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 – 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.









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.



Maine – Portland

Portland is a city set on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay. The Old Port waterfront features working fishing wharves and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops.

We decided to take a trolley ride around Portland to get some history and see some sights as we only had a couple of days to tour this city.

The tour was very informative and lots of fun with our group taking up about half of the trolley.  One of the first stops was the Portland Head Light, informally known as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse.  The light station sits on a head of land at the entrances of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor.  It started out being a beautiful day so the picture of the lighthouse at the top of this post turned out beautifully.

After a lunch stop, we then took a boat tour of the harbor area.  It was about an hour long and took in some pretty scenery.  However, the weather had turned a bit rainy so this picture of Portland Harbor Breakwater Light (Bug Light) was a bit cloudy.

While most of us went on the trolley and boat rides; the brewers did not.  As Maine is the the U.S. city with the most craft breweries per capita, they opted out of going with the rest of us and did a few brewery tours instead.  Below are just a couple of their stops.

I’ll leave you with one more picture of the Portland Head Lighthouse.  Doesn’t it look like a postcard and someplace that you would love to visit??


Maine – Booth Bay Harbor

This is our group shot in front of the house that we rented in Bar Harbor right before we left to continue our trip.  We stopped off first in Camden.  Camden is called the “Jewel of the Coast.” A beautiful seaport town with a harbor full of sail boats, Camden has been used as the setting for so many movies, from Carousel to Peyton Place.  It is quaint and adorable so we stopped there for lunch before heading on.

Above was our next stop; Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park.  It was a beautiful day driving there, but as soon as we were within a mile of the park; fog rolled in and made the pictures not as clear as we would have liked.  Pemaquid is home to one of Maine’s most iconic lighthouses.  In fact, the Pemaquid Light is on the Maine quarter, the first U.S. coin to feature a lighthouse. The Pemaquid Point Light was built in 1835, and marks the entrance to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay. This beautiful light and lighthouse keeper’s home and museum are preserved in a spectacular coastal park, perfect for picnic grounds on the smooth rocks that border the ocean.  We all loved this stop even with the fog.

We had booked the Topside Inn in Booth Bay Harbor and I would highly recommend staying there if you are in the area.  It is run by two men and they are very accommodating.  The rooms are very lovely and most have a beautiful view of the harbor area.  Booth Bay is a small harbor town with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.  There is some hiking that you can do and this is a good place to just rest, shop and relax a bit.

We did go to the Coastal Main Botanical Gardens and that was a beautiful stop. Then we headed  on to Portland; our last stop on our Maine trip.  Please join me next week as we explore Portland.

Maine – Bar Harbor continued

This picture is typical of what you will see in the harbor area in Bar Harbor.  It is a quaint little town.  If you’re considering a vacation in Maine, Bar Harbor should top your list of destinations, as it is truly one of the best places to visit in Maine.  Not exactly a well-guarded secret, but not overrun with tourism either, Bar Harbor is a Maine vacation spot that is awesome.  Of course one of its many attractions is its close proximity to Acadia National Park—over 50 square miles of mountains, lakes, hiking, biking, views and dramatic coastline.

We all really love Acadia National Park.  The pictures below are some that we took on our drive around the Park.  There is a scenic 27-mile loop that begins at Hulls Cove Visitor Center and offers access to Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Jordan Pond, and Cadillac Mountain.  If you get the opportunity, go to Cadillac Mountain at Sunrise as it is supposed to be spectacular.  Most of Park Loop Road closes for the winter (December – April 15).  We really enjoyed Jordan Pond and if you can make sure to eat a meal there and get the popovers as they are yummy.

The first picture below is Thunder Hole.  The next picture is one that we took while hiking the carriage roads.  The bubbles at Jordan Pond is next and the last is just a scenic picture we took of the water.

Besides hiking, our group went kayaking and biking.

Acadia National Park was our main source of entertainment here in the Bar Harbor area but there were plenty of other sites that we got to see.  The picture below is one of the most photographed bridges in the area.  While not officially located within the National Park boundaries, this is still a must-photograph for any visit to the area. Situated right next to the Selectmen’s Building (built in 1780), the Somesville Bridge is something that you can’t help but see and stop at when driving by. This idyllic white bridge spanning the small waterway is a fantastic location for photographs.

And speaking of photographs, we found a photographer that owned Acadia photo safari and he took us out on a boat to take some awesome photos.

Of course, what stop in Maine wouldn’t be complete without eating lobster.

From Bar Harbor, we traveled to Booth Bay Harbor.  Please joint me next week as we continue our journey through Maine.