Historic Ohio River town is both small town and urban
© Becky Linhardt 2014
Sometimes you find the best things nearby such as the little river town of Bellevue, Kentucky long overshadowed by its flashy neighbor Newport that sits directly across from Cincinnati’s riverfront stadiums. Things are changing along KY 8 that connects the two towns.
As you travel KY 8 into Bellevue you will pass a new, small-batch Bourbon distillery being built just inside the levee and chain restaurants Joe’s Crab Shack and Buckhorn’s that have a views of the Ohio River and the Cincinnati skyline. A bit further along KY 8/Fairfield Avenue enters the small town center lined with old-fashioned shops and restaurants housed in historic buildings.
Bellevue still has a bit of sleepy town atmosphere but has awakened to its heritage and is emphasizing its historic buildings and artistic urban population of young and young at heart residents. Hometown pride is evident in the individualism of the shops and the vibrant first Friday events along Fairfield Avenue that are complimented by the contemporary dining options now available as Cincinnati chefs migrate a few miles across the Ohio River and offer everything from elegant tea to flat bread pizzas; vegetarian options as well as fine steaks.
Still there is that comfort food feeling of visiting shops like Witt’s End Candy with its huge selection of old-fashion candy favorites and the largest selection of Moon Pies in the Cincinnati area.
Bellevue still retains its traditions of Southern hospitality even after years of being so close to the urban North industrial and now technological powerhouse of Cincinnati. Around the corner or through the walkways between buildings you can see the residential neighborhood that supports farmers markets in season, summer outdoor concerts at Bellevue Beach Park, art festivals and more that attract visitors from throughout the area.
People will talk with you over the fence, along “The Avenue,” and in the shops and restaurants. Bellevue is urban and small town at the same time. Romantics may decide to overnight at one of the charming Bed & Breakfast establishments.
Bellevue residents have their traditions. I would not be allowed back in town if I did not mention Schneider’s Sweet Shop. Their hand-dipped chocolates have been a favorite in Northern Kentucky for decades. Benches outside Schneider’s fill with ice cream lovers on warm summer nights. Now with the revitalization of the community even in the colder months there is usually a crowd as “out-of-town” visitors stroll Fairfield Avenue on the first Friday of each month.