Traveler: Explore the Trees in Northern Kentucky
The lesson you should have learned from The Giving Tree? When you have the chance to play in some branches, do it. In Alexandria, Kentucky, 20 miles south of Cincinnati, EarthJoy Tree Adventures (1500 Race Track Rd., 859-635-0320) claims two city-park trees named Maggie and Casper where you can get to swinging. Guided beginner climbs ($40) involve an hour and a half of climbing up, rappelling down, walking on branches, hanging out in a hammock up high, and Tarzaning around. Clearly, a harness and a helmet are involved, as is an instructor. Kids as young as 5 can participate.
Keep in mind you’re using almost every muscle group to haul your entire body weight up the tree—kicking down on a foot loop and sliding the “magic knot” above your head to work the rope pulley system—so being in decent (though by no means Olympic) shape will mean a significantly more pleasant event. To make your ascent all the more atmospheric, sign on for the full-moon climb on November 25 starting in the waning 7:30 p.m. light; there are enough hammocks to go around and headlamps for getting down in the dark.
What goes up … might want to stay up. Visitors can book EarthJoy’s treehouse, set on 200 acres of private, secluded forest in Germantown ($227/night). There’s no electricity and only an outhouse, but the cabin, once featured on Animal Planet, is spectacular: Barn doors open the interior completely to the outdoors, and a sectional sits next to a wood-burning stove. The company offers private climbs there, too ($59), as well as couples retreats. Not sure what you and your partner need to discuss? Well, after setting up a hammock in a tree as a team, you might have some issues to work out.
ALONG THE WAY Grab provisions for the climb—like a banh mi or bean-to-bar chocolate—at Cincinnati’s historic Findlay Market.
EAT Spare-Time Grill (7807 Alexandria Pike), an Alexandria institution, serves diner standards and lots of ice cream.
TOUR You’ve been up high, now get down low: Explore Cincy’s pre-Prohibition underground brewery tunnels ($15 and up).