Enjoying the Three Day Weekend: a few recommedations for locally based get-aways

For some of us, three day weekends in grad school are a little hard to come by, so they are welcomed whenever they arrive. I used to love having no class on Friday in undergrad, so I had many an opportunity to do things I wanted to do over the weekend. In grad school, I work now, so I do have Fridays off, but that is “catch-up day” where I have to do all the things I didn’t get done over the week. However, this weekend has brought a glorious 4 day weekend. Now, we do have class on President’s Day, but I do not have to go to work (yay for state employment!). It’s no secret that I like to take mini-vacations as much as possible when it seems like there is too much stress in the air. Now, with spring coming up, I thought now would be an excellent time to tell everyone about a few day trips and “mini-vacations” that are simple, don’t require too much planning ahead of time, and they are day trips or one-night stays at the most:

1. Kentucky Bourbon Trails

Location: All over northern Kentucky

Prime Season: Fall/Spring/Summer

Time from Columbus: about 3-3 1/2 hours

The way it works: There are 6 trails/distilleries total that are part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. You can tour all of them at once which will take a full 2 days or you can tour them one at a time. If it’s your first one, you can get a little passport (which is stamped at every distillery you tour). Once your passport is complete, you get a t-shirt and other little goodies. Admission is free to 5/6 of the distilleries with samples at the end. Even if you don’t drink, it is fun to see how bourbon has been made in Kentucky throughout history.

Check out their homepage for more info

2. King’s Island/Cedar Point

Location: Cincinnati (Mason)/ Cleveland (Sandusky), respectively

Prime Season: Late Spring/Summer

Time from Columbus: King’s Island – 1 1/2 hours, Cedar Point – about 4 hours

Let’s face it, amusement parks are usually pretty great no matter how old you are. Being from Cincinnati, I must admit I think Cedar Point is probably more fun, purely because of the location and maybe the rides. Although, King’s Island was purchased by Cedar Point a few years ago. The advantage of King’s Island is that it is much closer to Columbus and the crowds are usually not as hefty. Cedar Point is good for a three day weekend, if you go up on a Friday and actually go to Cedar Point on Saturday, then come back on a Sunday.

King’s Island Homepage Cedar Point Homepage

3. Kentucky Horsepark

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Prime Season: Spring/Summer/Fall

Time from Columbus: About 3 1/2 – 4 hours

Now, this one may be a little biased because I grew up watching the Kentucky Derby and I used to go here with my family as a kid, but it is fun. This one is even international student approved! We’ve taken students from Germany and France to this park and it’s great. They usually have horses from the Kentucky Derby here, along with history of the derby and horse racing Kentucky. It’s an excellent day trip for sure!

Kentucky Horse Park Homepage

4. Lake Erie Islands

Location: Northern Ohio, Lake Erie

Prime Season: Spring/Summer/Fall

Time from Columbus: 4 -5 hours (including the ferry ride to the islands).

This is another one that really does require three days. Any of the islands are great. I like Put-In-Bay for more fun, younger atmosphere and Kelley’s Island for a more relaxing day in the spring/summer. On Kelley’s Island, my boyfriend has relatives who own a winery, Kelley’s Island Wine Co., and they have picnic tables, wine tastings, outdoor games, and a great food menu too. Of course, I am a little biased here, but I love giving patronage to small, family-owned businesses.

Kelley’s Island Wine Company Homepage Put-In-Bay Visitor’s Guide

Tim and Rebecca

**Added bonus of Put-In-Bay and Kelley’s Island, you get to drive golf carts around the island, if you don’t want to bring your car on the ferry!!!***

Tim and Rebecca @ Lake Erie - Put-In-Bay

March Madness

Two rounds into the NCAA basketball tournament and I can officially throw my bracket in the trash.  I picked Kansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Villanova to make it to the Final Four… only Kentucky remains alive.  You might be curious why I didn’t take the very talented number two seed Ohio State Buckeyes to go to the Final Four instead of Kansas.  My answer is three-fold.  First, it is a well-known fact that my teams never do well in the NCAA tournament.  I am cursed.  If I pick you, then you lose… usually in a painful, last second choke kind of way.  Second, Kansas is a tough team and I really questioned Ohio State’s ability to beat perhaps the best team in the tournament.  It is no secret that Ohio State relies too heavily on Evan Turner to get them out of sticky situations.  Why should I have believed that Diebler, Buford, Lighty and Lauderdale would all of a sudden make meaningful contributions to the team at clutch points in the game?  Third, I figured everyone who I was competing against would have Ohio State beating Kansas out of some sense of pride and loyalty to the University.  It’s not that I don’t have these things; it’s just that I really, really wanted to win the prize money and the ability to boast about my basketball picking ability.  If Ohio State would have lost as I predicted and if Kansas would have won the tournament, I would easily have won the pool since no one else would have had similar picks.  It’s too bad none of my strategies ever seem to work as I envision.  Fortunately this time the results aren’t entirely negative… Ohio State is still in the tournament and most of the really good teams that would have posed a challenge to them have already been knocked out.  Sure my bracket is complete garbage, but maybe this March might just be the month of the Buckeyes.

Worst Bracket Ever
Worst bracket ever
Joseph Fahrendorf
OSU's William Buford giving a #1