Restaurants and things to do in the Tri-State while staying at First Farm Inn
Lots of unique restaurants, historic sites and things to do are convenient to First Farm Inn. Jungle Jim’s, Big Bone Lick, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the Sign Museum, The Freedom Center, Cincinnati Art Museums, riverfront parks, the Cincinnati Zoo, specialty and discount shopping, and lots of restaurants are short drives from our corner of the tri-state.
Western Boone County offers historic Dinsmore Homestead, Big Bone Lick State Park and Rabbit Hash. Catch the wine festival at Jane’s Saddlebag down on the Ohio. Six miles down scenic, twisty and hilly KY 338 in Burlington are three unique restaurants.
West across the river, Lawrenceburg, Greendale and Aurora, Ind. offer small town versions of family-owned restaurants and shops.
Here are directions to some of our favorite places:
Lawrenceburg, Aurora and Greendale, Indiana, restaurants and activities
Turn left out of the driveway down Stevens to KY 20. Turn left and go 1 mile under the interstate to I-275 west. Take the first exit, Lawrenceburg/Aurora and follow it to the light. Free music in downtown Lawrenceburg on summer Thursdays.
NORTH/EAST AT THE LAWRENCEBURG EXIT
GREENDALE MOVIE THEATER, LAROSA’S PIZZA, WINGS AND RINGS North or right off the Lawrenceburg Exit is a movie theater, a Wings and Rings and LaRosas, a regional pizza place. Clean, convenient and reasonable.
DER HEISSE STEIN, Greendale, IN Hot stone and German entrees in a beautifully renovated old home. 305 Ridge Ave, Greendale, IN 812-577-0411
PERFECT NORTH SKI AREA Lawrenceburg, IN (10 MILES, 20 MIN.) Stay on IN1 for 7 miles. Left at the sign, then left past rr tracks. Straight for skiing, right tubing.
WILLIE’S SPORTS BAR, Lawrenceburg, IN (25 MIN.) Sit in or outside above the lake and enjoy a diverse menu and drinks. Open year-round. Outside dining above the lake, or sit inside and see the lake through the windows. 19325 Sc, Schmarr Dr. 47025
BARREL HEADS, Hidden Valley 19904 Augusta Dr #5, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025, At the entrance to Hidden Valley subdivision, right at the light.
VALLE ESCONDIDO MEXICAN, Hidden Valley 19908 Augusta Dr, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025 in the same strip.
SOUTH AT THE LAWRENCEBURG EXIT
Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds on the right, Tri-State Antique Shows first Sunday April-October. Walgreens, McDonald’s, Burger King, liquor stores, a bad Tex-Mex restaurant, a KFC, the “Lawrenceburger” and more.
ACAPULCO’S, Lawrenceburg, IN (15 MIN.) Wonderful Mexican food! Insanely cheap, but watch out for the margaritas. Make a left at the light onto 50. Follow 50 into Lawrenceburg. Turn left on Arch St., just past the gas station across from the high school 3 blocks down. on the left. Open every day but Christmas.
WHISKEYS, Lawrenceburg, IN (9 MIN.) Good meals, steaks, ribs, bbq, full bar, desserts. Try their specialty, the peanut slaw. Left at the light onto 50 into Lawrenceburg. Across from the h.s. on the left, behind Lawrenceburger. Closes 9 p.m. & Sun.
LAWRENCEBURG RIVERFRONT (13 MIN.) Left at the light onto 50 into Lawrenceburg. Turn left under the iron arch going toward the river. These shops and restaurants tend to change a bit…. Don’t worry about getting lost, make a few turns and you’ll head back to the main road or be looking at the river. A paved walkway and bike path offers a great walk along the Ohio River floodwall all the way to Aurora.
Be sure to visit THE FRAMERY for original art and jewelry as well as do-it-yourself classes.
Summer and fall Thursdays at 7 p.m. is MUSIC ON THE RIVER, free outdoor concerts with an antique car show and food trucks. Bring your chairs, set up in the streets and enjoy the music June-September.
RIVERWATCH, Lawrenceburg, IN ( 9 MILES, 15 MIN.) Floating barge in the Ohio River anchored at the Lawrenceburg riverfront. Open late April thru September, depending on flood and weather conditions. At the light at the end of the I-275 ramp, go left (south) on IN 50. Turn left under the iron arch. Go to the big clock where the road ends. Park in the free garage and walk down to the river. 812-539-3625.
STRONG’S BRICK OVEN PIZZA, Lawrenceburg, IN )
1 E. High St. 47025 Turn left under the iron arch. On the corner, outside tables. Locally owned pizza chain.
GRAND BUFFET, Lawrenceburg, IN (15 MIN.) Great Chinese food, fresh, tasty, huge selection, bargain prices. Sushi, ice cream, they have it all.. and ridiculously cheap. Make a left at the light onto 50. Follow 50 through Lawrenceburg, past the new bridge construction on the right. It’s in the middle of the strip center on the right or West side of the road. 391 W. Eads Pkwy. 47025 812-537-9598
SAKURA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE (20 MIN.) 1059 W. Eads Pkwy, 47025 812-537-4003 Make a left at the light onto 50. Follow 50 through Lawrenceburg, past the high school & Kroger. It’s in the red brick strip center across from McCabe’s Greenhouse, before Walmart. Fresh and fun.
ZORBA’S GREEK GYROS 1093 W. Eads Pkwy, 47025 (812) 537-9888 Great Greek salads, gyros, burgers, salads. Family owned.
WALMART, AURORA 47001 (12 MILES, 30 MIN.) There are so many more ethical and reputable options…
THIRD AND MAIN, AURORA 47001 (12 MILES, 30 MIN.) Left at the light onto 50, thru Lawrenceburg,– about 6 miles. Pass Walmart, look for Aurora signs to intersection of Third and Main. Ribs, chicken, fish, vegetarian. Elegant, fine dining but burgers too. 812-655-9727
GREAT CRESCENT BREWING, AURORA 315 Importing Street Aurora, IN 47001 Local beer, ciders and wines plus art and jewelry for sale. Reasonably
priced food in a historic building, lots of fun activities. Open Fridays & Saturdays 12-9 p.m. Sundays 12-6.
HILLFOREST, AURORA It’s worth a stop to see this magnificent historic home built by a whiskey baron in the 1840s. Fabulous collection of antique children’s toys and great local docents. 213 5th St. 47001 812-926-0087
SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA ART GUILD, AURORA, IN Shucks (the old downtown department store) is open when someone is working at their studio. Downtown Aurora, straight in from the singing bridge or on your left on Main St.
RISING SUN, IN Past the casino is cute little town, riverfront and little shops. The car ferry from Rabbit Hash was designed to bring Kentuckians across to gamble. The ferry’s cost, schedule and reliability keeps changing.
WOLF CREEK HABITAT & RESCUE (Brookville, IN) 14099 Wolf Creek Rd., Brookville, IN 513-312-9143 Open year-round. Family who rescues and cares for injured wolvers. Open weekends 11-5.
WESTERN BOONE COUNTY, KY:
Go left out of the drive down Stevens to Ky 20.
“CREATION MUSEUM” (2 MILES, 5 MIN.) Go back toward 275 and turn right at the sign before you get to the ramp. It’s .3 mi. on the left off Bullittsburg Church Road.
Go straight under the interstate on the left to see Bullitsburg Baptist Church with it’s keyhole-shaped baptismal pool and stone crypt, at 250+, the oldest church in the county.
GAP OUTLET, HEBRON Hebron exit off I-275, left at the light. Gap Outlet is on the left at second light.
CHOCOLATE OUTLET, HEBRON South off the Hebron exit, it’s part of a warehouse past the Fire Station on the right past Kroger.
I-275 HEBRON EXIT North (6 MI., 15 MIN.) There’s a pizza place, a grocery store, a Mexican restaurant and a variety of ever-changing shops in the strip centers north on 237 off the Hebron exit (#8) of I-275. Pizza Hut 859-586-5300 1960 N. Bend Rd., Hebron, KY. A Chinese restaurant is behind the gas stations in a strip center on the right. A bank, a Wendy’s and an Arby’s are north there.
HEBRON GRILLE 1960 Northbend Road, Hebron, KY
South of 275 are a Burger King, a Waffle House and other fast food. Go south and you’ll reach mega Kroger grocery and liquor store as well as a couple more small strip centers.
BURLINGTON ( 6 MILES, 20 MIN.) Turn left, then right immediately, just past the white house. Stay right on KY 338 when the road Y’s. The fairgrounds is on your right.
TOUSEY HOUSE TAVERN Historic house has great food, excels at special diets. Be sure to visit all the rooms and see the murals and cute historic décor. 5963 N. Jefferson 41005 Always best to make reservations on the weekends: 859-586-9900
DINSMORE HOMESTEAD ( 8 MILES, 20 MIN.) Turn right and follow 20 until it Y’s into Ky 18, then turn left. You’ll see Dinsmore on your left. You can follow 18 in to the shops at Burlington. Historic house tours Wed., Fri., Sat.
RABBIT HASH, KY (15 MILES, 40 MIN.) The store burned 2-13-16 but was completely rebuilt with historic accuracy. The fire disclosed that, like many houses along the Ohio, the store’s framework was a flatboat from the East Coast which likely crashed at that bend in the river, then was torn apart to become a building foundation. Rabbit Hash offers a tiny location for festivals and live music. Enjoy a beer, sample Kentucky Cream Candy, taste local wines or try a sarsaparilla as you visit with the eclectic crowd attracted to this unique spot of Americana. Turn right and follow 20 until it Y’s into Ky 18, then turn right onto 18. Curves are very sharp. Follow 18 through Belleview along the river. Turn right on Upper or Lower River Road.
JANE’S SADDLEBAG (about 20 miles, 45 min.) 1398 Ryle Rd., Union, KY 41091-8456 (859)384-6617 This unusual venue on the Ohio River with a natural amphitheater, offers a great wine festival, live music and special events, always with an amusing flair. Check their website or Facebook page for event dates.
BIG BONE LICK STATE PARK (ABOUT 18 MILES, 40 MIN.) From Rabbit Hash, follow the river road south (Ky 338) to Big Bone Lick State Park. You can keep going east and get back to I-75-71. The birthplace of American paleontology, widely known by international scientists in the 1700s, has a small museum open Thursday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Short, paved walking trail surrounding diorama of mammoths and mastodons mired in the salt marsh. Small bison herd. Good hiking, great playgrounds.
EAST TOWARD CINCINNATI, BUT IN KY:
Left out of drive down Stevens to Ky 20. Go left 1 mile and get on I-275 going east 11 miles to I-71-75. Then turn North, toward Cincinnati
THE GREYHOUND TAVERN, ERLANGER (15 MI., 20 MIN.)
Great food! Monday=fried chicken. Onion rings, Ky. hot browns, fried fish, deliciously prepared, reasonably priced. Full bar. Take the I-71-75 north to the first exit on the right, Buttermilk Pike. Right off the ramp til it T’s out. The Greyhound is the white building on left, behind the red brick. Turn into parking lot before the Dixie Hwy/US 25 light or turn left at the light and left into parking lot.
GURU INDIA (18 MILES, 20 MIN.) Take I-71-75 north to the Dixie Hwy exit, turn left at the light and right next to the Shell station. Next to Outback Steakhouse in a strip center on the left. Great Indian food, lunch buffets $9. 2303 Buttermilk Crossing, Crescent Spring, KY 41017 859-341-5858
Also a new Thai restaurant, a Mexican restaurant and a bar.
NEWPORT ON THE LEVEE (20 MILES, 25 MIN.)
HOFFBRAUHAUS, BRIOS, and a variety of other changing establishments. There you access the Purple People Bridge to hike across the Ohio. Take I-71-75 north. Cross the river stay on I-71, take 471 S. back to KY. German beers brewed here, accordion music, loud! Take the first exit (Rt. 8). Left off the ramp and into parking lot or park on the street. 3rd & Saratoga, Newport 41071 859-491-7200
GRAETER’S ICE CREAM (15 MILES, 20 MIN.)
Cincinnati’s trademark ice cream, it’s made Oprah’s Favorite Things list! Take I-71-75 north to the first exit, Buttermilk Pike. Turn right off the ramp and it will be on your right on top of a little hill. Red brick building just past the big Chinese restaurant.
Southeast, to Florence
JAPANESE — MIYAKO SUSHI AND STEAK HOUSE 2511 Ritchie Ave., Crescent Springs, KY 41017 859-578-0031
AMERASIA – A COLLECTION OF CHINESE KUNG FOOD 521 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41017 859-261-6121 Looks a little rough from the outside and you have to hunt for street parking, but inside you’ll taste why people are waiting in line to eat. Named the best Chinese restaurant in the greater Cincinnati region! Reminds us of the little restaurants in NYC.
MAI THAI AND SUSHI (18 MILES, 20 MIN.) Great Thai food elegantly presented, full bar, good service. Sushi. Take I-71-75 south to the US 42 exit, turn left at the light at the end of the ramp, go back over the interstate. The Thai restaurant is on the left side, just past Frisch’s. ($8-$25)
HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES HEALTH FOOD GROCERY
(18 MILES, 20 MIN.) Take I-71-75 south to the Ky 18 exit, turn left off the ramp and cross back over Interstate. Red brick building on left.
CHAIN RESTAURANTS, WALMART, ETC.
Take I-71-75 south to the Ky 18 exit, turn right off the ramp and left on Mall Road for Florence Mall. For Walmart, go to Houston Road and turn right, Walmart is on the left, Meijers on the right, Home Depot, etc. on the left, Lowes on the right further north.
Cincinnati Museums, Restaurants, Things to Do
PENDELTON ART CENTER (23 MILES, 30 MIN.)
1310 Pendleton St., 513-559-3958 x 1257 “The world’s largest collection of artists” in this 8 story warehouse in downtown Cinci. Open 6-10 Final Fridays each month. Amazing variety of art styles, techniques and prices for everyone. Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. merge onto I-71 N. Exit at 2nd St. toward downtown/Riverfront. Left at Elm St., right at W. Central Parkway, slight right onto Reading Rd. Turn left at Pendleton St.
ESSEX GALLERY (25 MILES, 40 MIN.)Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. merge onto I-71 N. Exit at Reading Road, go straight (north) thru the light on Reading, through about 3 lights. Turn before yellow used tire store on right corner, onto Minnesota. Essex on right. Park in front or behind.
AMERICAN SIGN MUSEUM, Open Wed.-Sat. 10-4. Sun. 12-4. Bring back memories with iconic signs and symbols of all sizes. Highly entertaining even for little kids. 1330 Monmouth Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45225 (Camp Washington neighborhood) Free parking. Phone: 513-541-6366
EDEN PARK CONSERVATORY, OVERLOOK,
ART MUSEUM, (25 MILES, 35 MIN.) Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. merge onto I-71 N. Exit on the left at Eden Park/Reading Road, turn right at the light onto Eden Park Dr. Follow it into the park, following signs and turning right to go to the Art Museum. Free admission, but a small parking fee. A beautiful building, lots of antiquities, pieces from every major historical artist, a room of Cincinnati artists, and changing exhibitions.
Krohn Conservatory offers rooms featuring orchids, Bonsai, rainforest, desert and changing exhibits. For the Conservatory, stay left the first time the road veers, following around the lake, turn right around the circle. The Conservatory is on the right with parking behind. The floral clock will be on your left.
Drive a short distance northeast to the adjoining park for a great playground, duck pond and the best Cincinnati overlook thru the big stone pillars on the right just past the Conservatory.
JUNGLE JIM’S INTERNATIONAL MARKET, (32 MILES, 40 MIN.) Take I-275 W. & N to the Winton Road Exit # 39, turn left on Winton Rd., follow it as it becomes S. Gilmore Rd. 2.4 mi. Turn left onto Dixie Hwy/OH 4. Turn right into the parkinglot. 5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield, OH 45014 513-674-6000. More fun than you can ever imagine having in a grocery store. It’s a tour around the world. Look up to see the 1950s firetruck, glass bottom boat, giant cake, Sherwood Forest singing diorama, check out the award-winning restrooms. Any international food you ever have tried or looked for. Pick up a map as you go in the store — or you will get lost.
CINCINNATI ZOO, (ABOUT 33 MILES, 40 MIN.) Take I-275 W. to I-71 N to Exit 1B toward US 50 E. Take the Reading Road Exit 2 left. Stay right on Reading Road the left on Martin Luther King. Turn right onto Vine St. There should be small brown signs along the way. Leave about 4 p.m. to cross the bridge before rush hour on weekdays. 3400 Vine St. 45220
CINCINNATI MUSEUM CENTER, (ABOUT 22 MILES, 30 MIN.) Take I-275 W. to I-75 N to the 5th St. exit, watch for signs, very confusing. The Museum Center includes the Cincinnati Children’s Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Cincinnati History Museum and the Center for Holocaust and Humanity. CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST AND HUMANITY You can easily spend all day. 1301 Western Ave, 45203 (513) 287-7000
NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER, (21 MILES, 30 MIN.) Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. to the 5th St. exit. Watch for signs and hunt for the ball fields. 50 W. Freedom Way, 45202.
SMALE RIVERFRONT PARK
(21 MILES, 30 MIN.) Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. to the 5th St. exit. West Mehring Way,
Cincinnati, OH 45202. Hike along the river, bike rental, walking piano, giant chess or checkers, fountains, flowers, fly the giant pig, playgrounds, work-out stations. Lots of fun things to do!
CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM (21 MILES, 30 MIN.)
Free admission. Take I-275 E. to I-71-75 N. to the 5th St. exit. 44 E. 6th St., 45202.