2016 in Review

For the past few years, I’ve looked back through my photographs and selected a few (this year many) that tell my story for the year.  It’s a great way to document some of the joys and beauty that fill your life.   My 2016 began with a trip in January to visit friends in Grand Cayman Islands.  For such a small island, there are lots of unique wildlife.  This Iguana was out by the pool…

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We went for a hike and this blue-throated Anole’s vibrant colors caught my eye!

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Not sure if this is an egret, a stork, or something else?

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One of the highlights was swimming with the Stingrays.

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I learned how to stand up (and paddle a little) on an inflatable paddle board…

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After returning to Ohio, we had a beautiful snow.  That’s our small shed.

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I didn’t have to endure the cold for too long because I took a small group (three people) to Central America for two weeks in February, through my Travel Spirit Meetup.  We visited Antigua, Guatemala.

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and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…

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We then flew to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and that’s me horseback riding on the beach.  I wanted to gallop and that I did!

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and we watched the surfers…

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We then moved on to Granada, Nicaragua for three nights…

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Next, we flew to Panama City, Panama…

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As a freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 30 photo shoots this year.  The cool thing about working for them is that I can pitch ideas and if they like it, I’m given the assignment.  Here are a few of the shoots…

View of Northern Kentucky from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati…

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The Asian Food Fest at Washington Park in Cincinnati…

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Jazz in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

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Top of the Park restaurant/bar overlooking the Ohio River from Cincinnati…

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84.51 building in downtown Cincinnati…

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One of the dishes served at The Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio

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Kellie Pickler from American Idol at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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Calysta Bevier (from America’s Got Talent)

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A welder (a somewhat unusual assignment for me, but fun)…

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Indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train experience.  One of the perks…my husband was able to join me for a free dinner/ride.

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Cincinnati Prime Restaurant Grand Re-Opening…

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Shawnee Lookout Park, North Bend, Ohio

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Horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch in Metamora, Indiana (there’s the hubby on the right)

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Metamora, Indiana

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Shawnee State Park, West Portsmouth, Ohio

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Thanksgiving Day Race, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

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Through my own business, Sherry Lachelle Photography, I had quite a few real estate photos (here are three of them)…

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My third wedding reception for friends…

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A family photo shoot…

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Another family photo shoot, but the little boy stole the show…

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Senior Photos for my beautiful second cousin

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One of the most time-consuming and important accomplishments this year was starting a business in partnership with Urban Adventures, called “Cincinnati Urban Adventures“.  I give tours of Cincinnati.  This group of guys (most from the UK) were loads of fun!

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This is a wine tasting/foodie tour and I have a beer/tasting foodie tour also.

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My longest trip this year and a truly amazing experience was taking two people through eight countries back in June for a month.  We began in Bulgaria (three Cities)…

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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We then headed to a variety of Cities in Romania.  Peles Castle was amazing!

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Bran Castle aka Count Dracula’s Castle in Romania

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These next photos are also in various Romanian cities…

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I took photos of at least three brides in different cities throughout Europe on this trip…

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Sibiu, Romania has its eyes on you!

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We then flew to Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church

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We took an over-night cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia and had 72 hours to see what we could.  The Hermitage Museum was amazing!

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Peterhof Park and Palace

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We took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia…

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A bus to Riga, Latvia…

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Another bus to Vilnius, Lithuania and one of the highlights was Trakai Castle…

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Next up, a bus to Warsaw, Poland…

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And then a train to Krakow, Poland…

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Where of course we went to Auschwitz.  Unbelievably sad and horrific…

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I took a long weekend /solo trip to Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and got paid for my photographs.

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The Rock n Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland

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Cuyahoga National Park

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Later in the summer, just for fun, at Serpentine Wall along the Ohio River in Cincinnati…

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Fountain Square at night, Cincinnati

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A car show

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Canoeing at Green Acres Canoe in Harrison, Ohio (and got paid for this one)

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A Bengals football game.  We had nose bleed seats, but I had my zoom lens…

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Of course there were family get-togethers.  My son and his girlfriend at our home for a Bengals watching party/bon-fire etc.

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and at a holiday party…

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Jake trying to catch frogs in the Koi Pond…

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Kate walking the tight-rope…

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My husband and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area in mid-December…

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I read or listened to almost 50 books.  A few of my favorites, in no particular order, were: Flowers for Algernon, A tree grows in Brooklyn, The invisible bridge, The red umbrella, My name is Lucy Barton, The Shoemaker’s Wife, These is my words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, Lilac Girls, Me talk pretty one day, Salt to the Sea, Someone knows my name, and Plainsong.

In between, I prepared new and old recipes, hiked, biked, ran a 5-K fundraiser, went motorcycling, lots of girls’ nights out, and dinners/parties with my husband.  The older you get, the more you want to squeeze in!

I hope next year is as good as this one was!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

The World’s largest recirculating swimming pool located in Cincinnati, Ohio

When Sunlite Pool was constructed in 1925 at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was and still is the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world, holding over 3 million gallons of water, measuring 200 x 401 ft., and ranging in depths from six inches to 10 feet.  Although it’s capacity is 10,000 swimmers, luckily when my friends and I visited yesterday, there may have been 100-200 guests enjoying the picture perfect 90 degree weather!  After lazing around on our rafts in the pool and sipping on a cold beverage, we were ready for some tubing fun on the Twister!

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I don’t remember the first time I visited the pool–some time back in the mid-70’s–and the most recent visit before yesterday was perhaps 7-8 years ago.  A lot has changed over the years.

Coney Island’s first name was Parker’s Grove (named after its owner, James Parker), opening in 1870 and consisted of a dining hall, dancing hall and bowling alley. People were transported the 10 miles from Cincinnati by riverboat before the automobile was invented. In addition to Sunlite Pool, Moonlite Gardens, an open-air dance hall was built the same year. Through the years, new rides were constructed and now the Park has 24 fun rides for both young and old to enjoy!

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Due to its riverside location, six major floods have damaged the Park: 1913, 1937 (submerging it under 28 feet of water), 1964, 1972, 1991, and 1997.

In the early 1950’s, Walt Disney made a visit to Coney Island to get ideas for Disneyland.

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Ownership has changed hands numerous times through the years, and in 1969, Taft Broadcasting purchased the Park and decided to build Kings Island, a new theme park in Northeastern Cincinnati. Coney Island closed in 1971 for three years, but Sunlite Pool continued its operations.  Reopened in 1974, the Park began to come to life again and after the Riverbend Music Center opened in 1984, new rides and attractions were constructed.

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Taken from Coney Island’s website: “Once given up for dead, a victim of its own success, Coney Island is alive again. While it is no longer the region’s largest amusement facility, it retains many of its beloved traditions-swimming at Sunlite Pool, dancing under the stars in Moonlite Gardens, picnicking and strolling along the Ohio River.”

The people of Southwestern Ohio are indeed fortunate. Their beloved local amusement park refused to die and gave its owners no choice but to rebuild it into what it does best — create memories.”

The Man Who Built a Castle

At the bottom of a steep yet very narrow and winding road in the town of Loveland, Ohio, stands a medieval castle named Chateau Laroche (aka Loveland Castle & Museum).   Built by Harry Andrews, a former World War I army veteran, who acquired the land in 1927 and began construction in 1929, it was a labor of love.

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Andrews carried tons of stones in an estimated 56,000 five-gallon pails from the Little Miami Riverbed upon which the Castle sits and made bricks by pouring concrete into old milk cartons.

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It was during his tour of duty in Europe that Andrews fell in love with castles. Upon his return, he formed the Knights of the Golden Trail (KOGT), a group he said would be dedicated to helping save civilization, which he felt had seriously eroded. Their code of conduct is simply to follow the Ten Commandments.

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Working on the castle every weekend until he retired in 1955 at the age of 65, and then full-time, the castle was Andrews’ life work.

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The castle boasts a great hall, a banquet hall, an armory, a bedroom for Andrews, a watchtower, and a real dungeon with cells. Some of the rooms are full of memorabilia from the dark ages. Continue reading

Final Friday at Pendleton Art Center

Final Friday at Pendleton Art Center is always a fun and interesting event in Cincinnati.  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll remember I started my evening by attending Art after Dark at the Cincinnati Art Museum with my new friend, Jena.  It was a night filled with art and fun!  After that I drove to Over the Rhine, where the Pendleton Art Center is located and began looking for a parking spot.  I told Jena I felt lucky and drove up a side road next to the Center.  Up ahead was a vehicle with its brake lights on, so I pulled alongside, opened Jena’s window and asked the guy behind the wheel if he was leaving.  He said he was trying to, but couldn’t get his SUV out of the parking spot.  Jena offered to help and stood outside trying to guide him.  I could tell we may be there a while, so I put my car in park, jumped out and offered to do it for him.  He said, “Sure”.  Within 20 seconds I had his vehicle on the road and he thanked us.  I then parallel parked in the spot and we were on our way!  I know what you’re thinking.  That may not have been the safest thing to do, especially in that area of town, but I had a gut feeling that it was OK.

Jena had never been to the Pendleton Art Center and was a bit overwhelmed with how much there was to see on eight levels of the old building!  Here are a few my favorites…

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Oh…and here’s the beautiful and stylish Jena.  She’s my height, 5′ 10″ tall, so it was nice to hang out with another tall lady!

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Continue reading

Jungle Jims International Market

Yesterday was absolutely glorious!  The sun was shining and it was in the 50’s!  After taking Jake (my dog) hiking, I went to Jungle Jim’s International Market.  Jungle Jim has two grocery stores in the Cincinnati area–one on the West side and one on the East side.  I used to work for him at his Banquet Center as the Event and Sales Manager–selling the space and helping corporations/brides/etc. decide on how to set the room up, what food to serve, the timing, etc.

His stores are amazing!  They have over 20,000 s.f. of space and over 150,000 items for sale.  You can spend hours looking.  He just opened the store on the East side…the one I went to.  There are maps at the entrance!  This is what it looks like when you enter…

The restrooms look like port-o-lets…but they’re not.  Once you enter, you’ll find normal stalls, sinks, etc.  They were voted one of the best public restrooms in the nation!

Jungle (that’s what we call him) is a bit of a prankster!

You’ll find other stores within his store…

He has hookahs for sale…

People from neighboring States come to shop because of the selection of goods from other countries (hence the name “International” market).  I love the use of props!  Guess which culture is being represented here…

Jungle prides himself in having the largest selection of certain items…such as hot sauce…

There’s an entire section devoted to children’s candy!

Now this is my style…hippy chick!  I wish I could tour around the world with this…or something similar!  I just entered a contest to win a teardrop camper…somebody has to win!

The wine and beer selection is unbelievable!

I like the sports fans in the stands…

For 25 cents you can have a taste from a few selections of the day…

Don’t forget…they also have food and lots of it…

 

 

Jungle keeps a watchful eye!  I noticed some of the employees following me around while I was taking photos.  They reminded me of the FBI and I felt like ducking behind displays to lose them!

I bought a huge dog bone for Jake while I was there.  It’s at least a foot and a half long!  He’s gnawing on it right now…

 

If you’re ever within a 100 mile vicinity…I would definitely recommend a stop at Jungle’s!  Jake would too!!