In today’s society, travel has become more and more desirable. With all the famous travel bloggers and celebrities flooding Instagram and news feeds with photos of themselves luxuriously lounging under palms in the Isle of Capri, or strutting the streets of Vancouver, we all are destined to not only “like” these images, but subconsciously wish we could be in their shoes, instead of being stuck in the “boring” homeland that is Ohio. However, many can’t exactly just get up and travel away to exotic lands whenever they please. Our time, money, and priorities are sometimes too great of roadblocks to pass through. But is it possible to see the world within our own city? Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few hidden gems within our very own city that could make us feel like we are thousands of miles away from home.
One of the most popular tourist locations of the year, coming in at number fourteen on the World’s Most Traveled Destinations, is Rome, Italy. Taking a trip to Rome would require a ten or so hour flight and approximately $1,000 at least. With the Vinoklet Winery & Vineyard in the heart of Cincinnati, who needs to spend all that time and money getting a taste of Italy’s vineyards when they can right at home? Nestled in Colerain Township is thirty acres of picturesque rolling hills and ponds, just like in Italy. Spectators can stroll the fields, watch the sunset from the winery gazebo, and enjoy an extravagant Italian meal, just like a real Italian.
Next on the list of most desirable travel destinations, not too far from the vineyards of Italy, is the country of France. There may be only one Eiffel Tower in the world (although Kings Island’s Eiffel Tower is pretty cool too), but that doesn’t mean that there are no French roots engrained in Cincinnati. Jean-Robert’s Table is a relaxed urban bistro in historic Over the Rhine. French chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, born in Roubaix, Northern France, embarked on his culinary training at age 16, learning and traveling across France. He then brought his talents to Cincinnati to cultivate his own five-star restaurant. Jean-Robert’s Table is a place of true French cuisine- with menu items like duck breast, a French Chateau Burger, rack of lamb and sea scallops.
Cincinnati was formed from its strong German ties, yet there are not too many people out there that know much about the roots of our hometown. Cincinnati’s German history goes back all the way to 1788, when German immigrants fled to America to escape religious persecution and the lack of availability of jobs. Now, we Cincinnatians still love our soft pretzels and cheese more than ever. However, we might not get too many chances of getting to immerse ourselves directly in the culture. Try speaking the language at Old Saint Mary’s Church in OTR. The church was erected in 1841 and mass is every day at various times, with options of English, Latin, and German speaking masses. Try the German mass for a true German feel, because every word of it will be spoken like so.
At Old Saint Mary’s in Over the Rhine, pamphlets are given out to follow along with the various languages. Following along throughout the mass makes the experience seem much more real.
Jumping over to the next continent of Asia, there are numerous different countries where tourists travel. China, Indonesia, and Thailand are extremely popular destinations today, and hold the very top spot of most traveled to countries according to CNN. These countries are known for their street food. Their cuisine is usually composed of piping hot ramen; noodle bowls with chewy white noodles and garnished with fresh mint, shallots, cilantro, cucumbers and sweet pineapple; or seasoned sweet and sour pork. The people of these regions create these meals in order to express their roots and home traditions. What better way to experience the taste of Asia than a whole festival dedicated to Asian street food? Starting May 14 through May 15, Washington Park will hold its annual Asian Food Fest. Here visitors can gather to bring the many Asian communities and vendors together in Cincinnati to encourage diversity through Asian food and culture.