Girls’ Weekend Port Clinton and Put-in-Bay

My annual tradition of spending a long weekend somewhere with girlfriends has come around full circle this past weekend, when myself and three friends drove from Cincinnati to Port Clinton, Ohio, and eventually ferried over to Put-in-Bay, where we began the tradition 22 years ago!  I don’t remember much about that weekend so many years ago, other than visiting the Marblehead Lighthouse, driving a golf cart around, and listening to a band on a beer splashed floor in a dark bar in the middle of the day.  This time was different.  We still had fun, in fact, we had more fun this time!  Initially we were going to stay on the South Bass Island where the village of Put-in-Bay is located, but with only a couple of months notice for planning the trip (creating a lack of options) and wanting to get some sleep, since many of the hotels are located near loud bars, I booked a condo through Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) in Port Clinton, located within walking distance (15 mins.) to the Jet Express for the 25 min. trip over.  After settling in and having a delicious lunch prepared by one of the “girls” at the condo, we made a drink and headed down to the pool and hot tub for some relaxation.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather…80 degrees and sunny afternoons!

We freshened up and headed out to the Mon Ami Winery, located a short 10-15 min. drive from our condo.

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Autumn has arrived at Indiana’s oldest and largest winery…Oliver Winery

Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana has stunning scenery…stone landscaping, sculptures, beautiful flowers, and tranquil seating areas.  For my annual girls’ weekend this year, five of us visited the winery this past Saturday.  It’s one of eight wineries on the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail.  The day before, a few of us went to the Butler Winery, which is also on the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail, and really enjoyed our time there.  They are very different from each other.  Butler Winery is much smaller, has a more homey feel and natural beauty, and only a handful of people were there.  As you’ll see from these photos…Oliver Winery was very crowded, but beautiful!

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Dee is taking our photo here…

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Hiking the Rock Shelter Loop Trail

I love hiking and so do my girlfriends, so on our recent girls’ weekend, we went hiking on the Rock Shelter Loop Trail in Morgan Monroe State Forest, Indiana.  I had researched hiking trails in the area, and this trail seemed to be a good choice.  The trail was only supposed to be 20 minutes away from our Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO), but getting lost on those back country roads made it seem much farther.  We couldn’t find the trail head once we were in the State Forest, but luckily I had the phone number for Morgan Monroe State Forest with me, so we called its location.  We weren’t going crazy…there was no sign for it.  The large sign said Low Gap Trail and then once you park and start that trail, there is a small sign (see below) indicating that the Rock Shelter Loop Trail is part of that trail.

Anyway, it was supposed to be a three-mile hike, but ended up being four miles.  I took a photograph of this leaf that was on a slick rocky portion of the trail.  The sunlight was illuminating it…

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First Stop on the Girls’ Weekend…Butler Winery

When I prepared the itinerary for my annual girls’ weekend this year, I included a stop at two of Indiana’s beautiful wineries.

After driving three hours from Cincinnati and getting lost a few times on the back country roads, we were ready for a glass of wine!  I had Google map directions and my friends had smart phones, but some of the streets didn’t have signs and we lost signal with the phones.  Butler Winery, located just five minutes from the Vacation Rental By Owner, was a convenient and fun stop!  They offer six complimentary tastings.

Notice the reflected vineyards in the window…

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Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus

My recent girls’ weekend to Columbus, Ohio included a short hike at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park.  We stopped there on Sunday before driving home.  The weather was glorious and the park surprised me with its proximity to downtown, one and one-half miles!
First, we had a buffet breakfast that was included with the room.  The hotel, “The Residence Inn by Marriott“, I found to be stylish, including the lobby and dining room.  The ceiling must have been 25 foot high..

We walked to the park, which boasts an outdoor climbing wall!

I’ve climbed one on a Mediterranean cruise and found it quite exhilarating!

The grounds were beautiful!  Autumn always fills me with an extra spark of energy!   Most likely it’s the cooler weather and dynamic colors!

We probably walked less than a mile, but the views were nice!

I hope you’re enjoying the outdoors this autumn!  That’s a wrap for the girls’ weekend.  We did and saw a lot in two days!!

Ladies Night in Columbus

An evening of dinner and dancing with girlfriends is always a great time and this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio for my annual girls’ weekend, was no exception!  Part of the fun is listening to music while getting ready and taking fun photos!

I think we all looked Fabulous!  Lets embrace getting older and remember the most important thing is to have fun!  Too often, when we look in the mirror (especially those magnified mirrors), we have that inner voice saying negative things about the changes that naturally occur.  Of course, I’m not saying to let yourself go–always try to take care of yourself and find ways to feel and look your best!

Dinner was scrumptious at Martini Modern Italian.  My friend Sherry’s sister-in-law, Jane, who lives in Columbus, joined us for the evening.  She bought our first round of martinis and they were sinfully good!  A gentleman at the bar bought us a round of martinis.  Since we weren’t driving we could indulge!  Our waiter, pictured below, was very attentive!

Our next stop was the Park Street Tavern.  They had a live band and it was a younger crowd…mostly 20’s.  When you’re the only “older” people there, sometimes it can feel a little awkward.

No one was dancing, but that didn’t stop us.  We broke the ice, and soon were joined by lots of other party seekers!

It was a great time!!

Walking Columbus

 

Columbus, Ohio is a beautiful City!  I visited there this past weekend for my annual girls’ weekend and loved it!  We stayed in the downtown area and walked almost everywhere.

After spending a couple of hours at the Columbus Museum of Art, we walked down to the riverfront…and as you can see…it was gorgeous!

Cindy’s having fun in the fountain!  We love to take advantage of photo ops!

There was a festival with live music and booths filled with art…

This artist obviously makes art from mirrors…

I took about four photos of this sculpture.  While reviewing them later, it was interesting to see how moving a couple of feet or changing the direction from which I took the photo, could so greatly impact the color and visual feel of the photo.

My friend Cindy just bought an Olympus camera (I also use an Olympus) and isn’t familiar with some of the settings yet.  She took this photo and wasn’t sure what she pushed to get the effect, but I definitely like it!

If you have girlfriends…let them know how much they mean to you and if you don’t…get some!!

 

The “Artsy” side of Columbus

My annual girls’ weekend was in Columbus, Ohio this year and one of the places we wanted to visit was the Columbus Museum of Art.  We passed a number of beautiful churches walking from our hotel to the Museum.

The doors were simply stunning!

The weather was beautiful and sunny!

I loved the fence around the museum!

We were impressed with the museum itself!  The architecture was beautiful and their use of color and light was amazing!

This area for dining was so open, light and airy!

The “Chihuly” art was spectacular in the sunlight!  I first became aware of Chihuly sculpture while on a trip by myself to Las Vegas.

This sculpture was suspended…

This painting was a favorite of mine…

I’ve always enjoyed pieces that resemble sun bursts!

There was a design show being held at the Museum and the representatives were there to sell the pieces.  They had free drinks and food…so of course we had to partake!

Leaving the Museum, there was another photo-op!

Just loving the sky and the buildings on the walk to the hotel!

Street Art and Wine in Columbus

One of the advantages to staying in the City center when you travel is the ability to walk to most of the activities you choose to do.  While in Columbus this past weekend for my annual girls’ weekend, we decided to go to a winery that was almost two miles from our hotel.  Some other activities on our “to do” list were the Columbus Museum of Art, dinner at Martini Modern Italian Restaurant, listen to a live band at Park Street Tavern, and hiking at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.  I printed off directions to each location.

We set off walking on High Street, which is the main drag filled with restaurants and bars.  Here are some of the sights along the way…

Compared to Cincinnati, downtown Columbus seemed smaller and cleaner.  I really enjoy street art and there seemed to be quite a bit of it…

I’m always excited to find interesting architecture and when I saw this man leaning against this building, I knew the composition was nice…

This was one of my favorite paintings and the area was lovely…

My friends thought this one was a bit creepy…

When I looked up and saw this guy hunched over his laptop (or book), I knew it would be a cool shot…

Camelot Cellars, the winery we went to was very nice.  The wine was excellent and the interior had a loft feel with the brick walls and high ceilings.  The only drawback was the lady that waited on us.  Her vibe was definitely negative.

There were only two other couples there and one of them was sitting at the bar with us.  The woman had a huge camera and I thought she was just taking photos for fun, but then the girl across the room let out a gasp and began kissing her boyfriend.  We quickly caught on that he had just proposed to her and the photographer was there to capture the moment!  It was so cute!

I know this is a little weird, but I noticed a gnat in my friend’s glass of wine.  So, after I fished it out for her she put her glass on top of it.  I thought it would make a cool macro shot!

We wandered through some of the shops we passed during the walk home.  This one was so colorful…

Hope your weekend was great!

Thurman’s Cafe in Columbus, Ohio

 

My annual Girl’s Weekend was in Columbus, Ohio this year.  It’s only one and one-half  hours drive there from Cincinnati, but I had a great time…as usual!  For the past five years we’ve been going to Cities…Nashville, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Lexington!  Anyway, this Cafe was made famous on the travel channel show–“Man vs. Food“.  They’re known for their huge hamburgers!

Every square inch of the interior was filled with an interesting mix of signs, games, art, and photos!

The four of us split two burgers and they were deeelicious!

We stayed at “The Residence Inn by Marriott” in a two bedroom suite in the heart of downtown and loved it!

The decor was modern, stylish and functional…

Although we only used the kitchen to make coffee and to make sandwiches for lunch one day, it’s nice to have!

Let the games begin!!

 

 

Reasons to book a “Vacation Rental by Owner” VRBO

Whenever I travel, I typically book a “Vacation Rental By Owner” (VRBO) for lodging.  Some of the reasons why they are a superior choice over hotels are:

  • They are almost always less expensive;
  • They have a kitchen (full house);
  • You’re helping individual businesses…rather than large chains; and
  • You can usually find one located in a unique part of the City.

My girls’ weekend trip to Lexington, Kentucky this past weekend was no exception.  For a three bedroom 2 1/2 bath home, located in the Chevy Chase district of Lexington, just a few miles from the center of downtown, we only paid $475 for two nights, which included the house cleaning fee.  The next few photos are where we stayed…

This was the bedroom I slept in.

Everything was updated and we all loved the decor!

This eclectic bookstore was located down the street from our rental…as well as quite a few restaurants and other boutique stores!

In Cincinnati we have decorative pigs everywhere and in Lexington there are horses everywhere…

I stayed at another beautiful VRBO this summer in Seattle, Washington that was located on Puget Sound.  If you’d like to check it out…click here.

Hope your weekend is great!!

Lexington…by day and night

To finish the walking tour of Lexington, Kentucky from yesterday’s post…this is the First Baptist Church.  I just LOVE the colors of this church…the pink and red just POP!

Resting and soaking up some Kentucky sunshine!!

We walked through the local farmer’s market which was located in the “Cheapside Park” area.  This had been the site of slave auctions and abolitionists’ passionate speeches!

We ate at Cheapside Bar & Grille.  Here’s a photo of my hamburger with caramelized onions and bleu cheese!

Next…we went to the Barrelhouse Distillery and had samples of their Pure Blue Vodka, Devil John Moonshine and Rum.  Woowee!!  We also received a quick run-down of how you make alcohol.

After arriving back at the VRBO, we took our time snacking, drinking and primping!  We had fun with our photo shoot…

That night we went to Bogarts at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  We got there too early and it was mostly people in their 70’s!  Then we went to a new nightclub called “Trust”.  It was too hoigty toity…so we went to the Skybar.  It was fun, but we never found the bar that quite fit us!

“Fall” in Love with Lexington

On the second day of our girls’ weekend, we went for a two mile…self-guided walking tour of downtown Lexington, Kentucky.  As you can see it was a glorious “fall” day!

Some of the sites we passed were the First Baptist Church, Mary Todd Lincoln‘s house, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, and many more…

This is “Gratz Park”…with lots of beautiful historic homes lining the streets surrounding this Park!

This is the old Courthouse…

 

Transylvania University is the oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains and the campus is beautiful!

Tomorrow, I’ll finish our walking tour…see you then!!

Wine and Women

Our second stop of the day on our annual “girls’ weekend”, was to Talon Winery in Lexington, Kentucky!

Here is the tasting room.  As you can see, the grounds and scenery were lovely!

For $5.00, you receive six tastings and they were yummy!  I had two Chardonnays, a Traminette, a Syrah, and their Chambourcin Reserve.

According to Wikipedia…the oldest known winery is located in the “Areni-1” cave in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia. Archaeologists announced the discovery of this winery in January 2011, seven months after the world’s oldest leather shoe, the Areni-1 shoe, was discovered in the same cave. The winery, which is over six thousand years old, contains a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups.  “The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier.”

It’s a good thing this glass wasn’t used!!

The Glory of a Lexington Horse Farm

After researching “things to do in Lexington” for our yearly “girls’ weekend”, I decided having a tour of a private horse farm would fit in nicely with our schedule and would be a unique experience with a personal touch!  I chose Taylor Made and our guide was “Emily”, the young lady in the next photo.  She was knowledgeable, professional and sweet!

The 1500 acre farm specialized in breeding and has received up to $8 million dollars for one conceived “baby”!  Usually, it’s more like $100,000…but still, that’s a lot!

While we were there for the hour tour, two gentlemen had arrived for their appointment to check out a couple of stallions for possible breeding, so we were allowed to watch them being brought out for show!

The farm was beautiful…even though it was an overcast day!

It was breathtaking to watch these horses race up the fence line!

 

 

They even had a small horse “cemetery”…

Here are the girls…from left to right….Gina, Cindy, Me, Sherry, and Michele.  Dee came the following day for the second night.

 

We learned quite a bit…this is the breeding room.  It usually takes about 45 minutes and they have someone restraining the stallion, so he doesn’t get too rough with the mare…such as biting her.  They videotape it for proof!

Here is the Mare‘s compound…

The tour is free…but you tip the guide.  We really enjoyed it!