9 Things I Would Like to Like About Living Where I Do

You know how people who live in a place never seem to get around to enjoying the local sights and events, while others travel for hours to enjoy the same things? When we lived in the New York city area, we were frequently surprised by long-time residents of the area who'd never been to the Statue of Liberty, or who had never seen a Broadway show, and so on.

So, to follow up the last four posts, on the things I like about living where I do, I thought I'd take a few minutes to list some of the things I haven't yet done or seen, that I would LIKE to. Keep in mind, it's a much shorter list, because the lovely Robin and I have lived here a long time, and we've enjoyed the area's sights and events a lot. For example, I've been to Reds' games in three successive venues: Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, and Great American Ballpark. We've visited the Newport Aquarium, enjoyed concerts at Riverbend, gone to a movie and eaten ice cream in Mariemont, and more.

But still, there are a few things I haven't done yet, that I'd like to. Like:

1. The Cincinnati Observatory on Mt. Lookout. Cincinnati Observatory was built atop what was then called Mount Ida, overlooking downtown Cincinnati. The cornerstone was laid on November 9, 1843, and presiding over the occasion was former President John Quincy Adams (at 77 years old, it was to be his last public speech, and Mount Ida was renamed Mount Adams in his honor). In 1871, the Observatory came under the control of the University of Cincinnati and in 1873 it was moved from Mt. Adams to Mt. Lookout, where it remains today. It is the world's oldest telescope still in use nightly by the general public. The staff hosts stargazing programs most Thursday and Friday nights.

2. The Cincinnati Subway Tour. I've always been fascinated by the story of the Cincinnati subway system, begun after World War I ended but discontinued due to the depression.In fact, Cincinnati is the site of the country's largest abandoned subway tunnel. Seven miles between Cincinnati's central business district and the industrial suburb of Norwood were tunneled, bridged, or graded, but no track was laid and no subway cars were ordered. No passengers ever rode between the six stations that were built. I've heard of tours being offered at various times in the past, but there seems to be no one offering any officially sanctioned tours at this time. If you hear differently, please let me know.

3. The Dee Felice Cafe. Dee Felice is a long-time jazz drummer and band leader in the Cincinnati area. He opened Dee Felice Cafe in 1984, combining excellent menu selections and old-fashioned New Orleans decor with the best live jazz in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area. I've never been. But I want to.

4. The Mad Anthony Writers' Conference. I've traveled all over the country to speak at writers' conferences...and yet have never made it to the top-notch writers' conference held here in Hamilton every year. In fact, this year, I'll miss it again, because it's taking place April 8-9...while I am in New York!

5. The Newport Gangster Tour. Back in the day, Newport was quite the place. "Sin City," it was called. Rising from the profits of bootlegging, it would quickly grow to become the premier gaming destination in the U.S., believe it or not. The gangster tour wends through the streets where gangsters made their millions, gamblers lost their lives, and ladies of the night earned their living, and explores buildings that housed casinos, brothels, and speakeasies.

6. The McGuffey Museum. The Rev. William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873) defined primary education in nineteenth-century America with his "McGuffey's Readers," six of which he wrote in this two-story Federal style home at 410 Spring Street in Oxford, where he lived from 1833-1836 (he was a professor at Miami from 1826-1836). The series, which sold over 120 million copies, was the dominant schoolbook in the nation until the 1920s. The museum's odd hours (Thursday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m.) have so far prevented me from visiting, but I will get there someday.

7. The Soldiers', Sailors', and Pioneers' Monument. When I live in a place, I try to learn as much as I can about the local history, and familiarize myself with the place as much as possible. Yet I've lived in this area now for eighteen years and have only driven by the striking monument in downtown Hamilton on the banks of the Great Miami. The monument, built of Indiana Limestone, is near the center of the site of Fort Hamilton, built in 1791 and named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury in President George Washington's cabinet. It features two large, colorful windows that recognize the contributions of Butler County women during the Civil War. The monument is topped by a small temple-like structure on which stands a 3,500 pound, 14 foot, bronze statue of a young Civil War soldier. The statue, created by Rudolph Theim, a Hamilton sculptor, is waving his cap victoriously in the air while standing on an exploded shell. Today the monument houses an impressive collection of Civil War weapons and swords. It also has exhibits on twentieth century American wars, including military uniforms, military medals, and photographs. In addition to the names of Butler County veterans engraved on the walls, the Monument maintains records of Butler County servicepersons who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars. The museum is open to the public free of charge from 10-4 Monday through Friday and 11-3 on Saturdays.

8. Miami Whitewater Forest. Just fifteen or twenty minutes from our front porch is this scenic area, part of the Hamilton County parks system...and I've never been inside! There are numerous trails in this park; the best are said to be Shaker Trace, the Oakleaf trail and the Badlands trail. I love to hike, and it's so close. So it's high time the lovely Robin and I get over there for a scenic date night, maybe. After the snow melts. And the temperature rises. And the trees bud. And so on.

9. The Boar's Head Festival at Christ Church in Cincinnati. I have long wanted to make it to this strange and amazing celebration, celebrated since 1940 at Christ Church in downtown Cincinnati. Based on an old (like, 1340!) English tradition, it includes lords, ladies, knights, historical characters, cooks, hunters, pages, shepherds, wise men, carols, mince pie, plum pudding, good King Wenceslas and his pages, a yule log lighted from the last year's ember...and a boar's head. But, alas and alack, tickets are hard to get; the box office opens on a morning in December and you have to be there or be left behind. Maybe next year.

There are more, of course. I've never seen the William Howard Taft home in Clifton. I don't think I've ever seen Taft Museum, downtown. And it's been a long time since I've been to Krohn Conservatory, in Eden Park (their hours were not set with my schedule in mind, for some reason). But these nine would sure be a great start.


  1. So close, yet so far away! Miami Whitewater is a great park, and our family spends a lot of time there, since we live so close and love the outdoors. And, Krohns would be a great place to visit during the Butterfly show, as we did with the kids this year.

  2. Dee Felice-- you gotta go. Its great!

  3. Phyllis, thanks! I DO gotta go. Now that Robin and I switched our date night off Mondays, I think I CAN! :)

  4. Stacey, thanks for the comment. Whitewater is gonna be a priority once the weather warms.