The Broadway Historic District Wine Walk

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Clarissa and I have been living in the Quad Cities area for roughly two years now, but in mid-June we moved from our one bedroom apartment to a wonderful rental house in Rock Island. Clarissa was happy because she’s now a five minute drive from her office, and a quick walk to one of her yoga studios. Though my commute more than doubled, I was pleased because we’re near the taproom for one of my favorite local breweries and less than half a mile from the riverside path upon which I run. We were both happy that we found ourselves right on the outskirts of the Broadway Historic District, which is full of beautiful houses from as far back as the mid 19th century.

The Broadway Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, and the Broadway Historic District Board strives to improve the neighborhood by helping to revitalize homes, repair sidewalks, plant trees, landmark historic properties, and host neighborhood events. I’ve never lived in an historic district before, but I’m familiar with the idea thanks to my MA in Historical Administration. Even so, I’ve been impressed as I’ve learned about the board’s efforts to preserve and improve the neighborhood.

On Saturday August 7th, Clarissa and I took part in the 5th Annual Broadway Historic District Wine Walk, the proceeds of which support the organization’s efforts. It also allowed us the opportunity to explore four historic homes in the neighborhood, thanks to community members opening their homes to all of us, preparing tasty food for us to try, and pouring us plenty of delicious wine. Then we even got to check out an additional historic house because the owner hosted an after party with more wine, a few beers, and champagne cocktails. Needless to say, I was not feeling too great Sunday morning; it was pretty rough.

Yes, this is a bathroom selfie. I'd blame the wine, but I think the fault really lies with me.

Yes, this is a bathroom selfie. I’d blame the wine, but I think the fault really lies with me.

The experience was well worth the hangover, though! The drinks were great, and the company was even better. We had an opportunity to meet several great people and check out some amazing historic houses. It’s possible that this event may lead to some new friendships for us.

This was a totally new experience for me. I was friendly with my neighbors in the town I grew up in, but I’ve never lived in a neighborhood that hosted events. It was a lot of fun, and if we’re still around, I have no doubt we will attend again next year (despite me feeling like hell on Sunday morning).

Thanks to a friendly gentleman who is working on restoring it, we even got to explore this awesome house that Clarissa and I both admire every time we walk or drive past. We both love the tower.

It's a lovely house, and I'm lucky that I get to drive by it daily.

It’s a lovely house, and I’m lucky that I get to drive by it daily.

The inside is very much so a work in progress . At one point in the past, it had been converted into a duplex (or maybe a fourplex… the specifics are foggy in my memory, there was a lot of wine that night), and then eventually left to deteriorate.
Note the beer; something hoppy tastes very refreshing after a night of wine!

Note the beer; something hoppy tastes very refreshing after a night of wine!

Fortunately, it is now being restored, and we felt very fortunate to be able to explore the house; it may need a lot of work, but the bones are solid, and the architecture (as difficult as it may be to make out at the moment) is lovely. Once it’s done, this place will be a knockout!

Having had such a great time on the walk, and despite having had such a terrible headache the next day, I found myself reminded that sometimes when we complain that we’re bored, what we really are is boring. We have a tendency to complain about our situation; we bemoan that our towns are boring, or that there’s nothing to do. For many of us though, the real problem is that we never actually get out and explore the areas in which we live. There are things that I’ve come to love about my neighborhood and the Quad Cities. The Wine Walk was great fun, the Bix was a good time, I love the Figge, the breweries, the farmer’s markets, and Whitey’s Ice Cream. And I have only scratched the surface of what is available to me here.

Some of you may be thinking, “but Wade, I live in a small town, there really isn’t anything to do here.” I understand where you’re coming from; I grew up in a small town and lived there until my late twenties, so I’m sympathetic. But I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably wrong. Do you mean to tell me that there are no hiking trails nearby to explore? No farmer’s market to check out? No movies in the park in the summer? No nearby lake where you can fish? No presentations at the local library? No neighborhood events? No open mic nights? No friends with whom you can cook out? No campgrounds within an hour drive? No race to train for? No bike path to check out? Because all of these activities were and are available in my home town. So before you throw in the towel, make sure that you’re not overlooking the microadventures you can have in your own neighborhood. Don’t be bored (or boring). Do stuff.

Not every neighborhood has an annual wine walk, and I’m grateful to be living in a spot that does. I had a great time and look forward to the next local event that I can check out. You should consider doing the same. After all, trying something new is the best way to get out of your comfort zone and get started adventuring.

So what adventure will you have today?

Stay intrepid.