We’ve been in Ohio for a week now, with more day-to-day life than Gap Year adventuring, so when my cousin Annette invited us to join her and her husband Andrew (and their dog Nolan, of course) on a day trip to Lake Erie we did not have to think very hard about our answer. Annette and Andrew live in Columbus, so we headed up there Friday night to keep the car time on Saturday manageable. We also detoured slightly to REI in Columbus, as Dayton does not yet have their own REI (it hasn’t been that long since there were no REIs in Ohio, so I’ll take what I can get). We wanted to get a bigger roof-top box for the trusty Subaru, since it looks like it will be our steed for the next phase of the trip until we can find weather suitable enough for full-time biking. At the first REI store, we determined which box was best for us (we went with the Thule Force XL as a good compromise on price, features, and size), but they didn’t have one we could buy. Fortunately, the other Columbus REI store did have one in stock. We headed over there after a girls’ dinner with Annette (Andrew stayed home with the “boys”) and got the new box purchased and installed. I want to add a shout out to Jamie (store 1) and Matt (store 2) who went out of their way to help us and provide excellent service and friendly conversation. Friday night wrapped up with some popcorn and watching the dogs chase each other around the house.
Saturday dawned a sunny day. We dressed for cold weather, had a cup of coffee, loaded up the truck and hit the road. We began the indulgent eating portion of the day with McDonald’s breakfast. We drove through several small northern Ohio towns, but stopped only in Milan, a town which takes every opportunity to let you know that it’s the birthplace of Thomas Alva Edison. (Among other things, their high school team is the Edison Chargers.) Note: this is Ohio, not Italy, so Milan is pronounced MY-lun. We admired the buildings, including a lovely Carnegie library, then stopped for photos at the Edison birthplace. A visit to the museum will have to wait for another trip, especially since it is not even open in January.
Next up was Lake Erie itself. Annette and Andrew are quite interested in the freighters that travel the Great Lakes. They had heard that there were two of these freighters docked (iced in) in Huron, which was the original inspiration for the trip. Thus we headed over to the docks to get some initial pics of the Adam E. Cornelius and the John J. Boland.
We broke for lunch, which was Lake Erie perch (yummy) and French fries (uninspiring) from Lemmy’s. The eatery is named for the Lake Erie Monster, called Bessie by some and Lemmy by others. We actually drove to a park by the lake to eat rather than view the dumpsters in Lemmy’s parking lot.
After lunch we walked out to the Huron Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in Art Deco style (who knew there were Art Deco lighthouses?) in the late 1930s. The first part of the walk is along a concrete pier, while the second part is on big, blocky rocks. These were covered with snow and a bit of ice, so it was an adventure getting out there and back with two excited little dogs. Along the way we saw an immature bald eagle and LOTS of gulls. It was an amazingly beautiful day for Ohio in January; the views were great.
The walk (and picture taking) continued along the water and back towards the freighters. An O-H-I-O photo was, of course, required.
It was starting to cool down (darn short winter days) so we headed back to the truck, catching a glimpse of some feral cats along the way.
Our next stop was Toft’s ice cream. I know, winter, but… The chocolate and peppermint flavors were winners. And the dogs enjoyed their doggie cups.
Continuing the theme of overindulgence, we next stopped at Hermes Vineyards Winery. You could do a tasting flight, or just pick your own tastes for $1 each. We tried the Ida Mae Rose and enjoyed it, but were not as happy with our next selections (Viognier and Aglianico). We tried a couple more (small tastes, folks) and settled on Gewurtztraminer and Sangiovese to take back for dinner. I found out only as I wrote this that the owner was recently indicted for fraud. 😦
After this stop, we settled in for the drive back to Columbus. The dogs were both basically passed out from the excitement of the day. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset along the way and Annette was able to get a few great pictures from the truck window.
Wine and pizza, and of course popcorn (Nolan’s daily treat), topped off a fantastic day!