Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Findley Market, Cincinnati, Ohio

Chris took this photo of Findley Market on our recent trip to Cincy.

We recently made a quick jaunt to Cincy to visit family. We checked out Findley Market in Over the Rhine on our last day. Love it! If we were to ever move to Cincy, I’d want to live close enough to the market to make weekly visits.

You can buy all kinds of fresh meats, including sausages, ribs, fish and chicken, and other goodies. I loved all the different kinds of bakeries. If we weren’t leaving later that day I would have bought a loaf of bread and chocolate-covered baklava (something Chris really wanted) for dinner.

We did buy grub for lunch at one of the many delis. Chris’ aunt and I split a veggie moussaka, beans with leeks and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and the guys ate the biggest gyros I’d ever seen. I tasted a piece of Chris’ lamb. Delicious!

Besides the food and delis, I also saw jewelry and plants for sale.

If you’re ever in the area, make an effort to check out the market!

Riverfront Park and International Friendship Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

I’m going to begin this year with a sampling of photos from our final vacation/trip last year that I never got to. We didn’t do much in the fall for various reasons, but we vow to do much better this coming year as time allows.

First up, here’s just a handful of photos from our walk at Riverfront Park and International Friendship Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, late last summer.

Bridge we walked across to the Riverfront Park

Shot of the bridge again

Riverfront Park

Some of the beautiful flowers and greenery we saw at the International Friendship Park.

After walking several miles across the bridge and through Riverfront and International Friendship Parks, we finally reached the end. We sat down and rested near this sculpture lated at the end of the International Friendship Park before trudging back to our car.

Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati, Ohio

We’ve visited the Krohn Conservatory before and it’s a great place to go, especially if it’s not too pleasant outside for outdoor activities. The beautiful Art Deco Krohn building houses exotic and gorgeous plants. Besides my favorite Orchid House, there are rooms dedicated to palms, tropical and desert plants.

For this visit we were there to visit the Butterflies of Brazil exhibit. Each spring, the Krohn features butterflies for a few months. It was really cool walking among hundreds of fluttering butterflies.

One butterfly landed on Chris’ arm as soon as we walked into the room.

Lots of kiddies had flat foam pieces they used to soak up water from the room’s fountain. They used the soaked foam to attract butterflies.

This girl was a pro! She had more than one butterfly on her foam at any given time.
She even had one of the larger butterflies hanging out on her arm.

Our visit would have been more enjoyable, however, if some parents controlled their kids better. There were a few boys running in between peoples’ legs, leaning across and shoving people out of the way in attempts to capture butterflies. One boy constantly invaded my personal space … even though I was sitting down! He also nearly stepped on many of the butterflies.

Though it was really cool and somewhat fun, my face hurt a lot from clenching my jaws and I had a pounding headache. I left wishing we’d learned about the adults only Happy Hour scheduled for later that day. Though we’d already had dinner plans, I would have loved watching the butterflies while listening to jazz.

It’s too bad that a few bad apples ruined the whole bunch. Just to be clear, most of the kids were well-behaved.

Though the room felt like chaos, Chris was able to get some great shots. Here’s some more:

Krohn Conservatory is an excellent place to stop if you’re ever in or near Cincinnati.

Barkcamp State Park

On our trip to W.Va., we stayed at Barkcamp State Park in Belmont, Ohio. It’s just over the state line from Wheeling, W.Va.

This is a small, park in the middle of Barkcamp that has old buildings and interpretive signs. You can find barns all over the is area of Ohio and W.Va. with Mail Pouch Tobacco billboards on the side.

The area in Belmont is quite historic. We took time to explore some of the towns, including Morristown, which has streets lined with beautiful old homes and buildings, and St. Clairsville, which has grown up with big box stores.

A coworker said his family is originally from Belmont and have graves throughout the area, including an uncle who was buried in St. Clairsville after a horrific mine accident.

The park is quite nice and features amenities not usually found at Virginia State Parks — an archery range, miniature golf, basketball courts, playgrounds and a nature center.

It also had several trails, including one for horses and snowmobiles! There’s also a lake where you can enjoy swimming, fishing or boating.

We set up camp at campsite B, which was one of two that allowed pets. This is also the campsite closest to the only shower house in the whole park.

If you visit Trip Advisor or other review sites, you may get poor or average ratings just based on that fact. But the park’s maps clearly note there is only one shower house. We were lucky enough to be within walking range, but I’m sure other people had to drive.

The only complaint I have is the women’s shower didn’t have any heated water. Brrrrrr! Chris said his shower was warm.

It was pretty hard to take a shower early in the morning when it was 45 degrees out. But I had a shower and that made me happy.

Chris and I were amazed at how clean and well maintained everything was. Buckeyes must be proud of their state employees . . . or at least should be.

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Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

On a recent trip to the Wheeling, W.Va., area, we stopped at two locations for the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge headquarters
On the way up, we stopped in Williamstown, W.Va, home of the refuge’s headquarters. There, you can find a visitor center with some exhibits and a few short trails, including a trail that’s 0.9 miles (with a 0.5 mile shorter loop).

You can’t get across to the islands at this location, but you can hike, hunt and fish. The refuge has 22 islands and three mainland tracts.

We had a nice picnic lunch under a shelter before heading out.

Here’s some pics:

This turtle has a pointy snout!

This is a washboard mussel. The visitor center had several examples of the mussels protected along the refuge’s riverbank.

A buckeye! People from Ohio are called Buckeyes, but after a nut, not this butterfly.

I’m standing beside the Ohio. One of the trails travels along the riverbank.

Middle Island
On our way back home, we stopped at Middle Island, which is located at St. Marys, W.Va.

This is the only island in the Ohio River Island National Wildlife Refuge you can visit.

We walked a 3.77 mile loop, but never saw a visitor center that I thought would be at the top of the loop.

Here’s some pics:

Things to do nearby
While in Williamstown, visit the town’s wetlands. It’s just up the road from the refuge and is a new, short trail located in the middle of town.

Here’s some pics:

Williamstown is also home to the Fenton Glass Factory, which you can tour, and the Henderson Hall Plantation.

Chris enjoyed seeing how the town was built around the railroad. Get out and walk around town to check out the buildings and see how homes and businesses were built near and around the tracks.

While in Willimastown, we saw lots of locally-owned businesses and wilfdlife:
birds: goldfinches, pigeons, ducks, sandpiper-type bird
butterflies: sulphurs, buckeyes, whites, red spotted purples, monarch or viceroy
Some more photos:
A dragonfly at the Ohio River Islands refuge.
There was so much algae, this bird was able to walk on the water at the wetlands. I think this is a type of sandpiper.
A dragonfly at the wetlands.

Ducks at the wetlands.

I think this is a viceroy, but it could be a monarch.

Williamstown is also across the river from Marietta, Ohio. Chris wanted to visit, but we didn’t have any time to stop. In and around Marietta, there’s a lot of Underground Railroad sites.

You can’t see it here, but there’s a sign along the bank that says “Marietta.”


Serpent Mounds, Ohio

On the way home from our Cincinnati trip, we stopped at the Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio.

This is an old burial ground, built by the Adena people (800 B.C.- A.D. 100).

There are 3 smaller burial mounds, built by people of a different culture and period.

There’s a tower you can climb up and look over the whole Serpent Mound, which is shaped like a snake.

The trail around the mound is very short and there’s a nature trail that goes down by a creek. We skipped the nature trail because we already had several mosquito bites just from the short walk around the mound.

The small museum must not be missed. I really liked learning about the different types of mounds — when they were constructed, by whom and how. The exhibits were really good and thorough for such a small location.

This would be a quick stop as there isn’t that much to do here.

There is a fee to hang out at this site — here

You can learn more about Serpent Mound here and here.

Here’s a map to get you to the park. We traveled from Ohio 32 to Ohio 73.


Sharon Woods, Sharonville, Cincinnati, Ohio

While in Cincinnati we stayed in Sharonville. In Cincy, there are several towns/cities that make up sections of the city. Those towns are complete with mayors and councils. So it’s like a town/city within a larger city.

I’m interested in learning more about how that works. It’s a little confusing to me as I grew up in N.C. and am mostly familiar with cities and towns situated within counties and paying both city/town and county taxes. Does that mean Sharonville residents pay Sharonville, Cincinnati and county taxes?

In Va., if a place is called a “city” it doesn’t reside within a county but is an entity all to itself and only pays city taxes. Towns still pay town and county taxes. That was something I had to get used to when I moved to the state a few years ago.

Anyway, since we were in Sharonville we visited Sharon Woods, a local park. When we arrived (early in the morning) there was a small group of people practicing what looked like Tai Chi on one of the bridges that crosses the creek. It would be a great place to do yoga or other group activity. It’s so peaceful!

Creek near the parking lots and bridges. (All photos by E.A. Seagraves/Christopher Brooke. Do not use without permission.)


We walked up to the marina and around a paved trail that circles a small lake. Lots of people were jogging, riding bikes and walking their dogs.

Here’s a view of the marina from across the lake.

At the marina is a playground and snack bar. There’s also a fitness trail, golf course and something called Heritage Park. Heritage Park was closed when we were there and we didn’t wait to go in. It presents a view of 19th century living.

I would love to live near this area. It was such a nice community and very pretty.

Another view of the lake.