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Jack O’Lantern Spectacular

It is good to be back, friends!  After a short break of getting into the oh-no-back-to-school mode, it’s nice to be writing again!  There are so many places I want to talk about!  And, time is of the essence for this particularly illuminating post.

It’s probably no surprise that I love all things holiday! If there’s a way to celebrate a season, I’m in!  But, I am too cowardly to enjoy Halloween Haunted Houses.  While I can appreciate a teeny weeny amount of scare, I prefer Fall events that feature the changing and falling of leaves, hot cider, pumpkins, cool temps, and lots of lights!  That’s why I am super excited to share my recent trip to the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular in Louisville, KY.

I’ve been trying to go to this event for three years, and life keeps getting in the way!  Not this year!  And it was worth the wait.  Think five million pumpkins (okay, more like five thousand), themed music, lights in trees, a dark forest (well, it’s more like a dark park), and a cool, autumn breeze.  Just what the season calls for.

As you journey through the woods, you will see a variety of carved pumpkins: scary, happy, dopey, sad, angry, silly, and more; it’s pumpkins galore.  There are also themed sections which showcase professionally carved pumpkins that truly are works of art.  A few of my favorite sections included Fairy Tales, Edgar Allan Poe, Mother Goose, and Inspiring Figures.  It’s pretty cool- the music changes with each section as well.

If you want to check out the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular, you have a couple options.  You could drive down, arrive by 7 pm, spend a couple hours, and drive home.  Or, you could make it an overnight.  That’s what we did.  I’m such a fan of Louisville.  We stayed in NuLu– an area full of cute shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.  In fact, our favorite restaurant, the Mayan Cafe (local, seasonal Mayan food), was just across the street from our Airbnb.  We also stumbled onto a new Vietnamese restaurant, Chick’n & Mi, that served, hands down, one of my favorite pork ramen dishes. Trust me, I’m still dreaming about those noodles.

So whether it’s this season or next, be sure to make the drive down to Lousiville for the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular.  The show runs daily from dusk to 11 p.m., during the week (Sunday-Thursday), and closes at midnight on Friday & Saturday.  You can find out about buying tickets here.  


  • Wear tennis shoes or boots (boots if it’s been raining).
  • Speaking of rain, you can still go if it’s drizzling.
  • Most of the path is paved, but it is dark.
  • The line gets long; show up early.
  • Take your time- even if that means going against the crowd.  You want to see both sides.
  • Grab some hot cider or cocoa first.

GO THERE (Louisville, KY)!  TRY THAT (Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular)! 

ALL/ EAT (out)

Dining Outside: Cincinnati Patios (Part 1)

There’s just something special about outdoor patios.  When the weather is right, I love sitting outside with friends and family.  Stepping outside the traditional four walls of a restaurant provides a sense of freedom; it’s just easier to breathe deeply, to lean back, and to relax.  When we’re more relaxed, we tend to linger, enjoying the company of others.  Thankfully, we have plenty of wonderful outdoor dining opportunities in Cincinnati.  Some include incredible views of the city while others, the garden patios for example, offer lights strung from trees, flowers, and comfortable seating. It’s impossible to cover them all in one blog post, so I’m hoping this is the first in a series of patio posts.

Cabana On The River

Located along the Ohio River, this Westside hotspot is perfect for relaxing by the water with a great meal, drinking out by the tiki bar, or playing sand volleyball with friends.  I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get here.  The environment reminds me more of a beach vacation spot than a Cincinnati restaurant.  A storm blew in on the night we ate at Cabana On The River and it was stunning to watch.  If the weather does turn, no worries; there’s a large covered dining area that still provides a pretty nice view.  If you want something fun and casual, this is your place.  Plus, Cabana has live music on the weekends.

Cabana On The River

Incline Public House

The first time I ate at Incline Public House, I was blown away by the panoramic view!  I think I went back four times in two weeks with various friends and family members.  Incline Public House became an obsession! Located in Price Hill, Incline Public House gets it name from one of the historic (and super steep) Cincinnati inclines operating in the late 1800’s.  Like most of these places, you can dine inside, and if you don’t like a wait, it’s an option. But, I would much rather grab a drink and wait because the view from this 1400 square foot deck is spectacular!  With an in-house smoker and a brick oven, the menu is strong too (and so are the cocktail/craft beer offerings).

Incline Public House


A Japanese gastropub and sushi bar, Kaze, located in OTR, is a gem.  Yes, the restaurant is beautiful inside, but the patio is simply special.  It’s like an enchanted garden; even though it’s located on a busy street, the fenced in patio feels far away from the hustle and bustle of OTR.  I also appreciate the variety of seating at Kaze.  There are tall tables with benches and stools, round patio chairs with low tables, tables for two, and tables for groups.  Part of the patio is covered, but the majority is open.  Don’t miss the short rib dumplings, pork belly buns, and ramen.  Yum.



Who doesn’t like a German Biergarten? With traditionally decorated rooms, live music, men wearing lederhosen, and beer brewed on-site, Hofbrauhaus is a great time whether you eat inside or out.  Located in Newport, KY, Hofbrauhaus sits across the street from Newport on the Levee.  One of the things I most enjoy about this patio is the space.  The tables are long and spread out; I never feel like I’m in somebody’s business (or vice versa).  There are plenty of trees with white lights to keep the conversation going well into the evening so there’s no need to rush!


Left Bank Coffeehouse

Serving up Deeper Roots coffee, Left Bank Coffeehouse is full of unique, artistic touches.   There’s a flower lined patio in front of the shop and a beautiful deck to the side.  All the outside seating at Left Bank is charming, calming, and cozy.  This is the perfect place to relax with a good book or delve into deep conversation with a friend.  This family owned coffee shop, located in Covington, KY, is a neighborhood favorite.

Left Bank Coffeehouse


MadTree’s new location in Oakley is killer.  The exposed brick walls, open air ceiling, and colorful flowers redefine what the typical warehouse space feels like. It’s industrial and warm all at the same time.  This is great place to sip craft beer, to bring a dog, to play games, to listen to live music, and to relax in an adirondack chair.  Even the non-drinking friends will enjoy a casual afternoon or evening spent hanging out at MadTree.  This patio is great for friends, dates, and large groups alike.  Tip: Don’t miss out on Catch-a-Fire Café’s wood-fired pizzas located inside!

Mad Tree


Holy views, Batman!  When I saw a picture someone else posted of the rooftop bar at Rhinegiest, I couldn’t wait to go!  Rhinegeist, a local brewery in OTR, is known for hosting all kinds of special events from Art on Vine to Trivia Nights to charity events.  The huge, open floorpan is perfect for cornhole and ping pong matches.  But, this new addition . . . this rooftop deck . . . well, it’s astounding!  Basically, I want to live there!  Think 360 degree views of Cincinnati.  You can see downtown, Clifton, Mt. Auburn, and more.  Although no food is allowed on the roof, it does have its own bar! (Please know that my night time pic does not do it justice).  


There are so many places in and around the city with amazing patios. I could never cover them all in one post.  In fact, I’ve already got a few more incredible outside dining (and drinking) places lined up! However, I would LOVE for you, the reader, to comment on this blog post by including your favorite places for outdoor seating! Using your recommendations and discoveries, we can build a great patio resource for those of us who can’t get enough of outdoor dining.

GO THERE (A place with a nice patio)!  TRY THAT (Dining outside and sharing your experience)!

Kaze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato