Saturday, August 13, 2011


Foghorn, with the remains of a Slush Puppy on her lips.

When Cincinnati's weeks-long 90+ degree heat wave finally came to an end, it did so in style.  We were blessed with a handful of days of low humidity, moderate heat, and gorgeous skies.  Sounds like a good combination for an outside adventure.

Overlook facing the river.

We took The Inmates to Alms Park in Cincinnati, located on the top of Mt. Tusculum.  The 93 acre park is nearing its 100th anniversary and has gorgeous views of Lunken Airport, the Ohio River, and the hills of Kentucky.  There are a couple of overlooks that are worth the trip by the themselves.  There are picnic tables if eating outdoors is your thing, as well as large lawns for spreading out blankets, and beautiful flower beds splashing color here and there.

View of Lunken Airport.

The Inmates were interested in none of that.  They were there to play.  The park has a small but nicely done playground area with the typical climbing apparatuses and swings.  The most popular feature, though, is the concrete slide.  It's a good 20 feet long or so and at an angle that assures a quick ride if you pick your feet up.  Never underestimate the power of a good slide, even to the overindulged, techno-savvy kids of today.  We took turns going down, then I rode in tandem with Foghorn, then all three of  us went down together.  I figure all those trips up the steep stairs to the top again more than made up for any ice cream consumption later, right?

By the way, the slide is fun going forward with a friend...or backwards alone...

Alms is also a favorite park of mine because of the pavilion.  It was completed in 1929, inspired by the Italian renaissance, and is the perfect place for a kid to indulge in some imaginary play.  For adults it happens to also be a popular location for weddings and formal portrait sittings.  From the upper floor you can take in the spectacular views or, as Chester did, do your Eva Peron imitation.  ("Don't cry for me Argentina....")  Downstairs is another large open area, which Foghorn labeled the "ballroom" and insisted someone dance with her.  Uncle Chester offered but was quickly turned down with a sneer.  The Professor wanted no part of his sweaty little sister, so The Warden and Foghorn did the tango around the room, in full view of a family of four.
The 1929 Pavilion.

"Evita!  Evita!"
Nicholas Longworth's underground wine cellar.
One of the joys of  Alms Park is that it still retains some of its old architectural features, such as the pavilion, as well as the mundane such as the old metal drinking fountains and gas lamps.  Northeast of the park's pavilion is the interesting little place shown to the left.  Nicholas Longworth (who came from New Jersey and founded his branch of the Longworth family here) owned the land originally and started a vineyard.  So popular was his Catawba wine that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "Ode to Catawba Wine" dedicated to Longworth.  What is pictured is the former underground wine cellar.  It is also interesting to note that the current Taft Museum in downtown Cincinnati is Mr. Longworth's former home, done in the style of a Greek Revival villa.  His grandson, Nicholas, went on to marry Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, Alice.

A map of the area around Alms Park can be found here.   Please be aware that the park road circles around the pavilion/playground area and is one-way.  Parking is allowed on the left side of the road only.  More history of the park can be found here.

Additional photos of our day at Alms Park can be viewed through my Flickr account here

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Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful park. As I watched the grandchildren going down the slide, I could see in my mind's eye my four little kids doing the same thing. Well, one of the little kids is still doing it.

Kathie said...

I've never been to Alms park, but I told Dennis we had to make the trip.

And I want to know, how did you not fall off the slide when going down backwards?