These walks are designed to be used on a smartphone while you are at the site walking around. You could cheat and use Google Street View (I do some testing that way) but you lose much of the experience of Being There. I created City Walks in 2003 for the same reason–to encourage people to hit the streets and explore. I've explored Atlanta, Birmingham, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Dayton, St. Louis, and Lexington; I've also explored a bunch of smaller towns that are often just as interesting without being as overwhelming as a large city.
I'm trying to evoke the style of the old Baedeker guides while including helpful new stuff, like GPS. Some people may not like staring at a phone, but in this case it's no different from staring at a book. Each walk contains text on how to get to the starting point, how to get to each Point of Interest, and descriptions of what you'll see. The route is broken into logical sections that include a GPS coordinate and a You Are Here button on the route map.
With social distancing it's unlikely that there's any personal tours available; digital tours are a good option. You can start walking whenever you like, take as much time as you'd like to explore, and get distracted if you want. Museums and galleries are closed so maybe we can start seeing these areas as sculpture gardens. Sure, they aren't trying to make Statements but they have color and shapes and volumns and contrasts and geometries. If you look close enough they even include smaller sculptures.
Note: these tours are still drafts–they haven't been proofread or walk-tested. I have several more walks in various states of completeness. I just hope these hint at what I've been trying to do for seventeen years--get folks outside, exploring.
Cave Hill: Cemetery Motifs 101
This is the first written walk I worked on, back in September 2019. It took absolute hours to gather all the information–one day I walked around for three hours–but a lot of that was learning how to organize a written tour. It's easy enough to walk folks around and talk, but writing up correct directions and descriptions isn't.
Cave Hill: Cemetery Motifs 201
This is part one of the left side of the cemetery (from the main gate).
Cave Hill: Cemetery Motifs 301
This is part two of the left side of the cemetery (from the main gate).
Cave Hill: Cemetery Motifs 401
This walk covers the area on the far side of the lake and the other three walks.
Louisville Downtown: Core
I've been wobbling around downtown Louisville since I moved there in 2015, so this was much easier. I knew how to organize the information so the trick was figuring out how to curate everything. Do I add this street? Which side do we walk on? Can I explain this well enough to include it?
Louisville Downtown: Fourth Street
This is Louisville's most pedestrian friendly street (at least north of Broadway). There's a lot of ornamentation, a Carnegie library, and a President.
Louisville Downtown: Main Street East
This walk covers Main Street east of Fourth Street, including underneath the Second Street bridge.
Louisville Downtown: Main Street West
This walk covers Main Street west of Fourth Street. We walk four blocks down one side and back on the other.
Lexington's tricky. It doesn't have a large amount of historic commercial architecture and they are often separated by modern buildings. This doesn't mean there isn't anything to see–there is; it's more about how to weave it all together. What happened is that I started to pay attention to those parts of a city that aren't highly ornamented facades; those bits of infrastructure that are still visually interesting.
When I first visited in 2016 I managed to completely miss the old parts and only saw the more contemporary sections. Then I explored a more last May and found a bunch of interesting stuff. I couldn't split this into two walks, so I reworked the route three times to get it right. I was worth the extra work and I was able to find new things each visit.
Winchester is my first small town walk. I did the scouting visit in May and was really happy to see how many interesting buildings were there–and in such a small area. And this is where I really started paying attention to streetscapes.