Walking Tour of the Queen City, Pt. 1

The lovely Robin and I enjoyed a wonderful visit yesterday from my cousin George Baker and his wife Jeanne, who had DRIVEN (in two days!) from their home in Denver! Wanting to make the most of the day we had to spend together, I took George and Jeanne on a walking tour of Cincinnati. I'm not exactly professional docent material...but I like the word "docent," so that's gotta count for something, right?

Our first stop was Union Terminal, now Cincinnati Museum Center (that's George and Jeanne, in front of the fountain). Originally built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The 10-story, arched, limestone and glass facade of the building is approached via a quarter-mile-long and beautifully appointed plaza. The dome is flanked on either side by curving wings. An illuminated fountain, cascade and pool lie in the foreground center. A strikingly beautiful art deco masterpiece, it was recently named one of the top 50 architecturally significant buildings in America by the American Institute of Architects.

Our next stop was Findlay Market (we didn't start the walking tour until AFTER we parked on 12th St.). I had not been here for decades, and was a little disappointed that it wasn't more lively (it was a late September Wednesday, to be fair). Still, it is Ohio's oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati's most cherished institutions.

The lane alongside the market is very nicely kept.

Once we parked, we headed down Central Parkway (this is the view back the way we came), which was once part of the Miami and Erie canal system. The Salvation Army DHQ and Cincinnati Citadel Corps (where I grew up...well, partly) is on the immediate right, and then we turned down Main Street and past the massive county courthouse.

I managed not to duck into one of my favorite spots in the city, the historic Ohio Bookstore (FIVE FLOORS OF BOOKS!).

And then (speaking of The Salvation Army), we stopped on Eighth Street to admire the many fine architectural details of the former Cincinnati Citadel (now a law firm), the cornerstone of which was laid by Commander Eva Booth in 1905. Not that anyone can see the thing for the two leafy trees in front. This venerable old citadel was designed by the same architect that designed Cincinnati's City Hall.

From there we....well, you'll just have to wait for the next installment, now, won't you?

Calleigh Helps with the Grocery Shopping

Calleigh helped her Mimi and Crappaw do the weekly grocery shopping this past Monday at Kroger in Hamilton.

Even GROCERY SHOPPING is better with grandchildren. It's amazing.

A Walk in the Neighborhood

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a tough day for a 2.5 mile walk, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. But Calleigh and I--and especially Ender--look forward to these walks on my "Calleigh Day" each week, so we were undeterred. Here is a photo of my companions:

Calleigh is not a big fan of direct sunlight. Here she is threatening to punch me if I face her into the sun "one more time!"

Ender nearly croaked toward the end, but we all made it back safe and sound...and grateful for air-conditioning on the next-to-last day of Summer.

Lions and Tigers and Grandkids, Oh My!

The Cincinnati Zoo, founded in 1873 and officially opened in 1875, is the second oldest Zoo in the United States and rated as one of the best in the United States.

The lovely Robin and I last visited the zoo more than twenty years ago when our children were preschoolers, so it was that much more of a blessing to spend an afternoon at the zoo last week with our daughter, son-in-law, THREE grandchildren, and our granddaughter Calleigh's other Grandma, great-aunt, and cousin Emma.

The Zoo was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987 due to its significant architecture featured in the Elephant House, the Reptile House, and the Passenger Pigeon Memorial. The Zoo’s Reptile House is the oldest existing Zoo building in the country, dating from 1875. Miles was fascinated to go almost nose-to-nose with a Monitor lizard.

Mia was not feeling well that particular afternoon, but she was a trooper; here she slept in her Mimi's arms while we all enjoyed the lunch we packed for the day.

The white tigers were out, and, below, Calleigh (with her daddy) got to see a very rhinocerousy rhinocerous. Maybe the most rhinocerousy of all rhinoceri.

A meerkat did his shtick for us in the Cat House (above), and Calleigh was mesmerized by a pacing ocelot (if I remember right; coulda been an ocenotsomuch).

And, though there was MUCH we never got around to (we never even set foot in the Children's Zoo, for example!), we topped off the day with a ride on the Safari Train, which made Miles one happy camper.

I'm so glad we were able to share this memorable afternoon together. And I hope the animals remember us forever.

Experience the Magic

I've written before about the wonderful vacations we've had in Gatlinburg, most notably (see here and here) at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort. But you really can't even imagine how enjoyable and restorative a few days there can be...you have to experience it.

So here's a special deal on me. You can enjoy four days and three nights at one of Westgate's five-star resorts for as low as $99 if you use the reference number in the brochure below (click to enlarge).

Part of the deal is a tour of the property and (of course) a sales presentation. But there is no obligation to buy anything. And, seriously, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Gatlinburg, Williamsburg, Park City, Las Vegas or Branson. Call. Go. Enjoy. Thank me later.

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

On Tuesdays, I spend my Sabbath day communing with God...and my wild Irish rose, Calleigh Lynn O'Shaughnessy McAllister O'Bryan McCane.

When the weather permits, Calleigh and I take Ender for a walk. We talk about the weather ("Isn't the sky beautiful, Crappaw?" "Yes it is, Calleigh") and the homes and yards ("Boy, the grass is really dry, Crappaw." "Yes it is, Calleigh") and the dogs that bark at us ("That one sounds mean, Crappaw." "Don't worry, princess, we won't let him get anywhere near us") and so on.

It takes us about 45 minutes to do the 2.5 mile circuit around the neighborhood. And by the time we get back, Calleigh's thinking about food (she's JUST like her Crappaw!). But it's a little bit of exercise for the old guy, and of course anything that includes Calleigh Lynn MacGregor O'Sullivan McCracken O'Bryan McCane is nothing but fun.

Walk Along the Great Miami River

Last evening for weekly date night with the lovely Robin, we took a walk along the Great Miami River in Trenton, just a few miles from home.

The paved path goes for something like six miles, from Rt. 73 where it crosses the river in Trenton, up to West Middletown. We didn't walk the whole six miles (or twelve miles round trip). But then, you probably figured that already, didn't you?

But it was a beautiful evening for such a walk, and we talked and talked and enjoyed each other's company. Passed a couple fishermen. Lady on a three-wheeled bike passed us, with her Scottish terrier in the basket on the back of the bike. A jogger with a little dog. A couple other joggers.

After the walk, we stopped at Cassano's Pizza in Trenton and shared a sausage pizza and cups of ice water. Hot pizza, cold water, and smokin' hot company. Can't ask for more.