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Summer In The City

With summertime approaching, one blogger from HighStreet is willing to spill the beans on what makes the season of summer truly special for him. Now, some of the following suggestions are obvious and others, sacred secrets. But for the sake of you, the reader,  full disclosure is provided. You might think fun comes only by getting away during the summer, but don’t let that limit you. There is plenty in Cincinnati for you if you know the terrain.

If your summer isn’t summer without water activities, then we have two places for you:  There is a beach nearby, even if it is made of fine gravel and not pure sand. Head to East Fork State Park off of State Route 125, south of Batavia. Follow the signs in the park to the beach area.  Though many families use the beach, it is large enough that it is never seems overcrowded. The water is decent and you can soak up the sun for as long as you want. I suggest you take your i-pod and earphones to muffle the sound of motorized water toys buzzing across the lake and children squealing, listen to your most transcendent tunes and transport yourself to a mini-vacation of the mind. With the sun above, the breeze from the water It’s a bit of a hike from downtown, forty minutes or so…To make up for the gas you use getting there, you’ll be happy to find there is no cost to use the beach.

For something closer to home, the Mount Adams Pool is a sublime long-time secret of the sophisticated downtowner.  Located behind Playhouse In The Park, the fee for the entire summer remains ridiculously low (10 bucks for the entire Summer Season…). It is not a particularly large pool so swimming laps is not something you could easily do, but it is neatly kept and usually low-key. For working on your tan, dipping in the water to cool off, chatting, reading or relaxing a bit after the work-day, it cannot be beat. Do us a favor though and keep this close to your vest, as the pool is blissfully uncrowded and we would like to keep it that way.

After a day of play head to the Pirate’s Cove Bar and Grill at the “Four Seasons Marina” on Kellogg Avenue. Eat, drink, dance, or whatever floats your boat (pun intended) while looking out on the marina. We are always tempted to feed the ducks but haven’t yet. Maybe you will, though.

If you want exercise, try the International Friendship Park by the “Montgomery Inn Boathouse” on the river. You can walk or run laps through the park and there is a water fountain at the halfway point. It is coolest at dusk but you will have to duck swarms of insects then. But hey, bugs are just another component of summer, right?

Of course to get calories for all of these activities you need lots and lots of ice cream. If you ever grow tired of Graeter’s (I know, blasphemous as that sounds), there are three outstanding places to get soft serve that do not involve the name “Dairy Queen.” The first is the Mount Healthy Dairy Bar on Hamilton Avenue, just north of the “downtown” area in Mt. Healthy. Get the banana split. It comes in a cup just like we used to get down south when I was in college.

Putz’s Dairy Whip off of Interstate 74 at Montana Avenue uses ice cream machines from the 1930’s. This is significant because these contraptions trap less air in the ice cream and result in thick goodness. Just a plain ice cream cone is all that is needed to be ordered here.

Newtown Farmer’s Market has frozen custard that is pretty good. The only trouble with going here for your sweet tooth is the decision between the custard and one of the Amish fruit pies which are the best you can get in the 275 loop.

Now I know that we’ve jumped around a bit but one last item that really makes summer for this blogger is baseball. While the Reds have 81 home games at Great American Ballpark, I try to get to as many of them as I can. I have learned how to do this as cheaply and pleasantly as possible. It involves a small amount of planning and standing around but games can be seen for only $5. Time your arrival to the downtown area at 6 pm. Park your car on the street around the Taft Theatre area. Several spots should be open at 6 pm and parking is prohibited until then due to rush hour. The meters do not require money after 6 also so the parking is now free. It’s a 5 minute walk to the stadium from this area. Buy a $5 corner upper-deck ticket and go grab a snack or hang out under the smoke stacks in center field. You must stand but you can lean on the railings and your friendly usher Joe will keep you company. It’s that simple and the view of the game is great.In later innings you can pretty much sit anywhere in the park in an empty seat.  If you want a comparison, luxury tickets for New York Yankees games this year are $2500 per game. $5, free parking, and some standing does not sound so bad now does it?

There you have it. Summer in a nutshell for me. Use what you will and of course, don’t forget to spend at least one afternoon lounging in the book section at HighStreet this summer.

Michael Spurrier. HighStreet. Cincinnati

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