Take a Tour of One of the Best Cities in the U.S.

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Multi-billion dollar companies, home of the second largest summer tennis event in the U.S., highly ranked high schools, low crime rates, and a big city feel with suburban charm — sounds like a great place to live, huh? Time Magazine thought so too. I am talking about Mason, Ohio.

Mason Ohio Demographic Map

Map by Nielson.com

 

With a population of roughly 53,640, an average income of $89,900, household composition almost evenly divided from a 1 to a 5-person household, and the median age of 38 years old, the city seems like typical suburbia. I thought so too until I made the move to this amazing city.

I am a recent transplant from the Kansas City area and shortly after college, I found myself in a brand new city with adventure in my eyes. Shortly after my move, I started dating, settled down, and created a family in a city not too far from Cincinnati. FamilyI had heard that Mason was very suburban and honestly, that did not appeal to me. But as I slowly learned the lay of the land (and learned how to get to and from my neighborhood without getting trapped in one of the many cul-de-sacs), I knew the same thing many of the residents here feel — “I’m home.”

My partner has an 11-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter whom I absolutely love and enjoy spending time with doing anything from playing Xbox to riding our bikes. I believe having a family in Mason has enriched my life but even if I were still single, I can understand the appeal of living here.The city is clean, the landscaping is well maintained, the restaurants/sweet shops are a foodie’s dream, and there’s even an amusement park right down the street.

Rather than just tell you how awesome my new hometown is, let me show you around.

Kings Island

Banshee Rollercoaster in Mason OhioIf you’re looking for an amusement park with something extra, this is your park. You have your typical scare-me-to-death rides but Kings Island offers a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, one of the longest inverted roller coasters in the U.S. and the attached water park is getting a 7-story water slide. Needless to say, you’ll have fun here. I can’t tell how many times I’ve lost my voice at this park from screaming but it’s totally worth it. Maybe stop by the Starbucks near the entrance/exit for some hot tea if you need to sooth your vocal chords.

Main Street Sweets

Main Street Sweets Candy Shop in Mason OhioI definitely have a sweet tooth (thanks dad!) and this local candy shop does just the job. From childhood candies to more modern sweets, Main Street Sweets never lets you down. A few of my favorites include the bazooka bubble gum, unique & yummy flavored popcorn, gummy peaches, Lego candies and now I’m thinking I need to stop there real quick.

Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza in Mason OhioThis place will change the way you think about pizza. From its first store being opened in Aug. 2012, Blaze Pizza is thriving and you don’t have to worry if you don’t live in the area because chances are there’s one coming to you soon. I’m just glad I found it (thanks to the help of my son, Colin). I kid you not, we went there twice in one day the very first time I bit into this delicious, made-from-scratch, oven-fired pizza. The crust is just crispy enough, you can order unique cheeses (gorgonzola, ricotta and ovalini to name a few), customize the type of finish you would like and even choose the dough. Ok, after the candy shop I’m thinking I need to get a pizza.

Shopping Area in Mason OhioThe truth is, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to Mason and I’m still learning what this awesome city has to offer. All I can say is that I’m lucky to have found my way to Mason, Ohio, I’m lucky to have made a home for myself here and I’m extremely lucky to have created a place where my family and I can enjoy this town together. Maybe next year we’ll make #1 on Time Magazine’s Best Places to Live in the U.S.! :)

The Trick of Life

My life is beyond hectic but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  (btw: the pic is me after a long workout – EXHAUSTED)  I intern 3x a week, have school Mon-Fri, write for our school paper, run & workout, volunteer with the American Red Cross, write for my own site and lots of little extras on the side.  Tonight as I was running and thinking about my long list of things I need to get done before the week starts again, I thought – Who Am I Doing This For?

The answer was easy, myself.  I have a family that I love and we’re all very close.  I have good friends that I can trust and enjoy being around.  At the end of the day though, my decisions and my actions are for myself.

I’ve met a lot of people in the past year, some good people that have become friends and some not-so-good people that I don’t welcome into my life.  I should go into psychology with what I’m going to say next but what I’ve noticed with people who have insecurities or doubts about themselves is that they are more likely to engage in questionable activities.  Some people I’ve met are always looking for a relationship, others are looking for a rich boyfriend/girlfriend, some are just looking for their next ‘temporary high’ in life, and some people have good heads on their shoulder.  I’ve seriously met ALL types of people.

I know who I am and I know what I want out of life so I’m not going to let anyone stand in my way.  It’s about having a strong sense of self and a good, positive network.  I don’t care what anybody tells you, I’ve learned that you are who you hang out with.  Surround yourself with good people.  I may barely have any free time but the free time that I do have, I try and fill it with phone calls to my family, hanging out with friends and doing what I enjoy – running/swimming (they are great de-stressors) and living life.  Though this is the point where some people hit a wall.  They become bogged down with things and get stressed beyond belief.  That’s when you need to ask yourself ‘Who am I doing this for?’

If you’re older and have a family, you may very well say you work hard to support your family.  If you’re younger and in a relationship, you may say you do it for your boyfriend/girlfriend.  BUT I guarantee you that at the root of it all, you do what you do in life for yourself.  A person doesn’t say their hobbies or their favorite book is their families/friends favorite book – it’s yours.  We make our own decisions.  We make our destiny.

I have one more full year in my college career and if all goes as planned, I’ll be living in Paris, France.  I’m not making this move for anyone but myself to make me happy and make my family proud.  I plan on still keeping in touch with my friends too and hopefully dragging them over for a visit.  Though as I go about my daily life meeting new people and having new adventures, I see that some people seem lost.  I was there once, I’m not going back.  So if you find yourself reading this and feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, ask yourself ‘Who am I doing this for?’, re-prioritize and take back your life.  You’ll be happier, trust me.