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Afloat in Ohio

Ohio is a patchwork quilt of verdant fields, woodlands, energized cities and charming towns connected not only by roads but also by water.

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Boating in Cincinnati
The Cincinnati skyline.


In the 1800s, Cincinnati was one of the top beer brewing centers of the country, largely due to the huge population of German immigrants who settled here. City residents are reconnecting with their hoppy heritage through a resurgence in artisan breweries and the renovation of Over the Rhine, once a predominately German neighborhood separated from downtown by the Miami-Erie Canal.

Greater Cincinnati also includes its neighbors across the Ohio River: northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. You can hoof it over to Newport, Ky., on the delightfully named Purple People Bridge, an old railway line converted for pedestrian use, or cross to Covington, Ky., on the Roebling Suspension Bridge, built in 1866 as the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge.

Tie up at the 500-slip Four Seasons Cincinnati, east of the downtown, a sheltered harbor with accommodations for 70-foot boats and covered slips to 24-feet. Close to Coney Island and River Downs, Rivertowne Marina also offers covered slips and easy water access.

On the Kentucky side of the river, Riverside Marina in Dayton has overnight dockage and live music on the weekends at its floating bar and grill. Pull into one of the docks to sear your own on Monday Steak Night at Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club in Ludlow, Ky.

You can’t miss the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which celebrates the courage of both the fugitive slaves who crossed the Ohio on their way north and those who harbored them in a series of safe houses. 

If games of chance are your thing, Horseshoe Casino offers more than 2,000 slots and table games like roulette, craps and Mississippi Stud with high stakes options up to $50,000.

Cincinnatians aren’t only big on beer but on chili — their kind of chili, that is, served over pasta with a side of oyster crackers. The city’s 140 chili restaurants serve about 2 million pounds of chili topped with 850,000 pound shredded cheddar every year. Try it!

Mark your calendar for the MainStrasse Village Original Goettafest in Covington, chosen as one of the  ”Top Ten Festivals and Events‘ by the Kentucky Tourism Council. MainStrasse Village is a 19th century German neighborhood, and goetta is a German sausage made with oats and pork said to have originated here. It’s so popular there are two festivals held in its honor every year.

The 35th Taste of Cincinnati USA, the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival, is a six-block food extravaganza featuring the area’s great restaurants cooking up more than 200 dishes. There’s also live comedy and musical entertainment, and beer garden with a bunch of local brews.

Visit nearby Dinosaurs Alive, the best thing since Jurassic Park. The world’s largest animatronic dinosaur attraction is just one of many activities at Kings Island, a 364-acre amusement and waterpark about 30 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.

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