Trailside Nature Center, Wolff Planetarium

Nestled in Burnet Woods is the Trailside Nature Center, and nestled in there is Wolff Planetarium. It's open very infrequently-- they do planetarium shows maybe twice a month-- but it's worth visiting if you get a chance.

Our show was about Orion-- the guide told the mythological stories about him, showed us where he lays in the sky at different times of the year, and pointed out other constellations around him. The show was an hour and only $3/person.

Trailside Nature Center's website:

Shake It Records

How incredible is Shake It Records?

Dan and I stopped by after hitting up Northside Tavern for the Crafty Supermarket. (I think a lot of people had that same idea.)

I had thought that Shake It Records was all music, but I was wrong. Tons of memorabilia, toys, books, magazines, more more more. I bought a handful of things, but I can't tell you what-- Christmas stuff!

Shake It Records' website:

Crafty Supermarket

This year saw Crafty Supermarket's very first incarnation. Planted in the adorable neighborhood of Northside (specifically in Northside Tavern), this little local-goods flea market was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

There was a huge turnout-- from what I heard, it was much busier when it opened at noon, and by the time I got there (1-2pm) it was still swarming.

There was a plethora of local vendors and craftmachers, and I hope they bring this fest around more than even just once a year. Unfortunately I didn't end up buying anything-- I'm in Christmas mode, and while *I* wanted every single thing in that room, there just wasn't anything that fit the family members on my list.

Crafty Supermarket's website:
Northside Tavern's website:

Don't forget: Dojo gift card giveaway!

Here's a picture of the Dan, drinking a Dojo Fluffernutter milkshake (gelatoshake?):

How can YOU get YOUR hands on a Dojo shake, or a big, fat, heapin' scoop of gelato? Don't forget to visit our previous post about Unchained Cincinnati and leave your comment for a chance at a free $5 Dojo Gelato gift card.

Paintball Country Ohio

Who's up for paintball?!

We were. My first time ever playing this game was in January, to celebrate my baby brother's 18th birthday. Ever since then, my gang of friends has been itching to play again. We were waiting until the weather cooled down so that we could layer up again... though that didn't exactly work out for us. Mid-November, gorgeous sunny warm weather.

If you're looking for a place in the area, I really love Paintball Country Ohio, out in West Chester. This place has a ton of land (the proprietor also owns a farm) and there are various scenarios set up outside. Some are your basic elimination setups, others are capture-the-flag types... we even got to take a bus out to the woods this time. Great fun.

Also, for the budget conscious: $30 gets you an all-day pass to the field, 500 paintballs, a rental gun and mask, an all the C02 refills you need. And if you have a group like we did, you get your own referee (so you're not playing against the speedballers) and they'll set you up with pizza and a party room.

Paintball Country Ohio website:

Cincinnati Unchained, + contest!

Earlier this week, Dojo Blogato wrote a post about BuyCincy's Cincinnati Unchained. It was the first I'd heard of it, though it wasn't the last.

Cincinnati Unchained is an event to draw attention to locally-owned and -operated businesses in the Queen City. As this is a big part of our journey, I wanted to make sure to spread the word here too.

For the event, Dojo is giving away a $5 gift card with the purchase of a $25 card. I'd like to give mine away!

Leave a comment here naming your favorite Cincinnati-based business for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Dojo Gelato. (Okay, $5 isn't much, but it goes a long way at Dojo!)

If you've already left a similar comment on another one of our posts, feel free to duplicate or leave a new answer. With any luck, I'll needle Dojo's Michael Christner into choosing a winner for us in a couple of days!

Send Me Something™ received!

Our Send Me Something arrived! (It was much quicker than this-- I'm just getting around to posting about it, sorry!)

Bummer that our cheeseburger bowl didn't make it intact. Regardless, I loved the process of buying and receiving our Somethings. I hope you'll consider them in the future!

Our posts about Send Me Something:
Send Me Something's website:
The cheeseburger bowl, unbroken:

Krohn Conservatory tour

Enjoy the Arts put together another awesome behind-the-scenes tour: this time, Krohn Conservatory. I was particularly excited about this event because Dan had never been to Krohn. (Usually I'm the total newb when it comes to Cincinnati.)

We both ended up learning a ton at this tour. We had an incredible guide who had worked at Krohn for something like 30 years, and now occasionally gives tours of the facilities. He walked us through the main room where we were able to see a display being built, and they talked through the process of putting together a show and how far in advance they have to plan it. We saw all the rooms, including the desert room, which I'd never seen before. Ooh, also loved the orchid room and the bonsai room!

I was also eaten alive by bugs-- the differences between seeing Krohn in the daytime and in the nighttime are vast. (Bugs aside, I still preferred the nighttime walk-through.)

There's one more Enjoy the Arts tour this year: Taft Museum. It's a Saturday brunch event-- anyone considering going?

Krohn Conservatory website:
Krohn's new iPod tours:
More of Dan's pictures from our Krohn tour:


The good people at World Food Bar have opened up a new restaurant on Vine Street: Mayberry. Heather (Cincinnati's Food Hussy) and I decided to hit it up for lunch-- and we were not the only ones.

Word to the wise: don't try to hit up Mayberry with more than 4 people. It'd be a great place to meet up with a friend, but not the kind of place you'd have a business lunch. I would say that business might slow down when the novelty wears off, but frankly the food was really good and I don't see that happening any time soon.

You want to see the food? I had the burger with a poached egg on top (delicious) with tater tot casserole (delicious delicious). Also check out the scrumptiousness that were Heather and Lisa's lunches:

I paid $8 for my entree and $3 for my side... and a ridiculous $1.50 for my tiny tiny drink. The food is of much higher quality than most of the lunches I typically eat, but the prices were still absolutely in budget. (Bring your own drink, maybe? Your options are tiny, overpriced, single-serving drinks or their warm, iceless tap water.)

I also liked the simple decor inside Mayberry: the walls were covered in black-and-white Cincinnati landmark paintings.

World Food Bar's website:

Mayberry on Urbanspoon

City Hall

One day, Dan and I drove by the castle/fortress that is Cincinnati's City Hall. Off-hand, Dan remarked: "We should see if they give tours of that building."

They do, and it's incredible. The only downside was that its business hours are our business hours: 9-5 during the week. This meant taking a vacation day to check it out. However, we had our own personal tour guide and were able to see the entirety of the building, including the mayor's office.

I learned a lot about Cincinnati's history and politics on this tour. I was also impressed to see how much artwork was all over the building, especially in the forms of stained glass and painted frescoes. Even if you're not into the political side, I'd highly recommend taking the tour just to hear about why each stained glass scene was included, what the characters represented to the designers, why art was infused throughout a governmental building.

A few photos to pique your interest:

By the way, City Hall was built like a fortress because citizens set fire to the previous City Hall. Most of this building is marble or granite... a bit harder to burn to the ground.

Our tour was over an hour long, completely free, and all of our questions were answered. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and nice, and the building is fascinating. (If you go, see if you can request William Dreyer.)

City Hall's tour information:

More photos from our trip:

Guestblog & Flying Pig #6: Cincinnati Museum Center

My friend Amber sent me some pictures of a flying pig that I'd somehow missed last time I was at my beloved Cincinnati Museum Center. She was awesome enough to write up a post about "Animal House"-- thank you, Amber!

Being a mom of two young kids leaves me with a lot of "what are we doing today?"s. So my husband and I decided it would be more budget-friendly to buy passes to places we knew the kids would enjoy time and time again.

The first pass we bought was to the Cincinnati Zoo. That one was a given-- both of our kids love the outdoors and animals. As for another pass, because we had decided on buying two, we were stumped. Both our children are daredevils and love amusement park rides, but aren't tall enough to ride the majority of rides, so Coney Island and King's Island didn't financially make sense to us.

One Sunday afternoon we had planned to go to the zoo, but the weather didn't agree with our plan. So since we had already planned on being in the downtown area, I suggested that we go to Union Terminal. Well, needless to say, our kids instantly fell in love with it and it soon became our regular rainy day spot.

I had seen that Erica and Dan were documenting all of the pig statues that they were coming in contact with in their Cincinnati Re-adventure, and was ├╝ber-excited when I came across this one in the Children's Museum on the lower level of Union Terminal. Since I'm pretty sure Erica and Dan have never been in the Children's Museum, seeing as they have no children, I figured I would take some pictures to share with them.

Upon more research on the web, I found out that this pig is named "Animal House" and was created by Tracey Antoun. In an article I found she explained that she just wanted people to look at the endangered plants and animals displayed on the statue and think about how we don't think enough about our environment.

Animal House's Pig Profile:
Cincinnati Museum Center website:

Iris Bookcafe

My favorite random find of this entire project so far: Iris Bookcafe.

Dan and I ambled in when I saw a sign that mentioned BOOKS-- that's all it takes for me, to tell you the truth. I'm an easy mark.

And once inside I never wanted to leave. (Ask Dan.) A cute little cafe area, tons and tons of unique and interesting books lining every wall they have, a large selection of eclectic vinyl records, a courtyard with outdoor seating and an arbor, a friendly staff and a comfortable atmosphere. I immediately wanted to start writing a novel, just for the hell of it.

Iris Bookcafe on Urbanspoon


Pompilio's and I did not get off to a great start.

It might have been the dull, white bread or the salty, too-hot potato soup... but I was not impressed right off the bat. I also think that many of the online reviews hype this place up too much-- it is not, in fact, like stepping back in time to some kind of idyllic Italian experience. It was more like stepping into a second-rate Olive Garden, if you ask me.

And when my meal showed up-- an Italian sampler, pictured at right-- you can see why I wasn't quite sure what I was in for. It felt like they were trying to hide something from me under Mount Marinara.

But my experience turned around as I plowed into the sampler. Underneath the red eruption hid meat ravioli, cheese ravioli, eggplant parmesan, Italian sausage, a meatball and their well-known lasagna. I devoured them all (less the sausage, which Dan ate) and was pleased with all of them. The lasagna was good... the eggplant was best.

I will eat here again. (As often as Dan and I have Italian food, we're bound to repeat restaurants from time to time.) It didn't shock and amaze me, but it filled me up with warmth and carbs and sometimes that's enough.

Pompilio's website:

Pompilio's on Urbanspoon

Atomic Number Ten

Atomic Number Ten is 1) a nod to the element Neon and 2) an awesome vintage store in OTR. I was finally able to visit, and I was really impressed by the wide selection of high quality (but low budget) vintage items throughout the store.

I only bought one item this time-- but it's hard to describe so I'll have to take a picture next time I wear it (whenever I figure out HOW to wear it).

If you need kitsch for your kitchen, funk for your bunk, the ironic and the iconic... hit up Atomic Number Ten. (Man, I should have gotten paid for that line. I accept chunky wedges and wolf shirts!)

Atomic Number Ten's website:

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral

It's amazing where you can find yourself, when you're killing time. Ever stepped inside St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, next to City Hall?

A few more photos (taken by Dan) here:
St. Peter's website:


Noooo, we didn't undertake Padrino's "$30 Spaghetti & Meatball Challenge." I just thought you should be aware of it-- you know, for the next time you're in the mood for 3lbs+ of food. Hey, if you finish it, it's free!

This was not Dan and my first time to Padrino, but we did end up here again on a bit of a whim. We were celebrating 5 months together (yea!) and wanted something we already knew we liked-- ever been in that kind of mood?

Padrino is good Italian. We rolled in around 7:30 and ended up waiting a solid 40 minutes before getting a table, but the restaurant is comfortable and we were in no real hurry. There was a large reception in their private room, and the entire dining area was full of laughter and the smell of garlic. Good stuff, I tell you.

Dan ordered the lasagna (he just mmm'd at the thought of it, so that's a good sign) and I had the chicken and spinach manicotti (also mmm). Oh, a little heads up: order extra garlic knots. Their little bread garnish that comes with the meals is so addicting and delicious, you're going to want more of them.

The first time we visited Padrino, it was because we were curious about the "old Milford" area. There have been a lot of new businesses and restaurants popping up in this area, so we wanted to broaden our horizons a bit. Padrino was a great choice for pasta nuts like ourselves-- this will definitely be one of our staples, when we find ourselves in that "hungry for something I know I like" moods again.

Padrino's website:
Padrino's menu:

Padrino on Urbanspoon