I’m from Hebron, Kentucky, a small town right at the very most northern part of the state. It’s closer to Cincinnati than it is to any major Kentucky town, like Lexington or Louisville. My hometown has always been a little mix of everything— it does have some southern aspects, but it inherits Cincinnati’s midwestern friendliness, too. The things I did growing up have shaped how I feel about my hometown now. My grandma watched me during the day for most of my childhood, and we would frequently go to different parks, to the little grocery store called Flick’s for chicken tenders after school, and we would drive down Route 8, a back road bridging across Boone and Kenton county, and eventually into Ohio. I have taken the same drive since I was little, and it surprisingly has given me a larger sense of home than I expected. It’s the most nostalgic part of my hometown, I think because it has been so consistent throughout my lifetime. Driving route 8, there’s a farm that sells seasonal produce; the best time to go is in the fall, when they have a pumpkin patch and apple cider. It’s run by a family who lives in the area, and it’s always been a place that I love.
While there are parts of my hometown that give it a quaint, small town vibe, the closeness to downtown Cincinnati gives it excitement. The smaller midwestern town has more to offer than meets the eye. There’s countless restaurants, bars, and bistros, as well as local small businesses. You could spend a day just walking down different Cincinnati streets, and you would never be bored. There’s great performing arts, and as a lover of music, I have always loved going to see the national tours of Broadway shows. For sports fans, the Cincinnati Bengals and Reds have a huge fanbase. Even though they might not be the best professional sports teams, Cincinnatians are loyal to them beyond a doubt. FCC Cincinnati, the city’s resident professional soccer team, also draws a large crowd and the games are always fun (coming from a not so huge soccer fan). The riverside appeal provides a lot of entertainment, too. Bunbury Music Festival comes every June, set up right alongside the Ohio river. It’s a smaller music festival, but still draws some great headliners. At night, the skyline is beautiful. The lights from the city reflect off the river, and the new addition of a large ferris wheel with rainbow lights adds even more.
At home, I have the best of both worlds. I live in a small, quaint town, but when things get too quiet I always have access to downtown. It’s not as big as Cleveland or Columbus, and draws nowhere near as much excitement as coastal towns or famous cities, but it’s home, and I prefer it over any other place. It’s a little bit southern, a little bit Midwestern, and a little bit of its own added charm. I’m proud to be from where I am, and can’t wait to be back during break.