West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Random Thoughts on Friday: The Eagles at Rupp Arena in Lexington

I wanted to mention that we were able to catch the Eagles this past Saturday at Rupp Arena!

Where do I start......  First, the Eagles are probably my all time favorite major label band.  A lot of my high school memories involve Eagles songs.  They were actually a bit before my time....  but I got hooked on Don Henley's solo stuff, and eventually found my way to the Eagles.

The first vinyl album I owned was Don Henley's first solo effort, and I played that one constantly.  I remember being blown away by his next couple of albums.

I remember really getting in to the Eagles in high school, sort of after I discovered Don Henley.  Remember back when Best Buy had a great selection of classic rock CDs?  You could go there and find anything.  Anytime I had an extra 10 or 15 bucks, I would go by and just pick up any Eagles (or Jackson Browne, I was really getting in to him at that time too) album.  I knew I would love it.

And, I have been lucky enough to catch the Eagles, and their various members in concert many times.

We saw original member Bernie Leadon play at a club once in Cleveland on an off night.  There was a very small crowd, and after his show, he chatted with everyone, signed autographs, and just seemed like a cool guy.  I brought several CD covers, and he signed them all.  He was in great shape, especially for a guy in his 50s.

Someone offered to buy him a beer, and he said it had been a long time since he had a drink.

I told Bernie about reading that Rolling Stones interview with him where he talked about leaving the Eagles.  He said that, "leaving was an act of survival".  I told him that that quote had meant a lot to me over the years.  He looked at me and said, "Yeah, sometimes you just gotta go to the beach."

So, this past weekend at Rupp, it was great seeing Bernie on stage with the other Eagles.  He played pretty much all of the first (of two) sets with them, and he came out at the end of the show again.  I was super happy to hear "Train Leaves Here This Morning."

Other great moments for me were "Take it to the Limit" (with Frey on vocals), "Pretty Maids All In A Row", "Those Shoes" (not one of my favorite Eagles songs, but it seemed to have some extra bite live), and "In The City".  I would have liked at least a couple of Don's solo songs thrown in.  I know the last time I saw the Eagles, there were more songs in the set list than just a few of Joe's.

Rupp arena was packed, and, it was generally a mature but energetic crowd.  I know a lot of people complained about it being hot (and it was) but I have been in worse conditions for concerts.

I would love to see some more classic rock acts come through the area!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

William Quantrill's grave- the one in Dover Ohio

Just so you know, there are multiple sites out there that claim to be the final resting place of William Quantrill.  We recently swung through Dover Ohio to see this one.

I would try to tell ya about Mr. Quantrill, but google him when you have time.  He had an interesting life of 27 years.  His life ended in 1865 in Louisville.  The last few years of his life were devoted to the Confederacy.  He rubbed elbows with the James Bothers, Cole Younger, and Bloody Bill Anderson.

He has a nice, small stone in the very northern town of Dover Ohio.  The day we were there, there was an attractive iron CSA monument here, along with an American and a Confederate flag.

This is a very attractive cemetery, in a town that I personally love a lot.  Check out the great Jesus monument nearby!  There are some other interesting monuments in other cemeteries that I will mention soon!

Monday, July 27, 2015

World's Largest Basket in Ohio

We passed the world's largest basket in Newark Ohio.  We saw it from the road as we drove by- here are a couple of photos!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yoder's Amish Home- Millersburgh Ohio

As we drove through Amish Country in Ohio, we stopped by Yoder's Amish Home in Millersburg.

This was one of those things you do because it looks interesting and educational.  Their brochures, and their very humble website are not flashy.  We ended up learning a lot and having so much fun.

We had a very sweet guide who actually told us that she had left the Amish 11 years earlier.  She told us about the differences in Amish and Minonites, and she talked about how some Amish groups are more conservative than others.  She explained how these differences occur. 

Though we have actually spent time around Amish, we learned quit a bit from our guide.

We walked through two homes on the tour, one more modern, and the other built in 1865.  The homes were opened to the public in 1983.

At the end of the tour, cookies and pastries made by some very pleasant young Amish ladies were made available.  VERY reasonable prices were posted, and sales were based on the honor system!  You put your own money into a small box, and made your own change!  I could not pass up a fried apple pie that was flawless.  If I were in the area again, I would stop by for a fresh apple pie.

We also visited the barn.  Yeah, I grew up around farm animals, but it is always fun seeing them and being around them.

We hung around the property a bit, not wanting to leave, as we were having so much fun.  We chatted some more with our guide, and with the fun staff in the gift shop.

We were so impressed with some of the items from the Yoder kitchen that we looked through a cookbook.  A kind young lady came and talked to us about the book, showing us some of her favorite recipes.  She let us know that these were all from her grandmother, and that she herself put the book together.  We got our cookbook signed and headed on to some more adventures in this great area.

Yoder's Amish Home gets my highest recommendation.  This would be a great place to start your trip through the area!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Amish Country in Ohio

We were planning a nice little trip to Tennessee the other day.  Everything was ready to go....  we were all set, THEN we checked the weather reports.  It looked like the area we hoped to go to was going to get rain in buckets the whole time we would be there!

So.....  we had JUST been in the Amish areas of Ohio briefly about a month earlier... and we loved them all (Sugarcreek in particular).  We decided that a repeat trip, with more time to explore sounded great!  Tennessee was out, and Sugarcreek Ohio was in!

Again, we were just in this area, and I have already mentioned a lot of these parts but there were a few things I felt I should bring up from our second swing through the area.

We stopped at several bulk food type shops.  We had a lot of cheese, and hit some nice antique shops.  We visited several, and I can't remember the names of each one- But we really liked Heinis Cheese in Berlin.  You can watch the cheese being made, AND you can sample just about everything before you buy it!  We ate a lot and we bought a lot!

Another favorite was Walnut Creek Cheese, this place had a lot of cool items, and it reminded me a lot of Jungle Jims in Cincinnati!  Seriously, if you are a fan of Jungle Jim's you have to visit this place!

In Berlin Ohio, we found several great shops.  This area reminded me of Gatlinburg with a heavy Amish influence.  Think about that for a bit.  You REALLY wanna go now, don't ya?  I thought so!

We found a great small shop in this area called Catalpa Trading Company that sold reproduction tin signs, old toys, magic tricks, novelties, and various other collectibles.  I was personally excited to find some nice authentic Civil War bullets!  The guy running this store is a lot of fun too, as he has been doing magic for about half a century.  While we were in the shop, he performed several fun (yet always confusing) classics, telling jokes in between each trick.  He was putting on a great show!

We stayed at the local Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek.  This place was great too, and spotless.  I saw staff cleaning almost constantly.  AND, they hooked us up with some nice coupons when we arrived!  This was a nice calm, place.  Very relaxing.  We had a 1st floor room facing the road.  We really enjoyed spending time out on the porch (each room had a large porch or balcony).

This is a great area for a three day weekend.  It is about an hour south of Akron and it was a reasonable 5 hour drive from Lexington, with the last hour or two of the drive being very scenic.

We have agreed that this area will be on our "we must visit there yearly" list.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wallhouse Coffee in Sugarcreek Ohio

I know I have raved about several coffee shops here and there.  There are certain things I like to see at independent coffee shops, and things I do not care for.

Well, Wallhouse Coffee might be the most perfect coffee shop I have come across in some time.  This is my new favorite coffee shop in Ohio.

We knew we would be in this area, and we saw that there was a coffee shop right on our way!  We decided that this would be a perfect stop on our trip.

We pulled in to their parking lot, and the place looked a bit too upscale for an independent place.  We walked in and thought the same thing.  There are no second hand store tables here.  The chairs all match and look attractive.  AND the place was spotless.

Don't get me wrong, chaotic and mismatched coffee shops can be charming, and appeal to me and my friends..... but a place like this appeals to everyone.

We checked out Wallhouse's professionally done menu display and picked a couple of drinks, some food... and we could not resist one of their ice cream concoctions.

I usually pass on ice cream, but this was the BEST ICE CREAM ever!  Chocolate and real peanut butter mixed with their vanilla ice cream.....  I want some now!

Their soup and sandwiches were also perfect.  These guys aren't nuking stuff in the back and passing it off as quality.....  This was a great, fresh, frankly perfect meal.

We were impressed with our drinks, food and ice cream..... and we fell in love with Wallhouse Coffee.  This isn't just a top quality coffee shop, it is a flawless restaurant.

I asked a young worker if the business was a franchise.  I was assured that this was the only Wallhouse location.  I told the young lady that the place seemed too slick to be one of one.  She laughed and agreed- and the way she laughed made me think that she had heard that before.

SPEAKING of the staff there....  They all wore neat black chef jackets.  They all seemed to care about their product, and took the time to answer all of our questions.  They sold attractive mugs with their logo on them, and at about $7 each, I bought one for me, and two for gifts.  The nice guy who helped me with the purchase took the time to individually wrap each one.

I can think of some major chains that should come to Wallhouse Coffee in Sugarcreek to take notes.  I am going to declare Wallhouse Coffee my favorite coffee shop AND restaurant in Ohio (and don't forget that I lived in that state for 10 years).  This place cares about quality and a great product.  They get my highest recommendation.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sugarcreek Ohio

THIS IS THE PLACE!  Sugarcreek Ohio is a nice, VERY small town that is more exciting than anyone realizes.  There is a VERY well known attraction here, the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (I mentioned that here in 2012).  There is the Warther Museum.  Also, most roadtrippers know this is a nice Amish area to visit.

We realized that possibly the coolest thing to do here isn't even on trip advisor, nor is it really advertised!  You can thank me later for telling you about it!

While we were in the cool Sugarcreek decanter shop, the owner told us about an Amish man who does a horse drawn wagon type tour of the area!

We thought this sounded pretty cool, actually.  I have been reluctant to do the horse drawn carriage ride in bigger towns (riding one through a large town with annoyed drivers honking behind you NEVER sounded like fun to me).  In a small area like Sugarcreek WITH an Amish guide.... well, that sounds like a can't miss experience!

AND IT WAS. Our new Amish friend's name is Leroy, and he offers a very rare and fun opportunity.

Our guide took us on an extremely casual ride through town.  He talked about the Amish businesses and the non-Amish ones too.  One family on the trip with us mentioned that they saw a local business owner on a reality show.  Well, our driver yelled at the business owner during a stop, and introduced him to the group!  There was a great vegetable stand that he pulled in and we were all able to get out and make purchases.

We were told of a movie series that has been made here (and yes, I have ordered the DVD!).

Our guide playfully boasted of his solar powered resources he uses.  It actually sounded VERY efficient, affordable, and modern!

The ride was so pleasant.  Our Amish friend does this and does not actually charge a ride fee!  There is a tip jar as you get off of the wagon/bus, so you can pay what you feel is appropriate.

On this trip through Sugarcreek, we only had a few hours to enjoy the place.  AND, to be totally honest, you CAN see the town in a short amount of time.  BUT, this is a town to experience.  It has a rhythm to it......  AND the Amish are a lot of fun.  We are looking forward to spending a longer weekend here soon.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Marietta Ghost Trek- Marietta Ohio

Marietta has been big on my list of places to get to for some time.  I know there are a couple of odd books on the area, AND an interesting web site about the history and legends of the town, so I really wanted to get there.

As we travelled on our last trip, we realized that we could swing by the area in the evening AND do their "Ghost Trek"!

First off, this is a spectacular town.  Old river towns with a sense of history and preservation always are.

The downtown area is pretty lively. Still, parking and walking around was easy.

We made our way to the area in front of the Lafeyette Hotel where the tour meets.  Our guide was conspicuous with her sign.  We called the number on their website before going, and we were assured that no reservations were needed, and that we could just show up.  Really, it was that easy.  We also thought it was cool that an actual person answered our call and was super friendly.  We have passed through areas before where you call a number about a tour, and you are asked to leave a message....  well, if you are on a tight time limit, playing phone tag isn't something you want to do.  We did not have that experience with these guys.

The tour started promptly at 8.  There was a large crowd.  Our tour guide had a mic though, and she was easy to hear.  The tour lasted a pretty solid two hours which were packed.

Our guide said that we would only be going a few blocks, but we were all over those few blocks!  It was a good workout!

We went inside of the Lafayette Hotel, through alleys, past restaurants and shops....  I am pretty sure we covered the good parts of downtown.

I was trying to keep a rough count of how many stops we made, and of how many different stories we were told.  I THINK both were around 13-14, but I lost track.

I remembered another ghost tour we went on that was barely an hour, and we made three stops, all of which were close enough that we really didn't even need to walk.

This tour was MUCH more involved.  Our guide told us of decapitations, fires, islands where the sick were isolated, asylums, etc.  Many of the sites of crimes, mysteries and hauntings are now antique shops, restaurants, and other businesses.  I was a bit let down that we had to leave town early the next morning, as exploring these businesses when open would be great!

We REALLY enjoyed the Marietta Ghost Trek, and we will be back to see more of the town soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Last weekend in Berea

It is no secret that Berea Kentucky is about my favorite place on the planet.  I spent some time there in college, and I enjoy getting back every chance I can.  Well, the Berea Craft Festival was a great chance to swing by Berea again!

I keep telling people that there is always something new to find even in your own back yard.  It might have been there for some time, but it might take YOU a bit to find it.  Well, I had ANOTHER moment like that myself.  Before we went over to the Craft Festival, we walked around Old Town.  At Old Town, we struck up a conversation with Jimmy Lou Jackson who runs her business, Hot Flash Beads.

Jimmy Lou took a lot of time telling us about the process of bead making, as she fired up her torch to demonstrate some of ways she melts glass, and shapes them in to wearable art.

Jimmy Lou grew up in Berea (on land settled by her great grandfather).  AND, like us, she went to Berea College!  We really liked her work, and we enjoyed her demonstration. 

After hanging out with Jimmy Lou, we went on to Indian Fort Theater for the Festival.  This was, as always, a fun time.  We heard there were artists from each of the 50 states.

The place was packed, and we did see some faces from previous festivals.  Mitch Barrett was there, as he is every year.  That guy is amazing.  I have no doubt that he could sing lines from a cook book and make it sound emotional.

Check out my photos of Jimmy Lou making beads, and of the Art Festival!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Centre Market, Wheeling, West Virginia

OK, I know I JUST went on about the history of the great coffee company in Wheeling..... but Centre Market is equally exciting.  It has been in Wheeling since before West Virginia existed!

Centre Market rivals any other trendy but historic shopping type areas.....  It is smaller than some, but we thought that the selection and quality of shops was MUCH better than in some similar areas.  Wheeling is a manageable town, so parking was really no problem.

I did have a standard fish sandwich from Coleman's Fish Market (the place is 101 years old!).  Sure, waiting in line to pay for a fish sandwich, then waiting for your fish has a blandness to it, but...... they have been doing it for over 100 years!  I understand why EVERY travel guide on the area demands that you do this!

We really liked CookiePops, the cookie store in the area too.  I had a GREAT sugar cookie shaped like a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap.  It was fun looking at the cookies, and the sweet lady running the shop was pure joy.

We stopped in some other shops here and there and liked them all.  One antique shop had some cool, old local business items that I passed on buying, and I am now regretting it.

We noticed some nice local art, jewelry and other items as we explored.  I also saw a free book display, which I thought was very classy.