*Photo courtesy of “Marilyn’s Art Blog”*
“Hi! What are you doing?” The man asked, leaning out of his truck window. We were both stopped on a muddy side road full of pot holes. I had just been driving and saw a Wildlife Aviary sign, which peaked my interest enough to get off the main road. ‘Why is he being so nosy?’ I thought. ‘It’s none of his business.”
“Oh, just driving, why?”
The man’s brows furrowed. “This is Private property you are on.” The reaction made me confused. My favorite writer’s group I used to visit was at the New Richmond library, and was full of vibrant, eccentric and friendly individuals. Yet this man was irritated by my presence.
“Oh, sorry.” I decided to ask him about the local RV park that was my original destination and if I missed the turn–clearly I was not welcome. With a nod, the main pointed me back to the main road.
Feeling defeated at not getting to see animals, I started back the way I was going. I reached my destination, but was annoyed to see the park gates completely shut. I had read online that it was a private community but I thought there had to be at least a local office I could stop in. After looking around and seeing no one in sight, and not wanting to trespass, I gave up searching.
The visit made me wonder why the town was so secretive. What do I have to do to peek under the covers that is New Richmond? Are they that closed off to strangers? Do I need a specific password? Unfortunately, this lack of openness only intrigues me to dive deeper. It provides me a challenge to get through the barrier.
Luckily, the main road near the river (Front Street) is a beautiful scenic route and worth the visit alone. There is a small little park overlooking the water with a gazebo, and if you move farther south, there is a small marina park where you can sit on benches on the water. Since the town had just rained, causing a rise in the water level and flooding to occur, I didn’t want to take the risk of being near the edge.
Instead, I ate at one of their local cafes, Front Street Cafe, and had a big chicken salad with balsamic honey vinaigrette. The chicken was absolutely juicy and tender, to the point I told the waitress (I forget her name, sorry!) to give him my compliments. While I ate I had a great view of the river on a sunny afternoon. The entire cafe was empty, however the grand piano in the corner and outside seating clued me in that the spot was a attraction for night life.
I took some carrot cake to go and also stopped by Mr. Grim’s Nostalgic Nook (the name alone made me very happy)–a small business store with a specialty in finding relics and historic gems–such as signed posters of celebrities. I bought a cheap Mike Mignola comic, because anyone who knows me knows I can not resist his works.
In summary, I have no idea why New Richmond, Oh is so secretive, but it is a rich, thriving community with lovely views of our Ohio River and I recommend visiting to anyone, especially people drawn to river towns. As long as you can put up with the 30 minute bland and scenic-less drive from the vibrant Cincinnati to the hidden land, there is an individual close-knit community underneath, and I can’t wait to go back and (hopefully) see the Aviary I missed.