Ohio was great and I got to see a lot of people so that was super nice. We flew in and out of Columbus and the first night we stayed on the outskirts in a town/city called Dublin. We did mean to do stuff in Columbus but instead we ended up driving all the way out to see the Longaberger basket building, which sounds crazy but I heard about it a long time ago and we thought it would be awesome to see in person. Although a bit nuts, I'm glad we went because I got a really good kick out of it.
|Longaberger basket building|
On the drive back we passed a town called Newark and we stopped to look at the court house, but then ended up thinking the whole town was pretty cool and old fashioned so we parked up and walked around for a while.
|Up close at the courthouse as the sunset|
|Former prison and now Sheriffs HQ|
|Also the courthouse|
|Old Midland Theater|
We had a great time there, but by the time we were done we were quite tired and hungry so we just went back to our hotel, had some beer and (unfortunately) watched the news about the Paris attacks (which had just happened). We went out for some delicious Indian food and went to bed.
The next morning we drove to Cincinnati and met up with my friend Stacey from Miami, who lives there, at her apartment. We got our stuff together and headed into the city to do some fun stuff. Although Miami was only 45 minutes from Cincinnati I've only ever been in the city twice and I haven't seen a whole lot of it so Stacey showed us some of the highlights. We went to Findlay Market first and walked around (and I almost bought popcorn in every shade and taste known to man), then to Washington Park, walked that area a bit, went to Fountain Square and finished off by these swings on the waterfront that Michael and I had discovered a couple of years ago.
|Fountain at Fountain Sqaure|
|The fountain and the ice rink|
|On the swings|
After all of that fun stuff we headed back to Stacey's apartment and made a delicious dinner and had wine and chatted. It was a super fun night and we were so sad to say goodbye we invited her to come spend the next night with us in Oxford!
The next day we drove to Oxford and we met up with my friend and former housemate Krista, who came to visit me in Australia. We had a yummy lunch at Wild Bistro, our favorite (and one of the only) Chinese restaurant in Oxford. We walked all around campus and I finally stepped on the seal! It is a BIG no no to step on the seal when you go there; it brings you bad luck and it's said if you step on it you'll fail your next exam. I'm not superstitious, but it seemed silly to risk it. This time though I finally got to do it with NO fear because that diploma is mine so HA. We also bought some stuff from the bookstore (not books! I bought some Miami socks and a t-shirt), got a coffee and hung out uptown. It was super sad to say goodbye, but Krista had to drive back to Dayton and had work the next morning.
|Me and Krista|
|Upham Arch! The best part of campus|
We met up with Stacey about an hour later and had some drinks in the hotel room before heading out to dinner. We had a great night just hanging out and it was nice to get in some extra time since we haven't seen each other in over a year and Skype just isn't the same.
It was really nice to be back in Oxford again and see everything again, although the changes they're making to campus is really not cool. Stop painting the beautiful red bricks white!
The next morning we got up early and then drove back to Columbus for our flight. Even though we were only there for a few days I feel like we did a lot and it was so great to see friends again I haven't seen in a while so I'm super glad we got to go.
As for Shenandoah, it's a valley in Virginia with a national park that my family and I used to go camping and hiking at all the time when I was younger. I hadn't been in a while and Michael had never been so we decided to make a trip there. We'd talked about going for a while but hadn't really committed to a time and as we looked at the calendar we realized we had awkward commitments in the way to give us a clear two days in the future so we just decided to go yesterday and stay the night and come back today.
We stayed at a hotel about an hour from the park and by the time we got to the park it was beginning to get very foggy and grey, so doing an actual hike wasn't really a very good idea. Instead we did a few short hikes and drove around looking at the various overlooks. We saw a bunch of deer, but no bears, which was sad but we weren't there long enough to increase our chances. Eventually the fog was beginning to get so thick we couldn't see anything so we headed back to the hotel.
Unfortunately today the weather was pretty gross today, only not just fog but lots of rain so even if we wanted to do anything in the morning we really couldn't. We hit a ton of traffic on the way home due to the rain and the fact it was rush hour so that was bad timing. Overall it was a really nice trip though and it was nice to go to the Shenandoah again after so long.
We've been doing some really fun stuff while here in the US and I've really enjoyed it, but I'm sorry I've been so bad about blogging about it. Tomorrow I'll write a post about all the stuff we've been doing in between these trips, so look for it!