Earth Day may have been last Friday, but, at Cincinnati’s Park + Vine, every day is Earth Day. And, as we raise our families, it’s so important to keep those green feelings going all year long!
That’s why we are beyond thrilled to be bringing you the first Park + Vine feature on Cincinnati Parent. Every month, Danny Korman, Park + Vine’s owner and Cincinnati’s very own green guru, will be sharing ways local families can live more sustainably. Korman’s a proud Cincinnatian with a deep love for our city — and his book Walking Cincinnati is a love letter to the very streets, paths and parks that make up the heart and soul of our great city.
Without further ado, here’s Danny!
It commonly happens this time of year.
The days leading up to Earth Day are when we collectively think about what we can do to improve the environment around us. The list of doable acts is usually centered around what we eat, what we physically put in the earth and how we get around.
Eating plants, especially local ones, supports local farmers and keeps money nearby.
And then there’s walking, our most basic form of transportation — and a lost art.
I believe everyone who’s able ought to do more walking. Many creative people throughout history have found walking to be an important part of their daily routine for energy and clarity, and to be connected with fellow humans and nature. For example, walking inspired naturalist John Muir as a writer. It was often how he got to the source of his material and came up with inspiring words that we still use today: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.
Three years ago, Katie Meyer of Renaissance Covington and I started writing Walking Cincinnati, a book of 32 walking tours through numerous neighborhoods of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Hamilton County. Routes range in length and difficulty. Each tour explains where to park, what public transit is available and step-by-step directions. Many have themes like historic mansions or former streetcar neighborhoods. The book also lists points of interests and bits of history.
Walking is more than a solo act; it’s a healthy way to spend time with others. In fact, Walking Cincinnati was written with families in mind — although some walks are more suitable than others. Here are two of my favorite family friendly walks:
Ohio River: Bridges, Parks, and Three Cities
Cincinnati Riverfront Park is familiar to locals as a place for recreation and relaxation. There are four interconnecting parks that follow the Ohio River. Smale Riverfront Park has grown significantly since Walking Cincinnati went to print in spring 2015! This route connects walkers with Newport and Covington, respectively, via Purple People Bridge and Roebling Suspension Bridge, in Kentucky. It covers 4.2 miles. Families could split this walk in two, or connect both sides.
This neighborhood is loaded with independently-owned businesses, including a group of stores lovingly referred to as Kids’ Row. Oakley is a walkable and prosperous neighborhood. It borders Hyde Park, Madisonville, Pleasant Ridge and Norwood. Its spine is the commercial corridor of Madison Road with a mix of homes and apartments where close to 11,000 people live.
We love the idea of taking the family out for an urban walk this summer — and incorporating kid-approved faves like Carol Ann’s Carousel in Smale Park or King Arthur’s Court in Oakley into your route! You can pick up a copy of Korman’s book at Joseph Beth or, of course, Park + Vine.
Danny Korman is the owner of Park + Vine, the Over-the-Rhine “green general store” that’s won local and national acclaim (most recently racking up six awards in City Beat’s “Best of Cincinnati” issue). Korman was born on the West Side and grew up on the East Side, but his heart belongs to Over the Rhine. He got a degree in urban planning and historic preservation at the University of Cincinnati, and his first full-time job involved community development across the river, in Newport.
Korman moved to New York and then spent nine years in Chicago, before returning home in order to help his community become “its best self.” He is considered an early pioneer of Over-the-Rhine’s most recent resurgence. You can follow Park + Vine on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.