Cincinnati: home away from home

Over the last 52 hours, the bf and I spent 18 of them in the car. Typically, this would have me doubled over, head between my knees, on the verge of tears miserable. That exact scenario happened the first time we took a road trip together. You see, Mike loves to drive and I don’t own a car. So, we compromise – sometimes we drive, other (most) times we take a cab to the airport and I happily board a plane, mike & ikes in tow.

This weekend, however, I’m pleased to report we made it to our destination tear-free and without (m)any complaints. We headed out from DC Friday afternoon to start the trek to the bf’s hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. This was an important trip for us, as it was the last chance we had to see the family for a few months. Mike’s job takes him all around the world and he has an opportunity this spring to be on assignment overseas. So, as unhappy as I am to be without him for 3 months, I was equally, if not more, happy to be able to spend one of our last weekends together with family and friends.

Cincinnati is an amazing city. Pause – 2 years ago, I never imagined that sentence would come out of my mouth. Ohio was never on my “must-see” list. Well, after many trips out to Cincinnati, I am a complete convert. Who couldn’t love a city that is known for chili smothered in cheese and served with oyster crackers?

But seriously, Cincinnati has so much culture for a small-ish city. We are lucky to have friends and family that are active in the community, support the local arts and are always out and about exploring the city. When we go home, we pack as much as we can into a few days – and this trip was no exception. I promise we did more than just eat skyline chili cheese sandwiches!

Between our family visits, Mike and I also joined his friends at a really cool event downtown. One of Mike’s best friends was involved in a production of a short film, Radius, which spreads a message that supporting the arts creates a ripple effect of benefits throughout the community. By supporting local businesses, like purchasing yarn from a local craft store, or attending music festivals or theater events, your community will see safer streets, profitable businesses, and a rich culture.

The short film was based in Over the Rhine – a neighborhood in Cincinnati that we know pretty well. I’ve only ever experienced it since it has begun revitalization, but it has an amazing, albeit turbulent history. It is believed to be the largest urban historic district in the US – comparable to the French Quarter, Savannah, Charleston and Greenwich – with fantastic architecture built by German immigrants in the late 1800’s. It also is known for its steady decline in population and increase in crime rates over the last 40 years. Back in 2001, it made national headlines when riots broke out in the streets after a black youth was shot and killed by a white police officer. Nowadays, the OTR streets are being rebuilt from the inside out – with row houses being renovated, small businesses opening up storefronts and a healthy arts scene to attract new residents.

It was an amazing event held at Memorial Hall – one of those historical buildings in OTR, built in Beaux-Arts architectural style. The event was a complete success and had Mike and I discussing the role of arts in our community and in our lives on our way back to DC today. It definitely inspired me to be more aware of the impact my choices have on our community – do we pay $15 a ticket to go see the newest release at AMC or do we spend the same money watching a little-known act at IOTA club?

Oh and it doesn’t hurt that I’m famous now – we made www.cincinnati.com. Just one more reason for it to feel like home. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Cincinnati: home away from home

  1. Pingback: Jamaica Dreamin’ | oh, to have the world on a string

  2. Pingback: 2012 Travel: A Year in Review | oh, to have the world on a string

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