Beyond the Presidential Suite


Imagine how it must feel, after living a life of luxury and having everything the heart desires for a while, to return to normal life.




Welcome to the Holiday Inn, Covington, Kentucky (that’s the establishment tucked behind the BP station) 




We hot footed it out of Columbus this morning, before the Pride parade got going and jammed the city solid.  Out onto the open road through the empty Ohio countryside, we passed by the barn with the “chew tobacco” advertisement and headed for Cincinnati.




We stopped in Springfield, to visit a particular house.  Can you guess why?




It was another of Frank Lloyd Wright’s works, set in a fairly built up area and didn’t open till 11.  It being just 10.15 am right now, we had a while to wait, so we mooched around and took a few photos before deciding that, really, we weren’t that bothered about going inside!  After the spectacular Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, this seemed like small fry…so we jumped back in the car and went on our merry way.




In the meantime, I’d been working on my knitting and completed the cowl I began following our stop at Webs, sometime ago.




Back on the road once more, we planned a stop in Lebanon (the town, not the country)




It had been noted in our guidebook as a small, historic town with an interesting walk around the central area.  Sounded like our kind of thing.




Sure enough, car parked and out on the street, the sun was shining and we were happy to spend a while wandering about the small town.  Though the AAA guide suggested acquiring a map from the local tourist office, none was available, prompting Mary to utter the phrase of the day: “Well, we’ll just have to Lewis and Clark it”.




There were indeed plenty of historic places to see and to visit.




Though we drew the line at historic hardware stores.




There were much more interesting locations across the street, after all.




We didn’t think the notice in the public loos said a great deal for the regular users of this facility, though.




But then, the notice on the vending machine didn’t say much for the City of Lebanon, for that matter, did it?




Still, we liked the Farmers Market poster!




and we rather liked the Green Country Market, too.




They sold many useful things!




Onward then, to Cincy




It was early afternoon and perhaps there was time for a quick visit to JoAnns and/or a Michaels?  Sure enough, there they were next door to one another so in I went.  Thankfully, my Hero came into Michaels to join me – actually, to rescue me, for there in the store, a bird was flying about.   Those who know me will know that is enough to send me into a tailspin; in fact, had he not come in when he did, I’d have had to ask someone to help me leave.  No purchases made, then, even though I did have 50% off coupons in my bag.




Cincinatti was soon on the horizon like the Emerald City and we were hopeful that we’d find our way to the Underground Railroad Museum without too much difficulty.




Our satnav was working overtime but seemed to be on track.




We hadn’t reckoned on a ball game taking place right next to the museum however.  Nor on the hundreds and thousands of Reds supporters going to the match.




It wasn’t easy but we made it.  An underground car park was the answer and we got there just in time – ten minutes later and it would have been full.




Almost the first thing we saw was a pair of huge quilts by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson made from sections of textile art which incorporated mudcloth and three dimensional components.  I appreciated the smaller “handling cloth” for closer inspection.




After such an exuberant opening, the remainder of the exhibits told a rather more sobering story.  Many of the historical details made for uncomfortable reading – I hadn’t realised, for instance, that all black people were regarded as slaves at one point. 




Here was Frederick Douglass, whom we’d “met” earlier in our travels and close by was his friend and associate, Susan B Anthony.




The film narrated by Oprah Winfrey told a desperate tale of the steps a slave had to make on their way to freedom and the bravery and risks taken by those who supported them.




Actually, I found it pretty hard going and was somewhat relieved to come across a temporary exhibit of quilts depicting significant events, characters and issues from black history.




Knowing rather less about the subject than I did about the medium, I chose my favourites based on the design and overall impact rather than the stories they told, and this one by Carolyn Crump was the first exhibit and got us off to a great start.  Three dimensional and exquisitely made, I felt it told the story of the journey very well indeed,




I preferred the less representational designs; those where the message had been considered and worked into the design rather than depicted literally, and this work by Arlene Kweli Jones was one which caught my eye for the strong graphic image and clever use of fabric.  It’s entitled “Repatriation”.




This clever quilt by April Shipp depicts Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Toms Cabin.  Another three dimensional beauty, the design cleverly told the story and was a favourite with us all.




Sadly, I didn’t get a good enough photograph of the information relating to maker of this quilt, telling the story of the organisation of the railroad porters union.  I felt the most successful quilts didn’t need a whole lot of narrative to explain them and that this one in particular worked really well.  My favourite?!

I took so many photographs and felt that there were too many stunning exhibits to share here, but other visitors to the show have shared their reactions here and here, so I’ll leave it there.

No, I’ll finish on a positive note, shall I?




The Ascension by Linda Gray needs no explanation and was a beautifully stitched and pieced hanging depicting one of the most recent events in black history.




As we left the quilt exhibit, we could sense the museum closing around us.  We went into the shop to make a couple of small purchases before working out how to cross the river and make our way to our hotel on the other side – in Kentucky.  Yessss!   (State #36 for me)




Looking for somewhere to eat this evening, we rejected the Big Boy Diner.




We passed right by the wedding party having their photos taken.




I sympathised with the bridesmaid whose shoes were pinching.




We settled instead on Wertheim’s German restaurant and ordered Hefeweissen and Schnitzel.  It was a far from successful choice but writing the Trip Advisor review proved quite cathartic Winking smile

Following the clothes line

Bangkok Peanut or Yazoo Sue?