Activities for seniors don’t always need to be preplanned. Sometimes, spontaneity is exactly what life calls for: a walk in the park, a spur of the moment dinner reservation, or a Sunday afternoon drive.
Last month we talked about how older adults are helping rejuvenate the car industry. This month we'll be looking at how local seniors take advantage of their new wheels to enjoy the best scenic routes in and around Cincinnati.
Highland County (US 50)
The drive east along the gorgeous Highland County portion of US 50— a highway which crosses the entire country, from Washington, DC to Sacramento, California — will take you through flat, open soybean fields, with silos and quaint farmhouses all along the way.
East of the county seat, Hillsboro, you’ll come to Rocky Fork State Park where you have the opportunity to get out and have a picnic or to break out your rod and reel and try to angle for some bass, Ohio walleye, or fierce-fighting muskies. You could also continue on to Fort Hill, a Native American earthwork site built on the flattened top of a hill along the edge of the Appalachian plateau, from which you’ll have a commanding view of the surrounding plains.
On your way back to Cincinnati, stop in at the Hillsboro Dairy Queen for a stellar barbeque sandwich (they use their own recipe) and a Peanut Buster parfait.
Warren County (State Route 48/US 42/State Route 73)
Driving north along State Route 48 from canoeing-and-bicycling haven Loveland, you’ll curve through rolling plains, slowly climbing the ridge along which the Little Miami River flows. Eventually, you’ll hit Lebanon, Ohio, the seat of Warren County, and its wonderful downtown historic district. There you’ll find the renowned Golden Lamb Inn— the oldest continually operating business in the state of Ohio (it opened in 1803 and was a prominent stage stop between Columbus and Cincinnati, visited by luminaries like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant).
After a stop for lunch, you have a variety of options; pick up State Route 63 West, which will take you over to flea market-crazed Monroe, take US 42 north toward bohemian Yellow Springs (where you can revisit 1967 in all its Hippie glory— really, the town is a time capsule from the Summer of Love— and stop for ice cream at Young’s Jersey Dairy), or take 48 North to State Route 73 East, which will lead you to the antiquing paradise of Waynesville.
On your way back, take I-71 south and marvel at the panorama of the Little Miami Valley as you cross the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge. Warning: it’s not for the acrophobic.
Metamora, Indiana (US 52)
Speaking of antiques, the drive up to Metamora, Indiana, about 9 miles west of Brookville, will satisfy your craving for great finds and lovely scenery.
A historic— and still functioning— canal town, Metamora is home to a variety of attractions, including a working gristmill, a horse-drawn canal boat ride, the Whitewater Valley Railroad excursion train and a variety of antique and novelty shops.
Take the grandkids along; we promise they’ll dig a soda phosphate at the Old Fashioned Candy Store!
Kentucky Bluegrass Region (US 27/US 68)
Driving south along US 27 from Covington, Kentucky, you’ll first parallel the Licking River valley, passing through Falmouth, a historic river town that was almost wiped out by the Flood of 1997, then climb onto the central plateau that makes up the Inner Bluegrass Region. Along the way, you’ll pass storybook Kentucky scenery, with stone-fenced farms, gentle rolling hills and multi-million dollar thoroughbred breeders’ mansions.
About 80 miles south of Cincinnati, you’ll hit Paris, where you can stop off for lunch, before picking up US 27/US 68 south to visit the friendly people of Lexington— the capital of Big Blue Nation and a town well worth a weekend trip.
While there, you can visit the sublime Kentucky Horse Park, take a tour of the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery in nearby Versailles (its own scenic drive west over Versailles Road/US 60) or take a stroll through Lexington’s historic neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for road to test out your new wheels, Cincinnati a great place to be. And there are more activities for seniors than just driving around— there’s plenty of dining, attractions and fun to keep you active!