The Deal Mommy

When Did My Hometown Become Hip?

Bloomington, Indiana

Art in the Hyatt Place, Bloomington, Indiana

Well, I was born in a small town….

Deal Mommy Fun Fact: John Mellencamp and I were born in the same hospital. I lived here very briefly but much of the family I have left is still within an hour of Bloomington, Indiana. Because of this my childhood is sprinkled with visits to B-town and even our wedding was held nearby.

My memories of Bloomington include a lot of fun, but “hip college town” was never the impression I carried away from our visits here. Yes, Indiana University Basketball dominates the landscape but my connection to Bloomington was pretty much limited to Johnny Cougar and “Breaking Away”. (If you haven’t seen Breaking Away, the 1979 movie that launched Dennis Quaid, I highly recommend it.) Even in the 90s none of the “college town” patina that colored State College, PA and similar locales. It resembled “The Middle” more than hipster central.

Well, Bloomington is “The Middle” no more.

I’m writing this from my 7th floor room in the Hyatt Place that features wall art winking to IU Basketball and the Little 500 bicycle race. There’s also a Springhill Suites where not so long ago your choices were Quality Inn and Super 8. Behind the HP is a brand new science center and miles of perfectly manicured walking trails.  The street leading to Campus bulges with shops begging to be explored. The pub across the street had Kilkenny on tap. Modern art adorns the buildings.  In short, Bloomington is hip.

Deal Dad attributes the change to the influx of retirees and other financial boosts and noted his recent reunion at Grinnell College in rural Iowa. Where 10 years ago downtown Grinnell resembled Mayberry, it’s now chocoblock with new development of the same type I’m seeing here.

Has your hometown become hip before your eyes?  What other gem towns do I need to get out and visit?

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4 thoughts on “When Did My Hometown Become Hip?

  1. Erik

    Hello fellow Hoosier! We stayed at that Hyatt Place almost 2 years ago and I agree it was a welcome addition to the Bloomington hotel scene. I’d say the hipsterfication of B-town started happening around the same time that they redeveloped the east end of Kirkwood. Even Pizza Express changed their name to the more hip “Pizza X” but the breadstix still remain the same (and that’s a good thing!). Are you planning to visit Rooftop Quarry for some Breaking Away nostalgia?

    Another small town that has been reborn in the last decade is French Lick. The casino was a big shot in the arm to the town, as well as West Baden and the surrounding area in Orange County. One of these days we will spend a night at the West Baden Springs Hotel to marvel at the famous dome, but it’s pricey. The property is part of the Preferred Hotel Group’s iPrefer loyalty program which will hopefully get a credit card affiliation some day.


    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Cutter pride!
      Thanks for the insight and tips. I had no idea what was going on in B-town. The Irish Lion across the street even had Kilkenny on Tap. I may have to drop by Rooftop- it’s right near Mt Ebel church where I got married and my grandparents are buried. I think I’ll keep my swimming to the HP though.

  2. Jamie

    I liked Grinnell when it was Mayberry 🙂
    Hope the new development isn’t too bland and corporate.
    The last few times I’ve been to Ames, the downtown has been getting cooler, but the campus town has been going down the toilet.

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