Summer adventures are mostly over now, and it's back to the status quo. My little family unit traveled many many miles, braved storms, traffic, puke, poop, tantrums, random crack-heads, sleep deprivation, "heat", power outages, and still managed to be where we needed to be, and see who we were supposed to see. We traveled far and wide, but we returned safely, and have some great experiences to live with for a long time to come. I have to put up some links and some recommendations for places to visit if you are ever in Columbus, OH.
1. For the best cup of coffee you will ever have, you have to visit Luck Bros' Coffee House in Grandview. These guys really know their stuff, and my wife and I make a concerted effort to stop in there whenever we pass through. They do it all in the realms of coffee. There are tons of places Columbus has to offer, but I can't speak for them all since I haven't had a chance to see much of my old stomping grounds in the last ten years. But this place is the real deal. Also, there is a cute little park across the street, so if you have youngsters, you can get your coffee, and walk over to play.
2. For the most aamzing Ice Cream I have ever had, check out Jeni's Ice Cream. We bought a pint at the second stop in at Luck Bros' and I can only describe it as out-of-this-world good. I have had some decadent desserts, but nothing compared to this ice cream. To quote the master:
"Every day I’m surrounded by an ice cream-making crew of artists, writers, photographers, bakers, big-brain mathletes, travelers with omnivorous cultural appetites, and world-class experience gatherers."
"We create ice creams we fall madly in love with, that we want to bathe in, that make us see million-year-old stars. We devour it out of Mason jars, coffee mugs—whatever we can get our hands on. Handmade American ice cream = Bliss with a big B. Every single thing we put in our ice cream is legit. Generic chemist-built ice cream bases and powdered astronaut-friendly gelato mixes? No, ma’am. We build every recipe from the ground up with luscious, Snowville milk and cream from cows that eat grass. With that exquisite base, we explore pure flavor in whatever direction moves us at any moment, every day, all year."
Local Produce from my home state, hand-made artisanal products, grass-fed cows... Yeah. I'm in. And, they deliver!
3. I try to stop in Amish country whenever I can, and if you find yourself driving though Ohio, a small detour off the beaten path may be worth your while. There is a small country store just outside of Bellefontaine near theAmish settlement of Belle Center called the Country Variety Store and Bakery. When i was just a young pup, my grandmother would take me in there on the way home from Camp Wesley in the summer. Back then the refrigerators operated off of natural gas, and there were no lights. It's a little different now, but it's still the quaint country store it always was. I picked up a cute little hand-made rocking chair for my daughter, and some egg-noodles.
4. On a recommendation from family, we stopped in at Marie's Candies(!). I know this doesn't fit in with most of my principles, but they hand make all the chocolate in the basement of a converted train station, and the story behind the place is pretty cool. The chocolate was awesome, It was a special treat, and it even came with a warning at purchase "now this doens't have any preservatives or stabilizers in it, so keep it out of the sun or it will met in your car." They follow the same recipes that Marie herself made when she opened the shop when her husband came down with polio in 1941. The business started as a way to provide a living for the family. They have been in business since 1956, and you can take tours of the little old Train Depot where they make the chocolates today. This place is definitely worth a detour.
We stopped in Asheville, NC on the way back home to our little cottage by the sea. We made a point to go to Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast the next morning. This place is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I'll let them speak for themselves. If you are ever in Asheville, stop in.
I did get to get a run in while there, and i have to say I underestimated the hills. I see more bridge runs in my future to compensate for the flatness of Florida and Louisiana. I saw enough of my old spots to miss them terribly, but Not enough to remember why I moved the hell away in the first place. Ohio in the summer and fall is one of the best places to be. It's the other parts of the year that can suck. What i miss most is the open spaces. I'm definitely a country boy at heart looking for a simpler life. I feel a strong connection to my family land that will never be broken. A little bit of the Blanchard River will always run through my veins, and I will always long for the clear skies and clean air of my childhood. I guess it must be a shift from my twenties to my thirties.
I would have posted more pictures, however we were so busy chasing a lightening fast toddler around, there weren't many pics actually taken; neither were videos. I suppose this is why family albums always seem to hit a lull when the babies get bigger. Once kids get mobile, they surely don't sit still for pictures. Especially when they are little adventurers like their daddy!