Both myself and my 13-year-old eighth-grader had been struggling relentlessly to get things back to normal at work and home, but we quickly realized that getting back to normal is exhausting. Cincinnati offered a cosmopolitan option that was travel-friendly and welcoming in a way that a northwestern Ohio city could. So, we decided to take a road trip to Cincinnati and embark on some much-needed self-care.
Where to Visit:
You must try a Stratus Helicopter ride to release some built-up anxiety by being lifted high up over the city and whisked away.
At Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport, we met with Colton, our pilot. This being my first, I didn’t know what to expect. The ride, however, did not disappoint. Mid-air a breathtakingly lifting tree-top view of the city greeted us.
“From up here you get to see things from a whole new perspective,” Colton told us. “Even if for just a few minutes, you really do forget whatever was troubling you on the ground and you are above it all up here, figuratively and physically.”
And, I couldn’t agree more.
What to See:
We had a chance to meet the husband and wife team behind Artichoke Curated Cookware. While the store offers everything from pots and pans to kitchen accessories and ornaments, the little doggie bed for the resident store canine told us that this was no ordinary store.
As Brad and Karen Hughes gave us a tour of all the four floors of storefront, home, office, living, dining, urban garden, beehive, and entertaining spaces of their house, I felt inspired.
It had been their plan to build a business and home so that they could retire; not knowing that their plan would lead them to owning the Artichoke brand. And instead of retiring, the brand kept them busy as they expanded it to other cities.
“I retired from the University of Cincinnati and Brad retired and got bored very easily,” Karen told me.
“We wanted to do something that we had never done before, “ Brad added.
Where to Sleep:
21c Museum Hotel is part hotel, part art gallery. There was art everywhere.
As we walked into the reception, we were greeted with a mural of an original Kehinde Wiley drawing of a Black man in baseball jeans atop a white spread encased in a sea of flowers set against a juicy golden-hued background. It was the exuberant “Hello” that we were looking for in a hotel after a long road trip.
The hotel houses art by Titus Kaphar, Firelei Báez, Berni Searle, Vivek Vilasini, Fahamu Pecou, among others.
We shared a two-bedroom suite with a living room between us. It was fabulously modern. All of 21c’s luxury suites feature a king-sized bedroom, along with separate living space with a sectional sofa and a work area with an oval-shaped table that includes a booth-style seating area.
This was the respite we needed.
What to Eat:
Prime Cincinnati was just a walking distance from 21c and had the perfect classy atmosphere and live music. That vocalist of that night’s live band sang old school R&B and the vibe was smooth and mellow.
The restaurant has been named by Certified Angus Beef® as its Steakhouse of the Year in 2019.
We ordered the 8-ounce filet mignon that comes with a kickass blue cheese horseradish crust bronzed with brandy peppercorn. The steak was served with crab oscar, and grilled asparagus drizzled with hollandaise.
We were so stuffed from the immaculate presentation that by the time our pretzel-crusted chocolate brownie arrived, we were ready for bed.
Executive Chef Shawn Heine and team have truly created a bold mix of entrees, drinks and atmosphere great for an evening dinner.
What to Drive:
During our trip, we traveled in a 2022 Cadillac Escalade Platinum, equipped with Super Cruise and wide plush seats.
Our four hour drive from Detroit to Cincinnati felt amazingly comfortable. The built-in navigation and voice recognition made finding all our destinations a hands-free breeze.
While this SUV is a monster in size, it was just the right height above the ground which made me feel like I owned the road. The multiple external cameras installed on the car helped me avoid any obstacles too low to be seen.
And, the spacious cabin inside this humongous SUV and the hi-amp quality speakers had us streaming and gliding, blasting our favorite songs while singing at the top of our lungs.