Big City Tales

Along the Banks of Cincinnati’s Beautiful River

March 2, 2018
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When it comes to cities with interesting and expansive riverfront development, Cincinnati ranks right up there with the best of the best. There is truly much to please the eyes along the banks of its beautiful river, the mighty Ohio, and the views are fantastic be it day or night.

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John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

For anyone who has flown to Cincinnati and stayed in a downtown hotel, they know that the road from the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky (CVG) airport in Hebron, Kentucky to Cincinnati’s city centre travels across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. They also know that when the river valley and city skyline suddenly appear as you proceed along the interstate, it is a breathtaking sight to behold.

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, formerly known as the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, spans the Ohio River and was once the longest suspension bridge in the world. To this day it is still an impressive structure, especially when lit up at night from end-to-end.

Along with its heavy automobile traffic, the bridge is a popular pedestrian route particularly when Cincinnati’s professional sports teams have home games at Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park, or U.S. Bank Arena. Fans living in or staying at hotels on the Kentucky side of the river can enjoy a leisurely stroll to and from the games instead of being stuck in a log jam of pre- and post-game vehicle traffic. They can also take advantage of a vibrant bar and restaurant district called Roebling Point, which is located at the foot of the bridge on the Kentucky side.

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Smale Riverfront Park

With its prime location and pristine scenery covering 45-acres, there’s something to satisfy everyone’s interests at Smale Riverfront Park. Kids gravitate to the splash parks to cool off in on hot summer days; adults congregate on porch-like swings to rest their weary feet and enjoy the river view.

Other attractions include an old-fashioned carousel with brightly painted animals of historical significance to Cincinnati, a memorial that honors African American volunteers who protected the city during the Civil War, and numerous gardens and green spaces along the Ohio River Trail.

Great American Ball Park

Home of the Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park is named after the Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Group. The company’s corporate headquarters overlooks the stadium and both are impressive structures.

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As baseball’s first professional franchise, the ball park and Hall of Fame Museum is full of historical references to the great players, coaches and sports media personalities of the past. For example, a rose garden was planted in the area where the ball from Pete Rose’s record-breaking hit landed when the Reds played in the old Riverfront Stadium. The ball park also features two large smokestacks in right-center field that pay homage to the steamboats that used to regularly travel along the Ohio River.

National Steamboat Monument

Located in the riverside park known as Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove, the National Steamboat Monument is an exact replica of the original red paddle wheel from the American Queen riverboat.

Standing three stories in height and weighing 60 tons, the monument highlights the historical contribution of the riverboat trade in Cincinnati. At its peak, Cincinnati was one of the largest ports in the region and was known for manufacturing companies that produced quality steamboats.

In addition to the paddle wheel monument, there is also a series of 24 metal smokestacks that are found in the area known as the Dan and Susan Pfau Whistle Grove. The smokestacks demonstrate the importance of steam technology that powered the earliest steamboats.

The Whistle Grove is an interactive display that is controlled by synchronized computer motion sensors that are activated as people walk by. Along with the emission of steam, other sounds are offered including an old-fashioned calliope steam organ, a steamboat whistle, and the voices of riverboat workers talking about the trials and tribulations of the trade.

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Purple People Bridge

It’s purple and it’s all about people!

The Purple People Bridge connects downtown Cincinnati to the city of Newport, Kentucky across the Ohio River. Beyond its unique color, its other notable characteristic is that it is pedestrian-only.

The primary purpose of the bridge is to make it easy for people to cross the river and access the myriad entertainment options and open park spaces in both regions that are minutes away from the bridge off ramps.

For those not in a rush to get from one side of the bridge to the other, there are festive floral displays, cheery benches and clear views looking west toward Cincinnati’s football and baseball stadiums.

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Run for the Roses and River Views in Louisville

February 20, 2018
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Whether you’re coming to take in the spectacle of the annual Kentucky Derby or take in the splendor of the sprawling banks of the Ohio River, the city of Louisville, Kentucky will have you cheering loud and long for its famed “Run for the Roses” horse race and impressive river views.

Churchill Downs

Home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs covers 147 acres and is a designated National Historic Site. The derby, also known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport,” takes place on the first Saturday in May and features the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds.

The twin spires on the grandstand and the Barbaro memorial statue are two of the most recognizable architectural features and symbols of Churchill Downs. While the grounds are mostly serene and empty during the year, come race day crowds can reach over 150,000 with 50,000 lucky enough to have seats to witness the first leg of the famed Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Gateway to the South

Situated on the southern banks of the historic Ohio River (The Beautiful River), Louisville has the unique distinction of being influenced by both southern and mid-western cultures. One of the city’s nicknames is “Gateway to the South” due to its status as a major shipping port and transportation hub for both trains and airplanes.

The city boasts many outdoor recreation areas, including Waterfront Park that stretches for over a mile along the Ohio River. The park features playgrounds, historical statues and artistic landscaping, and offers stellar views of both the city’s downtown core and the river.

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Main Street USA

There’s nothing more American than baseball so it is fitting that Main Street is the home of the Louisville Slugger Museum and the world’s largest baseball bat. Some of the other quaint and quirky sights along Main Street include the 21c Museum Hotel that features a double-size replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David covered in gold paint, numerous “Horse on Barrel” painted statues, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, and the headquarters of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Center for Higher Learning

Louisville is proud of its numerous academic institutions and the acclaim the likes of the University of Louisville has achieved for its hand and artificial heart transplant efforts.

The university is also home to a bronze cast replica of Rodin’s The Thinker sculpture that was the first of its kind and was personally supervised by the artist.  The statue is situated in front of the university’s administration building, Grawemeyer Hall, which is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.