wmdm’s Holiday Gift List 2011: Part 2


This post has little to do with food.

But really, we gain enough weight around the holidays without me encouraging you to eat more, right?

Oh. That’s why you come here:  to find out about things to eat. Oops.

How about this:  after you take a tour, you can eat at any one of the restaurants near the Cincy Haus in Over-the-Rhine!  Trust me, you’ll work up an appetite.

It’s not often that I play tourist in my own backyard.  The combination of having lived here my whole life, as well as a love for history (and a job with an archive in town) has led me to be a pretty good tour guide myself.  You never stop learning, though, and the guys at American Legacy Tours always surprise me with historical tidbits.  I was invited on a press tour of the newest American Legacy Tour, “The Spirit of Christmas”.  It’s a tour of several churches in the Over-the-Rhine area, many of which you didn’t know existed.  There was one that was about 100 feet from my door that I didn’t know existed.  That’s why these tours are so great– sometimes you just need to play tourist in your own city, or even your own neighborhood.  You never know what you’ll find.

The tour is two hours long, and takes you from Vine to Race to Liberty, and a couple of spots in between.  You’ll see Catholic churches and several Protestant churches, all of which are active in some way today.  There’s a church with eight congregants and a church with congregants that come from as far as Loveland and Lawrenceberg to attend Sunday services.  All of the churches featured, from St. Francis Seraph to the Emanuel Center, still do community outreach, ranging from soup kitchens, to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, to publishing StreetVibes, a publication that allows the homeless to make an income.  This tour isn’t just about these historic churches, but about the work the churches are still doing in the community.

The big surprise? Though many of these churches are in disrepair, they’re beautiful and in unexpected places.  We got to see a church that very few people in Cincinnati see anymore, as well as a church that’s been turned into some lofts.  I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.  You can see some of the pictures in the slideshow below.

How is this a gift? You can purchase gift certificates from American Legacy Tours, or simply take a friend or loved one as a gift.  They run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Tickets are $20 for each adult. Children 16 and under are free with a donation of two canned goods or dry good items. Without a donation, tickets for kids 16 and under are $5.  I wouldn’t recommend this for small children, as there are lots of stairs and it’s a two hour tour, but I’m sure older kids would be great.  There are also lots of stairs, so be advised before going if you have issues with stairs.

So, it’s not a specifically food-related gift, but it’s a fun way to get to know your city.  I guarantee you’ll look at OTR in a different way after a tour.