Kind of an odd sort of characters to gather together in a post, but they all made for a perfect day.
About 2 weeks ago, my bestie Cheryl quit her job. Just walked right out. Told her boss what she thought of her and the job and tossed her keys and left. Ok, she had another job lined up…but can you imagine how liberating that felt?!?! This then gave her a LOT of free time till the new job started……ROAD TRIP! She picked the part of the state we would hit, I would find something for us to see.
That was not easy. She picked the east/south east part of Ohio. Not far enough for the Ohio River and not far east enough to hit Wheeling. Imagine what “back in the holler” looks like. I have NEVER been to this part of Ohio. That makes it very hard to figure out what you want to see or where there is even anything to see. There is not a straight route to Guernsey County…..but that actually helped with the trip. We could go a few different routes, but decided that since we had all day, we would take Route 39 to Interstate 77.
Our goal was to leave at 8am…..but it ended up being 9. No biggie. However, my 13 year old was still battling a cold. She was ‘ok’ to go to school…but we all know how much more miserable work/school is when you don’t feel good, so we packed her up with all her cough drops, medicine, pillow and blanket. Playing hooky every now and then is ok in my book.
My goal was to find the 8-9 bridges that were either covered bridges, old train trestle bridges or “S” bridges (had never heard of them before). Then, I stumbled upon an abandoned house that was super cool. I found several pictures of it….read that it was in Guernsey County…..but could not, for the life of me, find the actual location of it….not even what road it was on. I searched and searched and searched……and then did something I hate to do…..I gave up. Besides, I had all those bridges to go see…and we were taking 39…it would still be a great day.
We pick Cheryl up and hit the Marathon for coffee. And a hat. A few years ago we took a road trip and started at the same Marathon store. I fell in love with a pair of mittens. Had. To. Have. Them. Got ’em…love ’em!! They had a hat in there this time. Yep….had to have it. I look like a fool in it, but I might get brave and show you some time. Maybe. It has flaps.
Finally on Rt. 39……heading towards Amish Country. We know we will want to stop and get some cheese and baked yumminess on our way back home. It can’t be helped. If you drive through Amish Country, you are required to buy something. Too bad my first purchase is a gallon of wiper fluid. Driving behind a semi and running out of wiper fluid in the winter is never a good thing. Second stop at a gas station already today. Better be the last. As we are filling up the wiper fluid, an older gentleman stops and says “You two look like you are from here…” <crickets> We are in Amish Country. Not sure how my Jeep Grand Cherokee resembles the ol’ Horse ‘n Buggy. But we are of the friendly nature and just politely ask if he needed help. He did…he needed to get back on a highway to head west. He was going back home to Illinois after driving here to buy a puppy. Awwwwwww. We told him where he needed to go, and he asked if we wanted to see the puppy. Really? Didn’t Oprah warn us not to fall for that line??? We caved. We could see his elderly wife and the Illinois plates…and there was no way he was fitting all of us in that little car. Turns out they were a super sweet couple with a little itty bitty black and white yorkie. I have never seen a black and white yorkie…he says if he decides to let her have pups, he could sell them for about $1200-$1500 each. Umm…don’t forget about the kind ladies who helped you find your way home. This little puppy had a black spot over her eyes, so he was thinking he might call her Patches. Awww. Back on the road we go!! Seeing that puppy reminds Bethy that Hershberger’s (awesome Amish store/bakery) always has puppies for sale….she wants to know if her and Cheryl ‘behave” will I take them to see the puppies. Sure…IF those 2 can behave….they rarely can.
As we do with every road trip, we take note of where we want to stop on the way back, so we just keep rolling onward. Interstate 77 is boring. Really. There is nothing really there for long distances. It was easy to do 80…and easy for my daughter to point out that I was going 80. Glad she did that BEFORE we saw the nice State Highway Patrolman. He stayed put. That’s why he was so nice. My last speeding ticket included a road trip, my daughter, and Cheryl. We get off the highway for a bio-break, (another gas station in Buffalo, Oh) and scope out where we are in relation to the bridges. HEY!!!! Guess what…..we are right down the road from Chris and Tammie (Cheryl’s gf’s cousin). Are they home? Yep!! Let’s stop in and see them! It’s just a little ways down the road. As we head out from our Gas Station Tour, Cheryl says that there is this really cool house she wants me to see. I ask her about it, and all she says is I just have to see it, it’s really cool. Bethy loves cool houses too, so she is getting excited. We are going deep into the holler to get to Chris and Tammie’s…..deep. I’m thankful it hadn’t snowed a lot there lately. Cheryl is still talking about how I need to see this house that is close to Chris’s. She says it’s down the next road we turn on. We turn. And. There. it. Is. I had to stop the car. I couldn’t drive. I was so excited!
This is the Witch’s Hat House. This…is the house I had searched and searched for and could not find an address or road for. This….is right around the corner from Chris’s house. For me, this made my trip. How ironic that Cheryl talked about a house she wanted me to see, and it turned out to be the house I couldn’t find. There is a small ‘pull-off’ across the street, so we stopped and took pictures. A lot of pictures. It made me think…what in the world happens that people just leave a house. The style of this house was a sign of wealth back in the day…..so sad to see it left like it is. Tammie said that for many years, there was a light on the porch that stayed lit 24/7….up until a couple of years ago, then it either burned out or the electric finally got turned off. Of course, there has been a lot of vandalism and urban legends surrounding this house. We did not go into the house, we never do. We simply stand on the sidelines of history and capture the present.
We visit with Chris and Tammie for a little bit, then head off for lunch. Seriously did not have a WW friendly lunch. I won’t even tell you where we went, but, I will tell you a funny story from lunch. Bethy got to pick where we sat, so she picked the counter. It was Bethy, me, then Cheryl. I am going to bear all right now and tell you I have a partial. Like, in-my-mouth partial. Like, grandma-lost-her-teeth partial. I hate to eat with it in. I have become very good at discreetly pulling it out either at the table (in a napkin) or I excuse myself to the restroom. Sorry to gross you out. It is what it is. You really can’t tell I have it out unless you get me laughing hard. This trip, I pulled it out and placed the napkin on the counter at the top of my plate. We ate. We had a good lunch. Until Cheryl needed a napkin. She reached for what she thought was a clean napkin. What happened next was nothing short of hilarious. She screamed like a little girl when my partial hit the counter. I think I tinkled a little bit. Bethy is still laughing at Cheryl for sounding like a little girl. I gather my mouth and we venture on….after trying to pull a fast one on Cheryl. Bethy made me move the car while she went to the restroom. Yeah, the old “they left without me” trick is still funny……to us…..when you are the person playing the joke.
We decide that since we stopped to visit with Chris and Tammie for a little bit and had the side trip to the Witch’s Hat House, that we didn’t have enough time for all the bridges…in fact, we had to choose just one. So I chose the one that looked the closest to the highway and was a covered bridge. We took a side road here….a side road there….took a right…turned around….took a left and then a right…and drove down a creepy road….then back to the road the bridge is supposed to be on. Then we find a pull off real close to where it should be. And are dumbfounded. We are lucky enough to have the GPS coordinates…..so we plug them in. And are saddened. We are at the exact coordinates……no bridge. Amazing what happens when you actually look at things….and notice the ‘newness’ of the road and other signs of construction/destruction. The one bridge I picked out, was torn down. Bummer. We will keep the list of other bridges and try again this spring…….we’ve still got Amish Country to hit….before 5 since that is when most of the Amish stores close…due to no electricity….and it getting dark early still.
Somewhere around 4, we hit the first Amish town, Sugar Creek……..where we come upon The Chair. At Troyer Furniture. It’s a nice chair. Adirondack Style. And it is Big. And my daughter wants to sit in it. Why not?!?!?
We ended up with wet butts…because it’s winter in Ohio. But, it was still fun…for us…and for the cars driving by watching us. We’ve still got shopping to do and puppies to see….and we are burning daylight!! We are able to get our cheese and Walnut Creek Honey Smoked Pan Fried Turkey Breast at, where else, the Walnut Creek Store. Let me tell you….everyone says turkey is turkey….BUT…get yourself some of WC’s pan fried (regular or honey smoked) turkey breast. You will taste the difference. Yum. Trust me. Yum. The Walnut Creek Store has a Customer Service desk. This cracks me up…I don’t know why, but it does.
We’ve got our meat…we’ve got our cheese….we avoid the bulk candy area…and head out to Hershberger’s for fry pies and to see the puppies. Only problem, I forget which road it is on. I do know it is on the way to Charm, OH. So I plug Charm into the GPS and off we go…..and we finally make it….at 5:05pm. 🙁 They are closed…no puppies…no fry pies. We are a little sad but will make another trip down here in the spring.
We decide to head home with the knowledge that we had a fun filled day…..when Cheryl sees an open sign…at a bakery! SCORE!!! We turn around and they are open…and they have fry pies! (Fry pies….think Hostess fruit pies….but homemade and soooooo good). Our day is complete…..all except for the puppies…(at least we got to see one puppy, Patches)…but we have already started planning for our next trip back down there. We will make sure to leave plenty of time for Hershberger’s and Grandma’s Homestead Restaurant in Charm. They have the best strawberry freezer jam and peanut butter.
I almost forgot….John & Annie. As we are driving down 77, I notice a brown sign. In Ohio, the brown signs are usually tourist attractions, lakes, natural points of interest or historical places. They always get my attention, because I’m a nerd like that. So this brown sign says “John & Annie Glenn Historic Site”. Yes, it piqued my curiosity, but it would have to wait. When we are driving back up 77, I notice it again, and ask “Who the heck are John & Annie Glenn…and what the heck did they do?”. In unison, Bethy and Cheryl say “Are you kidding?!?!?! John Glenn!!!” Duh. The only thing I could say was “I’m an idiot.”
The nerd in me will make sure I go back and learn more about John & Annie.