2011 Presidents, Patriots, & Caverns travel blog

Worlds Largest Horseshoe Crab

Camp Washington Mural - George Washington in drag?

Camp Washington Chili

5-way chili

Restored Texaco gas station in Lebanon, OH

Taxi stand converted to a Shell gas station in Lebanon

Golden Lamb Hotel or the "Mutton Hut" as the locals call it

Shaker Dining Room in the Golden Lamb

Sue and the Historian

Relish plate appetizer

President's Cut Prime Rib


We decided not to go anywhere yesterday because it was too hot. Today wasn’t much better, but we drove into Cincinnati anyway. On the way, I stopped at a car wash because Fit needed a wash bad. When I drove out, Sue saw a giant horseshoe crab behind a storefront church. It was billed as the “World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab & Scripture Garden”. It was supposed to go to a Baltimore museum that went bankrupt and wound up in Blanchester, OH.

Our main reason and as it turns out our only reason for going to Cincinnati was to try the chili at Camp Washington Chili. Cincinnati is famous for chili, why I don’t know, and Camp Washington Chili is listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die. It has been in business continuously since 1940, in the same location (although the original building has been replaced with a new one as the result of road realignment), and owned by the same person, Johnny Johnson. Cincinnati chili is a little different form that in other places in that it has nutmeg and cinnamon seasoning and is served over spaghetti. We ordered 5-way chili – chili, beans, onions, cheese, and spaghetti. It was okay, but we’re not sure you need to try it before you die.

After the chili, we headed back toward Wilmington. We took a detour to Lebanon because a couple of the people we met at the campground were from Lebanon and spoke highly of the town. I also stayed in Lebanon in February 2010 (Vince’s Winter Tour) when I was working in nearby Mason. The campground I stayed at was next to the town graveyard. It’s a pretty nice town that was established in 1803 and today is mainly antique stores. Sue managed to find a jewelry store and bought some Christmas presents.

Since today seemed to be devoted to eating, we decided to have dinner at the Golden Lamb Hotel. It is billed as the oldest inn still operated as a hotel in Ohio. The hotel is not only known for its longevity, but also for the number of US Presidents that have stayed at the hotel or visited it. Beginning in 1840 a total of 12 Presidents have stayed there either before they were President, as candidates, while in office, or after leaving office. The first was William Henry Harrison and the most recent was George W. Bush. George Washington didn’t sleep there. Other notable who have stayed there were Charles Dickens and Henry Clay. It’s an interesting place because of the original preserved condition; lots of antique furniture and decorations, and you can wander through the hotel rooms as long as no one is staying in them. They even have a historian that is more than willing to tell you everything he knows. He caught Sue coming back from the lady’s room and kept her so long I thought she may have fallen in. She was gone so long the waitress felt the need to come to the table and tell me where she was. When she came back, the historian followed her to the table with some more stories until our dinner came.

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