Tag Archives: President Garfield

CINCINNATI: Time To Go Downtown…

11 Feb

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cleveland; Stone Gables B&B, Lake View Cemetery, Vintage, Quarry Hill Winery, Lakeside

12 Jul

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Sunday was our last day in Cleveland and we awoke to a decadent breakfast of Bananas Foster French Toast at our B & B . We shared our table with another couple, when Richard, the owner, set down our plates we all kind of looked at them in awe, once we tasted them there were small sighs and a series of mmmmmmm’s. First he makes a special banana bread and prepares it as french toast, it is then sprinkled  with warm banana slices that are just right, not too mushy, then the entire dish is topped off with a warm syrup and a dollop of whipped cream, this is seriously delicious! I was the last to finish as I took my time savoring every bite. Guests at Stone Gables Bed & Breakfast are spoiled with lovely rooms, great beds with super-soft linens, private bathrooms, homemade cookies to snack on, comfortable sitting areas, and of course incredible breakfasts. The historic home is located in Ohio City which is across the Cuyahoga River and west of downtown. This is a great little area with Victorian era homes, a community garden, and lots of great restaurants within walking distance of the B&B, you can also walk to West Side Market. We have been staying here for years and have always been delighted.

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Lake View Cemetery was our our first destination of the day, founded in 1869, it is known as Cleveland’s Outdoor Museum and Arboretum. The landscape itself is beautiful, it sits on a hilltop and provides a wonderful panorama of the surrounding area. One thing you have to see is The Garfield Monument, dedicated in 1890 to honor assassinated President James A Garfield, 20th President of the United States. This 180 ft tall building is amazing, you are free to come in and wander around; Start by ascending 64 steps all the way to the outdoor balcony for an uninterrupted view of  downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie, you’ll want to take some photos. As you descend the stairs stop on the balcony level for the best perspective of the outstanding mosaic tilework; The dome ceiling is a work of art, Angels representing North, South, East, and West are surrounded by glistening gold tiles, extravagant archways surround the circular space. A single chandelier lights the space above the statue of  President Garfield himself located on the main floor. The lower level displays the caskets of President Garfield and his wife, this is the only presidential casket on full display.

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 Many famous people are buried at Lake View; John D Rockefeller and his wife; check out their monument, Elliot Ness, inventor Garrett Morgan, and other well known Clevelanders. The monuments are magnificent, it’s a very peaceful place to walk around, you can also visit Wade Chapel and the Lake View Cemetery Dam. Bus and walking tours are offered, check the website for details.  CEMETERY SLIDESHOW

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Cleveland has a great Antiques district over on Lorain Ave; our favorite is Sweet Lorain, this place is groovy! 8,000 sq ft of Deco thru Modern that will have you oohing and aahhing. Everything from furniture and clothing to glass and lighting, very kitsch. Even if you are not a collector you are sure to have fun looking around. Further west in Lakewood there are a couple more vintage shops on Clifton; Flower Child is two floors of  furniture, barware, jewelry and clothing representing the 50’s thru the 70’s, again, very entertaining to see. Next door is a place called Big Fun Toy Store, and that’s exactly what it is; Jam packed with items from the 30’s to present day it is nostalgia nirvana. Plan on spending some time here, everywhere you look are reminders of childhhood days; Lite Brite, Star Wars, GI Joe, wax soda bottles with fruity liquid inside, candy buttons, and board games. On the website it says “Come Shopping, Leave Smiling”. I think that says it all.

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Heading out of town we stopped in at a little market and deli and grabbed some lunch. Afterwards it was to Mitchell’s Ice Cream Shop for a double chocolate malt, they make it perfectly. Properly fed it was time to officially leave Cleveland.

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Kris has worked out a great scenic route home; jumping on Route 6 Lake Erie is nearly always in view. Beautiful parks with scenic overlooks and stately homes enhance the roadway. Just outside of Lorain we drop south and make our way to Ridge/Mason rd and start heading west. We wind through scenic countryside passing inviting  vegetable stands, historic Ohio barns with quilts painted on the side, and tiny villages. Just as you are becoming used to the view,what appears? A winery and orchard! Yep, just sitting out there in the middle of the country is Quarry Hill Winery & Orchards. Located in the town of Berlin Hts, the winery sits on the highest point of the farm, the vineyards peak is 834 ft above sea level, 100 feet higher than the surrounding land. With a distance of three miles from Lake Erie, on a clear day they say you can count the sailboats on the lake. In addition to tastings they also offer a light food menu with indoor and outdoor seating. You can purchase a bottle of wine to take home, or sit there and enjoy the view as you savor your selection. We tasted about six different wines and brought home a bottle of Apple Wine. We also picked up a quart of just picked cherries at the orchard.

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When Mason ends we make our way north crossing the Sandusky Bay then head east on the Marblehead Peninsula to Lakeside. Established in 1873 Lakeside was among the first Chautauqua institutions founded in the United States. Perfectly situated on Lake Erie it is picturesque from one end to the other. Come for the day or make reservations at one of the multiple charming B&B’s or hotels and and stay longer. We love just stopping in for a few hours; Take a walk over to the lake, have a seat in one of the chairs on the deck overlooking the shoreline. Wander along the shoreline path taking in gorgeous gardens studded with lillies and hollyhocks, the largest homes reside waterside. Tiny streets are lined with charming cottages, you could walk for hours here. The compact downtown has everything you need; restaurants, shops, and of course ice cream!  From miniature golf and shuffleboard to kayaks and historic tram tours, you won’t run out of things to do.

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Take a chance on Cleveland for a weekend get away, you won’t be sorry.