This is what it looked like when it was only a twinkle in someone's eye. And this is what it looked like last night.
The nice people at Whole Foods opened their doors to members of the community last night and HoCoHouseHon and I were happy to be included. Luckily they invited plenty of folks with better photography skills than I have. Facebook and Twitter were full of gorgeous views of the new store and of friends celebrating at the outdoor tasting event.
I never got lunch yesterday, so I may have been more excited than most as I sampled the various foods on offer. Raw oysters, tomato-melon salad, grilled sausage, filled brioche, cheese, ice cream, sushi...I was really hungry and it was really, really good food.
We had a wonderful tour of the new store from Meg, a Whole Foods employee from DC. It did my heart good to see how they have incorporated the stunning views of the lake into the shopping experience. I know this will sound hokey, but the store feels like more than a store. It's an experience. It could almost be a party.
I have written in the past about the sometimes frustrating "hidden" quality of Columbia's best features. Well, the Lakefront is hidden no more. Last night was a coming-out party, in a sense. Not just for Whole Foods, or, by extension, Haven on the Lake. But for all the ways they will bring people to enjoy the Lakefront.
Last night was a generationally diverse event. I saw everyone from hipster couples to baby-wearing mamas, village board members, bloggers, grandparents, and Pioneers. Yes, there were probably soccer moms. And dads. The last time I saw that kind of generational diversity in Columbia aside from Lakefest was at Wine in the Woods.
Just as the founders saw racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity as a powerful part of the Columbia dream, generational diversity is a powerful statement of the liveability of Columbia today. I'm excited by the creative adaptation of the Frank Gehry "Rouse Building" because it gives a new generation the opportunity to enjoy a classic Columbia landmark in a new way.
I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.