Walking in Cincinnati – Bellevue

Ok; so Bellevue is not in Cincinnati, but the walking in Cincinnati book takes us around Northern Kentucky as well as Cincinnati so this was the walk we picked this week.  Bellevue is a quaint city on the Ohio River in the most northern tip of Kentucky.  The name Bellevue translates from French as “beautiful view” and we did see some beautiful views of the Ohio River with the city of Cincinnati in the background.

This walk starts and ends at the Party Source which is a liquor and party supply store where you can buy almost every type of alcohol around.   As we started our walk, we came across a couple of murals.

There are lots of little shops and restaurants in Bellevue that you walk past so if you’re hungry or want to stop and shop there are lots of opportunities to do so.  The walk took us down to the Bellevue Beach Park which is where I took the beautiful view of the Ohio River that I referred to above.

This walk took us to an iron footbridge that is one of only two iron footbridges remaining in Kentucky.  At the base is a firemen’s memorial.

We passed by the former St. Anthony Church complex.  The grade school is now housing for the elderly, but the rectory continues to serve as a rectory. Below is a picture of the courtyard at the rectory.

As we finished up this walk, we came across the cutest little bed and breakfast called the Weller Haus.  It is also an event center.  We just all fell in love with this place and below are several pictures we took while there.

That was the end of this walk, but since we were all hungry we stopped at Buckheads to eat lunch.  My niece, Christina, joined us.

Join me next week as we continue walking around Cincinnati.

Walking in Cincinnati – East Walnut Hills

Here is the map of the walk that we took.  It is an easy 3.8 mile walk that starts in the Village of Woodburn or East Walnut Hills.  East Walnut Hills is home to some impressive mansions.  There is a lot off Woodburn Avenue that you can park in.  The walk starts in front of the Gothic St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

This walk took us past a number of beautiful homes.  As you can see from the pictures I took below, these homes were very interesting and we had a difficult time deciding which one we liked best.

This walk takes you through the O’Bryonville business district which has lots of small historic buildings that house specialty stores, restaurants and galleries.  It’s worth visiting BonBonerie Fine Pastries, Ten Thousand Villages and Kisment to name a few of the shops that you find there.  We stopped at the BonBonerie for some cookies and shopped at some of the stores.  It was a fun and easy walk to do.

Join me next week as we continue our walking through Cincinnati.

Sonoma and Napa – Wine Country, California

I am going to take a small detour from my walking Cincinnati posts, but will come back next week with another walk.

We’ve been to the Napa area many times, so this time when we decided to visit wine country; we thought we’d try some of the wineries in Sonoma.  We stayed at the Inn at Sonoma.  It is another Four Sisters Inn facility.  We’ve stayed a number of times at the Four Sisters Inns and have not been disappointed.  This one lived up to what we’ve come to expect from their properties.  They offer a full breakfast every morning as well as wine and cheese every evening.

The town of Sonoma is rather small and has many restaurants and shops.  We heard about a hike to see the view of Sonoma so since we are big walkers, we decided to do the hike one morning.  The hike is a two mile hike called the Sonoma Overlook Hike and while it is fairly easy as far as hikes go, it does have some elevation.  Below are a couple of pictures we took along the way.

We decided one day to drive to Bodega Bay.  Bodega Bay is only about an hour outside of Sonoma and is a quaint, ocean side little community perhaps best known for being where they filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.  Below is the church from one of the scenes in the movie.

We did visit a few wineries while in Sonoma.  Some of our favorites were Ledsons, St. Francis, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, and Domaine Carneros.

They were all wonderful, but I believe our favorite was the Domaine Carneros which are the pictures right above.  They have some wonderful sparkling wines and have a white pinot noir.

We took a side trip to Santa Rosa which is home to Russian River Brewing Co.  This was a must see on my husband’s list of places to visit and I think he was very happy to sample a few of their beers.

We decided to drive back into Napa to visit some our favorite wineries from when we visited there in the past.  We really enjoy going to V Sattui Winery  since they have a nice market place.  So we bought some cheese and a nice bottle of their wine and ate lunch in their picnic area.  It was a beautiful day the day we stopped by so we just enjoyed the wine and the beautiful scenery.

We wanted to go to Sterling Winery since they have a tram that takes you up to their facility.  It is nice because their tasting room has lots of window in it and has a wonderful view.  However, they had lost power that day and we could not go but if you are in that area, make sure to include a stop there.

We did do a very nice cave tour at Beringer Winery.  It ended up being a private tour because it was toward the end of the day and mid-January so there were not many people visiting that day.  I wish I had taken some picture of the cave area, but I did not.  The wines we were given to taste were very nice.

We did a tasting at Silverado Winery in the Stags Leap District that was very good.  That’s their patio below which on a pretty day would be nice to sit at.  It was rainy the day we visited.

The last winery we visited was Robert Mondavi.  We did a tour there that was great and the wines that we tasted were very good.  Below are a couple of pictures that I took while on that tour.  Our guide was very excited about us being able to see the “t” shaped vines as this is the only time of year you can see that.

We had a great time in Sonoma and really enjoyed going to some different wineries.  Since we were flying out of San Francisco, we decided stop by Muir Woods on our way into that area.  We’ve been to Muir Woods many times and I would highly recommend going to see the redwoods if you are in the area.  Be warned though that they now require you to have a paid reservation before allowing you to park here.  We didn’t see this on the website and since there is no cell service at the park and since the only way to get this paid reservation was to go online; we had to drive three miles to the Muir Woods Beach and walk out on the beach in order to get reception, get on the website and pay.  It was kind of funny, but it is worth the effort.

Sorry for the rather lengthy post, but I had quite a lot of pictures that I wanted to post here.  Also, poor yapping cricket is not in any of these pictures as I was too lazy to add her to all these pictures, but she’ll be back next week again when I get back to the walking in Cincinnati book.

Walking in Cincinnati – Over The Rhine Area

Our city had installed a street car in the fall of 2016 so since none of us had yet experienced riding in one; we decided to park in the downtown area and take our street car up to Findlay Market which is where this walk started out at.  Findlay Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in Ohio and Over the Rhine’s heart.  Findlay is the last remaining public market of the nine that once served Cincinnati.  Unknown to us, Findlay Market is closed on Mondays so we did not get to experience the market that day.  However, all of us have been there before.  It is a hub of vendors selling meat, produce & other local foods, plus a seasonal farmers’ market.  It is so much fun to wonder around and smell all the goodies that are made there.  Here are a couple of pictures we took from the outside.

From the Market the walk takes you down a few interesting streets and past an old church that was renovated in 2015 to the now Taft’s Ale House.  The name is a tongue in cheek reference to William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States and Cincinnati resident.  If you are in the area, Taft’s Ale House is a great place to stop for a drink and food.

We passed by this sign on our walk and found it pretty amusing.

The walk continues past Coffee Emporium which is a great place to stop by for coffee and they also have great food.  We decided from there to go to a new ice cream shop that had just opened; Buzzed Bull Creamery which is know for its handcrafted, boozy ice creams in imaginative flavor combinations in a trendy, industrial-chic space.  Boy was it yummy.  There is a shop that I always have to go to when in the area and that is the Macaron Bar.  They have the most delicious French Macaron’s around so if you are in the area you must stop by and check them out.

Above is the Buzzed Bull and below is the Mararon Bar.

We finished off the day by eating lunch at the We Olive and Wine Bar.  It is a good place to get a glass of wine and lunch.  I believe they do tastings as well.  As you can see, we ate our way through Cincinnati:)  You can probably see why we love these walks so much; fun companions, interesting sights to see, good food and drinks for lunch.


Walking in Cincinnati – Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square

This is the map of  our route through Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square.  It is listed in the book as being a two mile walk and an easy one at that so we decided to start with that one.  Mainstrasse Village is actually located in Covington, Kentucky.

Below is the Roebling Suspension Bridge which we all like to take pictures of.  We love this bridge and you will probably see many pictures of it during my walking through Cincinnati posts.  This is one of several bridges that connect Cincinnati with Kentucky.

Our first stop was Goebel Park.  It is a city park that has several shelters, trails and a public pool.  Below is a picture I took of the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower.  It is a 1970’s faux German glockenspiel and the bells chime approximately every 15 minutes.

We also saw an interesting fountain that is called Goose Girl Fountain.  This fountain is inspired by the Brothers Grimm Goose Girl fairy tale to commemorate the many goose farms that used to be in Covington.

Along Main Street are many locally owned shops, bars and restaurants.  Most of the shops were closed when we went so do not go on a Monday if you want to check those out.  We did find a yummy restaurant called Ottos to go for lunch.

After our walk through Mainstrasse Village and Old Seminary Square and a wonderful lunch at Ottos; we decided to make stop at a place that we used to visit regularly when we were kids.  Our parents along with several other people, owned a boat club in North Bend, Ohio.  All the kids would walk up to William Henry Harrison’s tomb.   William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial is the final resting place of William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States; his wife Anna Harrison; and his son John Scott Harrison.  We loved exploring this area and I think at one time or another we all got stuck inside the tomb.

We loved this easy walk and we also enjoyed our little stop by memory lane on the way back home.



Walking in Cincinnati – Spring Grove Cemetery

Welcome to America’s second largest cemetery and arboretum.

This past summer we had a group of four of us who would take various walks through our city of Cincinnati.  My sister had bought a book called Walking Cincinnati a couple of years ago and had been doing some of the walks with another sister.  This summer four of us went on quite a few of the walks.  I am going to post those walks in the coming weeks but this week I decided to start with a walk not in the book.  We are all photobugs and wanted to go to Spring Grove Cemetery to take some pictures.  Unknown to us, the cemetery actually has a number of walking routes.  We decided to take the easy one.  At the office, they have maps that you can pick up so you can identify the various historical monuments you see along the way.

The map lists each stop along the walk and explains the history of the monument.  We had a great time walking through the cemetery and taking pictures.  Below are some of the shots that I took along the way.

If I remember correctly, the day was a bit on the cloudy side, but we still got quite a number of good pictures.  After our walk which took over an hour, we went to lunch at the Littlefield.  The LIttlefield is a quaint restaurant with a bit of an unusual menu, but everything we had was delicious and I would highly recommend giving it a try.  I am celiac and they have a variety of gluten free options that I was able to eat.

Next week join me again as we walk our way through the city of Cincinnati.

Allure Cruise – St. Martin

Welcome to St. Martin.  Saint Martin is part of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. It comprises two separate countries, divided between its northern French side, called Saint-Martin, and its southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. The island is home to busy resort beaches and secluded coves.

We hired a guide from tours by locals and he took us on a great tour of the island.  Our first stop was at an overlook that had awesome views.

Our driver then took us to Fort Louis which is one of the top island attractions and historical landmarks.  It also offers panoramic views across the island and beyond.

Our driver then took us past St Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport, famous for its proximity to the beach, which sees aircraft swoop within spitting distance of sunseekers and planespotters.  Vacationers like to stand on the beach and watch the airplanes land.  It can be very dangerous and you can see the signs posted all over.

A co-worker had recommended that we lunch at a place called Mr. Busby’s so we had our driver take us there.   Mr. Busby’s is located at Dawn Beach and offers you everything you’d want in a Caribbean beach bar; great food, friendly people, a primo location and relaxing environment.  It was simply a great place to eat and relax so I’d highly recommend going there.

After an hour or so relaxing at Mr. Busby’s, our driver picked us back up and took us to Orient Beach.  Orient Beach is the most famous beach on the island due to its beauty and liberal policy on clothing; which is optional.  No pictures are supposed to be taken here so I just took a pic of the sign.

There are a number of places to cross the border between the French and Dutch sides of the island of Saint Martin.  Here is a picture of where we crossed over.

We had a great time touring this island and really enjoyed our guide, but after a full day it was time to go back on the ship but I will leave you with a couple of pictures of the views that we saw.









Thanksgiving Time Out

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  I’m taking a time out this week to get some stuff done for the holiday so won’t be posting about St. Martin this week so check back next week.  Hope all of you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving and safe travels to wherever you go.

Allure Cruise – St. Thomas

Welcome to the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  St. Thomas is the gateway isle of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. It’s known for its beaches and snorkeling spots.  We did our research on what to do on this island and decided to go into town and walk 99 steps up to a spot that at the top has a 1679 watchtower called Blackbeard’s Castle, in reference to the area’s pirate history.  It is actually more than 99 steps, but we weren’t counting:)

As you can see from the picture above, the steps are a brick staircase.  You do have to watch where you are going as parts of the steps are not too sturdy.

This is the 17th-century watchtower known as Blackbeard’s Castle.  You have to pay to go to the top of the Castle; which we did and the view was really quite awesome.  After the walk up, we figured we had worked up an appetite so, again having done our research, we found a restaurant that conveniently was right next door to Frenchtown Brewing.  The ladies in the group went to the restaurant and the guys headed over to the brewery.

The restaurant is actually a pub named Pie Whole which is known for it’s pizzas.  We enjoyed a salad and a well deserved adult beverage and the guys joined us after their brewery tour and they had pizza which they said was very good.

As you can see from the above picture, the guys enjoyed the Frenchtown Brewery and even bought a full growler.  Of course, they had to drink the entire growler prior to getting back on the ship, but we found a nice garage to sit in:)  It was a full day so we headed back to the ship to get ready for our dinner.

Next week St. Martin and the dutch side St. Maarten.

Allure Cruise – Bahamas

We all loved this ship, Allure of the Seas.  There is just so much to do and see on it.  Here are a couple of pictures of the ship that will show just how big it is.

Our first port of call was Nassau, Bahamas.  We have been to the Bahamas on cruises several times before and actually debated not even getting off the ship but we found this garden that looked very interesting.  It is called Versailles Gardens and French Cloister.  As you can see from the pictures below, it is a beautiful place to go to and take pictures of.

We spent some time there just wondering around and enjoying the views.  After taking our pictures and seeing the beautiful scenery, we decided to go back into town and check out a new brewery that had recently opened.  It was called Pirate Republic and we all enjoyed having a beer and wine and drinking on the deck and just enjoying the view.

We got back on the ship early and just chilled out a bit before our dinner that night.  Next week I’ll take you to St. Thomas.