Ohio is the seventeenth U.S. state we have explored, and the last neighboring territory to our present home state of Pennsylvania. Until recently we have been after the low-hanging fruit, in the sense that our travel boundaries did not extend too far off the Atlantic Coast—say, to the vast prairies of the Mid-West—but merely covered the lands within reach. Obviously, now the situation is changing for worse; for instance, to reach Ohio we had to travel the distance of almost 400 miles; naturally, the same extra distance had to be traveled back once we completed the compulsory part of the trip. That is not to mention the fact that most of the remaining thirty-three states are significantly bigger in size than the ones we already visited. But we never say die.
Despite a handful of negative things I had heard about Ohio prior to our trip, we found the state quite diverse and pleasing. Even after my merciless decimation of photographic material, I kept some hundred-and-a-half shots for publication–amount enough to bore even the most assiduous reader. Hence, two parts.
It is perhaps true that most of Ohio’s attractions are situated in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, yet there are a few other places of interest that are well worth a detour off the main highways connecting the three Cs. Dover is one of such places, fully owing to the local Museum of Radio and TV, maintained by a nice old man by the name of Larry Auman. The museum has a surprisingly extensive (to be run by a single, however enthusiastic, individual) collection of radio and television equipment, components, and concomitant advertisement and popularization media.
From the ancient radio receivers to clunky radio-gramophones to color television sets—the stands stacked full with exhibits unfold in great detail the history of radio electronics in America over the entire twentieth century. And Larry does a great job of explaining how and when different devices entered the consumers’ market, whether they enjoyed a commercial success, and what new features were made available to the customers.
In addition to the various playback equipment, the museum also showcases audio- and video-recording and -broadcasting gear, such as the stuff used in the Cleveland DJ studio of an early rock-and-roll popularizer Alan Freed, or at the shootings of the now-classic motion pictures.
It is amusing to find out how over the course of time certain seemingly preposterous (by today’s standards, of course) ideas sold and had great commercial fortune, while other ideas that have not lost their ingenious appeal to this day, did not.
I conclude that dimensions was not the least of the factors determining the future competitiveness of the product. As they say, sometimes “size does matter.”
Another curious place located outside any large metropolitan area of Ohio is the headquarters of the Longaberger Company, one of the country’s major basket manufacturers (if that is not obvious from the picture).
Too bad most corporate buildings do not display similar originality and style; perhaps just that alone would make the mornings of millions of office workers a lot less dreadful.
Despite an habitually delayed start, we nonetheless made it to Columbus by an earlier afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to explore the city before dark. We started with the Brewery District, which—according to the things other people were saying online—was supposed to be a lively walkable area with dozens of decent bars and restaurants. In reality, there were no people and nothing to look at, so the “walkability” aspect hardly mattered.
It should be noted that on the way to our next destination we continued seeing bars and restaurants on both sides of the street for a few more miles; so, maybe, the heart of the Brewing District with its lively crowd and fancy bars does exist, only we could not locate it.
The weather disposed to all sorts of outdoor activities that afternoon, and it was all more logical to see a number of climbers at the Scioto Audubon park”s rock-climbing arch, where we arrived next.
Besides the rock-climbing arch, the park features miles of bicycle tracks and a well-equipped playground for kids, which our son was checking out while I was taking pictures. Before long, it was time to get going again.
Our next destination was the Main Street Bridge, in thereabouts of which we were hoping to find good waterfront views of the downtown area as well as the business center high-risers. In my opinion, our hopes were met in full.
In general, the section of town east of the Main Street Bridge seemed very lovely, and we regretted not having a bit more time to enjoy it. So, after about thirty minutes of roaming around we were already on-the-go, this time to the Battelle Riverfront Park.
The Riverfront Park is fairly small in size, but very green, shady, and full of quaint sculptures and decorations, all having to do with a fable of Pickaweekee. It also hosts a dedication to the immigrants that helped the American land flourish over time, and features a replica of the Santa Maria Ship that the city’s honoree (namesake?) Christopher Columbus sailed back in the day.
Moving from one park to next, most of the afternoon we ended up “inspecting” Columbus’s recreational areas for proper scenery. I have to admit that the inspection was concluded with very satisfactory results. Take the Goodale Park, for example: appeasing environment, heaps of umbrageous trees and neatly mowed lawns; respectable neighborhood with beautiful mansion-size cottages; these are undoubtedly the summands of success.
We probably did not get the timing right, but the Short North Art District, located nearby Goodale park, did not quite match the description of a crowded artistically rich area that we had stumbled upon while preparing for our trip. Well, there were some people on the streets, and perhaps many more could be found inside numerous pubs, shops, and galleries, but nothing too artistic was happening outside.
At the set pace of a middle-distance runner, we proceeded to our final Columbus checkpoint, the Topiary Park. The park is primarily interesting for its human-shaped topiary figures, but is also a generally well-attended place. It was a bit early in the season, so the shrubbery had not had time to fully cover the respective wireframes, and making out the intended shape of particular bushes was a bit of guesswork.
Still, it is a splendid public park, and judging by the fact that a wedding ceremony was taking place at the time of our visit, it is probably a popular outdoor venue as well.
In just a few hours we completed our entire Columbus itinerary, and we ready to move on—great efficiency even by our standards. Or maybe there was simply nothing else to see and it was best that we got to experience most that Columbus had to offer, so that the city imprinted it in our memory in favorable colors.
Although it was certainly way past noon when we arrived in Cincinnati, it was still not too late to get things started. I believe that initially we were planning to conclude the day with a stroll around the Hyde Park Square, if at all we would make it there. But since we had been clocking in some good time, we decided to get up Mount Adams first for better views of the city.
Actually, finding good observation spots atop Mount Adams proved very challenging, while finding nice restaurants not hard at all.
Yet it was getting dark, and after a few more brief—due to a light drizzle—airings we headed to the hotel.
The following morning we set course for the Washington Park, making a number of quick stops on the way.
One of those stops was at the Fountain Square, a pretty place in Central Cincinnati, though quite desolate on a weekend morning.
There was nothing for us to do in the park besides photographing the fountains and chasing our kid around a fenced playground.
We then proceeded to the Cincinnati Art Museum, taking a slight detour to the Museum Center, which, at a close look, turned out to be a crude and artless building.
I cannot help but wonder why certain free museums in America are able to obtain amazing collections that consist of world-renowned artists, while others, often ridiculously expensive ones, have very little quality art to offer. Luckily for us, the Cincinnati Art Museum falls in the first category.
As any respectable museum, the Cincinnati Art Museum obviously features paintings in more modern and at times bizarre genres.
Sculpture is also a must.
Art forms of the past are not alien to the museum’s collectors either.
Even the interior designers had their say in the collective show-off effort.
To sum up our experience,
money time well spent.
Ironically, our visit to the American Sign Museum, where we went next, turned out an equally good use of our time (as opposed to time and money), because when we entered, no one was present at the reception desk to collect the pay.
As an amateur photographer and artist, I enjoyed the museum immensely, but since I had not lived in the age or country that most of the signs on display send one back to, I have no words to accompany the following images.
I just drooled over these exhibits, thinking how awesome it would be to decorate our own place with some of them. Sheer aesthetic pleasure.
Our acquaintance with Cincinnati was nearing the end, and before we proceeded to our closing sight, we took a bit more time to explore the streets of Ohio’s southwestern C.
In my previous posts I have already expressed my admiration at the beauty of American cemeteries; Spring Grove Cemetery not only proves the point, but demonstrates how a dreary, by nature, place can be converted into an attractive promenade and picnic resort.
Does it not seem a better idea to be buried among these scenic knolls than in some murky mausoleum? And probably a lot cheaper as well.
To be continued.