When we moved to Ohio about 17 months ago, my husband and I decided to commit to making monthly day trips to explore our new region of the country. Neither of us had ever visited this part of the country, much less lived here, so we had a lot of catching up to do. We absolutely love living in Cincinnati, and we are so eager to visit all the places around our new home. So we set aside every second Friday to explore. Today I’m sharing the ready for anything daytrip outfit I wore on our most recent outing.
I’m calling it a ready for anything daytrip outfit because when we head out for our monthly excursions, I generally have no idea where we’re going. For years I did the bulk of planning and booking our family vacations, so I’m enjoying letting James plan these little day (and sometimes overnight) sightseeing journeys. And he seems to like planning them and then surprising me with the plans.
Some second Friday weekends we actually do get out and about on that Friday, but other times we fudge a little and get away on Saturday instead. We let the weather and our work demands determine the exact day, but we have been true to our goal of getting out at least once a month and exploring the area.
By area, I generally mean the tri-state area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, but we could venture beyond those parameters, too. And of course, some of those day outings we stay right here in Cincinnati and explore places like the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Findlay Market and the Mt. Airy Forest.
And since I don’t do the planning I truly have to dress to be ready for anything. Sure, James lets me know if we’re hiking. But often our day trips include a variety of activities. In fact, for the last few day outings we’ve gotten into a bit of a rhythm of driving into a little town in the early afternoon, getting a bite to eat at a local favorite, exploring a park, grabbing a late afternoon coffee, walking or driving through the town a little more and then heading home. We’re generally home by seven or earlier.
On this particular outing we drove into Tipp City, a charming little Hallmark-esque town just north of Dayton, Ohio. We ate a mid-afternoon lunch of warm soups and appetizers at Harrison’s Restaurant. Oh my, those Bleu Chips! It was a decadent platter of house-made potato chips with green onions, tomatoes and crisp bacon topped with a creamy bleu cheese sauce. Have. You. Ever???
We sat at high top tables near a fire for our mid afternoon meal. The only other two parties I saw in the restaurant were women friends who appeared to be having drinks or desserts after a day of exploring the town. They were dressed in glittery holiday outfits, fun shoes and faux fur coats. Busy in gal pal conversation, I doubt they even saw me, but I felt comparably dressed in my sleek black Athleta commuter pants and Blondo leather lace-up booties. Plus, I knew I had a little hiking on my itinerary.
Be Ready for Anything Tip: Waterproof shoes are a smart option if you’re going to be outside, even if it’s not raining or snowing. Think puddles and streams! But you can keep your look elevated with edgy boots like these from Blondo.
James had told me to plan for a mild hike on what he presumed to be a fairly easy cultivated path, so I was ready to hit the trail when we left Harrison’s. We drove out to Charleston Falls Preserve for a short hike through the winter-barren landscape, which is where we snapped most of these photos.
Be Ready for Anything Tip: As much as I love jeans, I frequently opt for non denim pants such as these Athleta commuter pants when I’m on a ready for anything daytrip. They’re moisture-wicking and durable. And the adventure-ready fabric resists nicks and tears on cold-weather explorations.
Despite the chill in the air and bleak, wintery vistas, it proved to be a lovely little hike. The Charleston Falls, which happened to be a fairly light flow of water on this day, originates from small underground springs several miles to the east. And the fairly unique rock strata of the falls is similar to that of Niagara Falls.
I was glad I had layered on the warmth, peeling off and piling on tops throughout our little hike. I wore a white t-shirt (similar) under my shale blue vintage cotton terry pullover. Ha! Who are we fooling? J.Crew calls it that, but it’s a sweatshirt, ladies. A very, very soft sweatshirt in a really pretty color! And there are ten more pretty colors where this shale blue came from.
Be Ready for Anything Tip: Wear layers that you can wear alone or layered on top of each other for all the climate changes you may experience.
We took our easy hike nice and slow, enjoying the opportunity to be outside and together. We saw families and couples doing the same. The sun was just starting to go down as we left the preserve.
James drove us back into town for the next stop he had planned. He had picked out the Grounds for Pleasure Coffee House for a late afternoon pick-me-up. But first he had seen this building mural on the Tipp City website and wanted to take a photo in front of it.
We sipped holiday lattes and nibbled on something sweet at Grounds for Pleasure Coffee House. Our daughter called while we were there, so I took that call. But otherwise, James and I are pretty good about blocking out the rest of the world while we enjoy our couple time.
Be Ready for Anything Tip: Because I still want to look pulled together and pretty, I generally wear minimal but complementing jewelry when we travel. If I need to take it off, I can always secure it in one of the zipper pockets in my commuter pants.
James definitely prefers being behind the camera instead of in front of it. But I managed to get him to agree to a selfie for Instagram stories that day. Psst! Don’t tell him I put this photo in here. But you gals often ask for a photo of the two of us, and this is the best I can do for now. I’m so very proud of my man. And he does a super job planning these little daytrips for us.
After we finished our coffees, we took a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown of Tipp City. Christmas music was playing through loud speakers at each of the traffic lights, people were stepping into restaurants, bodegas and bars and meandering through antique stores. Everything was lit up beautifully. It felt quite festive. I felt like we had a explored a new part of the state and celebrated the holidays, too.
We’re living in strange times, making it hard to enjoy some of the things we normally enjoy at this time of year. But I encourage you to do what you can to enjoy the area in which you live, spend time with your spouse and celebrate Christmas. These little daytrips are precious to us.
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Blessed for My Day
Affirmation is one of the sweetest blessings that God sends our way. We’ve taken the path less travelled, stepped out on a limb and walked in obedience to God’s calling the best we know how. But then that unavoidable feeling of panic sets in. Did we hear right? Is this of God or is this just something we cooked up in our minds? Am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Who did I think I was when I said I’d do this?
At that panicky moment we can either shrink back, turn around and retreat or we can wait for God to send a little affirmation. I’ve found that God is so faithful to send affirming words, a testimony of impact, an encouraging email or note in the mail just when I need it…if only I’ll give Him time and watch for it. Surely that must be how Mary and Joseph felt as their strange and unexpected visitors arrived to see their newborn miracle. What a blessing.
Might God want to use you to affirm someone today? How could you offer a word of encouragement, a testimony of how they’ve impacted you or just an affirming nod of approval? You could be the affirmation that keeps that person on the path of obedience.
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. ~ Luke 2:16-18