My first impression while driving around Sharonville, Ohio, the Cincinnati suburb where my daughter Theresa and her husband Phill live, was that this area reminded me of the old historical suburbs of my hometown, Philadelphia.
For those of you from the Philly area, think Blue Bell, Whitemarsh, those old Montgomery County townships that date back to colonial times.
Even though I grew up in the city, in the Mayfair and Somerton neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia, my sister Romaine used to live out in Blue Bell before she moved to the West Coast, which is probably why visiting Sharonville, Ohio, gives me a wave of nostalgia for the times I used to drive out to lovely Blue Bell to visit Romaine ( who also happens to be lovely!) .
But I think it's the topography of Sharonville more than anything else - the hills and narrow roads winding by genteel-looking properties - that reminds me of the old Philadelphia suburbs. I can't think of a suburb around Columbus that has the same look or feel. But then the Columbus suburbs are newer and generally flatter than Sharonville, which was settled in 1788 (I looked it up), though Sharonville is likewise about 100 years newer (I looked this up, too) than the Philadelphia suburbs it resembles.
Sharonville is home to two not-in-Cincinnati Cincinnati attractions, the biggest one being Sharon Woods, the oldest park in Cincinnati (that is, not in Cincinnati) and, so I've heard, the most beautiful.
Sadly, I can't yet comment on Sharon Woods as, though Theresa and Phill's apartment complex backs up to the park, I haven't yet been there. But it's on my list for next time. Or one of these times.
But , happily, I can comment on The Root Beer Stand, an eatery famous for its root beer and floats and ranked by Cincinnati Magazine as #12 among the "Top 100 Places in Cincinnati." (We don't care that it's in Sharonville, right?)
Anyway The Root Beer Stand is quite an awesome little place, though it is in essence just a small fast-food restaurant - but with beaucoup panache!
The place has been around since 1957 - I guess its, shall we say, "vintage" exterior is considered part of its charm. ( I don't know whether that's real rust or whether they painted fake rust on the building to enhance the motif).
The only seating is at a counter that runs the length of the restaurant and at which every seat was filled.
Though we were among the lucky seated:
For such a small place there's quite a decent menu, including hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, steak, chicken, and fish sandwiches, and several kinds of ice-cream desserts including their famous root-beer float. Fortunately, when we went there on Sunday afternoon I was finally in the mood for a real Cincinnati (or not Cincinnati) chili cheese dog smothered in onions:
Theresa went for a plain hot dog for $1.75 and one of their fabulous root beer floats for $2.50:
If you ever visit the Root Beer Stand be sure to bring cash - though you won't need a whole lot - as that's all they accept, but should you forget to, no worries, there's an ATM inside the store.
And then my weekend of discovering the great things to do not-in-Cincinnati-but-close-enough came to and end and it was time to say good-bye to Theresa and Phill:
Everyone have a beautiful weekend! 8)