Summer is upon us and there is a beauty (and humidity) in the air as this week’s heat index promises temps upwards of 100 degrees.
There is something truly incredible about the energy that summer brings – such an all-encompassing positivity – and the mecca of social seasons. We seek out human connection, patio drinks, waterfront views. It’s the promise of sunshine, light and airy attitudes and the exciting potential of what is to come.
The deep summer is a time of heat and harvest. A time to taste the fruits and smell the flowers. Fresh corn on the cob, dripping watermelon, and peaches so juicy they practically melt in your mouth. It’s a time of nostalgia for many, as most everyone has very specific warm summer memories from their youth to speak of.
Speaking of notable nostalgia, there is a wonderful collective of artists working both to preserve and transform the North Carolina house where genre-defying musical performer and civil rights activist, Nina Simone, was born.
Rashid Johnson, who is a prominent artist based in NYC and former graduate of Columbia College Chicago, partnered with three other prominent Black American artists — the conceptualist Adam Pendleton, the abstract painter Julie Mehretu and the painter, collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher on this most impactful project.
Simone’s childhood home, located in a small town of 1,600 at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, was at risk of succumbing to time and the elements.
Brent Leggs, the executive director of the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, launched in 2017, aims to identify and preserve what Leggs calls “nationally significant projects that express the Black experience.”
“I was inspired by the simplicity of this unadorned vernacular structure that at first glance might appear to be missing history and meaning,” Leggs says. “I believe deeply that places like the Nina Simone childhood home deserve the same stewardship and admiration as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello or George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate.”
Anyone familiar with the world of fashion would be remiss not to recognize the absolute brilliance of the late and oh-so-very great, designer of many trades, Virgil Abloh.
HMR’s own Bill Heffernan was fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with Virgil on the gala opening of his exhibition at the MCA in 2019, which we will not soon forget.
Below are some excerpts pulled from an article on Dazed, as the writing is so poignant and well done in honoring Mr. Abloh that we’ll just let author Rahel Aklilu do him the justice he deserves:
“A life lived with purpose, intellectual curiosity, and humility is one that will undoubtedly impact the lives of others after even the most fleeting of encounters. It came as no surprise, then, that following the sudden passing of Virgil Abloh, individuals from all walks of life began sharing accounts of his humility, kindness, and grace.
The Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton artistic director, who influenced almost every corner of popular music, fashion, and thought in some shape or form, had been quietly fighting a rare and aggressive cancer following a 2019 diagnosis. His relentless impact over the last two years suddenly made more sense than ever, from establishing a scholarship fund for Black students, to launching the ‘I Support Black Women’ campaign with Black feminist activists and scholars. Abloh was acutely aware of his position in fashion as a Black man, going to great lengths to champion young talents like Samuel Ross and rising British streetwear brand Corteiz.
Abloh was youth culture personified, a modern-day archivist who took inspiration from kids on Instagram as much as he did Impressionist artists. A DJ, architect and a director who used his creativity as well as his platform to showcase subgenres from every corner of the world. A Ghanaian-American man who drew inspiration from his own Chicago roots, as well as the Volta region of his ancestors – a delicate balancing act many first-gen immigrants will know.
His life and career leave behind a legacy of risk-taking and forward thinking, of limitless ambition that can take anybody anywhere beyond their wildest dreams – even a 17 year old from Chicago. A legacy of collaboration and homage as well as independent thought, even amidst derision and doubt. Abloh taught us that we can, and should, co-sign ourselves even when nobody recognises your credibility, because soon enough they’ll be following along.”
As far as food goes, are you hip to the game of the ghost kitchen?
Ghost kitchens have been popping up like wildfire and really gained momentum borne from the needs of the pandemic and people being home but wanting their favorite foods.
Essentially, the premise is that you rent out kitchen space along with other food focused entrepreneurs. You lean into the logistically availability + prowess of infrastructure of the likes of Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, Go Puff + Doordash. You don’t have the overhead of real estate or excess labor so margins are healthier and you can control your availability based on exacting volume. It’s essentially a brilliant marriage when you’re looking to sell food exclusively to-go; all the while being in control of most all of your overhead, assuming you sell out your offering each time.
New startup Cloud Kitchens promises that 1. You can open a ghost kitchen in a month, 2. All you have to do is cook 3. You should run multiple brands (people running 5 are the most successful) 4. Experimentation is easy and low risk and, finally 5. Profit margins are easily grown without the need for front of house labor, wasted food and pricey real estate.
It’s kind of an entrepreneur’s dream if your passion is about healthy margin, operationally simplistic food as a product. Chances are, something that you’ve ordered in the last year or two might have been made in your local neighborhood ghost.
Speaking of local neighborhoods — we’ve spent some time on TikTok recently (we see you, Gen Z) and noticed a huge number of influencers “staycationing” and becoming tourists in their own cities.
Even Forbes is talking about how Gen-Z will change the future of traveling. Possibly because of the pandemic, or possibly because of their attention to sustainability, Gen-Z is learning to appreciate exploring close to home. The trend of becoming a tourist in their own country, state or even their own city, is rapidly growing as the focus shifts from tropical resorts and cruises to mixology classes and live music.
In just one day on TikTok, we saw countless profiles finding the hippest, most unique and educational local spots in their hometowns. These videos share friendly faves with followers — including Nobu, Cafe Deko, and King of Cups in Chicago, Yotel in Boston, and Sixty Les in NYC. Whether it be staying in or eating out, TikTok-ers are loving the vlog-ready travel destinations.
Big feelings, big experiences + big cities are being favored as we continue in the evolution of post pandemic travel.
“Travel is no longer just about ‘going somewhere.’ Coming out of such a long period of constraints and limitations, 2022 will be the year we wring every bit of richness and meaning out of our experiences,” says Christie Hudson, Sr. PR manager for Expedia.
“Thematically, for 2022 family bookings, it’s all about intrepid adventure mixed with cultural immersion, ecological outdoor experiences, luxury hotels and even pop-up glamping setups — definitely bucket-list and remote,” said Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s owner and co-founder.
Sexual Wellness Experiences (are you blushing or is that me?) are one of the fastest growers in the global wellness industry, with travel becoming a popular method of experience. Hotel brands and relationship therapists are offering specialized couples retreats and beachfront sessions with intimacy coaches to meet the needs of travelers seeking greater relationship satisfaction and owning their personal pleasure.
“People still have stigma around couples therapy and coming to therapy, but nobody ever had a problem going on vacation,” said Marissa Nelson, a sex therapist who runs retreats in Barbados, Hawaii, St. Lucia and Washington, D.C., through her company IntimacyMoons.
Yes, and big city travel is back. After more than two years of avoiding urban centers, travelers are eager to return to their favorite metropolis and swan dive into the sights, bites and sounds of a city that is not their own. Expedia has seen an increase in searches for NYC and booking site Skyscanner reported NYC s its top booked domestic destination for 2022.
Our hometown Chicago set a record for highest tourism numbers in history back in 2019. The Second City was also awarded for a fifth consecutive year the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards – a whopping #1 on the list of Best Big Cities in the U.S.
In Europe, Paris and London are the top searched international destinations. Hotel searches on Expedia jumped 62% for London and 51% for Paris since Jan. 1, and the mobile app Hopper reports that London and Paris clock in as two of the most searched international destinations for spring 2022. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts reported an 80% increase in its bookings in Paris, London and New York from December to January 16.
We hope you have get all the delicious summer staples you desire. Here’s to new adventures and old nostalgia. We look forward to learning all about the amazing places and spaces in which you find yourselves in.