Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Great Things.......

A view of the Cincy skyline from across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky.

...about living in Northern Kentucky.

From the age of 12 until I was about 41, I lived in Northern Kentucky....just over the river from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. It's a nice area, mainly people of German and Italian descent and fairly Conservative leaning. Most of us Northern Kentuckians root for the Cincinnati Reds, the Bengals, and, of course, the University of Kentucky. There's also a close-by IHL hockey team, the Cincinnati Cyclones. It's where I saw my very first (and last) hockey match and, while it's not really the spectator sport for me, it was still interesting to watch.

Oh, and a bit of trivia....if anyone ever asks you where the Greater Cincinnati (CVG) airport can tell them it's in Northern Kentucky. Hebron, to be exact.

Anyway, since relocating to Florida a few years ago, I'll sometimes miss those old things I took for granted in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. There are quite a few great things about the area, so I figured I'd try to catalog my top five.

Here are my top five greatest things about living in Northern Kentucky.

A typical Northern Kentucky weekend.

Number 5: The seasons. Yeah, I can hear some people griping already..."It's too hot in the summertime and it's too cold in the winter". And, that's true. The temperatures can swing from one extreme to the other. It will be 40 degrees and rainy in the morning and 85 and sunny in the afternoon. It's no wonder my sinuses were always going haywire. We'd get thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards and even a couple of earthquakes (Kentucky is on a fault line) now and then. So, why is the weather so great?

Well, there's an old saying in the area "If you don't like the weather, just wait about five minutes and it will change."....and truer words were never spoken.

Great American Ballpark

Number 4: Events. Like I mentioned, the area has almost all the major sports covered. Baseball, football, hockey, college basketball, as well as NASCAR and the Kentucky Derby (about an hours drive south), of course. There is also a huge amusement park, King's Island, as well as golf and tennis tourneys at different points in the year.

We also have such regional events such as "Goettafest" (What? You don't know what goetta is? See the next section.), "Italianfest", "The Taste of Cincinnati", "Oktoberfest", and "Riverfest". Yep, lots of "fests" going on and most revolve around food.

And that brings me to my next category....

Number 3: Food. Oh man, this is one of the biggies. I really miss some of the food from the area and, mainly, because it's stuff I can't get down here. Places like Frisch's (where they serve tartar sauce on hamburgers....yes, you read that right), Gold Star Chili, Skyline Chili, and White Castle are all "must stops" anytime I go back home for a visit. I always ask visitors to bring down jars of tartar sauce, as "rent" for staying with us......just kidding.

Sort of.

Skyline Three-Way
Cincinnati style chili is a bit strange to explain. It was brought over by the Greeks and I once had a Greek friend of mine tell me it was more like "spaghetti sauce". Which makes sense because they usually serve it over spaghetti noodles with chopped onions and shredded cheese. It's one of the few places on the planet where you can ask for a "three way" and not get slapped.

Goetta and eggs

Oh yeah....goetta. Goetta is pretty big in the area and something I grew up on. Usually, you have it for breakfast, but it tastes great anytime of the day or night. I've heard it compared to something I'm not all that familiar with....scrapple. It's sort of like sausage and tastes better the crispier it gets. At least to me, it does.

Two Cincy area t.v. icons, Hattie the Witch and The Cool Ghoul

Number 2: T.V. Nostalgia. The local t.v. stations also held a lot of memories for me. From Al Schottelkotte News (one of the first broadcasts in the country to use a helicopter), to The Uncle Al Show, to The Cool Ghoul, growing up watching t.v. on the four channels we had was always a treat. We had channels 5 (NBC), 9 (CBS), and 12 (ABC) with WXIX (Channel 19) and, later, Channel 64 on the UHF side of things. I grew up watching Hattie the Witch, Uncle Al, The Cool Ghoul and Dark Shadows. It was also where I saw Ultraman and Speed Racer for the first time. Two shows that would remain with me until this day. There are a lot of times when I think I enjoyed t.v. so much better before the advent of cable.

Cincinnati t.v. also had Nick Clooney (father to George and brother of Rosemary) as a news anchorman for many years. To this day, I still think of George Clooney as "Nick Clooney's son." Another anchorman and one time mayor of Cincinnati was Jerry Springer. Everyone in the area knows Jerry Springer's real claim to fame and it has nothing to do with television. When he was a city council member he got busted paying a hooker with a check....that bounced.

True story.

Number 1: Family. Yep, most of my family is from and still lives in the area. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents (when they were still living) and friends. Almost anyone and everyone who means anything to me is here and that, right there, is reason enough to say that Northern Kentucky is a great place to live.

Oh yeah.....while not on the list, the best thing about living in Northern Kentucky is that you can have/do all of this without having to live in Ohio (ducks and runs!) Hehe.

And, for those of you in the States, I hope you all have a very safe and happy Fourth, as well!


Jeremy [Retro] said...

Sounds like a grand place... but I am taking away only this... "tarter sauce" on a hamburger, are they insane...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've had the chili before. With all that cheese, afraid I wouldn't eat it now.
At least by moving south, you're still in Nascar country.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Love the sound of all the fests! And the weather is something I can relate to - going out with sunglasses and an umbrella is normal down my way!

Mark Means said...

@Jeremy:'s pretty tasty, actually. I guess growing up with it made me wonder why everyone -didn't- put it on theirs :)

@Alex: Oh man, the cheese (the right kind, that is) makes it, for me. Though, probably not the best for you, healthwise.

@Annalisa: They're a lot of fun and I'm glad someone else can relate to crazy weather :)

Robin said...

You better duck and run. I grew up (mostly) in Ohio. I love King's Island, but it isn't near as fine as Cedar Point.

Leslie S. Rose said...

I spent many many summers in Louisville as a kid. Lots of kin there. I second White Castles as being great. The frozen ones you get in the store just don't cut it. I'd also like to nominate a ride on the Belle of Louisville paddle wheeler and going through the locks.

Leslie S. Rose said...

I spent many many summers in Louisville as a kid. Lots of kin there. I second White Castles as being great. The frozen ones you get in the store just don't cut it. I'd also like to nominate a ride on the Belle of Louisville paddle wheeler and going through the locks.

Mark Means said...

@Robin: in some parts of Ohio aren't that bad,except Ohio has the worst drivers I've ever seen in my life. I've head good things about Cedar Point, but never had the pleasure of going.

@Leslie: Totally agree...the frozen Castles can't even begin to compare. They don't even have a pickle on them, for pete's sake!! :)

Lisa said...

Had no idea about any of those things being in Kentucky, except the Durby. How cool for you! My daughter lives just north of Columbus Ohio and we drove through Kentucky on the way to visit her just before Memorial Day this year. Thanks for sharing all this. I'll keep it in mind next time we drive through!

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