We began by eating (when all else fails, begin there).
Located in Northside, an easy walking distance from Tom's apartment, we ate at the Melt. Eclectic Cafe on Hamilton Avenue. When we arrived, just after noon, the place was already busy. In fact, I thought we wouldn't be able to find a table but one opened just as we needed it. To read about the Melt and have a look at many of their menu items, click here.
I have to add a note about how nice the staff were. See the lady behind the counter? She was forever smiling, never seemed rushed by the long line, always offered helpful suggestions to those placing an order. How did she stay so cheerful under the constant pressure?
While waiting for our food (the order took about half an hour ... but it is worth it!), there was seldom an empty table, and that for only a matter of a minute or so. The small store made me think of places in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This is certainly not your usual diner.
Near where we sat, a hallway led back to more tables (two areas, it seemed). The kitchen was on the left in the hallway. I love the old wood floors.
I had decided in advance to order an Artichoke Melt but it wasn't available during their Sunday brunch. What I got was something similar. Normally this dish uses salmon but, like most offerings at the Melt, a vegetarian (even vegan or gluten-free) alternative is available. The cashier ordered the dish without the salmon. It was all melted together on a baguette. The fresh salad had a wonderful assortment of greens and I ordered a homemade lime cilantro dressing. Everything was delicious!
Tom ordered their Huevos Rancheros (sort of a Mexican themed scrambled eggs). It was thick and smelled wonderful. Tom finished after me, suggesting either his meal was larger or he ate slower.
The outside of the shop has a classy paint job and is quite attractive. I can recommend this place without reservation. It seems virtually their entire menu is exclusive, theirs and theirs alone. I don't think you'll find this exact taste anywhere else, nor so well presented.
After lunch (breakfast for Tom), we drove to downtown Cincinnati where Tom parked his Prius at the YMCA. He's a long-time member and since I have a Silver Sneakers membership, I was able to join him. This YMCA was built in 1917 and is the old style, originally designed for housing, too. Tom said there is talk of renovating the upper floors and returning them to apartment-type use. It'd be a perfect downtown location for housing (and one perhaps in Tom's future). We parked behind the building (thus this view of the rear of the building) and spent some time walking about town.
To learn more about this Y (1105 Elm Street), click here. Cincinnati's affiliation with the YMCA goes back to 1853 and they even helped serve the Civil War by helping organize the U.S. Christian Commission.
The building's cornerstone notes construction's end at this Central Parkway Branch. President William Howard Taft delivered the opening address. Photographs line some of the hallways.
This is a front view of the Y. Tom and I made use of the running track on the third floor and the whirlpool, steam sauna and whirlpool in the locker room area. We toured much of the building, including the swimming pool, weight and exercise rooms. My only request: bring back nude swimming!
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
The library is a sprawling building at 800 Vine Street.
Near the entrance is this marker. Click here for more information about the library.
This stack of books near the entrance is actually a fountain in warmer weather. Though it's just early October, the water has already been removed for winter.
An atrium extends up at least three stories and offers a well-lit entrance to the building. It's more of a mall-type area than what we traditionally think of as a stuffy library.
This is one of many stained glass windows from the original library. They are preserved behind glass and encased in a wood frame with a plaque. The horizontal white lines at the top of the frame are the reflections of florescent lighting in the building.
Shown here is the 1848 Panorama of Cincinnati. Click here to read more about it. I'll post a crop of this panorama below. Click on it to get the full-resolution version.
F&P Daguerreotype - 1848
I took this shot out a third floor window of the library. The white building on the right is Kroger's corporate office.
Finally, since I didn't have my tripod along, how could I get a photo of Tom and I? I decided a window at Skyline Chili was the perfect place for an almost-full-length shot. Yep, it's a little ghostly ... but you get the idea.