Travel to Northern Kentucky & Greater Cincinnati This Fall for the Oktoberfests Tour

If you’re looking towards fall, and you want a fun getaway weekend, consider visiting Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati for the plethora of Oktoberfests held throughout the season. You don’t have to be German to enjoy these heritage festivals, but you might feel German after a weekend visit.

Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Oktoberfests feature yummy German beer, excellent German food, traditional music and cute guys in lederhosen. You’ll probably want to get in town early, for the First Keg Tapping Ceremonies. Oh, and did I mention beer?

A Calendar of 2007 Oktoberfests in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky:

Purists (like me) prefer the Oktoberfests put on by the German societies (Germania, Kolping and Donauschwaben), but all of them are fun- and really worth the trip! Actually, I have a soft spot for Mainstrasse’s Oktoberfest. Primarily because it’s within walking distance (you might say stumbling distance) from NKY News headquarters.

Is your favorite Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky Oktoberfest missing from the list? Send me an email and I’ll add it to the calendar.

World's Longest Yard Sale Arrives in Northern Kentucky

The World's Longest Yard Sale arrives in Northern Kentucky this Thursday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 5th from 8 am to 4 pm each day in Covington's Mainstrasse. If your idea of a good time involves arguing about the price of a frog with a clock in his stomach, then don't miss out on this annual event.

Vendors who want to set up shop at the World's Longest Yard Sale will pay $20 a day for a 10 x 10 spot, or $75 for all four days. Call 859.491.0458 for more details.

The World's Longest Yard Sale runs cross country, spanning fives states and stretching for hundreds miles along Highway 127 for acres of bargain hunting.

Shopping in Northern Kentucky: Consignment Store End of Season Sale

The Walk-in Closet in Taylor Mill, Kentucky is having their end of season clearance sale this weekend, July 27-29th.

Get 75% off many items today and tomorrow and if you can hold out, the bag sale is Sunday from 1-5. Bag sales are your best deal at a resale or consignment store. Literally, this is your opportunity to shove as much as you can in a bag for one price.

The Walk-in Closet features primarily women's clothing and jewelry, furniture and some of that home interiors stuff too. I'm guessing the sale is clothes-specific, since they're trying to clear out space for fall.

Let me know if you've sold items on consignment through the Walk-in Closet and if it was worthwhile. They charge a one-time fee of $15 and then split sales with consignors 50/50.

The Walk-in Closet consignment store, 5046 Old Taylor Mill Road, Taylor Mill, KY 859-581-0222 Monday-Friday 10-8, Saturdays 10-5 and (usually) closed Sundays.

Free Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Concert at Covington's Devou Park

Mark your calendars, the annual Kentucky Symphony Orchestra August concert at Covington's Devou Park is Saturday, August 4th at 7:30 pm. Admission is free.

The free show is always fun and always ends in a sing a long. It's the perfect picnic for two, or for a family, so bring your blanket, cooler and plenty of snacks. This year's theme is "Sing-a-long Sound of Music," featuring the music of beloved composers Rodgers & Hammerstein. The Kentucky Symphony will perform the complete soundtrack from The Sound of Music so start practicing your "I am 16, going on 17" notes now.

The KSO website states that there will be "special seating for sisters from area convents," and a costume contest, too.

I would call before showing up dressed in a nun's habit or swathed in your living room drapery, though. Just to make sure.

The final free show in the 2007 KSO Summer Series will be on September 1 at Devou Park.

NOFO Glows with Newest Jean-Robert de Cavel Restaurant & an Irish Pub

For a while now, I've been hearing the rumor that Jean-Robert de Cavel bought the building on the corner just north of Greenup Cafe and Pho Paris in Covington. The rumor seems to be sticking so I'll throw it on the blog. Hopefully he'll bring the bloody mary bar back to the North of Fourth Street (NOFO) district. It was lovely and originally in Donna's Diner in Covington (rumored to also be a Jean-Robert acquisition, but purchased by the owners of the Mount Adams Pavilion).

Also, Louisville-based Irish pub & restaurant Molly Malone's bought the old Jack Quinn's restaurant at 112 E. 4th Street in Covington. The restaurant plans to open in mid-August.

Bellevue, Kentucky Big Dreams Contest

In the spirit of celebrating the great community of Bellevue, Kentucky, please visit the Small Business, Big Dreams contest website and place your vote and comments for Bellevue's video.

The deadline to vote is Thursday, July 26th at midnight.

Stuck in the Middle With You- And You.

In a recent blog, I talked about the stickiness of getting involved in another couple's problems.

It's never been my intention to get in the middle of a couple that's fighting, but as you probably already know, some of the battling-est couples out there are quite crafty in getting others to choose sides. In my case, I've often found myself embroiled in an argument without realizing what happened. Case in point:

I am visiting a friend's house for a few days. The loving couple, stressed by a long week at work, has been bickering a bit about odds and ends.

The husband, with a studied look of innocence, suddenly asks me: "Do you think it's OK to leave a 2 liter of pop on the counter after it was in the fridge?"

Me (thinking quickly): "I just want to stay out of it."

Husband: "Well, I've heard that it's really bad to leave it out after it was refrigerated."

Me: "I really have no idea."

Wife, coming in the house from the garage: "Is he asking you about the pop?"

You see, I knew better. Years ago, I stuck my neck out for a friend, got in the middle, and swore I'd never do it again. In that situation, my dear friend was in an abusive relationship. Not only did I tell her, yes, you need to leave him, but I told her to get out quickly, pack up her child and to come and stay with me. Within a matter of weeks, they were back together, and his palpable anger whenever I was around became so awkward (I didn't want to get her in any more trouble), that I stopped coming around. And eventually, we stopped being friends.

It's next to impossible to stay friends with a fighting couple once you've voiced an opinion or taken sides. This is for two reasons: 1. Your friend has told their partner what you said, and every time the partner sees you, they are reminded of what you think. 2. Your friend knows that you now know too much- and they're embarrassed, because they now think that you believe they're a spineless wimp for staying in an unhappy relationship. Whether or not it's true.

My attitude now, which I've made clear to all of my friends: Feel free to complain away about your loved one. But don't ever look to me to tell you leave your lover- I won't do it. I will say something if it's an abusive situation; I won't be able to help myself. But that's the one exception I'll make.

This is one of the few instances where I'll gladly take the low road, in order to maintain a friendship. Because in the long run, people often stay in unhappy relationships- for better or worse- rather than striking out on their own. I don't need to get stuck in the middle.

And if they ever do get up the gumption to leave, well, I'll still be cautious about drinking that first celebratory glass of champagne. Because everyone knows, the first break-up never takes.

Covington Kentucky Artist Louann Elliott

A pic of the lovely painting I bought from Covington, Kentucky artist Louann Elliott at the Duveneck Memorial Art Show this year. It's a little lighter than it appears in the photo.

Elliott uses warm, Tuscany colors in many of her paintings and she paints a wide range of subjects, including the people and neighborhoods of Covington.

Charley Harper 1922-2007

Borg's color version of his tribute to Charles Harper that wasn't run in the paper.

There’s No Place Like Home(s): Living in Northern Kentucky. And Oregon.

I’ve just returned from a two week trip home to Oregon. My other home. Where six of my brothers and sisters (the other brother is in Northern California), my parents, and untold nieces and nephews reside. I even have a few good friends out there. Really good friends.

For a number of different reasons, I’ve made the decision to move back west. It’s going to take some time, and I’ll still be around for a while. In fact, my psychic (yup, I went to psychic recently- but that’s a tale for another blog) told me it won’t happen before year’s end. We’ll see.

I used to wonder, did I do the right thing by staying in greater Cincinnati, when my folks packed up and moved back to Oregon? Should I have gone with them (“Not and stayed with us,” I can hear my dad saying), and was I wrong to stay? I don’t wonder about this anymore. I understand now, that things happen for a reason. I was meant to be here for a time, and now I am meant to move back.

Since I just got back, family and home, my other home in Oregon, is uppermost in my mind. Typical. But I’ve never been one to complain about living in the Midwest. If I didn’t like it here, I would have moved a long time ago. That’s a big reason why I started this blog: I saw a dearth of positive online information about Northern Kentucky. I hope I’ve made a positive contribution with this blog.

This is my 108th post, by the by. I meant to mark the occasion of the 100th, but me being me, it blew right by unnoticed and uncelebrated. So happy 108th, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blog so far.

So… what do I like about living here? Not like? And how does it stack up to Oregon? I wrote an essay on this very subject in 2002. To my surprise, some of my attitudes have changed over the years. Let’s find out how:

Enjoying the Arts in Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and Points Beyond

Recently, I was ruminating with a fellow former left-coaster about the lack of creative activities in Cincinnati. “Since I moved here, I’ve been looking everywhere for...” “Art?” he interrupted, laughing. The Pacific Northwest has long been known as a haven for artists and offers much in the way of museums, galleries and concerts. The tri-state area isn’t exactly... known for its contributions to the art arena. Nascar, and college basketball, take precedence over all other known forms of recreation in the Midwest. Hey, I’m not complaining. I like a four-car pile-up as much as the next gal, and I love b-ball. But sometimes I yearn for a little of what William Hurt called “Culture, culture, culture!”

Now I’ll amend this today since it seems a little harsh; we have a kick-ass symphony in Cincinnati- and in Northern Kentucky. And places like York Street Café and Covington’s Duveneck art festival work hard to get art out to the public. But there aren’t enough of these venues, and the ones that exist don’t do enough PR, so we often hear about regional shows and festivals after the fact. I know I’m a “pushy PR lady,” but that still needs to change.

Bountiful Oregon Food Offerings vs. Frisch’s No Dishes in Greater Cincinnati

While you can purchase any type of fried food you could ever want in greater Cincinnati, there’s a distinct lack of “real” bakeries (think scones, croissant and popovers), “take and bake” pizza places (yes, this consists of purchasing uncooked pizza that you take home to bake, a popular Oregon pastime), and drive-through latte booths. Of course, I’ve yet to find any decent German restaurants on the west coast (a food I didn’t even know I liked til I moved here).

Five years later, I’m impressed by Jean-Robert’s Greenup Café in Covington but still looking for a drive-up coffee stand. Still wish I could have brought that idea to Cincinnati, because I think it would kill.

Getting Festive at Festivals in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Oregon has a couple of really good festivals. The hippie-dippie Country Fair in Eugene and the Riverside Blues Festival in Portland are two time-honored favorites. But until I moved to the Midwest, I never thought of a festival as a more than a once or twice-annual event. In Cincinnati, we start attending festivals at the beginning of summer, and they don’t stop for months! The weather, while sometimes unbearable during the day, is typically beautiful all night long in the summer months. During the beautiful Oregon summers, the temperature begins dropping at about 6 p.m. - at an astonishingly rapid pace. In addition to the festivals in greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky (some have attendance in the hundreds of thousands, and city streets are closed to accommodate the crowds), free riverside concerts abound throughout July and August.

In 2007, Oregon has more festivals that celebrate their plethora of excellent wines and local beers. Yay. Still, no one can beat the Midwest for festivals, and no one can beat greater Cincinnati for its Oktoberfests!

The Cincinnati Flea Market vs. the Oregon Saturday Market or It’s Market-edly Different

The sights, sounds and smells of the Portland and Eugene Saturday Markets will transport you. The items sold at these shopping havens include original art, hand-crafted pottery and clothing, and every type of food imaginable, from sushi to Thai to French cuisine. All items for sale must be approved by the Saturday Market Board as having met their exacting standards. The sights, sounds and smells of the Midwestern flea market are very different. From Bingo to Two-stepping, Onion Rings to Moccasins, and Wooden Ducks to “Designer” Purses, you can find a lot of, uh, treasures within. I haven’t ventured to a flea market in recent years, but suspect that the shop owners are still wending their way through thousands of pairs of ill-fitting blue jeans and camouflage jackets. It seems impossible that they would have sold all of them yet.

This one makes me laugh- there’s still nothing comparable to the Saturday Market in greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky. This is yet another idea that I wanted to bring to the Midwest. Though I will amend my original statement to say that I love the little (unadvertised) flea markets around Cincinnati- they’re hot spots for the vintage clothing, jewelry and art pottery that I collect and sell.

Location, Location, Location: Exploring the Region in Greater Cincinnati

Oregon has the coast, rivers and mountain ranges. Ohio has mysterious “mounds” and the mighty Ohio River, in which I’m scared to swim. But, the tri-state area can proudly boast of its beautiful historic homes (I live in one!). In Eugene, Oregon, where I grew up, the architecture dated back to, perhaps, the 40’s, so a “historic” home usually meant a depression-era Cape Cod. No, there’s no ocean where I live, and the only “mountain” locally rests in Indiana and consists of pre-fab snow.

But, there’s something about driving through Indiana in good weather, with classic cars toodling by, and acres of farmland, that strikes me as breathtaking. A red barn against a blue sky may not be the same as sand under your toes, but it has its merits. On a crisp fall day in Ohio, you’ll find us going on hayrides and jumping in leaf-piles, enjoying insanely high temperatures in November. In Oregon’s fall months, we snap open our umbrellas and huddle under awnings with our coffee.

And today, little has changed. Fall is still my favorite Midwestern season and it’s for all the reasons listed above- and more. But there’s not a lot of geographic appeal to me once outside of greater Cincinnati.

Friends and Family

One of my sisters does live in the area. I visit her, and her family, every few weeks or so and chat with them on the phone and through e-mail often. The rest of my family I only see on vacation. But I have another family in Ohio now. My beloved friends can tell you of my ups, my downs, my good news and bad, all of which we share daily. Whatever would I do without this highly prized giggling gang? And as much as I love my family, there are benefits to a little, uh... distance. In Oregon, I am always Jeff’s little sister (or Joe’s, or Don’s, or Lynn’s, etc., etc.). In the Midwest, I am just me, with virtually no interference on my not-always-smart decisions. Aren’t you envious?

Yes, in 2007, I am more independent than ever. And weary of throwing myself back under the watchful eye of my enormous family and their far-reaching tentacles. However, once my “one sister” that lived in the area moved back to Oregon a year and a half ago, I knew I wouldn’t be far behind. And, the people here who love me have already promised to visit. Making new friends has always come easily and I hope that’s still the case when I move to the West Coast.

I don’t know if any of us will ever know what the road less traveled could look like.

I do know that I’m excited about moving, and dedicated to trying to find a place in Portland by year’s end.

Should I have done this, should I do that, these are questions that arise when you least expect them to, and there are no easy answers, for any of us. As my mother always says, “We shall see what we shall see”- the bend around the road beckons, and somehow or another, we’ll follow.

Like I said before, I truly believe now that everything happens for a reason. I’ll never regret my years living in Northern Kentucky and greater Cincinnati. But always up for an adventure, I’m excited about beginning the next chapter of my life. At home. My real home.

The Secrets to Living a Long Life

Did earlier generations have some secret to longevity that we just don’t get today?

My grandmother and my great aunt Inga both lived well into their late 80’s and early 90’s. And they lived, traveling to Washington in their advanced years to see the cherry blossoms and generally having a great time together. Striking blonde Norwegians with big beautiful eyes who were flappers back in the day. Racing around in big cars, wearing fur coats and carrying flasks of whiskey while they chased down the next party. Looking far too knowing and far too pretty in the old brown photos.

Nowadays people drop right and left from things like smoking and tanning. In the old days, they relished the outdoors- and we’ve all heard stories of someone who knew someone who smoked his whole life and lived to be 100.

On the Today show this morning they celebrated centurions. Some of them have been celebrating every year now for several years.

Dave is 100. He’s been to every country in the world, save three.

John is 108. And was one of the first members of the St. Louis Symphony.

A local woman, Winnie is 102. And known for her fried pies! Go figure. They find someone from here and she’s known for her weird specialty fried food.

They live in Naples, Florida, Bainbridge Island, Washington and too many other beautiful places to list.

What’s the secret to a long life? Living an interesting life? Living in a beautiful place?

Or just digging in your heels and refusing to go?

Or maybe they have so many beautiful memories of a life well-lived… They just keep reliving them over and over again.

Buried among the Google results for longevity, a long list of vitamins, potions and elixirs that will allow you to live forever, I found an article that discussed the people of Okinawa. Okinawa has more centurions than any other place on earth. What are their secrets? And how do I rate?

  1. Maintaining a healthy, positive attitude about life. Okinawans believe that everything will work itself out so there’s no reason to worry about anything. Great. I worry about everything. All the time. I worry about my family, my friends, hell, I worry about people I don’t even know. I’ll give myself a 7 out of 10 on the worrywart scale.
  2. Okinawans form strong relationships and have an active social life. I’m all over this secret for longevity. True, they didn’t specifically mention alcohol. But surely that’s a component of these longevity-inducing social gatherings. I score a 10/10 on the social butterfly scale.
  3. The people of Okinawa eat a very healthy diet. Well. I am trying to eat a very healthy diet. Beer and potato chips seem to keep sneaking in the back door but I stand strong against them both (most of the time). I’ll give myself a 7 for my healthy dieting efforts.
  4. Lead an active life like the Okinawans and you’ll live forever; they exercise daily, do tai chi and work in the garden. Again. I am trying. I walk along the river and ride my exercise bike and I will start yoga again. Soon. I get a another 7 out of 10 for activity.
  5. Refrain from bad habits. No smoking or alcohol. I guess I should have read ahead. I get a 3 out of 10 for my many vices. Which are too comprehensive to list here.
  6. Work at a relaxed pace. I have this one nailed! I should be able to tack on a few more years to my life with this one. Maybe that will make up for all of my minuses. I score a 9 out of 10 for working at my own pace.

But even in Okinawa, the younger generations show signs of becoming the unhealthiest group in Japan. They are obese, and most of the young men smoke.

My well-researched article then deteriorated into hawking the benefits of fish oil. Which I already take, by the way. Just one of several vitamins I ingest daily.

Hopefully, like the article says, they’ll keep me young and healthy.

Kenton County Library Amnesty Week - July 24 through July 31

Bring back overdue materials and avoid paying fines during the Kenton County Library's Amnesty Week happening July 24 through July 31.

Fines will be waived for all overdue materials returned during the amnesty period. Overdue items may be returned to the circulation desk or through the book drop at any of the Library locations.

July 2007- Yard Sales, Mainstrasse, Library

Just a few things to do in Northern Kentucky this July:

Newport's East Row Historic District Yard Sale is Saturday, July 14th at the Kentucky Haus Artisan Center, 411 E. 10th St. 859.261.4287

Covington's Mainstrasse is your go-to place for Monday Happy Hours in July: The Summer Songwriter Series in the Village features well-known local artists like Jayne Sachs and Tracey Walker each Monday from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. The singers perform in front of the fountain, making a slow amble through the village a must. Stop and have a drink at one of the many bars in Mainstrasse that feature outdoor seating: The Cock and Bull will have prime viewing and listening no matter where you sit yourself.

The Leapin Lizard Gallery at 726 Main Street in Covington's Mainstrasse features the R3 shw through the end of July. Check out one of my favorite mediums, art crafted from found, recycled and discarded materials.

The Kenton County Library has many, many fun events for families and educational courses for the library's friends and neighbors. Check out their website for the full calendar.

Covington Kentucky Classic Car Show

Covington's Mainstrasse hosts the 5th annual classic car show Sunday, July 15th. The show runs from 11-6 with car registration open from 9 am until noon. Classic cars will be parked on the streets and walkways of Covington Mainstrasse and Goebel Park.

Park for free in Covington's 5th street lot; even parking karma won't help you find a spot on the street.

tahoe fires

From my dear friend Lora, a longtime resident of Lake Tahoe. For many years, Tahoe has been a favorite gathering place for my family. One of my brothers was even married at the Cal-Neva. It remains, for all of us, one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

Friends and Fam,

Thank you immensely for all calls, emails, texts, and good thoughts of concern during the Angora Fire. Please know that we are all okay. It's truly amazing that no one was hurt considering how fast the fire moved and the density of the area affected. The area struck, bordering Meyers and South Lake Tahoe, is a highly residential area, where many of our crew call home, and where many of you have stayed when visiting. Of the 180 some odd homes destroyed, roughly 70% were second homes and the firefighters did an absolutely amazing job of preserving as many permanent residences as possible. Pls see a few dramatic picts attached taken by friends.

That said, Billy, my big Bro, did loose his place to the fire. Billy, in true Elder form, lives minimally and lost little more tangibles than his sleeping place and some clothes. Unfortunately Eric, who owned the home, and Jordan, his long term roommate, lost much more. I'm hustling to put a household together for them and i think we have secured most necessary items.

We're also working with two orgs to facilitate local donations from businesses and individuals, Tahoe Businesses Who Care (email: and Locals for Locals. If anyone is interested in helping out, please contact me as there are lots of folks that could use assistance.

Lastly, i have to stress that no tourism areas at the Lake have been affected and the Basin is absolutely as stunning as ever. Our clear blue skies, crisp, fresh air, killer trails, gentle breezes, and the aquamarine and azure waters of the Lake are, as always, simply breathtaking and awe inspiring. PLEASE get the word out that Tahoe Summer is in full swing and the town is ready for vacationers. I've also attached an equally dramatic but more serene shot of what Tahoe looks like these days post-fire.

Again, thank you all for your Concern -- and Come Visit!