Tucked away near the Indiana border along the Great Miami River is a hamlet of 18 square miles known as Hooven. This rural river town may only have 534 residents, but it advertises its big pride and joy for miles around: Ice Box Dairy Bar. You'll see signs for it as soon as you exit from I-74 with its signature blue and white cone. A journey from the highway, there are plenty more giant cone indicators along the route to make sure you don't pass by this creamy delight.

A modern-looking establishment which sits back off the road behind Kroger, Ice Box has been around for a few years and brings with it the modern amenities of a newer creamy whip. An easy drive thru with full menu lets you grab some sweets without even leaving your car -- I've heard this is ideal for families with small children (or pretty much anyone on a sweltering summer day). There are plenty of clean picnic tables to eat at under the shaded awning, complete with ceiling fans. In addition, there is a giant bouncy castle (for kids) and a giant car wash (for adults). That's right, you can get your ice cream and hose down your car in one stop!


Although, my favorite detail may have been the portaloos, designated with "His and Hers" ice cream cones.

While there is plenty to choose from on the menu, everything is well organized and easy to read. I opted for a Nutella and strawberry flurry with buckeyes mixed in. Yep, you can get more than one topping mixed into your ice cream. It was mmmm-mazing!

Traditional treats include soft serve cones, which are offered in 18 flavors ranging from black cherry and mocha cappuccino, to butter pecan or pineapple. There are also nearly 30 toppings you can add to your cone or milkshake, such as rainbow sprinkles, fruit, or candies. You can even get a slushie and add ice cream to it!

Look at the size of those sundaes and cones!

In addition to soft serve, Ice Box cooks up food for a quick bite. Cheese conies, BLT sandwiches, fried pickles, soft pretzels, and patty melt cheeseburgers are just some of the savory items on the menu, perfect if you're visiting hungry or with a person who doesn't like sweets.

It may be a far drive for some to reach Hooven and Ice Box, but it's totally worth the miles. I'll be back again this summer.

Ice Box Dairy Bar is located at:
4141 Ohio 128, Cleves, OH 45002

Greenhills Creamy Whip is located at
15 Eswin Street, Greenhills, Ohio 45218 - See more at:
Greenhills Creamy Whip is located at
15 Eswin Street, Greenhills, Ohio 45218 - See more at:


June 19 marks the 9th annual Dump The Pump Day, encouraging people to ride public transportation and save money instead of driving a car. Sponsored by American Public Transportation Association (APTA) the national holiday started in June 2006 when gas prices hit $3 per gallon. APTA recently issued a Transit Saving Report explaining that a two-person household can save an average of $10,174 a year by downsizing to one car. 

While some suburban areas of Cincinnati may not have access to our bus system, those households near public transit drive an average of 4,400 fewer miles than households that did not have public transit. Across the United States, that saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Taking the bus or riding the train also saves 865 million hours in travel time and saves $21 billion in congestion costs around major cities. 

Riding METRO or TANK buses in Cincinnati is enjoyable , affordable, and easy. Trips cost as little as $1.75 per passenger and can take you across Hamilton County, through Northern Kentucky, and even up to West Chester. It's a great way to travel to any of the tri-state's summer festivals without the hassle of congestion or parking. You name it, we've bussed it there: Lenten fish fries, weekemnd picnics, and Reds Opening Day!

Thinking about taking the bus for the first time?  METRO will be passing out FREE ride tickets to anyone who is a new rider or wants to give METRO a try from 12:00PM-1:00PM on Friday, June 20 at Government Square.

Other ways to celebrate Dump the Pump:

Here are some more fun facts APTA discovered:
  • In 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation - - the highest in 57 years.
  • People board public transportation 35 million times each weekday.
  • Since 1995 public transit ridership is up 37.2 %, outpacing population growth (20.3%) and vehicle miles traveled (22.7%).


Friends gathered for the annual picnic of the Cincinnati Transit Historical Association (CTHA), a group that's been preserving the transportation heritage of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana for 35 years. Held in the lush gardens of the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, members and their families enjoyed a summertime spread by R&R Meats, featuring delicious cheeseburgers, brats, and tube steaks.

CTHA had their collection of vintage buses on display as well, including two TANK buses built in 1981 and the 1990s, a 1975 COTA bus from Columbus, Ohio, a 1953 Green Line bus from the Cincinnati-Newport-Covington Railway, a former Ohio charter bus, and others.

The crowd favorite is the 1953 Cincinnati Street Railway bus, which was donated to the group by METRO in 1984. (Fun fact: the orange and cream colors inspired the paint scheme for the new Cincinnati Streetcar.)

While looking at the buses is a trip back in time, nothing beats getting to climb aboard and go for a ride! Piling into the seats, retired bus drivers took the group for a spin around the fairgrounds, enjoying the rich hum of the motor, breeze sifting through the open windows, and the display of muscle power needed to maneuver a vehicle made in the days before power steering. We took a tour in three different buses, each with unique features, mechanics, and feel of the ride.

With activities and appearances going on year round, CTHA is a unique social organization filled with some of the most interesting and enjoyable personalities in Cincinnati. They're currently looking for enthusiasts to join, whether you like learning about something new, working hands-on to restore a bus, or helping out in their historical library. Volunteers are always appreciated and you can become a contributing member for as little as $15 annually.

Interested in learning more? Check out membership details on their website and keep a look out for their buses at upcoming events this summer: Glendale Car Show, Montgomery 4th of July Parade, Hamilton Car Show, and Hamilton County Fair.


National Donut Day was established in 1938 by Salvation Army as a depression-era outreach initiative. It pays tribute to Salvation Army volunteers who prepared donuts for thousands of soldiers during World War I.  Since that time, National Donut Day events have been held in cities across the country by local Salvation Army units.  This marked the fifth year that the local Salvation Army has partnered with the Greater Cincinnati Retail Bakers Association for the event, which was held on Fountain Square.

Donut Day featured local celebrities playing themed games, such as donut stacking and a donut hole toss. Others attended wearing their finest glazed fashions.

I counted thirteen sweet shops distributing their signature donuts -- ironically, a baker's dozen. Neighborhood notables included: Holtman's Donuts, Bonnie Lynn Bakery, Bonomini Bakery, Harrison Home Bakery, North College Hill Bakery, Regina Bakery, Schmidt's Bakery, and Wyoming Pastry Shop as well as larger patisseries Busken Bakery, Dunkin' Donuts, Servatii's, Graeter's, and Bakery Hill at the Midwest Culinary Institute (Cincinnati State).

With so many tastes, I was glad that several shops cut their donuts into quarters to offer a bite without having to commit to a full portion (although, I won't complain that some of my favorite places did have whole donuts for the taking!) A most popular event, some shops saw queues reach seven people deep, just to snack on their sweets.

Honorable Donut Day Mentions

Best All-Around Donut:
Holtman's Chocolate Iced w/ Sprinkles

(Unless you're offering me a lemon-filled pastry, sprinkles will win me over every time.)

Best Structural Integrity:
(Held up in the bag while out in the heat and sunshine)
Bakery Hill's glazed with chocolate caramel crumble. Not only did it look elegant, but it tasted fantastic too.

Favorite Surprise:
Schmidt Bakery's Cherry Thing-a-Ling
Only sold during Presidents' Day Weekend, I've heard tales of friends making an early morning journey to Schmidt's shop in Batesville, Indiana to get this coveted sweet. These sell out super fast, so I was excited to have the chance to finally taste one.


Mark your calendars! Local nonprofit Josh Cares is hosting its second annual lunchtime festival on Wednesday, June 18 from 11:00am - 2:00pm on Fountain Square. Food Truckin' for Josh Cares will features dishes from 11 of the city's best food trucks:

C’est Cheese — gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches
• Street Pops — handcrafted popsicles
• Eli’s BBQ — pulled pork sandwiches
• New Orleans To Go — po-boys and Cajun fare
• Blue Ash Chili — classic Cincinnati chili
• Red Sesame — Korean barbeque and tacos
• Catch-A-Fire Pizza — wood-fired craft pizzas
• Urban Grill — hearty sandwiches on grilled brioche buns

• Dojo Gelato — Italian-style ice cream
• SugarSnap! Sweet Treats —  cupcakes, cookies and coffee
• Texas Joe — Tex-Mex tacos

In addition to savoring a variety of food, attendees can also enjoy afternoon shopping at mobile fashion boutique Truck Shop.

Food Truckin’ for Josh Cares, which drew nearly 1,000 people and raised over $17,000 in 2013, is free and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at the event for $2 each, and redeemed for items at any of 11 participating food trucks. Proceeds from the event help Josh Cares provide companionship and comfort to children hospitalized in critical and chronic care units at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Be sure to stick around for the “Golden Spatula Awards” contest, with best entree and best sweet treat chosen by a celebrity panel that includes Elizabeth Mariner, Co-Publisher and Creative Director for Express Cincinnati; Ilene Ross, chef and editor of; and Jeremy Lieb, Executive Chef at Boca. 

Judging will be headed up by Warm 98 hosts Bob Goen and Marianne Curan, who will be broadcasting live from the event, and emceed by Frank Marzullo of Fox 19.


Want to learn more about what makes up American cities and how suburbs began? If you're curious as to why some people are critical of the suburbs while others embrace its lifestyle, check out the FREE lecture hosted by The Mercantile Library tonight featuring author Ben Ross.

A 19th century experiment in social engineering gave birth to the American suburb, and it has dominated the nation's development ever since.  Ironically, suburbs, now the hallmark of conformity, were created by dissidents of another era: abolitionists, sexual pioneers, and seekers of spiritual enlightenment.

In Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, Ben Ross traces how the ideal of a safe, green, orderly retreat where hardworking members of the middle class could raise their children away from the city mutated into the cookie cutter cul-de-sacs and strip mall-filled suburbs of today.

Copies of Dead End will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of
The Bookshelf.

June 2, 2014
11th Floor Reading Room
414 Walnut Street, Downtown Cincinnati
6:00 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Remarks 
No charge, open to the public