Covington: For the Doubters

by Jim Guthrie

I enjoy vacationing in cities solely for exploration.  Not just site seeing.  Learning about how and what they do.  If I were vacationing in Covington, here’s what I’d do.  (I’d walk to each.  Because one of the great things about Covington is it’s walkable.  And because I’m sure I’d discover something I didn’t know about on my way.)

I’d start with food.  Because I love food.


It would take me a week, but I’d visit each of these places.  At least once:  Ottos, Main Bite, Riverside Korean, Amerasia, Taqueria Cruz, Wunderbar, Goodfellas, OKBB, Left Bank, Roebling Point, Blinkers, Nuvo, Four Seasons, Old Town, Dee Felice, Cock n Bull, Anchor Grill, The Gruff, Braxton. 

I’d gain 15 pounds during my visit to Covington. 


I’d check out the consistently high quality art on display at the Carnegie – try and catch a performance in the beautifully restored theater, but at least check it out.  I’d see if there’s anything going on in the Eva Farris Education Center out back. I might even invest in their CSA (Community Supported Art) project.  I’d walk the tranquil grounds of Baker Hunt hoping to peek over the shoulder of an artist en plein air action.  If I was there in May I’d definitely check out the multitude of artists in one of my favorite Covington parks at the Duveneck Art Show.  In September I’d check out freshArt at Behringer Crawford – another great amenity of Devou Park.  And later in the week I’d check out Art Off Pike – the art show of Covington’s urban core.  Finally, at the end of the day, I’d catch a band at Madison and/or Madison Live.


I’d visit the 700 acre park with a view of a major metropolitan city – Devou Park – where there are miles of bike and walking trails, tennis courts, amphitheaters and symphonies and bluegrass, golf and event centers.  I’d climb the slippery slopes of the levee at Randolph Park (unless they build some stairs) and walk along the Licking River Greenway Trail admiring nature and urban art forms.  If I’m carrying my Kayak, I might put in along the river and drift a bit.  I’d eat some of my food bounty at the George Rogers Clark Park in Licking Riverside, watch the barges go by while listening to the hum of the traffic across the suspension bridge (and think about the awesome potential of our Riverfront.)


I’d also try to meet and soak up some creative energy from the many creative groups that make Covington their home.  BLDG – one of the early pioneers that are still at it in spite of the ups and downs; making places, creating brands, getting Covington international arts attention. I’d want to learn how they do it and bring it back to my city.  I’d sit down with Platform53, Uptech, BadGirl and Biologic and learn about community through shared work spaces.  I’d look in the windows of Durham Brands, Scooter Media and Spotted Yeti just to see what they look like.  I’d buy some cool stuff from Flow, SoS and District78.  I’d poke my head into Gateway – having an urban campus is cool.


I’m really interested in creative placemaking.  So I’d hit these places up.  I’d talk to Katie Meyer at Renaissance Covington and learn about popup shops, popup parks, markets, food trucks and how to put together a strong group of committed individuals in pursuit of community.  I’d sit down with Tom DiBello and hear about how Covington has changed in the 75 years he’s been at the Center for Great Neighborhoods.  I’d talk to him about their investment in people and community, placemaking, micro and macro grants.  I’d try to snag a confession booth for an anonymous discussion with the founders of COV10 and learn how micro philanthropy can change a community.  I’d talk to Tess Burns and learn about how the Awesome Collective started a movement to make Covington realize something.


I might consider living in a place like this.  So I’d pick up some leasing info from Pulse, Pike Street Lofts, Market Lofts, Mutual Fire, Boone Block and imagine what it would be like to live in such a diverse and vibrant community.  I’d make a note next time I visit I’ll stay at Hotel Covington.

So sure … there are social service agencies serving people that need help.  I don’t mind that.  It’s another layer.  If it bothered me, I’d live in the suburbs where I don’t have to get out of my car.

What did I miss???  Tell me.