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Spring Grove: So Much More

Yes, Spring Grove is a cemetery (the second largest in the nation I might add); however, it’s also an arboretum, a park, a lesson in history, the story of Cincinnati, and so much more.  And, Spring Grove isn’t just a place to visit in the summer; in fact, it’s beautiful any time of year.  I know that writing about a cemetery might seem a bit macabre, but I assure you that this is a stunning place to celebrate life.

I was fortunate enough to tour the grounds with Spring Grove historian, Skip.  I made sure to take my husband, a history connoisseur, for the tour; we cruised around on a golf cart while Skip thoroughly answered our questions and provided us with an extensive introduction to the “who is who” of the cemetery, the history of the grounds, and the significance of many monuments.  This tour was so good! My husband first took me to Spring Grove years ago and we’ve revisited several times since then simply because it’s remarkable.  The cool thing is that anyone can take one of the public tram tours or call to set up a private tour of your own.  Depending on your interests, you could learn more about the beer barons of Cincinnati, the women of Spring Grove, the architecture, or the soldiers of the Civil War.

Whether you like to power walk or slowly stroll, there are 42 paved miles at Spring Grove just waiting.  On their website, there is also a link to an events calendar. Here you can find things like Car Shows, an Autumn Color Walking Tour (yes, please), Public Tram Tours, Twilight Tours, 5K’s, Holiday Concerts and more.  Every season hosts new opportunities to explore the grounds.

Spring Grove is not just a cemetery, but a celebration of life. It is one of the Top 10 Things to do in Cincinnati for a reason. Drive through it, run through it, walk through it, tour it . . . just go and take in the hills, lakes, mausoleums, wildlife, and iconic residents.  Spring Grove is a beautifully cared for landmark that is so worth your time.

Tip: Be sure to bring your camera! And, if you’d like a map, stop by the office to pick one up.

GO THERE (Spring Grove)! TRY THAT (Historical Tour; Walk)! 

Cincinnati Area Farm Stands and Farmers’ Markets

Nothing says summer like home grown tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, and delicious watermelon.  And, nothing reflects those flavors of summer better than buying fresh from local farm stands and farmers’ markets.  Now, I’m not going to hit on every single market in and around Cincinnati, but I will let you know some of my favorites!  Most importantly, I just want to encourage you to go out and try a bunch because nothing compares to the quality of buying super local and super fresh.  

Farm Stands:

Farm stands are typically located close to a farm; sometimes in more rural areas, but not always.  Many of these, like Turner Farm, Shaw Farm, Kinman Farm, and Burwinkel Farm, are open daily.  While some farms focus more on eggs and meats, others highlight produce.  If you have kids, most of these farms have fun activities for children!  Personally, I love Burwinkel Farm in Ross, OH.  Depending on where you live, it might be a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it.  The best sweet corn, watermelon, berries, and tomatoes I’ve had yet this summer have been from Burwinkel.  Absolutely summer at its best! 

Farmers’ Markets:

Farmers’ Markets are typically bigger in size and scope.  These are often festive gatherings full of people and can include live music and ready-to-eat food from vendors.  At farmers’ markets you can also shop for much more than fruits, meats, and vegetables. Along with farm fresh produce, you can find jewelry, fresh cut flowers, soaps, locally roasted coffee, sweet treats, salsas, and so much more. You will probably spot some familiar faces from local businesses like Blue Oven Bakery, Street Pops, O Pie O, La Terza Coffee, and Bridges Nepali Cuisine.  And, there is at least one market every single day of the week.  I haven’t been to all of them yet, but here are some great ones:

    1. Hyde Park– Sunday mornings, 9:30-1:00
    2. Loveland– Tuesday afternoons, 3:00-6:30
    3. Northside– Wednesday evenings, 4:00-7:00
    4. Fort Thomas- Wednesday evenings, 3:00-7:00
    5. Madeira– Thursday afternoons, 3:30-7:00
    6. Milford– Saturday mornings, 10:00-2:30
    7. West Chester- Saturday mornings, 9:00-1:00

Why Shop Local Markets:

So why not just shop at the grocery store?  I mean, it is more convenient, right?  The thing is, you’d be missing out on the freshest produce picked at its peak (which means you get the most nutritional value and flavor)!  I also love that I’m supporting local farmers and I know where my food is coming from.  Plus, shopping at farmers’ markets connects you with the community.  What better way to discover local businesses?!  Extra bonus?  I eat much healthier when I’m grabbing greens and colorful fruits! Can I get an amen?

Supporting Local:

I guarantee you will discover some new favorite places that keep you coming back to those markets.  I’ve got quite a few.  Right now I’m craving some zucchini bread from Diane’s Heavenly Delights!  And last week I had the best lemon blueberry bagel from Five One Three Bagel Co.  Open my fridge and you will find some perfectly crunchy pickles from Pickled Paradise. Oh, and a couple days ago, when it was crazy-steamy-hot outside, my cutie patootie nephew Sam devoured a Street Pop gourmet creamsicle!  Yes, he shared a bite or two with me!

Tips Before You Go:

  1. Bring bags for your purchases
  2. Bring a cooler if interested in buying meats, eggs, pastas, pickles, etc. 
  3. Bring cash (most accept cards but not all do)
  4. Have a list but also come hungry

If you have a favorite farmers’ market or local farm, please share it with me!  Or, if you’re a frequent shopper at other places that focus on local produce, I’d love to hear about it!

GO THERE (Local farms and farmers’ markets)!  TRY THAT (fresh produce, supporting local businesses)!