|Old suitcases in a train depot at Green's Heritage Museum in Orient, Ohio.|
Here's what we did in no particular order, or, perhaps more importantly, what I learned on my summer vacation:
- Queen-sized hotel rooms do not have Queen-sized beds in them.
- Using our Hilton Honors points for free hotel rooms is a great thing.
- We are on our last days of one room for four of us.
- Most of Ohio is very flat.
|Local people were running up and down these steps for exercise at the McKinley Memorial in Canton.|
- The steps of the McKinley Memorial in Canton are an amazing place for a workout––apparently the locals think so, too. This was my first visit even though I grew up twenty or so miles to the north.
|You can safely swim in Lake Erie again––you couldn't when I was a child.|
- Tickling our toes in Lake Erie is no substitute for the Atlantic but our sons were determined to see it.
|My friend Linda noticed these steps and I never had before. The Glendale Steps |
were a WPA project in Akron, meant to link the neighborhood above with a park near
the Glendale Cemetery (park was never completed). Now the steps are overgrown and appear unused.
I found out after a quick Googling that it was a project spear-headed by my great-grandmother.
- It's amazing what you notice when you are a tourist in your own homeland.
- Red Lobster® is no substitute for a shore dinner on the ocean.
- Passing lane hogs on interstates need to be reminded that they are in the passing lane: move over or just move yourselves!
|Every time we visit Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens,|
in Akron, we see something we hadn't seen before.
|One of the bedrooms at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio.|
- The National Park Service had money in the 1990s when the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio was carefully and well-preserved, but they still need an "OPEN" sign out front.
- You know times are tough for historic preservation when an outdoor museum [that I will not mention] is closed several days a week during the summer––and there are weeds in their driveway.
|The library at the James A. Garfield Historic Site|
was my favorite room, but only because the
kitchen had been torn out for a display area.
|Mr. Green has put together quite a collection of buildings and carriages.|
|This is the bike one of the American Pickers wanted.|
- Yet there are hidden gems like Green's Heritage Museum, featured on the first episode of American Pickers, in Orient, Ohio. It's open by appointment only: no grants, no budget, no top heavy staffing, just owner-operated and loved. And here you can ignore the weeds.
- Deer live in the suburbs [we saw three large majestic bucks in the cemetery where my father, grandparents and great-grandparents are buried––it was a magical experience.]
|My old grade school building at Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio gets a second story.|
I was in the first kindergarten class on the new campus in 1967 (where the large bay window is).
- I can no longer see my old school from the road in the golden light of morning. Trees grow, fields fill in, barns are taken down. Life goes on. [It's been 40 years, deal with it, Catherine!]
- My intrinsic mapping abilities are more reliable than the TomTom, as much as I seem to have to prove this to my family again and again.
- My childhood home––and neighborhood––is smaller each time I visit (but the trees are much larger).
|I had never noticed this at the school flagpole until years after.|
- If I sit in the backseat with one of my children, I am twelve again, much to the annoyance of my husband up front.
- In an overpriced antique shop, keep looking. There is often a corner of underpriced stuff (eg. in this case, many reasonably priced books––blog to follow).
- Don't go shopping after having a gin and tonic at the hotel bar (OK, so the books were on sale at Borders).
|Henry, Hunter and Eli share a laugh after dinner.|
- Swenson's double cheese
crackburgers (in the Akron area) are still delicious, every time.
- Avoid absolutely any store that has "Shoppe," "Ye Olde" or "Amish" in its title: it is none of the above. But we knew this already. It's still annoying.
- Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen, in Mt. Hope, Ohio, however, is really Amish. And they make the best fried chicken and cracker pudding. Ever.
- Getting away from the strips (after our chain hotel with swimming pool, of course) and go "off roading" in the place where you visit: it's the best way to experience America.
|Everyone is always in stitches by the stories of our friend Andy January, one of my father's |
best friends when he was alive, and who would have given Johnny Carson a run for his money.
He also has a radio show in Akron, 'My Beautiful Home' on WAKR (and a family paint store).
[I was on the show a few years ago––on the phone and later live––to promote The Pantry].
- Try as you might, you can't go 'home' again.
- West Point Market in Akron still rocks at 75 years strong but Jungle Jim's in northwest Cincinnati is the Disney World of international food shopping––on steroids.
- After all that, and three years here now, our return trip to Kentucky felt like coming home.
|A collection of old typewriters at Green's Heritage Museum.|
And now, let the school year begin! (with more writing time for Mama)
You come back when you're ready!