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A Spark Of Magic In Northern Kentucky

Covington and nearby Ludlow offer more than meets the eye. Here's where to conjure a Diagon Alley–style visit.
A shop with a wooden cabinet full of curiosities

Hierophany and Hedge is an emporium for all things magical.Photo by Amy Lynch

WITH ITS ROLLING natural landscape, historic German architecture and cute-as-a-button main streets to stroll, Covington just across the river from Cincinnati casts an enchanting spell on visitors. Ah, yes—we see a road trip in your near future.

To start your magical mystery tour, open your mind and beeline to the handsome brick storefront of Hierophany and Hedge on Covington’s adorable Pike Street. Here, you’ll find all manner of bespoke arcana including a fascinating inventory of candles, crystals, books, talismans, tarot, reagents, amulets, and, the piece de resistance, a storied wood cabinet full of artisan-made custom wands, straight out of Harry Potter.

Wood carved wands on display

Artisan-made custom wands.Photo by Amy Lynch

Open since last May, this is no ordinary New Age store. The owners, who go by Auger and Coil, go all-in by wearing period costumes and taking a Victorian London method-acting approach to customer service, even speaking Old English. Every item in the store has been painstakingly vetted right down to the last detail; even the decor, the wood plank flooring, and the antique display cases have tales to tell, with some relics hailing from as far away as Europe.       

If you go, check the store hours first as they tend to change frequently. You’ll leave a believer. Or, at the very least, you’ll walk away with a protective good luck charm.

Swami whiskey still

Swami still at Second Sight SpiritsPhoto courtesy Second Sight Spirits

For potions, you’ll have to go to the nearby burb of Ludlow, just a few miles west of Covington along the river. Second Sight Spirits is the theatrical brainchild of Carus Waggoner and Rick Couch, childhood buddies who spent a few years constructing Cirque de Soleil sets in Las Vegas before moving back home to Kentucky to open their own distillery in 2015. Boasting a circus-themed vibe, a gorgeous mirrored wood bar back, and bordello-red walls, the tasting room operates as a coffeeshop and cocktail bar highlighting Second Sight’s own adventures in alchemy—namely, a house-made Kentucky bourbon, a hazelnut liquor, and several varieties of rum. Try the smoked cherry variation.

Complete with its own turban and crystal ball, a Zoltar-themed still up front takes center stage, cleverly MacGyvered using Craig’s List–sourced equipment and repurposed found materials. Waggoner hopes to add an actual fortune-telling function to the apparatus soon. On the weekends, the owners regale guests with stories and product samples during short tours.

Friendly spirits, indeed.

A bottle of bourbon

Oak Eye Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.Photo by Amy Lynch


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