fire in 2006. While the exterior of the Beaux Arts building will remains as citizens remember it, the nearly completed apartments inside are sleek and stylish.

Our fourth stop was Mane Attractions‘ first floor salon and second floor spa and owner’s apartment. I have to say, this was my favorite site in terms of renovation, style and use. The salon was attractive, but the spa space upstairs was impressive. Wonderful ambiance, lots of treatment rooms, really neat. To the rear of the second floor, the owners have created a cozy yet open floor plan apartment with a super deck. When Ken saw the plexiglass shield over the deck’s TV, he had one of those “I need that!” moments. Haha – I felt the same way about those spa rooms!

We decided to grab a burger for lunch at a favorite spot, Shipley’s Tavern. Today is was packed with people enjoying the Madison Riverfront Development‘s UTV/Golf Cart Poker Run. Our friend Rob Barlow had a table in the back where he handed out playing cards. Awesome job, Rob!

In fact, the town was full of golf carts. A woman outside the GH Coffee Company Loft Tour Hospitality Site was amazed how many carts were around!

After lunch we headed out for House of Jane, the business and home of Jane Vonderheide. Aptly named, the property is Jane in every room. The first floor houses a gallery of her artwork (along with many Hal Davis paintings) and her studio, a creative space filled with tunes from the vinyl records playing on the stereo. (Apropos considering the shop was formerly the House of Hits record store.) Looks like Jane, sounds like Jane.

In the light-filled front bedroom of Jane’s apartment upstairs, the space is inviting and personal. The adjoining room displays endearing family photos. The wedding portrait of her father Mel’s parents (Harry & Henrietta Vonderheide), a family portrait of Jane with her parents, Mel and Betsey, and another dapper photo of Harry. This was my favorite site in terms of an emotional connection with its story.

Our last stop on the Loft Tour was Art by Dallas, the studio-apartment of artist Dallas Gambill. Ken and I frequently see Dallas walking by our house on Poplar Street accompanied by Corky and Lily, his parrot and his dog. His studio reflects the art he creates and the art he collects. Many may recall the space renovated as Artful Living a few years back, or more recently as the first home of the local Galena Garlic store. However you remember it, it demonstrates how well the downtown spaces morph to their occupants, filling their business or residence needs within the commercial district.

Thank you Madison Main Street for another thoroughly enjoyable community event celebrating creative spaces and downtown places!

And a special thanks to my good friend, Brenda Eversole, owner of Century 21 River Valley Real Estate, Inc. and sponsor of this year’s Loft Tour. #ittakesavillage

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One thing that makes my journey unique is that all of my interests are driven by a joyful and genuine curiosity. I delight in finding less expensive ways to make something or creative ways to enjoy something longer. Finding and creating joy - and sharing it - is core to who I am.