Over Thanksgiving Cliff, Kelly, Winnie and myself took a little road trip to Cincinnati. We try to go away for Thanksgiving every year. Our trips have gotten less and less exotic. There was Mexico, London, Rome, Sorrento, California, Nashville, and now Cincinnati. Haha! I have a system for booking trips. I have a master list of places I want to go. Then I search those places for a good deal. Unfortunately, I found no good deals this year. Instead, I looked up all the places that we could drive to within 5 hours. We ended up finding a really nice loft on Homeaway. We knew next to nothing about Cincinnati but decided to go for it.
We left early Thanksgiving morning and got to Cincinnati at around 9:30am. We spent the day watching football and eating snacks. Pretty much perfect. Winnie spent the day exploring the giant new loft.
Friday morning we headed to the Newport Aquarium, which is actually in Kentucky, but was only about 2 miles from our rental. I have been wanting to take Winnie to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a long time but have never done it. I am always afraid it is going to be crowded. It is always crowded! The Newport Aquarium was terrific. We got there right when it opened and there were no crowds at all. They had really great exhibits and touch tanks. I loved all the tunnels where you could see the sharks and rays.
Winnie loved the shark touch tanks and watching the sharks in the shark theater. Every time anyone anywhere near her went to take a picture she yelled, cheese!!! Clearly, she is used to getting photographed.
On Saturday Cliff took Winnie to Washington Park while Kelly and I went to get doughnuts at Holtman’s. The doughnuts were really good. We had to wait in line about 20-30 minutes. The one thing I didn’t like was the ordering process. Doughnut Vault in Chicago always has a long line but they tell you what kinds are available before you get to the front so that you have your order ready. At Holtman’s the doughnuts were on display but they were not marked so we had to wait til we got to the front to ask what was what. I think the line would have gone faster if people had their orders ready. Also they price the doughuts individually and also by the dozen. If you get a dozen it is like $14 and then another $2 for each specialty doughnut you get. But we did not know which doughnuts were specialty. I take my doughnuts pretty seriously so I was definitely disappointed in the ordering process. The doughnuts were good but not as good as my favorite local places.
We also got pretzels from this place. Amazing!
After the park and doughnuts we headed to Findlay Market. It didn’t look like a far walk on our GPS. And it wasn’t a far walk. But the neighborhood did not seem to be the best. I think I am so used to busyness and vibrancy of Chicago that I am always surprised when I come across deserted streets in other cities. It always makes me feel a little unsafe. But as soon as we got to the market it was full of people. The surrounding area was not so nice though. The market was actually too crowded. We walked through it pretty quickly. Kelly wanted to visit this pho place she had read about so we headed there. It was a really cute, busy little place just outside the main part of the market. The pho was really good. Evidently Winnie does not like pho though cause she had to interest in being there. Luckily there was a blueberry stand nearby that kept her busy.
For some reason it seemed like it was impossible to get a table at the restaurants in Cincinnati. It seems pretty easy to get a reservation at most restaurants in Chicago. We couldn’t get in anywhere here though! We ended up having to make a 4pm reservation at the Mexican place Cliff picked. It felt a little ridiculous eating dinner at 4pm but that is what we did. We got these really awesome short rib sopes, pork belly tacos, and crispy shrimp tacos. The food was excellent. Winnie loves Mexican food so she ate her chips and salsa and beans.
After dinner we headed to the local Christkindl Market. They had a beautiful tree, ice skating, and a couple little booths with food and gifts. Again, it was a much smaller scale than our Chicago Market. My favorite thing to get at the Chicago market is hot apple cider. They only had hot chocolate though. Cliff got mulled wine but Kelly and I decided to go to Graeters for ice cream.
Overall, we had a great time just relaxing, exploring a new city, and eating. I really loved the aquarium. It also makes me feel lucky that we live so close to a city as large and diverse as Chicago.