The past year and a half hasn’t been perfect, and there hasn’t been much wiggle room for travel. But ohemgee do I want to travel. Explore. Learn. Experience. Grow.
I don’t even want to travel far. I want to explore U.S. cities and visit friends. Portland, San Francisco, Austin, NYC, Philly, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans… Really any city that offers a cultural experience, I want to go there. The U.S. is full of so many little cultural hubs, and I feel guilty not knowing about them.
We have some other really important goals and commitments that seem to trump travel, but 3-day weekends are filling up my dreams. I’ve become obsessed. I’ve extensively searched and saved places on Airbnb, have flagged articles with exploration tips, asked friends for recommendations, etc.
Alex is a saint and hasn’t gotten too annoyed with my insistent pleas for travel, asks for a road trip, and tantrums about not being able to go. Always the stoic and responsible part of our duo, he calmly explains again and again why now is not the right time. I know he’s right, but I still manage to work myself into a semi-depression about it all.
So when we had the chance to take PTO and Alex suggested a trip to Cincinnati, I was ecstatic. We even mixed in a few staycation days here in Columbus.
Columbus has beaches! Growing up in Upstate NY by the Finger Lakes, I spent most summer weekends by the water. Most friends had lake houses, and my parents had a hunting camp just 10 mins away from a boat ramp. Lots of fishing and days by the water. Lakes and rivers make me delusionally happy. So the perceived lack of water in Columbus has been tough. But I’ve learned in the past year that Cbus actually has a handful of water access points that are relatively close to downtown.
We headed to Alum Creek Beach, just 30 minutes away in Delaware. While the views included a damn and the sand was rocky, I was pleasantly surprised by the existence of a beach in Columbus. We packed a cooler, lathered up the sunscreen, and hung on the beach for a few hours. I got a tan, read a new book, and enjoyed every second.
While we didn’t get to explore them during this “trip”, I also learned that Columbus has multiple entry points and rivers that accommodate kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and boat rentals. There are even waterfront houses on the market! (Different post, different day…)
New favorite game. We are no strangers to the Cbus board game parlor Kingmakers. In fact, it’s a favorite. So we had to include it on our staycation itinerary. We’re always looking for new 2-player games because I go through phases where I’d rather play games than watch TV. We can only play 500 Rummy, Rumicube, King in the Corner, Love Letters, or Bananagrams (jk, Alex won’t play this with me!) so many times before I get antsy.
We picked up ‘Innovation’ by Carl Chudyk and gave it a whirl. Complicated to learn, we almost gave up before we started. But I’m happy to say we stuck it out. It’s a card game where you work to earn accomplishments by using the commands, or dogma effects, that are on each card. The gameplay allows for so many different possibilities. I lost every hand we played, but still had so much fun! We even ordered our own copy from Amazon and have already played at home.
Newport Aquarium. We must be blessed because our trip to the aquarium couldn’t have been more perfect. An extended family member on Alex’s side actually works there as a marine biologist, and other members of her family had plans to visit on the same day as us. We lucked out and were able to meet penguins, see sharks get fed, and get a glimpse at the tanks and animals she’s responsible for. I loved seeing all the different fish and learning about their habitats. It was incredible.
Over-the-Rhine. I am fascinated by the architecture in Cincinnati, particularly the tall, thin buildings with small-angled roofs that made up the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Originally a community built by German Americans, it has undergone great fluctuations in standing. Once rich, but more often poor, the buildings are all in different states of repair. I could literally FEEL all the history!
We checked out their shops and restaurants on Vine St. and went to Findlay Market. One of my favorite stops was the Taste of Belgium restaurant. Much bigger than the version we have at North Market here in Columbus, it had an exciting menu and a really adorable atmosphere.
Rhineguist. Located in Over-the-Rhine, Rhinequist Brewery was the most incredible spot in the city. Built inside an old factory, it was huge and wide open. They had games like cornhole and table tennis, plus the most amazing 360-view, roof-top bar I’ve ever been to. I wish we had spent more time there! I love their Baguette brew and even enjoyed a sour beer.
Fountain Square. Our hotel was very close to Fountain Square and we were able to walk down and enjoy a handful of activities it hosted. The best was Monday night trivia. Tables around the fountain were packed with people and an announcer was on stage calling out ridiculous questions. The weather was perfect, and we had a ton of fun. The Square even had the Olympics streaming during the day on its big screen.
CHEERS TO MORE TRAVEL!