A Weekend in Cincinnati
What would an anniversary be without a weekend to celebrate?
Three St. Patrick’s Days ago, my husband asked me to be his girlfriend. Other than when he asked me to marry him, that is the best question he has ever asked me. So now, every St. Patrick’s Day, we do something to celebrate the start of our relationship.
2014: Buckeye Lake & Zanesville
2015: Morris Harvey House in West Virginia
2016: Dinner at Pies & Pints (in matching shirts)
This year, we planned a weekend trip to Cincinnati to celebrate our dating anniversary. Our goal was to have a quiet, relaxed couple of days out of our regular environment. We found a cute apartment on Airbnb that was in walking distance to downtown. We researched interesting places to go, like coffee shops and local breweries and museums. We planned out our days and set off for a celebration weekend!
Where we stayed:
We rented an apartment through Airbnb. My husband had rented through the company before, but this was my first experience. For those of you not familiar with Airbnb, you can check them out here. Basically, people can rent out their home to travelers. It is often cheaper than a hotel, and definitely more welcoming. The couple who owned the unit where we stayed did not live in the apartment (they lived in the unit above it) but they owned it solely to rent it out for Airbnb. That made me feel better, as I was a little uncomfortable with staying in someone else's home. Our experience was more like renting a fully furnished cabin or beach house, only much smaller. Here are a few pictures from the apartment:
Where we ate:
No trip to a new place is complete without trying the local cuisine. Especially when coffee is involved. We Yelped a couple places, took recommendations from friends, and tried the places suggested by our hosts. Although our apartment had a completely furnished kitchen, we opted for a dish-washing free weekend and dined out.
I can't say much about this place except for excellent chips and salsa. The chips were light and flakey and the salsa had a good bite to it. Other than that, it was a typical Mexican-American restaurant where everything is served with rice and beans.
1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab
There is no better way to start off a day out sight-seeing than with a good cup of coffee. Unless you pair it with a delicious quiche pastry. YUM. This shop offered a variety of quiches and pastries, as well as a large selection of pour over coffee. My husband is all about pour over, so he was thrilled with this place. My husband enjoyed a bacon quiche with his dark roast coffee, and I had a sausage quiche with my medium roast with vanilla and caramel flavoring.
Christian Moerlein Brewery
This local brewery was opened in 1853, and operated until the Prohibition when many breweries in the Cincinnati area were shut down. The brewery was reopened seven decades later, in 1981, paving the way of craft beers in an area where "mircrobrew" had yet to come about. Today, the brewery offers tours of its factory as well as a taproom where drinks can be enjoyed. They offer a variety of drinks from a cream ale to an IPA to various lagers.
The taproom was lined with long picnic-style tables, centered around the bar. The room was scattered with various games for entertainment. Darts, pool, and life size Jenga were in one corner and two sets of Corn Hole dominated the center of the space. We arrived early enough to beat the rush, but several large groups of people began filtering in as we were making our way out.
We sort of cheated on our unspoken rule of avoiding chains while traveling. But at least it wasn't fast food! Pizza is always worth it, though. Especially a place where you can create your own with fresh, delicious ingredients! Our dinner companions ate the pizza pictured above (I could never eat that many veggies!) and we opted for a white sauce-based pie with grilled chicken, bacon, and pineapple.
This place featured delicious pasties (we chose scones) as well as a large selection of coffee. My husband drank a plain cappuccino, and I had caramel cappuccino. We arrived right before the crowd as the line was out the door by the time we left. The interior had almost a lunchroom feel to it with many tables placed inside a large room. We sat at a high table with a nice view of the space and we enjoyed people watching while eating our breakfast. Many groups of friends gathered for Sunday brunch, while several others came to work on their computers. Despite being busy, the staff was still attentive and took the time to answer our questions when ordering.
There's not much to say about Cracker Barrel....except when you have a gift card you make the most of it.
What we did:
When two people who love art, books, and history go on a trip, you can expect a museum or two on the agenda. We picked two museums and a massive bookstore to take up most of our time. Since it was rainy and freezing cold on Saturday, we spent most of our time indoors. Except for walking. We did A LOT of walking on this trip. That's the advantage to staying in the city - no need to drive anywhere because everything is in walking distance!
Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Let me just start off by saying this museum is AWESOME for anyone who loves this aspect of history. There is so much information to take in. The museum contained numerous articles and artifacts from centuries past. The museum not only focuses on the Underground Railroad, but on the entire history of slavery, dating back to the early 1200's. Slavery existed long before America did, and the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation is just one part of that history. The museum incorporates videos, pictures, letters, books, and exhibits to tell the story of slavery, where it originated, how it progressed and spread throughout the continents.
The museum contained so much information. My brain was exhausted at the end of our trip. The building was huge and was filled with facts. I did learn that Cincinnati was a major stopping point on the Underground Railroad, as it was one of the Northern most points where slaves were considered free. Hundreds of people participated in not only the railroad, but in abolitionist attempts both great and small. Some printed newspapers (like Frederick Douglass) and others transported slaves in their wagons to their next destination (like Levi Coffin). Many people, both white and black, risked their lives in order to fight for the freedom of those who could not fight for themselves. In Proverbs, we are commanded to: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute" (Proverbs 31:8). Those who helped slaves reach freedom through participating in the Underground Railroad, fighting in the Civil War, and using their voice (both written and spoken) were following that command.
Outside of the museum is a piece of the Berlin Wall, donated to the museum to commemorate the fight for freedom everywhere.
Cincinnati Art Museum
We spent almost three hours at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. We spent just as long the next day at the art museum. When you are married to an artist, you give up your Sunday afternoons to study pictures and names you have never heard of before in order to share his passion with him. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a great painting. For a while anyway. But he was totally in his element, unaware of the time passing.
He was TOTALLY geeking out the entire time:
Ohio Book Store
We found this place listed online. FIVE STORIES OF BOOKS! It is truly a heaven for book-lovers like us. We shopped for so long, when we checked out the cashier commented on how much time we had spent in the store. But when you find a store of treasures, you have to go on a treasure hunt! My husband left the store with a book on Rembrandt and I found a couple old hymnals to place on my piano. The store has been open since the 1840's, and is equipped with an old, creepy metal elevator (which we did not use). Every level of this building is floor-to-ceiling books. The variety ranges from antiques to modern fiction, and everything in between.