Concrete Jungle | Cincinnati Photo Diary

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Wanted to share a few more photos from my trip to Cincinnati OH last month. I’ve got on more entry to the photo diary to post, but then it’s off to the beach!

Posting has been a little sparse recently and here’s why: things are so crazy that I feel I may be actually going I N S A N E. Between moving, tying up loose ends in Nashville, getting ready for the beach next week and then heading up to Seattle immediately after that–my head is spinning. So much excitement and adventure awaits!

But I’ve got to admit, my week at the beach that’s on the horizon is what’s keeping me going right now.

I’ll get a (late) playlist up just as soon as I get some time.

 

Have a great week!

 

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Findlay Market | Cincinnati OH City Guide

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Top 10 Reasons you should visit the Findlay Market in Cincinnati:

10. Buckeyes. If you’ve been to Ohio before, then it’s probably been recommended to you to try these sweet, ohio-specific, treats. Buckeyes start out with a creamy, peanut butter center that is dipped into chocolate which then hardens into the perfect shell. (It’s better than Reese’s, guys.)  Not only are there buckeyes available, but other sugary surprises like macaroons, homemade fruit tarts, and SO many cookies.
9. Fresh Flowers. One of my favorite parts of any farmer’s market are the buckets of fresh flowers set out for people to admire and purchase. The bright colors are so hard to resist and the temptation to buy some for the table is always too much to fight. The cool thing about the Findlay market was the selection of air plants and unique, decorative plants. I was really taken with this little fellow who had purple chiles growing off of it’s vines and I hope to find another one like it some day.
8. Butchers. You’ll never have more desire to throw a backyard end-of-summer BBQ than you will when you see what these guys have got for you. So many brats and steaks that looked like prime cuts.
7. Produce. There was such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available at Findlay! I was truly impressed by how many different things each of the venders was offering.
6. Local artisans. On Saturdays at the market the fun spills out the doors of the main building and into an outdoor area that houses artists from all over the city! You’ll be able to find cool mementos, decor and vintage items that you otherwise might be rare to run across.
5. Belgian Waffles. I was specifically told to find “the waffle place” in the market, so you better believe that (after finishing a slice of to-die-for bacon+spinach quiche) that I did. The menu was written on a chalkboard hanging on the wall above the waffle irons: nutella waffles, waffles with fresh fruit on top, crepes…all of it sounded like the best decision. I settled on one with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream. The verdict: delicious. The texture was a marriage of crispy, sugary cinnamon roll and hot, crunchy waffle.
4. You’ll feel like you’ve somehow escaped to Europe. Surrounding Findlay Market are streets lined with houses that are painted in the brightest of hues. Flowers cascade out of window boxes making the buildings, that were once run down, come to life.
3. Cheese. One of the first food counters I saw inside the market was selling fresh cheese. This wasn’t your ordinary cheese display case, though; it was filled with cheeses from all OVER. Through the glass I saw manchegos, bries, mozzerellas, goudas, parmeseans…all sourced locally or from around the world. The selection offered was diverse, the man behind the counter was well-versed and the overall prices were super affordable, just in queso you were wondering.
2. The History. Findlay Market was built in 1852 and has been a running market since 1855. Throughout the market bits of history are inlaid within the mosiaics, the table tops and the walls themselves.
1. People watching. Get yourself out there on a Saturday, grab a coffee and watch the floodgates of Cincy burst wide open with people from all over: parents and kids, out-of-towners, farmers,  old, young, artsy, business, everyone from everywhere. Local musicians performing their sultry saxophone solos on corners and the hum of friendly conversation make up the perfect background noise for such a diverse and bustling place. Sit there all day if you want, not a second of it would be wasted.

One more Cincy recommendation and a full city guide coming to you later this week!

Speak to you soon!

 

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Metropole | Cincinnati Ohio City Guide

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While I was in Cincinnati last weekend I had the opportunity to try out a lot of new food and drinks. By far my favorite restaurant that we visited (and the only one we went to more than once) was Metropole. Metropole is located inside the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.

Conde Naste Traveler Readers Choice Awards put  21c in Cincy as the number one hotel in the US right now (and 11th in the WORLD), so needless to say I was anxious to pay it a visit. The building is in the art district of downtown, next to the Contemporary Arts Center and adjacent to the Aronoff Center for the Arts, and used to house the Metropole Hotel which opened in 1924. The hotel doubles as an art gallery and houses rotating exhibits on several of its floors. So cool.

Walking in I immediately knew we were in another one of Cincinnati’s restored 1920’s buildings by the mesmerizing terrazzo tile flooring and colorfully carpeted spiral staircase that corkscrews through the center of the hotel. Though I didn’t see one of the rooms, I can only imagine how fantastic they are.

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The restaurant in the hotel, keeping the namesake of the landmark, was just as spectacular. Natural light poured through the arch-framed windows and spilled onto the dark wooden table tops and illuminated the golden, bell jar lanterns hanging from the ceiling. We went for brunch and menu was simple, but the flavor profiles were incredibly interesting and the dish presentation was immaculately executed. We went for the olive oil poached tuna, avocado toast and the burnt carrot salad.

Spoiler alert: we had to keep taking pauses during lunch to talk about how good everything was. Or to just exclaim, “YUM,” or just  “MMMM.”

But onto more important things: the cocktail menu. Not only was the food exquisite, but the cocktails are what we returned for in the evening. I tried the Phil Collins and the Annie Hall (both Bulleit bourbon based), and also had a sip of the Vespa (gin+vodka with a hint of cucumber and lavender). The Phil Collins was my favorite. Must have been the notes of cilantro or the guava bitters. I wish I could drink one every day (without having a problem).

If you’re in Cincinnati I definitely recommend checking 21c/Metropole out. Not only is it an award winning hotel, but Metropole just won best restaurant in Cincy as well. Get going!

I’ve got so many more photos/places to share, but it wanted to break it down into digestible bits. Be on the lookout for more.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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July 4th

July 4th

 
Happy birthday, America! I hope everyone has endulged in at least one sno cone, ice cream cone, or popsicle today! Enjoy the holiday and don’t post too many instagrams of the fireworks.

Speak to you soon!

 

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Charleston via Iphone | Photo Diary

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1. My first impression of Isle of Palm was surreal. After being on the road all day ALL I wanted was the sand and the surf. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the salty air was the elixir that would get me through the rest of day.

2. Brunch at Toast! Of Charleston. I went to Toast twice; the first time offhandedly and the second was planned. My first trip there I was there during Sunday brunch. After doing a quick sweep of the menu I decided on a mimosa and a dish called Eggs on Meeting Street: a poached egg perched on top of a crab cake and a fried green tomato with remoulade and the most pillowy biscuit I’ve ever eaten…divine, okay? The company at Toast wasn’t bad either.

3. There was tile work everywhere in Charleston, especially on Kingstreet. Talk about a city with attention to detail.

4. Because, once again, I could not get enough of the beach. One of the best parts of the trip was just grabbing a quick picnic at whole foods and camping out on the sand until the sun went down. People watching was on point–but mostly I was excited about the puppy watching.

5. Black Tap coffee was entirely too charming and delicious. An iced coffee there was the perfect break to walking around in the hot sun all day (and also a break from a chapter in the story called: I locked my keys in my car. Woops).

6. Breakfast in bed because the berries were too vibrant not to capture.

7. Sunny flowers on rainy days.

8. My trip down to Charleston was a self proclaimed #coffeeroadtrip. I stopped at a stop in Chattanooga and a shop in Atlanta. The shop in Atlanta was called Octane and it was by far the smoothest cup of Ethiopian coffee I have ever had. Octane is a café and a bar, so needless to say I can’t think of any better place to be watching the World Cup right now.

9. I could’ve strolled down King Street alllllll day. And I did. And I got a really unappealing sunburn (pun intended)…(the pun is always intended you guys).

10. Another shot of the sunset over the sea at Isle of Palm. Perfection.

11. Milk and Honey was the other shop I stopped at on my way to Charleston. Before I had even gone inside I was in love. How can you deny such a cute store front? The inside was just as charming with the same honeycomb tiling and beautiful typography all over the walls. I’m crushing haaard on their branding. (And also their honey latte was the sweetest of treats).

12. Being on the beach alone was never lonely. No, it was really introspective for the most part. Just taking time to really absorb how the waves work and and massive it all is. It’s crazy. I recommend taking a personal moment or ten by the waves some time. You’ll get more sorting out done in your brain that you bargain for.

All of these photos were from my instagram which you can follow at @lacunningham!

I also updated my personal portfolio today and I would love for you to go take a look!

 

Speak to you soon

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Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Map

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I remember someone once told me that if you want to know more about something, you should surround yourself with it; if you want to learn French, go to France; if you want to know about art, visit as many galleries as you can; and if you want to know about Bourbon-Whiskey, go to Kentucky. So (you better believe) I did.

On the way up to the cabin, since we would be driving through bourbon country, we decided to make a stop on the Bourbon Trail–AKA the region that America’s best distilleries call home. After much debate on where to start we decided on Woodford Reserve in Versailles* Kentucky(there was really no competition, let’s be honest).

*Pronounced “VER-SALES” if you’re a native and also if you don’t know what France is.

The tour through the distillery was about an hour long and took us through each stage of the bourbon process from cooking to consumption*. The Woodford distillery is the oldest around in the states; it was built some time in the late 1700s and the architectural style is so truly Scots-Irish you may forget you’re in Kentucky. After being up close and personal with such much bourbon, it’s a little bit hard for me to tell myself not to start a micro distillery…in my kitchen.

*My favorite part was the consumption.

After visiting my first distillery it’s now become a goal of mine to visit the rest on the trail. (Who doesn’t want to drink learn more about bourbon and the area that does it best?). To make that journey a little easier, for myself and for anyone else who wants to join in, I thought I’d make a little map. Bon Voyage!

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After a change of plans I’ll be leaving for Charleston tomorrow in the A M and making stops in Chattanooga, Atlanta, and who knows where else. Why not make a long drive into a real road trip, right?

 

Speak to you soon!

Head East | Weekend in the Appalachian Mtns

headeast WV45 WV29WV21 WV53  WV56 WV50WV39 WV24 WV19 WV44 WV34WV47 WV33WV41WV32 WV55For three days last weekend I was on a mountain high. Two of my best friends and I loaded up and drove to their family cabin in West Virginia to spend some time hiking, laughing way too hard and exploring the best ways we knew how. Trail after trail took us on winding routes where we got to be close with lots of wildflowers and lots of deer. The views from the top of the mountains we climbed, though they were hard to get to, were always well worth it. The earth is a breathtaking place, and sometimes I forget that.

The area we were in was the northeastern part of West Virginia, right in the thick of the Monongahela National Forest.  The hills were covered in lush, aromatic spruce trees that seemed to go on forever and in the mornings they stayed tucked under thick blankets of heather gray fog. There was so much to do within an hour of the cabin so here’s a little guide in case you’re up for some adventuring as well:

SENECA ROCKS
-Hiking, rock climbing and repelling are just a few things that you can do at this nationally renowned park. The hike up the mountain isn’t terribly hard, but it’s 1000ft of elevation that you’ll definitely be feeling in your thighs when you get to the top. Good news: even though you’ll be exhausted you can rejuvenate on the observation platform and chow down on a peanut butter CLIF bar (there’s a snack cart at the top). If you’re interested in climbing or repelling on the flat faced rocks, there are lots of instruction classes around and guided excursions as well. Seneca Caverns (all the cave photos above) isn’t far away and was so cool as well!

SPRUCE KNOB
-AKA The highest point in West Virginia. There are a lot of trails that vary in length around the mountain  (many of them with an abundance of wildlife running about) as well as one that goes to the top. When you reach it there’s an observation tower with a killer view, and if you explore around the peak of the mountain you’ll discover the coolest boulder garden that would be great for camping or just to stop and soak everything in.  There are plenty of other lower areas for picnicing and grilling as well.

CANAAN VALLEY
Blackwater Falls should be the first stop of your day. There are some trails on the grounds of the park, or you can just take the stairs down to view the falls.
-Get back in the car and drive about 20 minutes and you’ll arrive at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. In the winter it’s a ski resort, but in the summer it’s teeming with outdoorsy people who want to take the lifts up the mountain to the trails. We hiked the Bald Knob trail which was a 2.5 mile trek that took us through the most perfect forest I’ve ever been in and then opened up to the top of a mountain with breathtaking views. (We saw so many deer during our hike, it was crazy). I’d definitely like to return to this part of WV for some snow tubing and skiing.
-Don’t forget to stop off in some of the quaint towns that line your drive to Canaan Valley! We didn’t have a lot of time, otherwise I would’ve been all over their many antique stores and restaurants boasting home cooking (aka my weakness).

This guide is far from being complete, but it should be enough to get your wheels turning. GO somewhere. Explore more, ya’ll.

Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Charleston SC to indulge in coffee, southern cuisine and sunshine. I’ll be there through the weekend so be on the lookout for some beautiful instagrams! Follow me at @lacunningham

If you’re interested in seeing more of my photos from the trip feel free to take a jump over to my Flikr page (click on the About tab at the top of this page)

Thank you guys for reading/looking and being wonderful!

 

Speak to you soon!

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