Written by aboutthatplace on 04 Jun, 2010
When you say "Cincinnati" most people think of its German heritage, paddlewheelers churning up the Mighty Ohio, a boom town which has seen better days and a very unique chili. But, when I think about the Queen City, I remember the town I grew…Read More
When you say "Cincinnati" most people think of its German heritage, paddlewheelers churning up the Mighty Ohio, a boom town which has seen better days and a very unique chili. But, when I think about the Queen City, I remember the town I grew up in.The city of just over 300,000 lies on the north shore of the Ohio river. Being a river city, it has its fair share of bridges, seven within the city and a couple more to hold I-275 travelers. Coming down off the "cut in the hill" you see the skyline, before making your way north, on the Brent Spence Bridge. Named for a Kentucky congressman, the bridge opened in 1963 and carries eight lines of traffic along the I-71 and I-75 highways. This bottleneck has earned the bridge the moniker, Car Strangled Spanner.Next up, the Great American ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team (1869). Growing up, everyone in town knew who Johnny Bench was -- #5, catcher, hero to many as part of the Big Red Machine, which won back-to-back World Series in the 1970s. [For Reds tickets: http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/ticketing]Near the ballpark, is a sandy stone building, the Freedom Center, a museum dedicated to the underground railroad. Opened in 2004, this building hosts educational displays, memorials to honor heroes, and gut-wrenching images of slavery. It is a must-see if in the area. [For more information: www.freedomcenter.org]Then look for the 15-story white building. That’s the Ingalls Building, built in 1903, and the world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper. To the right of I-75, just after downtown, is Over-The-Rhine, the center of German immigration, with one of the largest collections of Italianate buildings in the U.S. All 943 buildings have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.The hill overlooking downtown and river boasts the city’s cultural gems: the Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park with Krohn Conservatory, the Playhouse in the Park, along with dozens of cafes, upscale restaurants and lounges. [For more information on Mt. Adams: www.mtadamstoday.com]German Heritage:In 1830, there were only 64 Germans in Cincinnati (5% of the population). Within a decade, 30% of the city was German and, by 1900, 60% of Cincinnatians were of German heritage. The German immigrants came to Cincinnati, because it was a hub for the industries in which they had been employed back in their homeland: canal building, steamboat production and pork processing. Cincinnati had so many slaughterhouses that the city became known as Porkopolis, and that is the reason for the many statues of flying pigs throughout the area.The newly arrived Germans set up their own schools, German language newspapers and community -Over-The-Rhine. Along with their culture and traditions, the Germans brought their cuisine, in particular, beer.The first brewery opened in the city in 1811 and was the Embree Company, located at 75 Water Street. From there, beer production exploded. By 1890, more than one million barrels were produced annually and only half of the barrels were exported. The average per capita consumption of beer, across the nation, was 16 gallons per person. In Cincinnati it was 40 gallons for every man, woman and child. When Carrie Nation entered the city with her hatchet in 1901, she stated, "My goodness, child, if I had undertaken to break all the windows of all the saloons on your Vine Street I would have dropped from exhaustion before I had gone a block." There were 136 taverns on Vine Street alone.But World War I was brewing. Due to the growing anti-German movement, German language newspapers closed, pretzels were removed from the counters of taverns, "liberty slaw" was served in restaurants instead of sauerkraut, and last names and street names were Anglosized.Prohibition became law on January 20th, 1920. Breweries closed, or produced soft drinks, root beer and ice during this time. And after Prohibition ended, only 126 local breweries opened (and closed) over the next forty years. The main breweries remain Oldenberg, Miller, Barrelhouse, Queen City and Hudepohl Schoenling.To accompany all of this beer, Glier’s manufactures goetta (a.k.a. Cincinnati Cavier). And how to describe this mostly-breakfast food? It’s ground beef, steel cut oats, with spices such as bay leaf, rosemary, salt, pepper and thyme. Over a million pounds of Cincinnati Cavier are produced annually and 99% is consumed within the region.The Food Wars: Chili and Ice Cream:Cincinnati has 140 chili restaurants, and the population eats more than two million pounds per year. This isn’t Texas chili. Or any chili that you’ve had outside of Cincinnati. Rather, it is ground beef with a mixture of spices (including cinnamon and chocolate), served over spaghetti noodles, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, with Oyster crackers are served on the side. Ask the waitress for a three-way (spaghetti noodles, chili, shredded cheddar), four-way (add either red beans or onions) or five-way (add both red beans and onions).And if you don’t get into a fist fight over defending your favorite chili parlor, you will over the Graeter’s versus Aglamesis Brothers standoff. Graeter’s ice cream was founded in 1870 by Louis C. Graeter and is still run by his grandchildren. At the same time, Thomas Aglamesis was leaving Sparta, Greece for a stab at the American dream. He opened his ice cream parlor in 1908 and the business is still run by the third generation of his family. Both ice creams are considered "French Pot" as they add egg yolk. They are equally dense in texture, and you can decide for yourself which is better.Eating in the Queen City on a Jester’s Wallet: 1. Camp Washington Chili: 3005 Colerain Ave. While others are arguing over Skyline versus Gold Star, we head over to the best chili parlor in town. For over 60 years they have been ladling out the meatiest, heartiest chili. Though usually swamped at lunch (for good reason) they maintain order and professionalism, with a touch of warmth. Though they do serve breakfast and double decker sandwiches. We opt for their cheese Coneys with everything (hot dog in a bun, topped with mustard, onions, chili and shredded cheddar). Steamed to deliciousness! 2. Dewey’s Pizza: Multiple locations. Not as "Cincinnati" as they used to be, since they’ve now expanded all the way to St. Louis. We prefer the location in Clifton Heights by U.C., which is shiny and contemporary. What draws us back over and over (well, every visit to the area) are two things: the Candied Walnut and Grape Salad (I think they put crack on the walnuts) and their thin crust Green Lantern pizza (tomato sauce, light mozzarella, with garlic, mushrooms, glops of goat cheese, artichokes and pesto). They have other unique varieties of pizza, but we have never strayed from our favorite. 3. Myra’s Dionysus: 121 Calhoun Street, near U.C. If we only have time to visit one restaurant in Cincinnati, it’s Myra’s. Myra herself is an institution. After traveling the world she brought her favorite flavors back to her hometown, opening in 1977, and sustaining U.C. students (including myself) ever since. Get ready for a wait - well worth it - in the historic house-turned- tiny restaurant. (There is a patio open in summer). She always offers at least seven soups — and pray that her famous Thai Pumpkin is available. It was here that I first tried hummus, Imam Bialdi, Spanakoepita, Falafel and more. They also offer a deli, numerous teas and a varied list of desserts - the flan is excellent. My heart will truly break if Myra’s ever closes. 4. Ollie’s Trolley: 1607 Central Ave. (513) 381-6100. This is the best Southern and Soul restaurant in the city. Period. They offer amazing ribs and BBQ chicken, but what I am addicted to is their burgers. I have no idea what’s in their special sauce, but I cannot get enough of it — or their seasoned fries. Never skip the Ollie fries. They are open at somewhat random hours so, when Ollie’s is closed, I head to Zip’s (see below). 5. Sitwell’s Coffeehouse: 324 Ludlow Ave., in Clifton Heights, near U.C. Anyone who has been a college student at U.C. has been to Sitwell’s. Here, students mingle with professors, intellectuals, aging hippies, tree huggers and those waiting for the movie to begin at nearby arthouse theatre, Esquire. Between discussions on Nietzsche, you can also hear poetry readings and Jazz quartets, while lounging on their worn couches or sitting at mismatched tables and chairs. Oh, and the coffee is budget-priced and very smooth. 6. Zip’s: 1036 Delta Ave. on Mt. Lookout Square. 1) You won’t believe the burgers. 2) You won’t believe the prices. 3) There’s a cute little toy train which runs along the ceiling. Since 1926 Zip’s has won every award Cincinnati can throw at it. And, they were well earned. Just get a burger, however you want it. I still dream of them at night. Close
Written by MilwVon on 01 Nov, 2009
continuation . . .On up to the sixth floor, there is a huge screen playing concert footage which doesn’t seem to be from any particular show that I recognize. There is a round bench area in the center of the room facing the exhibits…Read More
continuation . . .On up to the sixth floor, there is a huge screen playing concert footage which doesn’t seem to be from any particular show that I recognize. There is a round bench area in the center of the room facing the exhibits along the walls throughout, making it a nice way to sit back to enjoy the music. On one entire wall are scads of handwritten lyric sheets, mostly in or from spiral bound notebooks. In some cases ("The River" and "Darkness on the Edge of Town" albums) the entire notebooks are on display, opened to one of the many familiar songs. Other displays are photocopies or full poster sized displays of the scribbled lyrics. Perhaps as fascinating as the words themselves are the stories that go along with the notebooks as Springsteen was often inspired to write more than what might reasonably fit on an album (or CD).Case in point is the heart pounding "Murder Incorporated" which was released in 1995 for the first time on his "Greatest Hits" collection. WOW – a song not previously released going straight to "greatest hits" status. That is impressive. The song was written however in 1982 as part of his "Born in the USA" work, but was subsequently held for later. Springsteen’s lyrics notebook for the album documents the origin of the song even if it wasn’t released for over 10 years.In that same room, on the adjacent wall are displays of the iconic blue jeans, white tee shirt and red baseball cap worn on the cover of "Born in the USA." Also on the wall is blue and white plaid shirt he wore on the cover of "The River." Of course, he had cooler threads too including the uber- cool black leather jacket worn on the "Born to Run" cover. As I walked around the assortment of wardrobe items on display, I couldn’t help but to realize what a small man he is. While he has bulked up through obvious work in the gym sometime between the "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA" releases, he really has a slight frame. As I looked at that leather jacket, I thought it looked like about a size six.No rock and roll museum exhibit would be complete without the instruments used to create the wonderful music enjoyed by millions from around the world. There are several guitars on display, including the 1968 Gibson Les Paul that he traded in 1973 because it was too heavy. The exhibit also includes a couple of his harmonicas, as well as a guitar from Miami Steve/Little Steven Van Zandt, an early saxophone from The Big Man himself (Clarence Clemons) and an accordion from the late Danny Federici.All and all, the "Asbury Park to the Promise Land; the Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen" special exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was well worth the price of admission ($22 for adults less a $2 discount offered by their local CVB to our US Youth Soccer group). If there is a negative, it is the fact that you cannot take photos inside the museum. In fact, when the wristband person noticed I had a small camera around my wrist, she made me take it to the coat check for the duration of my visit. HUGE BUMMER!The entire facility is accessible via escalators and elevators. There is a café serving food & beverages on the third floor; and a gift shop on the main level where you buy your admission tickets. I look forward to wearing my Bruce Springsteen Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tee-shirt to his Milwaukee show in just two weeks! Hours are 10:00am to 5:30pm with extended hours on Wednesdays. They are open seven days a week, year round and are only closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Come in the summer and enjoy a picnic lunch there by the shores of Lake Erie.Note there is limited street parking adjacent to the museum; so you may need to park in the parking deck that is caddy-corner from the entrance.UPDATE 1/27/10: This special exhibit was scheduled to run through April 2010. It was announced this week, however, that it will remain through the end of the year. Close
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum1100 Rock & Roll Blvd.Cleveland, OHPH: 216-781-ROCKwww.rockhall.comAs I sat in my hotel room on Saturday night, I found myself thumbing through the Cleveland tourist guide. When I reached the fifth or sixth page, there was a…Read More
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum1100 Rock & Roll Blvd.Cleveland, OHPH: 216-781-ROCKwww.rockhall.comAs I sat in my hotel room on Saturday night, I found myself thumbing through the Cleveland tourist guide. When I reached the fifth or sixth page, there was a half-page ad for the Bruce Springsteen special exhibit "From Asbury Park to the Promised Land." All I could think was how could I come to Cleveland and leave without seeing what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame had to share regarding the life and music of one of my all-time musical inspirations. While I do not agree with his political positions on most things (more on that later), I do feel that he represents the average working man, woman and family in America. Anointed the future face of rock and roll back in the 70’s, today he is one of the most prolific song writers and performers. Cover boy of Time and Newsweek back in 1975 . . . he was the most recent cover story on AARP’s magazine as he turned 60 in September.With my Sunday meeting scheduled to go until 12:00noon and a 2:45pm flight, my challenge was to figure out a way to squeeze in a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Luck was on my side, as our meeting adjourned shortly after 9:00am making a 10:00am opening hour a real possibility! I figured that would give me about 90 minutes to take in the Springsteen exhibit. When I told folks of my plan, everyone said "Oh it is six floors of great exhibits . . . you’ll need at least three or four hours to take it all in." That’s OK I responded . . . I only need to do two of them!David and I visited the tribute to music along Cleveland’s Lake Erie back in 2004 so I didn’t need to view the costumes, vehicles, music and other exhibits of the many outstanding hall of fame members. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to really take in the stories of all the music that I grew up with. I remember back in 2004 how cool David thought it was to see the car from the ZZ Top Eliminator tour. Yes, that was pretty cool, indeed. There is a lot to see and experience and I would encourage anyone making their first (and perhaps only) visit to allow at least half of a day.For me, it was to be a breeze through visit. Once I had my ticket and wristband, upstairs I headed to the "special exhibits" floors (the top two of the pyramid shaped building). If there was any disappointment, it was that they had the two smallest floors dedicated to the Boss. Surely they could have filled two of the larger floors with the music and life spanning over 40 years. That’s OK . . . what they had was outstanding!Before I headed upstairs, however, the friendly guide on the main level said that while I had limited time and didn’t plan on taking in the other exhibit areas she strongly recommended I check out the Springsteen "car" on display on the lower level. OK sure, I though as I hustled by the wrist-banding station to seek out "the car". I wasn’t even sure what make or model car I was looking for. I figured, however, I would know it when I saw it.As I turned one corner, there was a huge purple Lincoln Continental, circa probably 1965 or so, from the Elvis Presley collection. Wow, a Lincoln I thought . . . I expected a Cadillac. From there, the next turn brought me upon a beautiful white on black 1960 Corvette. I immediately recognized the car from the many photos taken of a young Bruce cruising probably post "Born to Run". The body was in good shape from what I could tell; the interior was a bit worn which was nice actually. The leather seats were showing the age of a car that is nearly 50 years old. Like Bruce, this was a classic to be admired for many years to come.After checking out "the car" I headed up to the fifth floor. As I exited the elevator, it was total Bruce emersion. While it emptied you right at what most know as the beginnings of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, it was on the far side of the room where visitors needed to start the tour to fully trace his life and music.The memorabilia included show posters and ticket stubs from his days with the Castiles (1966-1968), Child (1969), Steelmill (1970-1971) and Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom (1971). Story goes that in 1971 he formed the Bruce Springsteen Band from just about anyone who could play an instrument. How fortunate for E Streeters everywhere, he eventually connected with the likes of Clarence Clemons, Steve Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent and Roy Bittan to form what would later become the E Street Band. Springsteen’s first release "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ" was a commercial flop by most standards (it sold around 25,000 copies the year of release). It would however, set the stage for those who were fortunate enough to see him when he was truly a nobody, playing local bars and music clubs up and down the eastern seaboard. I fondly remembered my first "Bruce Spring-who?" concert in 1974, right after the release of his second album "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle."OK enough about my waltz down memory lane. In that same area are photos and drawings that are contained in scrapbooks. While the books are there in the museum area under glass, they have done a nice job of scanning all of the pages and photos to create a video slideshow. It was interesting to see his skill as a sketch artist through his pencil drawings. I suppose for those who have artistic talents, they are not limited to lyrics or musical composition. Nearby was a poster for a show in Red Bank, NJ for George McGovern’s 1972 Presidential campaign. It would appear that Bruce has long been supportive of the Democratic Party and the liberal positions taken more recently by Presidential hopeful John Kerry and our current US President Barrck Obama.Back where I entered the fifth floor was a continuous running film of Bruce and the various band members discussing the events leading up to and after the 1975 "Born to Run" explosion. Everyone felt the pressure, probably not as much as Bruce himself as the record label needed for his third release to be not only a creative success, but also a commercial success. Who would be ready for what was to come next?The video is a beautiful weave of storytelling and performance, including Bruce strumming his guitar singing lines from such classics as "Jungleland" and "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" . . . which Springsteen states "I have no idea what that means today." Me neither Bruce, but I can appreciate having "my back to the wall" and looking for a way out only to be hit with a Tenth Avenue Freezeout! Bruce and the members of the E Street Band share the recollection of the pressure to produce something that the label would find financially rewarding. Bruce explained how he wanted to tell the story of people wanting and needing to get out; out of bad situations, relationships, whatever. As he strummed and began humming and then singing the words to "Thunder Road" I could feel tears welling up as I remembered the first time I heard that song . . . "Roy Orbison singing for the lonely . . . that’s me and I want you only . . ." There always has been something about how he writes, the images he projects and ultimately, the passion within that he captures that has drawn me to his music. The moment there, alone, was beautiful!(continued in part two) Close
Written by MonnieR on 10 Mar, 2007
Greenville, Ohio, probably won’t make anyone’s list of Top 10 tourist destinations - it’s smack in the middle of farm country and has a barely breathing industrial base. What happened here generations ago, though, makes this town quite a special place to visit - and thousands…Read More
Greenville, Ohio, probably won’t make anyone’s list of Top 10 tourist destinations - it’s smack in the middle of farm country and has a barely breathing industrial base. What happened here generations ago, though, makes this town quite a special place to visit - and thousands do so every year. The city is arguably best known for its connections to Gen. Anthony "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who in 1793 built the second official settlement in Darke County along Greenville Creek. This military headquarters was the largest log fortified structure ever built, encompassing more than 55 acres. Two years later came the signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville, marking the defeat of Native Americans and opening the Northwest Territory for settlement.In the downtown are three historic markers commemorating these events. In Greenville City Park is the Altar of Peace, another monument commemorating the signing. Also in the park is the Anthony Wayne Peace Council House, which honors the 13 Native American tribes who signed the treaty.The city also honors "Little Miss Sure Shot." Born Phoebe Ann Moses in 1860 in Darke County, she supported her poor family by shooting game and selling it to restaurants and grocers in Greenville and neighboring towns. Her stage name, Annie Oakley, was adopted after she met and married another sharpshooter, Frank Butler; together, they traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show for 17 years.Today, a life-size bronze statue of Annie is the centerpiece of a small park in downtown Greenville. And just across town, the largest known collection of Annie Oakley memorabilia is housed at the Garst Museum on North Broadway Avenue. Admission is $3 for adults.The museum collections also honor Lowell Thomas, a world traveler, author and well-known radio news commentator who was born in nearby Woodington. Also featured is information about Zachary Lansdowne, commander of the U.S.S. Shenandoah. His birthplace home on East Third Street is a now a private residence.Many of the downtown buildings are part of a nationally designated Historic District, including the stately courthouse that’s still in use (Greenville is the County Seat of Darke County). A more recent addition is the 7,500-square-foot Whirlpool’s KitchenAid Experience on South Broadway - a museum, outlet store, demonstration area, and factory in one.When we spend the night, it’s usually at the Greenville Inn on Martin Street, but there’s also a Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn. For lunch, don’t miss the Maid-Rite Restaurant on North Broadway. Long known for the finely ground hamburger sandwiches made from a secret recipe, folks also come from far and wide to see the chewing gum (used) that adorns the exterior brick walls. You’ll be hard pressed to find a spot to stick yours!Just a few miles east of town is Bear's Mill, a restored grist mill built in 1849. It’s still in use today to grind cornmeal, whole wheat flour, rye flour, and pancake mixes and is open for self-guided tours during regular business hours. Close
Written by MonnieR on 12 Feb, 2007
Historic Marietta, Ohio, is the site of the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory and one of two one-time capitals of the Buckeye State (the other is Chillicothe). My husband and I try to make the roughly three-hour trek every year, always staying at…Read More
Historic Marietta, Ohio, is the site of the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory and one of two one-time capitals of the Buckeye State (the other is Chillicothe). My husband and I try to make the roughly three-hour trek every year, always staying at the Lafayette Hotel. Situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, it’s named for the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution who visited Marietta in 1825. Renovations haven’t destroyed its "character" as a riverboat hotel.The streets of downtown Marietta are lined with unique shops and restaurants. Treasures abound, for instance, in the American Flags & Poles store; Rossi Pasta sells wonderful all-natural products (tomato basil garlic linguine is our favorite).Lunch may be at Marietta Brewing Co., a brew-pub on Front Street where the brews are quite quaffable (try George’s First Pilsner or, if you prefer a heavier taste, Marie’s Last Oatmeal Stout) and the food is great. To get rid of the calories, we walk to Hamar Village just across the Muskingum; this place was founded in 1785 with the establishment of Fort Harmar and is connected to Marietta by a pedestrian bridge. Plenty of unusual shops dot the island such as Harmar Vintage Toys.Another must-see is the Campus Martius Museum on Second Street. The name is Latin for "field of Mars," a military camp where legions of ancient Rome once trained. This three-floor museum is located on the original site of the stockade built by the city’s founders between 1788 and 1791.Sometimes, we stop at the Ohio River Museum & W.P. Snyder Jr. The museum includes three buildings, and we always hop aboard the William P. Snyder Jr., docked on the Muskingum River. It’s the last intact steam-powered "pool-type" stern-wheeled towboat in the United States.If time permits, we’ll go for a 90-minute ride on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler, which is docked by the Museum. The 112-mile Muskingum, by the way, is the longest river in the Buckeye State.Dinner is likely to be in the Lafayette Hotel’s Gun Room, or perhaps at the Levee House Café on Ohio Street; in warm weather, we sit outdoors and watch the Ohio River flow by. Later, we might drive to nearby Point Park in Parkersburg, W.Va., and catch a sternwheeler at the Blennerhassett Museum for a 20-minute cruise to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. There, we’ll tour the Blennerhassett Mansion, built by a wealthy Irish aristocrat who settled there in 1798, and take a guided tour of the island in a horse-drawn wagon.Just across the Ohio River in Williamstown, WV, is the Fenton Art Glass Co.’s production facility and gift shop. The showroom filled with beautiful hand-blown glassware is worth the trip, and on weekdays visitors can take a 40-minute guided factory tour, where workers show off their glassblowing and pressing skills. Close
Written by MonnieR on 24 Jan, 2007
Does your heart go pitter-patter when you see an interesting old building? Do you love to learn what life was life in years gone by? Chances are, covered bridges are just your style. And there’s no better place to find them than in Ashtabula County,…Read More
Does your heart go pitter-patter when you see an interesting old building? Do you love to learn what life was life in years gone by? Chances are, covered bridges are just your style. And there’s no better place to find them than in Ashtabula County, Ohio, the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World."It’s possible to see all 16 bridges in one day, but since the county also is home to more than a dozen wineries, my husband and I usually take in a bridge, sample some wine, take in another bridge, sample some more wine, and – well, you get the idea.Covered bridges are so important here that there’s an annual Covered Bridge Festival the second full weekend in October at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in Jefferson. In addition to drive-it-yourself bridge tours, the festival offers entertainment, crafts, historic vehicles, a farmers’ market and plenty to eat. To learn more about the festival, or order a brochure, visit the festival’s web site (www.coveredbridgefestival.org).Our favorite bridges include Windsor Mills, built in 1867 to span Phelps Creek, and Harpersfield, built in 1868 and at 228 feet is the longest covered bridge in Ohio. The Mechanicsville Road Bridge is the longest single-span covered bridge in the county at 156 feet and is thought to be the oldest as well.As for wineries, I feel obliged to say it isn’t prudent to visit more than three or four in one day – and then only if you have a designated driver. Our custom is to spend the morning at three or four bridges, then stop for lunch at the Harpersfield Winery near Geneva (www.harpsfield.com), where the cheeses and specialty breads fresh from the wood-fired brick hearth oven are delicious accompaniments to a glass of Reisling or pinot noir as we sit on a picnic table under an old apple tree out back.Next comes Debonné Vineyards in Madison (www.debonne.com), where we take glasses of our favorite River Rouge, a semi-sweet red, to the outdoor patio. A few covered bridges later, we head for Ferrante Winery in Harpersfield Township for dinner, washed down by a glass of award-winning Riesling Golden Bunches or Vidal Blanc Ice (www.ferrantewinery.com).Want to add a day to your wine-and-bridge outing? Book a reservation at the beautiful Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva State Park (www.thelodgeatgeneva.com), where many rooms and communal areas like the enclosed swimming pool overlook Lake Erie. Have lunch or dinner at Horizons restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows serve up great views of the lake as well.Then check out nearby Geneva-on-the Lake, which comes alive in summer months as young people meet, greet, eat and play in video arcades. Older folks are more likely to spend quality time at the Old Firehouse Winery; the Lighthouse Niagara, a sweet white, is perfect on a cool fall evening (www.oldfirehousewinery.com). There’s an outdoor patio where, when the weather permits, you can relax and enjoy a sandwich or snack to go with your wine. Close
For a rockin’ good time – from music to great food to a scenic waterfront development – Cleveland can’t be beat.If you haven’t been to Cleveland lately, you’re missing out on a great time. We’re lucky to live less than an hour’s drive from the…Read More
For a rockin’ good time – from music to great food to a scenic waterfront development – Cleveland can’t be beat.If you haven’t been to Cleveland lately, you’re missing out on a great time. We’re lucky to live less than an hour’s drive from the city’s downtown – home of the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns – so we make it a point to visit here at least two or three times a year.One of our favorite places is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the building boasts a glass exterior that creates shimmering shadows on the Cuyahoga River. Seeing everything there is to see here can take an entire day, well worth the $20 admission fee for adults. Featured exhibits here change throughout the year, so check the Web site (www.rockhall.com) for what’s happening before you go.While you’re there, don’t miss a ride on the nearby Goodtime III. Billed as "Cleveland’s Largest Excursion Ship," the triple-deck Goodtime III, which docks next to the Hall of Fame at the 9th Street Pier, offers two-hour narrated tours along the Cuyahoga River shores at noon and 3pm during summer months as well as an evening buffet dinner/dance cruise (www.goodtimeiii.com)Our most recent cruise provided a from-the-fiver view of the Tall Ships at the Cleveland Harborfest in addition to the usual bridges and by old buildings that once hummed with manufacturing activity. Getting a good look at the Cleveland West Breakwater Lighthouse, located on a four-mile-long breakwater that separates Lake Erie from the river, is an added treat -- it’s difficult to see from any other vantage point.For dinner, our restaurant of choice is Great Lakes Brewing Co., an eco-friendly brewpub on East Market Street in Cleveland’s Ohio City district (www.greatlakesbrewing.com). The food here is great, especially when accompanied by a frosty mug of brewed-on-the-spot Burning River Pale Ale or Eliot Ness Amber Lager. While you’re in Ohio City (www.ohiocity.com), head for the corner of West 25th Street and check out the West Side Market (it’s closed on Thursdays and Sundays). The array of baked goods, fresh fish and produce offered by some 120 vendors will make your mouth water and your eyes pop (www.westsidemarket.com).There’s no shortage of downtown hotels – you might try the Crowne Plaza City Centre or Hyatt Regency at the Arcade. Next day, if you’re not heading to a game, pay a visit to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (be sure your ticket includes the RainForest, so you can have lunch at the Crocodile Café (www.clemetzoo.com). Or, if you prefer your animals strong and silent, you’ll love the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where a big attraction is "Happy," the only mounted Haplocanthosaurus delfsi in the world (www.cmnh.org). Close
Written by MonnieR on 23 May, 2005
Some of our all-time best memories came from Punderson State Park, a 741-acre treasure in Newbury, Ohio. It started when our son was very young -- back when, given my husband's meager teacher's salary and our penchant for travel, we tried our hand as tent…Read More
Some of our all-time best memories came from Punderson State Park, a 741-acre treasure in Newbury, Ohio. It started when our son was very young -- back when, given my husband's meager teacher's salary and our penchant for travel, we tried our hand as tent campers. No "candy campers" we; we slept in bags on the ground, and agreed that no string of flamingo-shaped lights would ever touch our small 8 by 10 canvas tent.
My husband and I still love looking through old photos we took at the park campgrounds, where we sometimes stayed for a week at a time once school ended and the warmth of summer made for comfortable nights. Punderson is particularly beautiful in the fall, though, when the scenery changes to deep, rich reds, oranges and yellows.
After our daughter was born, she joined the summer forays, although we finally gave up trying to squeeze all four of us in a single tent and purchased a small one just for the kids. As they got older, of course, they started to balk at having to spend so much time with their parents -- especially with no TV – so we pitched the tent concept. But to this day, the pictures of our 3-year-old daughter struggling to re-zip the tent -- complying with Mom’s rule that was intended to keep creepy critters out -- and the photos of her 7-year-old brother swinging, Tarzan-like, from the vines that hang from the trees surrounding the Punderson campground bring back happy memories.
Long after they, and we, had traded in the camping experience for indoor plumbing and HBO, Punderson has continued to play a part in our lives. Winter is no exception; on more than one occasion, our daughter was invited to accompany one of her school friends to the winter sports chalet area, where an outdoor lighted sled hill and an abundance of snow make for great tobogganing.
One fall, just as the leaves were shifting into gorgeous color mode, we gathered a group of close friends from the university branch campus where I worked and headed for a weekend in one of the 26 cabins nestled in the woods. We laughed ourselves silly, hiked some of the 14 miles of scenic hiking trails, paddled a rented canoe on the lake and completely rid ourselves of the stress that accompanies working full-time and trying to bring up two kids who have their heads on reasonably straight.
While we did a bit of cooking (each cabin has a fully furnished kitchens, a dining area and a screened-in porch), we decided we absolutely must have dinner at Punderson Manor, the stately 41-room English Tudor-style manor house that's said to be haunted. We saw no signs of ghosts, but we agreed the dinner was wonderful.
The manor house served a different purpose some years later -- this time as a crash pad the night after our now grown daughter's mid-August wedding. Both she and her older brother had, for some unknown reason, opted to get married on or as close to as possible, our own wedding date of Aug. 18 (she says she figured since the date had worked for us for 30-plus years, it couldn't hurt; our son says it simply meant fewer dates to remember).
In any event, we wanted to "celebrate" our anniversary and the fact that both our children were now out of our nest -- and recuperate from all the wedding brouhaha. The Punderson manor house came to mind immediately, and I'm happy to report we had a wonderful time once again.
The Cherry Dining Room is beautiful and the food is excellent here any time, but we’re especially fond of Sunday brunch, which includes carved prime rib, two entrees, a salad station, a breakfast and omelet bar and a dessert bar. For the record, the manor house is operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, not the state of Ohio.
Both the park and the lake are named for Lemuel Punderson, who, in 1808 -- five years after Ohio achieved statehood -- became Newbury Township's first permanent settler. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Punderson family developed a small estate on the edge of the lake, which later developed into a get-away area for folks in the nearby Cleveland area. Punderson Lake is one of the Buckeye State's few natural lakes, formed when a large block of ice broke off a glacier to create a depression that filled with meltwater.
The manor house, which has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, was completed in 1948, when the department's Division of Wildlife purchased the land and lake for hunting and fishing. In 1951, the state Division of Parks and Recreation obtained the area to be developed as a state park.
The 196-site campground, located on the site of a former Indian village, includes shower houses, flush toilets and electricity (for the more rugged types, there's also a primitive camping area). In more recent years, golfers by the score have been tempted by the 18-hole championship-rated public golf course, which features a pro shop and snack bar. Meanwhile, fishing enthusiasts are welcome to try their hands at catching bluegill, largemouth bass, rainbow and golden trout and catfish in Punderson Lake and two nearby smaller lakes. Or, you can simply rent a canoe as we do (or bring your own) and paddle around at your leisure.
For those who might stay a night or two or more, there are plenty of side trips to be made once this park has been explored. Two other state parks – Nelson-Kennedy Ledges and Tinker’s Creek – are within easy driving distance. Southwest of Punderson is the popular Geauga Lake Family Amusement Park, worth an entire day in and of itself. History buffs might take a peek inside the Geauga County Historical Museum in nearby Burton and visit Century Village, a reconstruction of an 1800s village.
If you go:
Punderson State Park, 11755 Kinsman Road, Newbury, Ohio 44065-9684. Park office: (440) 564-2279; Lodge and cottage reservations: (800) 282-7275.
Written by MonnieR on 09 May, 2005
Despite the beauty of Ohio's Lake Erie shores in winter, only the hardiest of individuals -- ice fishing enthusiasts, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and such -- are likely to brave the frigid temperatures just for fun. But now, thanks to the opening of a $16.7 million…Read More
Despite the beauty of Ohio's Lake Erie shores in winter, only the hardiest of individuals -- ice fishing enthusiasts, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and such -- are likely to brave the frigid temperatures just for fun. But now, thanks to the opening of a $16.7 million lodge and conference center last summer, visitors to Geneva State Park can enjoy the scenery while sitting next to a cozy fireplace, having dinner in an elegant restaurant or taking a dip in an indoor swimming pool.
With only 698 acres of land, Geneva State Park, Geneva, Ohio, isn't large by state park standards. But the entire length of the park overlooks Lake Erie for some two miles, offering direct access at several points along the way. And, the 300-foot guarded Breakwater Beach swimming area is abundant with sand -- the soft kind that oozes between bare toes in summer and offers up a wealth of intriguingly shaped stones worn smooth by the battering waves of Lake Erie no matter what the season.
At the state park marina, dozens of motorboats and sailboats stand at the ready -- 383 docks are available for rental -- and a six-lane boat ramp provides easy access to the lake. In addition to a canteen and concession area, the marina offers boat supplies such as gasoline and bait; Lake Erie is, after all, known as the walleye capital of the world, and yellow perch, channel catfish, and Coho salmon are frequent catches here as well. Those who prefer to hoof it can traverse a sidewalk at the east breakwall of the marina, climb a few steps, and be treated to a panoramic view of the shoreline.
Opportunities abound for overnight guests; the 12 one-bedroom cedar cabins were renovated recently, and all include fully furnished living areas and kitchens, as well as cable TV, air-conditioning, and heat. For those who prefer their living a bit more on the rugged side, the campground has 88 campsites with electricity, showers, and flush toilets.
Away from the shore, three miles of park trails attract scores of hikers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and hunters, depending on the season. Several areas of fresh-water marsh and mature woodlots showcase plants that are rarely found in the Buckeye State, like smartweed and leafy sedge. A picnic area near the campground includes a volleyball court, and the camp office loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers.
Picnicking, in fact, is a popular activity at Geneva State Park. Chestnut Grove, primarily comprised of white oak, was the first land acquired by the state to create the park in 1964, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Crabapple Picnic Area includes two shelter houses to accommodate larger groups.
It is the new lodge, though, that's reeling with visitors from far and wide. Situated on a tree-lined bluff with extensive views of the Lake Erie shoreline (and an abundance of benches strategically placed at the water's edge), the lodge offers 109 guest rooms, many with a lake view, and an indoor swimming pool overlooking the lake. Expansive windows in the octagon-shaped full-service Horizons restaurant and lounge provide still more lake views. The spacious lobby features a floor-to-ceiling wood-burning fireplace surrounded by plump sofas and chairs and plenty of complimentary reading material.
Delaware North Parks Services, a hospitality management company in Buffalo, N.Y., oversees day-to-day operations at the lodge, which is first in Ohio to be located on state-owned park land and built with local funds. Ashtabula County built and owns the lodge, while the state leases the site and markets the lodge as part of the state park resort system.
Visitors who want to do some exploring in surrounding areas won't be disappointed. A privately owned public golf course lies within the park boundaries (four other courses are located within a few miles), and some 19 wineries, many of which offer tours and eating facilities, are accessible within minutes. Just down the road, Geneva-on-the-Lake, billed as Ohio's first resort area, boasts a water park, the Old Firehouse Winery and dozens of arcades and gift/souvenir shops.
A short drive to the East of about 15 miles puts you in the port city of Ashtabula, where the restored Harbor Commercial District offers unique shops and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The much-photographed Ashtabula Harbor Light, established in 1836, is perched on the end of the Ashtabula Harbor breakwall. The lighthouse’s original Fourth Order Fresnel lens is on display at the nearby Great Lakes Marine and U.S. Coast Guard Museum.
Prefer your traveling closer to land? Ashtabula County is known for its 16 historic covered bridges; the annual Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival takes place on the second full weekend in October, and self-guided tour brochures are available so you can go it alone.
Written by lashr1999 on 02 Jun, 2006
Breakfast for my friend Jess and me began with eating a pint of Graters. After several hours of walking around Cleveland to work this off and seeing some interesting places, we became famished and looked for something to eat. My friend Jess had some great…Read More
Breakfast for my friend Jess and me began with eating a pint of Graters. After several hours of walking around Cleveland to work this off and seeing some interesting places, we became famished and looked for something to eat. My friend Jess had some great suggestions. I picked Phnom Penh because I had never had Cambodian food. The restaurant did not disappoint with its Cambodian and Vietnamese flair.
They have a varied selection, in fact they have so many selections and variations it takes you awhile to choose what you want. The menu is long and detailed, the waitress will help you out if you are uncertain of what to choose. Grammar nuts should have someone else read the menu so as not to spoil their time in the place. There are many vegetarian choices if you so desire and carnivores will not be disappointed. Their main courses can be big enough for two, especially if you ordered appetizers. You can order each dish in a variety of heat levels from mild, medium, and hot.
The space itself is modern and well decorated with wood carved artwork. The waitress was attentive to our needs. The food was brought out promptly and our water glasses were refilled.
The food itself rates from just ok to truly outstanding, depending on what menu item you pick. My friend Jess and I chose what we wanted based on the ingredients. We both wanted to have something that we could not eat anywhere else. For appetizers, I ordered the nitin, which is described as coconut ground pork with crispy rice, and Jess ordered the fish cake. For the main course I ordered the Chha Kreoung Marass Prowt which has lime leaves, garlic, turmeric root, galanga root, coconut whip, lemongrass, ma rass Prowh, onions, green peppers, red peppers, roasted peanuts, with a side of rice. I paid extra to have some tofu thrown in there. Jess had Banh Sougnh which has rice noodles, lettuce, cucumbers, bean spouts, whipped coconut milk, cut spring rolls, Asian basil, ground peanuts, and served with a special sauce. Let’s rate the food dishes. The appetizer nitin tasted like a sweet ground Italian sausage with a rice paddy, the taste was OK but not exotic. For the main course, Banh Sougnh was OK. The spring rolls inside the dish were excellent but the noodle dish itself was a bit bland. You could not taste the lemon grass or coconut inside.
For what I would consider a truly outstanding appetizer and main dish combination, try the fish cakes and medium spiced Chha Kreoung Marass Prowt. The flavors in each complement each other. The lemongrass is mind-blowing. Truthfully, I hate fish and I have not had a bite in several years. My friend Jess asked me to try the fish cake several times and I said no each time. She told me it did not taste like fish and the taste amazed her. I reluctantly gave the fish cake a try because she had been right about everything the whole day. To my surprise I devoured two more! Not wanting to appear too greedy I wanted, but did not try for, the third. The medium spiced Chha Kreoung Marass Prowt with the lemongrass and coconut milk is very flavorful and complements the fish cake.
Phnom Penh has a few exotic drinks available, made from fruits that we'd never heard of before. We didn’t try it because we ordered a lot of food so we stuck to water. One thing to remember is that they do not serve alcohol. They do allow you to bring it in. I know this because one of the guests was asking this very question and the waitress suggested places close by to buy it. My suggestion as a complement to the lemony and lime taste of fish cakes and Chha Kreoung Marass Prowt would be to pick up some Coronas and some cut lime and have it in your car. Then ask if you can bring them in. The Corona beer and the outstanding dishes above would make for a perfect meal.
I would recommend taking a big group so that you can try different foods and share like a family. However, dinner for two is always an option ordering the foods above. I wish I could live close to that place so I could eat it everyday. Please remember they serve lunch and dinner. The food is the same but the portion and costs are different. Definitely go here for lunch so you can save money and try more things. What I like to do is order something I know is good and an experimental dish to try. You’ll never know if the new dish will become your favorite.
On the down side credit cards are not accepted, so bring enough cash with you. The prices are so low it will not give your wallet too much of a hit.
Overall: Try this restaurant, you will not be disappointed. Try a variety of things. One or more of the dishes should hit the spot.