“There are friendships imprinted in our hearts that will never be diminished by time and distance.”—Dodinsky
I am headed to Cincinnati Ohio, the state best known for the Buckeyes! You know.. the little chocolate peanut butter balls/treats.. everyone loves them!
As you grow up, friendships grow apart. Sometimes the bond, but sometimes physically. In this case, my reason to head to Cincinnati was to visit one of my best friends, Zack. Zack and I were once upon a time roommates for a short while, and then I became close friends with his longest childhood friend Nick. During the time the Zack and I lived together, my sister would stay with me for long weekends, so it was just natural the four of us became close friends, quickly. My friend Zack lives just outside of Cincinnati in a town called Hamilton!!
time to fly
Our trip was booked Saturday, June 2, returning home Wednesday, June 6th. I was able to find affordable flights on my trust go-to travel site, www.expedia.com Our flights were booked with American Airlines. My sister and I departed from Albany together. This was my first flight with American Airlines. On our last trip out to Cincinnati, we flew Delta. So, I had a pretty good idea that this trip would be taken on very small planes. As some of you know, you really can’t get any great flights out of Alb. But, flights were quick and both landed sooner than expected!
*all distances measured at each destination will be taken from the airport. Travel times vary on method and traffic
We have arrived at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport
As soon as the four of us reunited we were ready to head to a Starbucks, ASAP and begin our few fun-filled days together. Three of us had spent a chunk of the day traveling and we were ready to eat! We headed to a local Mexican restaurant El Mariachi Mexican Restaurante & Cantina. This place was amazing! The decor inside was beautiful, but what was even better- our HUGE pitcher of blue margarita! We all wanted to drink and celebrate, so of course, I had to suggest it! This margarita pitcher, no scratch that, pitcher TOWER of margarita was ooh-so-yummy tequila goodness. I think we honestly got about 15 glasses out of this bad boy. The food was Mexican-perfection, and came out within 10 minutes! And the guac at this restaurant absolutely deserves recognition. I take pride in my guac, but this was so creamy and full of love and straight goodness. Good corny photo op’s here too.
If you’re ever staying in the Cincinnati/ Hamilton area, check out this place:
El Mariachi Mexican Restaurante & Cantina
787 NW Washington Blvd, Hamilton, OH 45013
bloomington, indiana (2 hours, 35 mins – 134 mi)
If you’re staying in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and you have the time, a great day trip to make is to head out to Bloomington Indiana. It’s about 2.5 hours from the Cincinnati area. We traveled out to this unique town to meet Nick’s aunt, Candace- one of the most generous and hospitable people I have ever met. We met her at a popular cafe in town called The Runcible Spoon- the cutest little place that looked like it was from a storybook. The weather was perfect and we all sat outside to enjoy our pitchers of mimosas & bellinis and brunch. I think we might have a thing for ordering pitchers… I ordered the Veggie Bennie. Two eggs benedict (my absolute favorite egg prep.) served over an English muffin, with cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. The Runcible Spoon makes their hollandaise sauce home-made daily! Beyond delicious, and soaking up the beautiful weather with beautiful people made for an awesome dining experience.
The Runcible Spoon Restaurant
412 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408
Bloomington is the home of Indiana University
Just a walk up the road we ventured into Indiana State University. Talk about historical! I kept referring to this place as Hogwarts. It was almost comparable to a classic medieval/ gothic castle, in some spots! My new friend Candace toured us through what we assumed was the entire university – but in reality was only about 10%! Indiana State University is 435 acres! The campus is naturally beautiful and is home to plenty of great photo op”s for tourists. If you plan to visit Indiana University-
Indiana University Visitor Information Center
900 E. 7th St, Bloomington, IN 47405
Upland Brewing Co.
After sight-seeing through one of the cutest towns, we stopped for dinner at a local popular spot called Upland Brewing Co. For all of my Albany friends, this place had a similar setting to Druthers. They had amazing outside seating, but however, after the long day, we skipped the half hour wait and headed right inside. That same night, the brewery had a wedding reception in place! This brewery is huge! We all shared a creamy spinach and artichoke dip, served with pita bread and chips to start, and after being in the Indiana heat all day, I was chuggin’ nothing else but good ol’ H20. For dinner, I had the fish (salmon) tacos, from the appetizer menu. They were amazing and so fresh! Everyone enjoyed their dinners before heading out of town, and I picked up some shirts for the hubby and me.
Upland Brewing Co.
350 W 11th St, Bloomington, IN 47404
the indiana state fruit is… a Huckleberry!
King’s Island: Largest Amusement & Waterpark in the Midwest (37 mins – 36 mi)
I’m such a roller coaster junkie! I was so excited that this amusement park was so close to Zack’s apartment in Hamilton. King’s Island is such a nice amusement park and is so clean. It is very comparable to a Six Flags, but I would choose to come here over there any day! Zack was able to score us discounted tickets through his job that also included admission to Soak City (Water Park.) You can find discounted tickets to King’s Island, by clicking this link: click here for discounted tickets! However, if you plan to come to King’s Island more than once during your stay in Ohio, it may be more beneficial for you to purchase a season pass! The Gold Pass is the best value. You get admittance to the park, of course, free parking and all of the special events such as the WinterFest or Halloween Haunt. You can find all season-pass options here, by clicking this link: click here for season passes! We also decided to add a Fast Pass for the day, which was $60. Completely worth it, especially since we were only at the park for one visit. We got to ride at least 10 more attraction rides then we would have without.
The Park had average amusement park fare: we opted to get lunch at Subway. They do have restaurants, beer, fast-food and also a meal-plan you can prepay for.
Some of my favorite rides at King’s Island were:
- The Vortex
6300 King’s Island Dr, Mason Ohio 45034
Basil 1791 (50 min – 44 mi)
After a long and hot day at King’s Island, we walked across the street from Zack’s apartment to Basil for some sushi! The vibe of the restaurant was soft and calming, yet a great place for friends to gather. The sushi was enormous and I ordered way more than I could finish! I’m glad we came here to end the day!
241 High Street, Hamilton Ohio 45011
(*additional locations in Wooster, Green, and downtown Canton.)
Cincinnati/ Hamilton & surrounding areas.
I always enjoy my trip out to Ohio, because there is so much to do. There are numerous shopping malls which are all fairly new, plenty of restaurants & museums. If you are in the city of Cincinnati, visiting the city waterfront is a great opportunity for pictures and plenty of things to do for couples, friends, and families. Every time I told someone I was soon heading to Ohio, the constant response I got was “um, why?” or “for what?” Even if you are not in town to visit friends and family, but are coming for a work trip or anything else, there is plenty to do and see!
Popular shopping malls in the Cincinnati area:
- Kenwood Towne Centre – http://shoprookwood.com/
- Rockwood Commons – http://shoprookwood.com/
- Cincinnati Premium Outlets – http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/cincinnati
- Northgate Mall – http://www.mynorthgatemall.com/