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Ramsayings

A Blog About Nothing in Particular

Visit Cincinnati

 

What a spec­tac­u­lar town! Since we moved to Detroit, I’ve been look­ing for­ward to explor­ing more of the Mid­west. We got a bit of a pre­view of what to expect this sum­mer when we fol­lowed the Erie canal on our trip to Cape Cod, stop­ping in Buf­fa­lo and Rochester, NY. These once proud cities still have a lot to crow about: because they were built around ship­ping, they’re all on the water and what’s left of the orig­i­nal hous­ing stock and down­town archi­tec­ture is typ­i­cal­ly stun­ning.

Cincin­nati is no excep­tion. While I was in town for the USTA Mid­west Semi-Annu­al meet­ing, I got a chance to explore a bit. There’s a beau­ti­ful water­front park beneath the icon­ic Roe­bling Bridge. The down­town is bustling and walk­a­ble. I took the advice of a friend who grew up here and walked over to the Over-the-Rhine neigh­bor­hood, which feels quite a bit like Old City in Philadel­phia, with lots of cute shops and restau­rants. It’s where I picked up the shirts for the boys and tried this deli­cious ice cream cone from Graeter’s.

 

I even walked to Ken­tucky! Check the box on anoth­er state I nev­er thought I’d vis­it!

Another Weird Week in Corolla, NC

You know how I tried laugh­ing off the short­com­ings of the Out­er Banks ear­li­er this month? That’s a hoot! Let’s just chalk that up to post-trau­mat­ic stress in the after­math of Irene, ok? I mean, who wants to see their vaca­tion des­ti­na­tion wiped off the map just as it’s time to kick back and relax?

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? The food: still ter­ri­ble. If it weren’t for the Har­ris Teeter con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed in Corol­la, we’d be at a total loss. The best meals we eat in the Out­er Banks are those we make our­selves. There are I think now three places that I will give mon­ey for food and they are: Corol­la Vil­lage BBQ, which we final­ly found after ven­tur­ing into the island’s his­toric dis­trict; Light­house Bagels and Deli, though the bagels were much doughi­er than I remem­bered them being; and Bad Bean Bur­ri­to, locat­ed in Tim­BuckII strip­mall.

Every­thing else? For­get it.

You can spend an awful lot of mon­ey try­ing to find some­thing good to eat in the Out­er Banks and it’s my belief that you shouldn’t even both­er try­ing. There’s not a good seafood restau­rant to be found. If any­one knows where to get a decent piz­za, please let me know because our old stand­by, Cosmo’s, has fall­en off since we dis­cov­ered it in 2009.

Lodg­ing is anoth­er mat­ter alto­geth­er. We lived in three dif­fer­ent hous­es in the five years we’ve gone to Corol­la. Last year was our first week in a pala­tial house (pic­tured above) and we couldn’t have been hap­pi­er after being holed up with our two month old in a run­down rental dur­ing back-to-back Nor’easters in ’09. This year the cracks have start­ed to show. I guess famil­iar­i­ty does breed con­tempt! The couch­es are thread­bare, the fridge won’t close, the beds are atro­cious­ly uncom­fort­able and, yes, the cable pack­age isn’t exact­ly opti­mal. No inter­ac­tive guide? No wi-fi? We may as well camp on the beach!

I kid, but you’d think rental com­pa­nies would con­sid­er mak­ing upgrades reg­u­lar­ly since the rental mar­ket is so soft.

Over­all though, things went pret­ty well, con­sid­er­ing we dodged two hur­ri­canes and a trop­i­cal storm. Katia wrecked the beach for us, which meant spend­ing more time in the pool (not a bad thing) and Lee just brought sti­fling humid­i­ty to the area. It’s still a great place to spend a week doing absolute­ly noth­ing and that’s what vaca­tion is all about at this point in my life. Relax­ing as much as pos­si­ble while chas­ing Char­lie up and down a beach and play­ing in the ocean. Wish I didn’t have to wait a year to do it all again.

Our First Weekend Getaway

Can­not thank my in-laws enough for giv­ing Helen and I a nice week­end alone at a love­ly B&B for Valentine’s Day.

We stayed in the car­riage house (pic­tured) at Antrim 1844 in Taney­town, MD. It’s the per­fect spot for any­one who’s had a bad expe­ri­ence at a B&B. Plen­ty of pri­va­cy and no forced social­iz­ing! Great, right?

It was a nice place to stay and din­ner Sat­ur­day night hit the spot. Duck with foie gras hash? Absinthe after din­ner? Yes, please!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t men­tion that our suite was FREEZING, but the gas-pow­ered fire­place in the bed­room did quite nice­ly.

All in all a great des­ti­na­tion for two sleep-deprived par­ents in need of some qui­et time.

In Praise of the Pork Road

One of the many high­lights of our trip to Puer­to Rico was our excur­sion to the sto­ried Pork Road. For­give the hor­ri­ble pic­ture, but it’s a whole pig roast­ing on a spit.

The Pork Road winds up a hill with pork pur­vey­ors lin­ing both sides. We hit two lechonaras and ate all sorts of porky good­ness: blood sausage, stom­ach, skin, ears and suc­cu­lent pork!

Best part? Not a tourist trap! It remind­ed me of Gilbertsville farm­ers’ mar­ket Zern’s in its hey­day.

In Praise of Culebra

Can­not stop think­ing about our trip to Cule­bra. Tak­ing the fer­ry there was like tak­ing a vaca­tion from vaca­tion. Prob­a­bly the most remote, beau­ti­ful place I’ve ever been. Hard to believe that I was on gor­geous Fla­men­co Beach just 8 days ago.

Cule­bra is mag­i­cal. Home to beau­ti­ful beach­es, the island tran­scends your typ­i­cal beach des­ti­na­tion. Nev­er have I felt so relaxed and free of typ­i­cal tourist trou­bles. Can’t wait to return next Jan­u­ary.

What a fun trop­i­cal get­away in the mid­dle of win­ter! Char­lie and Helen loved it, too. Ask Char­lie about his “igua­na hunts” next time you see him!