Thanksgiving in Cincinnati, Part 1

My brother is attending law school in Cincinnati, so he lives in the greater Cincinnati area.  Cincinnati provided a convenient midpoint between Illinois and New York, so my family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving there this year.  It wasn’t the most traditional Thanksgiving, but it was wonderful!

We converged on Wednesday, with my parents driving in and me flying in.  My brother picked me up at the airport (thanks, Dave!), and then we met my parents at the hotel.  Before we left Cincinnati, I was the mayor of the hotel!

We had dinner that night at Brio, which was really good.  We then went to a cavernous German bar (the stamp of which I still cannot get to wash completely off my hand) and listened to a not-so-German band, but eventually the smoke was wearing on us and we had to leave.  It has been so long since I’ve been in a bar that allows smoking that I forgot what it was like!  Mom and Dad were tired by this point, but Dave and I hung out a little more in the bar adjacent to our hotel, where we witnessed the guitarist have a strange family reunion with a bar patron.  (You’re cousins with Chaz?  I’m cousins with Chaz!)

On Thursday, we visited the Newport Aquarium.  I was pretty excited about that visit.  We had recently watched a show in which a woman overcame her fear of sharks by swimming with them, and I’d been wanting to go to an aquarium ever since.  The Newport Aquarium certainly has an amazing collection of sharks!  The aquarium has eighty-five feet of tunnels through a 385,000 gallon tank that allow you to walk through where the sharks are swimming.  I stopped so many times in amazement to watch the sharks swim over me.  You almost forget that you’re in the Midwest on dry land.

Dave and I measuring up against a shark

The aquarium had a bunch of neat stuff besides sharks, of course.  We learned about mudskippers, we watched an algae-covered snapping turtle come up for the only breath he needs every 55 minutes, and we sat in front of the penguin enclosure forever, watching the penguins dive into the water and zip around.

But my favorites were the sharks … especially the one I got to pet!

We had a very late lunch – partially because we were too enamored with the aquarium to tear ourselves away, but mostly because we couldn’t find anywhere to eat on Thanksgiving.  We finally found a Steak ‘n Shake that was open, which was a fun treat because it really reminded me of home.

me ruining a perfectly nice picture with my brother

smiling pretty after being reprimanded

Thankfully, we had reservations for dinner.  We had our Thanksgiving dinner at Chart House, a seafood restaurant with an amazing view of the river.  Seafood might not be the most traditional Thanksgiving choice, but I had salmon with a miso-maple glaze that, in my book at least, was much better than turkey.  Mom and I split dessert again, and we had a delicious chocolate lava cake that was certainly worth the wait.  (They burned the first one and we had to wait for a second.)

Our Thanksgiving was really lovely.  I’ll tell you more about the rest of my time in Cincinnati tomorrow!


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