Our Day in Cincinnati began with a visit to Mt. Airy Forest over on the other side of town, on Colerain Avenue. It is (I think) Cincinnati's largest park. It's lovely. According to Dad, he and Mom have driven past it all the time, because it's on the road they used to drive to come visit my Great-Grandma Boling. He doesn't know if he's ever stopped there before, but Grandma Boling thinks she may have been there before on a picnic.
It has the usual: playground, picnic areas, hiking trails, disc golf course (way popular in Ohio!), etc. This park is extra special though, because it has a treehouse! It's a big one, and they made it so handicapped children could enjoy it too: it's ramp accessible.
Note: Grandma ended up not even needing the wheelchair. She only needs it if she's on her feet for hours. However, we didn't know how strenuous the day would bring, so we had it just in case.
Isn't the bench we're sitting on cool? It's carved completely out of one piece of wood, possibly apple. Grandma Boling used to have a table like it. And I think Uncle Geoff and Aunt Phyllis might have one, too. Or maybe Aunt Cathy and Uncle Larry. Not sure.
After driving around acres of beautiful land, we headed over to Mariemont. Everyone here seems to pronounce it "Mary-mount." However, it just begs me to pronounce it "Marie-mont." It's named after the lady who founded the town, Mary Emery. So, I'm not sure. Her name was definitely Mary, but the town is spelled like Marie. A mystery. Maybe "Marie" is like the blending of Mary with Emery? Oh well. A mystery for a different day. ;)
Once there, we lunched at The National Exemplar. It was a really great restaurant with delicious entrees. Apparently, Grandma had eaten there before many times with my grandpa and great-grandparents. So, it was fun for me to see it. My grandfather's brother, Robert, and his wife, Jane, treated us to lunch. I haven't seen them in a long time (about three years), so it was fun to see them again. He's about ten years younger than my grandfather would be, and my great-grandparents moved here either near the end of or right after my grandfather graduated from high school, so my great-uncle Robert has lived here almost his entire life, since elementary school. How cool would that be? To live in one place that long.
I really enjoyed the food at The National Exemplar. The decor was absolutely beautiful. You could tell that the inn had been there for a very long time, and the restaurant felt that same way. It was an upscale place. By the time we left, they were transitioning to dinner by bringing out the cloth napkins. I wouldn't wear jeans there. The food was amazing. I can be a picky eater, and I ate absolutely every single thing on my plate. I got a BLTE (I think that is the right order). It is a BLT sandwich with a fried egg! Cool, huh? It came with sides that I didn't get to choose, but they were so good, too. They weren't listed on the menu, and I'm not used to eating at places like that, so I actually worried that all I was getting was my sandwich. I shouldn't have feared. :)
The service was very attentive. The kind that can refill your glass without you even knowing it. They have indoor seating (of course!) and patio seating as well. It's right on the main street and has a lot of charm. I loved it. I don't remember how much the plates cost, but I'm guessing $8+.
Moving right along, I forgot something. In between Mt. Airy Forest and Mariemont, we stopped at Hyde Park and Ault Park. I can only assume Hyde Park is named after the one in England. My great-grandparents used to live in Hyde Park, and my grandma showed me the house her in-laws had lived in for 40 years. It has been added onto since then, but it looks basically the same, just larger. It's a lovely home. I am not sure if I've ever been inside. I believe they moved into a nursing home around the same time I was born.
Ault Park is actually a park. :) (Not like Hyde Park, which is a neighborhood!) It is in Hyde Park and just lovely. Grandma showed me approximately where Grandpa gave her the engagement ring. The landscaping has been done many times since then, over 50 years ago, so the exact look out doesn't exist anymore, but it was still cool. Then Grandma sat while Dad and I walked around the flower gardens that my dad and mom used to walk through when they were dating and newlywed, visiting our family here. It was fun to feel connected to the past.
Back to the present day though—our next adventure was in Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, in Newport, Kentucky. We took a one-hour river cruise on one of the BB Riverboats: the Mark Twain. It actually poured during most of the trip, but it was still a lot of fun. I don't know much of the history of the area, and the captain of the ship filled us in on many of the buildings and other areas near the river. It was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the all-week river cruise my grandmother took my sister and I on back in 1998 (I think). That was on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
I learned that BB Riverboats does the same thing. You can go from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh (or something like that). I'm sure it's way, way too expensive for me right now, but it might be a fun thing to do some day. :)
A picture of Grandma without her glasses! Score! :)