This week, I’m giving you two cities for the price of one Sunday.
For me, there is nothing like the relief of seeing the Pure Michigan sign in my rear view mirror. Waving goodbye as the open road lies ahead to take me wherever I please. Perhaps the most spontaneous trip I took this past summer was a day trip down to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a very last minute decision, and since, Cinci was the last major Ohio city I had left to visit I figured “why not?” The day before I set out on my 5 hour road trip, I had discovered that just 20 minutes across the border was Cincinnati’s sister city, Covington, Kentucky, so of course I took the opportunity to cross another state off of my 50/50 plan (visit all 50 states before I turn 50).
Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect from Cincinnati. I had high hopes, but as I crossed the city border line, my expectations were sinking fast. I started thinking maybe I had been misled by all the beautiful photos of Cinci I had come across on Flickr.
One minute I was driving through neighborhoods of broken down homes and the next, I found myself in an area of shopping plazas & restaurants then I was right back into seedy neighborhoods again.
It’s not until I headed to downtown Cinci that I began to feel comfortable walking around on my own again. Cinci has a beautiful skyline and is, for the most part, fairly normal. Walking the streets downtown reminded me a lot of Cleveland, my home away from home. You’ve got the Great American Ball Park (Home of the Cincinnati Reds), the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (highly recommend visiting), what looks like an ode to NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge, and enough Starbucks and fast food restaurants to satisfy the typical American. The city itself is easy to walk around in, and if you ever make it to Cinci, be sure to grab some ice cream at Graeters in Fountain Square. Sit down, relax, eat your ice cream, and enjoy some live music. What more could you ask for on a perfect summer day?
As for Covington, I don’t know about you, but when I think about Kentucky, I think KFC, horse derbies, and the Louisville Slugger baseball bat shop/factory/museum. Little did I know how diverse the neighborhoods are.
Have you ever been to the MainStrasse Village? If not, let me tell you that this little village is SO cute. The houses are tall and flat on the sides, similar to those you see in the opening of the television show Full House. As for the shops, well they look like what I imagine the shops in Germany to look like. It felt as though I was meandering around a German version of Harry Potter world, and I cannot complain.
The rest of Covington is mainly residential and certainly not representative of the rest of the Kentucky, but I would certainly say it surpassed my expectations. It was a cooler place to hang out than I was anticipating.
All in all, it was a successful day trip, and I’m so excited that I got to see two new cities that I might have never thought to visit or had time to visit. If there is anything I could take away from that quick trip, it would be to follow your fears and instincts so you can break new heights every day.
“This City” Sundays will introduce you to a new city every week, showcase what I’ve learned and love about that city, and attempt to persuade you to visit on your travels.