Tag Archives: Mt Adams

Cincinnati: So Much To See…

27 Jan

cinci-rama! 481 (1)

We are in the Queen City, Cincinnati Ohio, she is like an old friend to us. Each time we visit we make time to get re-acquainted; we walk her streets, take in her charm and southern ways. We go back to favorite districts, restaurants and a cozy bar called the Blind Lemon, inevitably we discover something we haven’t done before. The Taft Museum of Art is a perfect example. Built on this spot in 1820 and a stone’s throw from our hotel, somehow we have never managed to check it out, today is the day we change that. Martin Baum, Cincinnati’s first millionaire built the home, Arts patron Nicholas Longworth lived here from 1829 until his death in 1863, he was responsible for some big changes, more on that later….Iron magnate David Sinton purchased the home in 1871 and lived there with his daughter Anna and her husband Charles Phelps Taft, older half-brother of William Howard Taft. The younger Taft accepted his party’s nomination for the U.S. Presidency from the portico of this house in 1908 and went on to become President. Upon Sintons death Anna became one of the wealthiest women in the country, Charles was wealthy in his own right. Through the years the couple amassed one of the most impressive private collections of fine and decorative arts in America. The Tafts signed papers bequeathing their home and collection to the people of Cincinnati. The Taft Museum opened to the public in 1932. After a major expansion and renovation the museum re-opened in 2004. Let’s take a look.

cinci-rama! 572 (1)

cinci-rama! 503 (1)cinci-rama! 537 (1)

cinci-rama! 546 (1)

I read an article that called the home “The Other Mr. Taft’s White House”, the house is indeed white, one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the Palladian style, today the exterior is draped in holiday garlands, wreaths and bright red bows–it really is quite lovely. We enter on the side, the new section, hang our coats and have a look around. The current exhibitions are Jacob Lawrence: Heroism In Paint and Antique Christmas; there are a lot of people checking them out today. We make our way to the hallway that leads to the historic house, here walls are covered with text and photographs featuring the history of the house and its residents. I am pleasantly surprised that the house still resembles a home, sure the family furnishings have been removed, but important American furniture remains, the museum is a combination of historic home and art museum, it’s intimate, elegant and comfortable. Rooms have been turned into galleries, soothing fern green paint covers the walls, trim is accented in white, arched doorways lead us from one area to another. There’s something special about going to a museum during the holidays, extra effort has been put forth to ‘deck the halls’ as they say. Miniature Christmas trees are enclosed in glass cases, each with its own unique-themed decorations, glass ornaments, whimsical figures. One display is filled with Christmas-themed advertisements, cards, porcelain figures, teeny trees and assorted collectibles, pretty cool!

cinci-rama! 542 (1)

cinci-rama! 547 (1)cinci-rama! 526 (1)

cinci-rama! 561 (1)

 As we wander from gallery to gallery we notice much of the home’s integrity remains; fireplaces, ceiling medallions, crystal chandeliers; the dining room’s ornate plaster ceiling is outstanding, the table is set for Christmas dinner. The music room is bright yellow, a portrait hangs above the fireplace, the room is illuminated by stunning chandeliers. Landscapes and people are surrounded by ornate frames, masterpiece-quality paintings by Rembrandt, Joshua Reynolds, John Singer Sargent and Frans Hals can be found throughout. Decorative arts include European candlesticks and boxes covered in gilt metal, an extensive enamel collection including snuff boxes, portraits, enamel and gold watches and Chinese porcelain from the Tang and Qing Dynasty. Nicholas Longworth extensively redecorated the home, in 1851 he brought Robert S Duncanson in to paint a series of 8 landscape murals, each 9′ tall and 6.5′ wide, they are absolutely gorgeous. At one time they were actually covered by wallpaper–yeah, I know, crazy! It’s possible the wallpaper actually protected the murals, they are as lovely today as when they were painted before the Civil War. Not sure what to expect when we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

cinci-rama! 455 (1)

cinci-rama! 456 (1)cinci-rama! 483 (1)

cinci-rama! 502 (1)

The Over-The-Rhine (OTR) district is the largest collection of Italianate architecture in the country. Built in the mid-19th Century it was the heart of the German community in Cincinnati. At that time the Miami and Erie Canal divided the district from downtown, Germans affectionately referred to it as the “Rhine”, reminding them of the river back home, thus deeming the area north of downtown OTR. Eventually the canal was capped, plans to use the underground tunnel for a subway system never came to fruition; today Central Parkway takes the place of the canal. There’s a lot of walking to do in this 360 acre neighborhood, we park the Jeep in the underground lot at the recently revamped Washington Park, grab the umbrellas and go… 

cinci-rama! 462 (1)

cinci-rama! 464 (1)cinci-rama! 469 (1)

cinci-rama! 472 (1)

Streets are packed with beautifully ornate buildings built from 1865 through the 1880’s; Italianate, Queen Anne, Greek Revival and even a few Art Deco structures sit side by side. After years if neglect and decay, a pile of money and sweat equity is being poured into the neighborhood. Three to Five-story brick buildings are now home to restaurants, bars, boutiques, galleries; places to live, work and play. Main Street is the main thoroughfare, here you will find trendy restaurants, coffee houses and one-of-a-kind shops. Vine is also dense with new businesses, it’s on this street we find a place to have lunch. Krueger’s Tavern is housed in a single-story white terracotta building with large front windows. The interior is sort of modern-industrial, wood floor, metal tables and bar, exposed pipes, the artwork is framed Moss, yes, I did say moss–it looks good!  We are enjoying the Tuscan kale salad with Parmigiano Reggiano, breadcrumbs and a tasty lemon vinaigrette along with the Cuban sandwich. The braised pork shoulder is so tender it falls apart, topped with ham, Gruyère, homemade pickles, Dijon mustard and black bean puree stuffed inside a house made Cuban roll, absolutely delicious!

cinci-rama! 478 (1)

cinci-rama! 458 (1)

cinci-rama! 486 (1)cinci-rama! 491 (1)
Back outside we stroll from storefront to storefront wandering in and out of shops, Homage, an Ohio-centric shop sells clothing and accessories representing Cincinnati’s professional and college sports teams, music and pop culture.Wait, does that sign say Macaron Bar? Indeed it does. An entire shop dedicated to those little French meringue delicacies…. I think we should try a few. The space is cute, white Tulip chairs with Red cushions, dangling globe lights and rows of Macarons in 12 flavors. We pick Pistachio, Blackcurrant and Salted Caramel, my favorite is the Pistachio, Kris votes for the Salted Caramel, all are yummy.

cinci-rama! 674 (1)

cinci-rama! 671 (1)

cinci-rama! 672 (1)

cinci-rama! 669 (1)

We make our way up to Mt Adams, the Krohn Conservatory at Christmas time is a sight to behold! I can tell by the number of cars parked nearby it’s crowded inside. This is the kind of place people come to with their whole family: mom, dad, grandma, the kids and they’ve been doing it for generations. Inside these glass and aluminum walls a Christmas wonderland awaits; a train runs on elevated tracks winding through a city of Poinsettia, ferns and arborvitae, crossing ponds and mingling with tropical foliage. 3-story townhouses and iconic Cincinnati buildings create a miniature version of the city, there’s even a recreation of the Roebling Bridge. The Rainforest Waterfall is quite popular for photos. Built in 1933 the building has great Art Deco details, I love the railings. The conservatory is one of our favorite places in Cincy.

cinci-rama! 700 (1)

cinci-rama! 660 (1)cinci-rama! 659 (1)

cinci-rama! 684 (1)

While in this neck of the woods Kris drives around to see what else is going on in the area. It looks as though new development is going on in E Walnut Hills, a diverse and historic Cincinnati neighborhood. We drive down Woodburn Ave and see a couple of Vintage/Antique shops, so we check them out. Unfortunately Leftcoast Modern is closed today, but Hi-Bred is open. It’s a great shop with a nice selection of vintage clothing, shoes, hats and accessories in addition to funky items like lamps, drinking glasses, housewares and the like. We turn left off of Woodburn Ave onto Madison Rd and there it is, a gorgeous stone building with a sign that reads O Pie O. Can’t resist. Inside, the space looks like an old-fashioned diner; white subway tiles, hanging lamps, counter seating, charming. The menu offers a selection of sweet and savory handcrafted pies, a wine list, local beers and food (the Guatemalan Empanadas look amazing). Varieties change with the season, we’re told the Honey Vinegar is the biggest seller, but it’s the Malted Chocolate Pecan that gets our attention. We sit at the counter and eat our tasty piece of pie, happy to have discovered yet another trendy, up-and-coming Cincy neighborhood.

cinci-rama! 710 (1)

cinci-rama! 717 (1)

cinci-rama! 723 (1)

cinci-rama! 720 (1)

CINCINNATI: Time To Go Downtown…

11 Feb

ci 028 (1)

We’re exploring the streets of downtown Cincinnati Ohio; the architecture is pretty amazing here: Art Deco, Queen Ann, Neo Classical Revival and Renaissance Revival styles all share real estate with structures built from the early 1800’s to present day. Buildings are constructed of brick, stone and glass, some sport columns, leaded glass windows and fancy lighting, others are glass and metal fabrications ascending toward the sky. The old and the new, side by side. The sky is powder blue, the sun is warm, the city awaits us. We are walking around randomly with no set plan, if it’s too cold in the shade, we cross and walk in the sun, if we spot an interesting building, that’s the direction we walk, if the outside is intriguing, we pop into the lobby, this afternoon we’re just a couple of sight-seers!

ci 001 (1)

ci 006 (1)ci 003 (1)

ci 020 (1)

On Fourth Street we encounter the Western-Southern Life building, a real beauty designed by Hake and Kuck, local Cincinnati architects who designed much of the face of the city, the columns reflect the original Neo-Classical design while the newer additions are Art Deco. The University Club hardly shows its age, built in 1880, it’s just as lovely today in burgundy with cream-colored trim as it was back then. We pass brick churches with steeples and spires, they don’t seem to mind all the hustle and bustle going on around them, a two-story stone building has elongated windows. We reach the center of the city, Fountain Square, an ice rink has been set up for the time being, Ohioans are bundled up as they skate in the late afternoon sun. The focal point of the square is the Tyler Davidson Fountain, this bronze fountain was cast in Munich in 1867, it was given to the city in 1871 by Henry Probasco. Called “Genius of Water”, with the exception of the winter months, water flows from the outstretched hands of a 9-foot tall figure of a lady, the genius of water herself, below her human figures represent the practical uses of water, at the base, 4 child figures represent the pleasures of water, they look like they’re having a blast. 

ci 018ci 184 (1)

ci 165 (1)

ci 167 (1)

ci 180 (1)

We watch the skaters a while longer and then move on. Tiffany & Co has a store on the corner, above us skywalks connect buildings, giving pedestrians a break from the elements, a gorgeous gold clock juts out from the corner of an establishment. On Walnut Street, we notice a giant chandelier hanging from the front of a building, curiosity aroused, we make our way to the entrance, this is 21c, a Museum Hotel. The building itself began life in 1912 as the Metropole Hotel, complete with a second floor ballroom, rathskeller in the basement and a Turkish bath. Today it’s a marvelous mix of historic and contemporary, the first two floors make up 8,000 sq ft of exhibition space dedicated to 21st Century art, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge. The rest of the building is divided into 156 luxurious guest rooms, with a restaurant on the ground floor. Wandering through the gallery we take in the art, some of the original mosaic tile remains, in one of the hallways a projector shows images on the floor that change when someone walks through, very entertaining. The original sweeping stairway leads to the second floor of exhibits, there are some really wonderful pieces, I like the mix of art and architecture, the past and the present.

ci 185 (1)ci 255 (1)

ci 200 (1)

ci 204 (1)ci 190 (1)

Piatt Park is Cincinnati’s oldest public park, here we find statues of Presidents James Garfield and William Henry Harrison, the buildings lining the park are distinctive. The Cincinnati Bell Telephone company compels us to take a closer look, built in 1931, designed by Harry Hake (there he is again), the 12-story building is classic Art Deco. Just above the exterior first floor, relief carvings of telephones leave no doubt who occupies the building. Amazing light fixtures and metalwork adorn the building, the lobby is pretty spectacular too! In a more commercial district we find an auction house, Main Auction Galleries, loaded with mid-century design pieces, we spend a few minutes with the chrome, Lucite and Danish design pieces and one of the most bizarre dinnerware sets we’ve ever seen, before heading back onto the streets. 

ci 265 (1)

ci 257 (1)

ci 216 (1)

ci 212 (1)

Continuing on Fourth we pass the Queen City Club (1926) a private social club, pretty in the English Renaissance Revival style by Hake and Kuck (again). Making our way past the old Shillito department store, we eventually end up in a more residential district closer to the river and by the Taft Museum. Built in 1820 in the Federal style, this is one of Cincy’s most historically significant buildings; it has been a private home, a seminary and now a fine art museum. Now it’s back to the hotel for a little rest, then we’ll get dinner.

ci 268 (1)

ci 281 (1)

ci 326 (1)

Mt Adams is a quaint hilltop village that overlooks downtown Cincinnati, the Ohio River and northern Kentucky. Private homes intertwine with commercial businesses, restaurants, bars, boutiques and a fountain through a series of narrow streets criss-crossing the hill. Named after President John Quincy Adams, the village is home to the Rookwood Pottery Factory which opened in 1892, now turned restaurant, Holy Cross Immaculata Church and a monastery. It’s a fabulous place for a leisurely stroll, the views are unsurpassable. We’re having dinner at Teak Thai, in nice weather you can’t beat the patio seating, tonight we’ll be eating indoors.  Seated in the upper level, there’s barely an empty seat in sight, we make quick work of the menu and start with a bowl of miso soup. Decor is distinctly Asian as is the food, offering a huge selection of curry, satay, tempura, dumplings, rice & curry dishes, tonight we’re in the mood for sushi. The timing is perfect, just as we finish our soup our sushi rolls arrive, fresh ingredients and tasty combinations, it really hits the spot.

ci 289 (1)

ci 286 (1)

ci 319 (1)ci 314 (1)

Time to take you to our favorite place on Mt Adams, The Blind Lemon on Hatch Street. The ultimate in coziness, charm and whimsy, this is definitely a hidden gem. A small sign out front announces the establishment, from the sidewalk  descend down a narrow passageway and disappear into the basement of an 1800’s building; once inside you feel like you never want to leave. Opened in 1963, the same management runs it today; the interior is a wonderful hodgepodge of antique toy cars and trucks, airplanes, trains and pocket watches. Copper pieces hang on hooks, gold and platinum records share space with autographed pictures of entertainers, Tiffany lamps and random collectibles. In the summer months the patio is crowded with locals, high concrete walls give the impression you are far from the city, like a secret garden. There’s always live music, tonight we enjoy a solo folk artist, played at the perfect volume, we can still have a conversation while he sings. I’m having a Spanish coffee, Kris is sipping on Blanton’s Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, ah this is the life! Couldn’t ask for a better ending to the day.

ci 292 (1)

ci 293 (1)

ci 305 (1)

ci 297 (1)

Cincinnati; Eden Park, Art Museum, Krohn Conservatory

25 Jun

15yvlgi

If you visit Cincy make sure to take a ride up to Mt Adams. The ride can be complex but it’s well worth the effort. On the west side of Mt Adams is where you’ll find restaurants, shops, bars, wonderful homes and great views of downtown. We chose the east side, Eden Park. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park, and the Krohn Conservatory, Eden Park is one of several hilltop parks that offers spectacular views of the city, and the mighty Ohio River. There are plenty of places to sit and relax here; what do you like, gardens, fountains, a gazebo, scenic vistas? Feeling energetic, take a walk on one of the trails. Driving through the park with it’s elevation changes is a welcome variation from the flat lands of Detroit.

25f0pdg

vo4e2o

Krohn Conservatory is one of my favorite conservatories, it was built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco movement. This glass and aluminum structure harbors over 3,500 different plant species in four different houses; Palm, Tropical, Desert, and Orchid.With it’s aluminum railings and terazzo floors it has that wonderful ‘old’ feeling to it that you just don’t get from modern conservatories. I am partial to the Rainforest waterfall, it’s just gorgeous! It was Father’s Day and the place was jammed, it seemed every family had the same idea; to take pictures with dad in this exotic environment.

2rygdc0

park 1526

park 1529

Located at the top of the hill is the Art museum, built in 1886 and undergoing several additions through the decades it houses an impressive collection.The interior of the building is a work of art in of itself; Sweeping staircases with wood and iron railings, columns, and even a touch of Art Deco. Take your time and wander both floors; the layout makes for easy transition from room to room, European to American and century to century. The Chihuly glass sculpture strung from the ceiling to the lobby is outstanding. They have an extensive collection of Rookwood Pottery, my two favorite pieces of the entire collection are the Rookwood Fireplace & Fountain. With the special exhibits there is always something new to see here. Admission is Free, parking $4.00

5vsjde

29axri9

1zbzawx

We drove around Eden Park for a bit, up and down the hills. We stopped and took a walk around Mirror Lake, so pretty, and to a couple of the scenic overlooks. Cincinnati has a series of bridges crossing the rivers and you can see most of them from this vantage point. Eden Park is a part of Cincy that is not to be missed!

2el5wdj

Time for lunch before heading back north. Hyde Park is one area that has a lot of activity on a Sunday. We found a little cafe to have lunch on the patio, but to our dismay the rain started up again. Just as well, the food was equally as good indoors as it would have been out. When in Cincy you have got to try their signature brand of ice cream; Graeter’s. There is a location in Hyde Park Square and it conveniently sits adjacent to a park with benches and a beautiful fountain. The Buckeye Blitz is truly an Ohio thing, chocolate and peanut-butter, one of those perfect combinations of flavors.  After we finished up our ice cream we took to the road once again, this time towards home.

30m2wrb

Cincinnati is one of the great All-American cities that graces the Midwest and makes for a great get-away from The D. Like most of our rust-belt relatives, we share a history of hard times and perseverance. We love spending our tourist dollars where they are most appreciated; hard working industrial towns like our own that have far more to offer than most realize.

unt

For More Ohio adventures click on our Ohio Page