24 Hours in Northern Kentucky | Family Travel

This summer, the girls and I returned to my home turf in Northern Kentucky for a little R&R. My childhood memories are chock full of moments at the farm, shaping my early years. I remember always being surrounded by family, always having places to roam, and never being plugged into a device. It wasn’t until I was a tween that we even got central heat and air at my family’s old farm house. These days, technology has caught up with the times, and the old farm house has gone to ruins. That sweet summer sunset still glows amber over the field of hay on the family farm though, and as long as it’s possible, my girls will have the chance to taste the country summer. 

Northern Kentucky slides right up against Ohio, and Indiana creating a convenient tri-state area. Within a few hours drive there is plenty to get into. Here are a few adventures we sought out within 24 Hours in Kentucky.Seahorses at the Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium
Newport, Kentucky

Where the Ohio and Licking rivers meet, sits Newport on the Levee, a development of restaurants and attractions. Transforming what was once a stoic industrial town into a hot spot for dining and entertainment, Newport on the Levee is home to the Newport Aquarium. During our visit we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium, learning everything there is to know about how they breed, feed, and introduce new species into the tanks. The icing on the cake was getting up close and personal with several of their penguins. During our penguin encounter we learned about their natural habitat, and the threats they face in the world today. We were entertained by their sassy personalities as their handlers showed us how to gently pet them with a non threatening two finger approach. After our encounter we explored the rest of the aquarium, observing sharks, seahorses, and (my favorite) jellyfish. The Newport Aquarium is the perfect day trip escape. You could spend all day enjoying the galleries, or walk around the Levee trying the multiple dining options, seeing a movie or gazing at the Cincinnati skyline. However you choose to spend your time, make sure to visit the Aquarium, it’s a “must see”.
Little girl sitting next to Aquarium with shark
The Newport Aquarium is a “Must See” attraction in Northern Kentucky
Amy West and family pet a penguin at the Newport Aquarium
Enjoy a behind the scenes encounter with a few of the Aquariums famous penguins. 
the top of the tanks at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky
Behind the scenses at the Newport Aquarium

Tom + Chee
Newport, Kentucky
(at Newport on the Levee)

Tom + Chee has attained local celebrity status. As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a phenomenon. Top quality ingredients come together to create one of childhood’s most coveted comfort foods. Grilled cheese and tomato soup have never tasted so good. Try one of their multiple varieties of grilled cheese. You can even order half sandwiches and try one of each! I ordered several that piqued my interest but none compared to the Grilled Cheese Donut. It will literally change your life. 
Grilled Cheese Donut from Tom + Chee in Newport Kentucky
The Grilled Cheese Donut will change your life
Tom + Chee in Newport, Kentucky
Tom + Chee a location right at Newport on the Levee just across from the Aquarium, but you will find them all throughout the region as well. 

Brianza Gardens and Winery 
Crittenden, Kentucky

Most of us have heard of Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail, but did you know that now you can also follow the Kentucky Wine Trail? That’s right, vineyards have been popping up in the tri state area for the last decade and the fruit has never tasted sweeter. We stopped at Brianza Gardens and Winery during our trip and enjoyed a tasty array of sweet and dry vintages. The Gardens are a stunning location for weddings and other events, and the site is also home to a Bed & Breakfast. Make sure to mark Brianza Gardens and Winery on your map and taste the Kentucky harvest. 

Amy West in the Brianza tasting room

The Gardens at Brianza Gardens and Winery
Photo by Crystal Pomer

kids enjoying the green lawn at Brianza Gardens and Winery

Brianza Wine
Photo by Crystal Pomer
Kentucky is full of treasures for those on the hunt for new discoveries. Explore places untouched by time, little college towns full of hipsters, rural wonderlands, and urban cityscapes. One visit will have you rethinking everything you’ve ever heard about the blue grass state. I can’t wait for you to experience for yourself my home state. 
Until then…
Enjoy the Journey!
xo- Amy West

A little girl overlooks a herd of cattle

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