Saturday, May 21

It's Here!

Ahhh, it's finally here--vacation!  It seemed to take forever to get here, but now that it's upon us, I know that it will fly by.  So, what are we planning to do with our time off?  Whatever we want!

May 20:
Friday was the first official day of our vacation.  It started out cool and cloudy.  We decided to spend the day in  Bluffton, Ohio, which is about 20 minutes south of us.  I had been to a small restaurant there called Jeanne's Kitchen  for work lunches twice, and thought that my husband would like to try it.  After a brief stop at Kohl's here in town to pick up a few items that were on hold, we headed south for lunch.  The clouds were beginning to break up and sun was starting to peek through as we reached the town.  We parked off of the main street and walked up to the restaurant, and found the lunch special to be lasagna Florentine and a turkey BLT.  The restaurant also offers a regular list of sandwiches as well, but after finding out that the lasagna came with a side salad and roll for $6.95, we each decided to try it.  We had just missed a huge lunch group, and there were only a few other tables occupied, so we took our seats at the far end of the restaurant.  It wasn't long before our salads were brought out to us, then only a few moments later our lasagna and bread arrived as well.
I feel I must apologize, because the photos are taken with my phone and are a little blurry, but you can still see what I am describing.  The first two photos are views of the interior of the restaurant.  It has an Americana theme, with a large folk-art mural painted on the long brick wall.  The third photo is of the meal itself.  I couldn't believe how large the piece of lasagna was when it arrived--it was the size of the dinner plate!  All of this was, again, only $6.95 each.  What a great deal!  The salad was fresh and crisp and came with your choice of dressing (I tried a balsamic dressing, which was good), the rolls were warm from the oven, and the lasagna was incredible.  A sweet tomato sauce, a good balance of cheese, spices, spinach, and meat made it the best lasagna I'd ever eaten!  I did take half of it home with me, while hubby polished off his piece (which was the same size) in record time.  He agreed that it was very tasty.  He also agreed that it was a great place for lunch, and was very glad that I had taken him.

We finished our delicious meal, then wandered into the gift shop that was attached to the diner called The Black Lab.  They offer purses, candles, and Americana decor.  I purchased two little stuffed chickens in a blue metal tub for my kitchen, and we departed the store and walked back to our car.  Across the street from our parking space, a house was having a rummage sale, and as we were driving by, hubby noticed a five gallon Marathon container sitting on the porch, and wanted to stop.  He managed to bargain down the price a little bit, and we walked away with that and a book he found.  Rummage sales are great!

We headed back to Main Street, and found a parking space in front of a quilt shop called Forever in Stitches.  I don't quilt, because I don't have the attention span, but I do sew, and I wanted to look at the reproduction Civil War fabric that they carried (more on that project in another post).  They had quite a bit to choose from, and I selected a dark blue fabric with a geometric pattern print.  A great find!  The price was a little cheaper than I expected, at $8.49/yd.  Fortunately for me, I only wanted a yard.  After I bought my fabric, we headed out and I saw this sign across the street from us:
How cool is the cow wearing the chef's hat??  We didn't go it, but I still thought it was a great sign!  We walked around for a while, stopping at more shops: Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade shop, which carried some very unique items, but I didn't buy anything; Shirley's Popcorn Shop, a store that specializes in gourmet popcorn, and a used bookseller.  Shirley's Popcorn was neat--they had samples of the flavors that were for sale that day, and I was sold on the buckeye flavor.  I went home with a half-pound bag!  What is buckeye, you ask?  Well, in Ohio, it is a type of inedible nut.  There is some sort of fascination here with buckeyes that I may never understand--the Ohio State University's mascot is a giant walking buckeye, and they have modeled candies after them, which is basically a peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate to look like the nut, and these candies are incredibly delicious.  (I made the candies when I was younger, but never called them "buckeyes".)  So, now that you know that,  the buckeye popcorn is basically caramel corn that has been drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter.  I took a picture of the bag:
If you click on the photo, you can see a little better what I mean by drizzled with the chocolate and peanut butter.  It's so good, I wish now that I would have bought the one pound bag!

After that, we headed back out of town, stopping at Riley Creek Mercantile to check out their garden goods and guns.  We didn't pick anything up there, but hubby was enjoying the window shopping there!

Well, we spent most of the afternoon down in Bluffton.  It's a cute town, not very big, but enough shops and attractions to occupy us for several hours.  I would go there again, especially for lunch!  Here are a few more photos from Main Street:
Mural on the side of a downtown building
Old Glory and puffy clouds

We returned home, ran some errands, and ended our first day of vacation with a movie from Netflix, The King's Speech.  Good movie, I recommend it.  All in all, a great kickoff to what I hope will be a great week off!  Today, Saturday, we have mainly gotten some work done around the house--mowing, cleaning, tidying.  Tomorrow is our actual anniversary, and I told hubby that he got to surprise me with where we will go to eat.  I have a cake ordered from Meijer (it's a tradition for me to order a decorated cake, about the size of a wedding cake topper, for our anniversary each year.  What's funny about this tradition, though, is that my husband was not aware of it.  He said he remembered having cake for our anniversaries, but hadn't given it much thought otherwise) and will pick it up tomorrow after church.  I'll take a picture and add it tomorrow or Monday.  I think that as I write about what we do during the week, I will just add it on to the end of this post so that it's a continuous entry.  Check back every few days if you want to see what we are doing for our anniversary weekapalooza!

May 22 & 23:
We began our day as we do most Sundays-at church.  The service was slightly shorter than normal due to the potluck lunch that was scheduled for today.  We hadn't planned to stay for the lunch, so after service we went to drop off some clothes at Goodwill, then pick up our anniversary cake.  With it being another warm day, we decided to take the cake home before embarking on another adventure, so we did just that.  We then headed over to the mall, where we walked around until our dinner reservation at 4 pm.  Our dinner location was a surprise, so when it was time to go, hubby drove me to the restaurant, and it turned out to be a local seafood restaurant that we had never eaten at before, but has received good reviews.  It was really neat!  It was also delicious.  We were the only people in the restaurant while we dined (they open for dinner service at 4) and we were seated right next to a large saltwater fish tank.  There were all sorts of brightly-colored fish, and was really fun to watch.  We each ordered salmon for dinner, and my husband ordered a lobster mac & cheese as a side.  It was delicious!  Very tasty.  After dinner, we returned home to relax and enjoy our cake.  We needed to get things together for tomorrow, too, so that we were ready for our trip!  Monday, the 23rd, was pretty laid-back, and we took our time getting up and ready for the trip.  We left around 1:45 and arrived around 3:15, so it wasn't a long drive.  We checked into our hotel, which wasn't fancy, but it was fine for what we paid, and decided to go see the current Pirates of the Caribbean movie at the nearby theater.  It was okay, but not great--to me, it felt like it was lacking something.  But we only paid $5 for each ticket, so we weren't out a whole lot of money for the movie.  When the movie got out, we headed to dinner at Buddy's Pizza, which was tasty but different.  When they make the pizza, they put the sauce on top of the cheese!  But it was still good.  It was getting pretty late by the time we finished dinner, but there was a Starbucks across the road, so of course we had to go!  Hubby took a Starbuck's drink back to the hotel and we called it a night.

May 24:
Noah Webster's Home
Cotswold Cottage
Edison's Lab-notice the bottles of chemicals lining both walls!
New lambs at the Firestone Farm.  They look so content!

Daggett House
We woke up around 8 am, thinking that we would be able to get to Greenfield Village when they opened at 9:30.  It was the first beautiful day that we’d seen in a while, and we looked forward to spending the beautiful day together and outside!  We got ready and went down to the lobby for the complimentary breakfast, purchased discount voucher tickets to the Village and Museum,  and decided to use the free shuttle service that the hotel offered to guests, saving us $26 between ticket prices and parking.  Not too bad!  Twenty minutes later, we were pulling up to the main ticket entrance and found ourselves among throngs of school buses and groups of school children that stretched as far as the eye could see.  We were later informed that May is the busiest time of year for field trips at the Village and Museum.  Oh yay.  Anyway, we exchanged our vouchers for our tickets and were on our way to fun!  Since all of the school groups were entering at the same time as us, we decided to start at the back and work our way to the front, hoping to avoid most of the crowds for a little while.  We started in the sections called Porches and Parlors, which was the section with the most historic homes.  We explored Noah Webster’s home, the creator of the first American language dictionary, we toured Colonial-era homes, and we went back in time at Cotswold Cottage, an early 1600s stone house that Henry Ford purchased from England and had shipped over to reassemble for Greenfield Village.  We saw a mid-1600s windmill that originally lived in Massachusetts, a courthouse where Abraham Lincoln occasionally practiced law, and Thomas Edison’s boyhood home, along with his factories and labs brought from New Jersey to the Village.  By this time we were getting hungry, but most of the dining areas were packed with school groups, so we opted to head to the Eagle Tavern. Unfortunately, we thought the food would be heavier and more expensive than we wanted, so we went to a cafeteria-style restaurant next door called A Taste of History.  We ended up only getting something to drink, but it was nice to relax and rest our feet without the constant cacophony of loud, unruly children.  When we were refreshed, we ventured back out to see more of the park.  The children were beginning to leave now, and we would have a few hours in the Village with a much smaller crowd.  We visited the Wright home, brought in from Dayton, Ohio, then their cycle shop, also moved from Dayton.  We went through the Artisan district and watched glassblowers create a beautiful water pitcher.  We actually saw it twice, because the first one cracked when they were separating the completed piece from the metal rod and they had to start over.  It’s always interesting to watch people form molten glass into something beautiful and useful!  We were able to chat with the workers now, and when we walked to the typesetting building, we talked with the elderly woman who was explaining how typesetting was done.  Then we moved to the tin shop, where the woman demonstrator there made a star-shaped cookie cutter before our eyes.  Very fun!  We talked with her for a bit, then moved on to the weaving shop, where the demonstrator show us weaving on a loom from the mid-1800s.  All very interesting!  After that, we headed to the Firestone Farm, where they keep live animals and harvest eggs, wool, and other goods from the farm and use them in their interpretations on a daily basis.  It was a great way to show how a functioning farm worked (and still works today).  We visited the animals, including a herd of sheep with several new lambs, and went into the farmhouse and talked with the people there.  They were finishing up for the day, but they still talked with us as they cleaned.  They even informed us that one day Eminem came through with his children!  Hard to imagine, but I’m sure it was fun for them to see a celebrity.  We headed back out to the barnyard to go through the barn.  It was a barn, for sure!  The only animal in there at the time, though, were a ram and a chicken in the ram’s cage, keeping him company.  By now we had been through the entire village, and it was just about closing time, so we headed up front to the exit and gift shop.  Our legs and feet were so tired and sore!  But we had a great time together.  We called the shuttle and went back to the hotel to regroup, then headed out to bd’s Mongolian BBQ.  We both love Mongolian BBQ, because you can make your own dish however you want it and watch it being cooked on a giant round griddle.  We enjoyed our dinner, and when we were done, we were done for the day.  We went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the night relaxing and pampering our achy feet.  Great day! (Note: click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view!)

More on the Henry Ford Museum to come soon!

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