Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Mini Vacation

Joe and I celebrated our anniversary with a little overnight stay in the Cincinnatian Hotel. This historic hotel was renovated about 20 years ago as Cincinnati's only small boutique hotel. Originally opened in 1882 as the Palace Hotel, it retains much of the original character, like the charming mansard roof.It is a lovely place to stay, giving one the feeling of stepping back in time while still having all the modern amenities that we 21st century travelers can't do without.
They have kept the original walnut and marble staircase intact.
We of course used the elevator.
I'd like to take you along on a little tour of our fair city and show you a bit of why I love it here. This trip we will stick to the center of town, where a lot of the action is.
Next to our hotel is the Enquirer Building which is on the national register of historic buildings. I am in awe at the attention to detail of these old buildings.
These little gargoyle type figures all hold books, scrolls or printing apparatus since this building was the home of the Cincinnati Enquirer, our local paper.
Look at the gorgeous brass details around the entry.
Now, on to lunch. What a colorful way to dress up a plain wall on a square concrete building.
We sat at an outside table at the Cadillac Ranch for appetizers and people watching.
It was a sunny, breezy day in the low 80's. Perfect for exploring.
We detoured down the alley of the theater district. Don't you love this awning?
A piece of art high above the rooftops.
The alley entrance of Nicholson's Restaurant. These ferns always look so fresh and green.
Another restaurant alley entrance, Trattoria Roma. Look at the cute little table set up. The main entrance is on the street
These adorable signs run up and down the street.
Out on 6th St. we can see the Contemporary Art Center. The design of this building has won international acclaim for it's unusual architecture.
The Aronoff Center for the Arts is on Walnut Street. This is a venue for plays, ballet, musicals etc. in it's three beautiful performance spaces. I recently saw Wicked there.
I always like to look up when strolling downtown. Some of the most beautiful parts of old buildings are the rooftops.
Look at the detail on the top of this one.
The new just peeking over the top of the old.
My other obsession is bay windows in these aging beauties. I like to imagine living there and what it looks like inside.
Which floor do I live on, or do I own all three stories?
Sometimes I try to picture what they would have looked like when they were brand new. I would love to time travel just for today and take a tour.
We passed a few of the oldest businesses that are still in existance in Cincinnati. Graeter's ice cream is a tradition in our city. I don't know if you can find any better.
Batsakes Hat Shop has been making custom hats for men since 1907 and is still going strong in it's 101st year.
The Carew Tower is part of the centerpiece of our city and the tallest building at 49 stories. It will be surpassed in height in 2011 by the Great American Insurance building but it will not be surpassed in beauty. It has been called "the finest example of French Art Deco architecture in the world." Some day soon I will take you inside. It is stunning. In the foreground is the Tyler Davidson fountain on Fountain Square which is the true center of our city.
People gather on the square to socialize, listen to live music, feed the pigeons or watch the giant TV screen above Macy's, which shows sporting events, news and in the evenings, movies, just like an outdoor theater.
I loved this shot of the old building reflected in the new one.
The Fountain (if you are from around here everyone knows what fountain you are talking about) is properly named The Genius of Water. I will tell you more about this amazing artwork in another post.
We enjoyed some people watching on the square and then went to dinner at Via Vite, a fabulous modern restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine. Some of the recipes are family recipes passed down to the owner from his grandmother. It was delicious.
The restaurant looks like a very contemporary metal box type of structure, that sits right on Fountain Square. The first time I went there we had trouble figuring out where the entrance was. Inside it is gorgeous, warm and inviting and the walls of glass give a panoramic view of the square and The Fountain. (You know which fountain now, don't you? See you're almost a native.)
The square was renovated last year and parts are still slightly under construction. This bit of poetry was added to one of the walls. It is from a poem called Catawba Wine by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote the poem as a tribute to our city and it's vineyards, which at the time, 1862, were prolific. He called our city the Queen of the West which is how Cincinnati earned the nickname of "the Queen City."
It is difficult to read because of the reflection but it says
"And this song of the vine,
this greeting of mine,
the winds and the birds shall deliver
to the Queen of the West, in her garland dressed, by the banks of the beautiful river."
Come visit sometime, we have a lot to offer.

Have a citified Monday, P.
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trash talk said...

Lovely city with fantastic character. I can see why you love it so. Not to knock Graeter's since I've never tasted it, but if you ever get to Texas, try Blue Bell ice cream. The creamery is located in Brenham not far from Round Top and just celebrated its 100th birthday. You know us Texans, we love to brag. Deb

Hooked on Houses said...

What a great post about our beautiful city! I don't get downtown nearly often enough.

Now I'm craving double-chocolate-chip Graeter's ice cream. Yum. -Julia :-)

A Sentimental Journey said...

Oh how nice!! I have never ever been to Cincinatti, though a good family of friends that we've known for years come from there and they still miss it dreadfully! Lots of architecture ~ glad you had fun!

nikkicrumpet said...

What a glorious old hotel....and a beautiful city!