Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Serendipity --- West Virginia and Ohio

Roger here...  Green trees, green grass, green plants --- everywhere.  The trip from North Carolina to Coshocton, Ohio (photo) has taken us back to the midwest where everything is green in June.  

The title of this post is "Serendipity".  We have often found that our favorite stops in our travels have been accidentally finding those unique places that we did not expect.  We knew we would enjoy our destination, but are thrilled when we find places along the way that are more than just places to sleep. 

 We have been on our way from North Carolina to Mansfield, Ohio (to see my brother and sister-in-law).  We needed an easy on-off place to spend the night in West Virginia.  When planning the trip, I was unable to find a quick place for a one-night stop. However, our friends Mike and Brenda, who grew up in West Virginia, told us about a rest stop near Beckley that was far more than a rest stop.  The Tamarack Center at exit 45 from the West Virginia Turnpike provided a huge display of local crafts (for sale), a theater, and what I refer to as Sunday dinner (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, etc.)  Yum!

Upon arrival, we took the dogs for a walk, then checked at the desk to be sure that it was ok to boondock in the RV parking lot.  Dry camping in public areas does not always seem restful and safe, but it was here.  With full tummies we woke up the next morning ready for our push into the midwest.

When (Miss Genealogy) 
Dianne noticed that we would be passing near Coshocton, Ohio, she requested a 2-3 day stop to do some research in the local library.  The  thinking was that one of my great-great-great grandfathers might have lived in Coshocton.  I expected to spend time with the dogs in the motorhome while Dianne did her research thing and possibly wandered cemeteries (ho hum).  I made reservations for three nights at the Colonial Campground and RV Park with owner Ryan over the phone, and was immediately impressed by him.   He literally sold me on his small town and all it had to offer.  When I met him, I was even more impressed.  The photo above shows Tequila and Bandido watching another dog (Zoey) chasing the soap bubbles that her young owner was spreading all over the campground.  After a while they came over to visit us.  What a friendly place.

Dianne spent the day of our arrival at the local library, and to her chagrin disproved the genealogy question that she hoped to prove.  However (serendipity), that enabled us to spend an entire day at the local historic area at Roscoe Village --- living the 1830s on the Ohio and Erie Canal. 

We opted not to pay to do the re-enactment tour of the 1830s, because we had done similar tours at Conner Prairie in Indiana.  BUT, we did want to wander through the historic area, enjoy the gardens, look through the shops, eat, AND take a horse-drawn boat ride on the canal.  So we did.

Private residences, like the one in this photo, were interspersed with shops, restaurants, and historical costumed characters.

All the sidewalks were constructed of brick pavers.  We did purchase a few items in the shops before eating lunch at the Steak and Stein.  

We enjoyed the various gardens that surrounded the Roscoe Village visitor's center. 

Soon it was time to do our 3/4 mile hike along the canal for our scheduled ride on a canal boat.  The picture below shows what was once "canal lock #2", now a landscaped garden.

Our first view of the Monticello 3 --- a replica of a 25-ton passenger boat that was part of the early westward transportation system of our nation.

... and the beautiful Belgian horses that would be powering our 45-minute cruise back into history.

Our narrator during our visit into the past was Captain Brennan.  

He explained how the Erie Canal from New York was expanded into the territory of Ohio, bringing goods and people into the emerging area.  He talked about the construction of the canal by people of Irish and German ancestry and the hardships of the time.  

He talked about daily travel along the canal and its eventual demise with the advent of rail travel.  Captain Brennan is a retired history teacher --- not a surprise.  Dianne thinks he looks like an Ohio version of Prince Charles.

Enjoy our smooth, quiet ride (no engines, no noise) through the following pictures:

While horses towed, a crew member in back steered the boat with a rudder.

Is this called a two-horse-power "engine"?

Horses were put away while we continued to coast to our stop.

Before heading back to the campground we walked over to the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

This interesting museum featured Native American artifacts, a temporary modern-art-type quilt display, Asian treasures, and items used by Ohio pioneers.  Dianne was fascinated by the small bathtub in the picture that looks like an upside-down hat.  (Dianne here:  I'm hoping it was just for children??   Otherwise, where would you put the candles, bubbles, and wine glass??)

I was intrigued by the intricate carving in this Asian panel.

Dianne, of course, loved the sculpture of the playing greyhounds.

(For my friend Sue, this one's for you...D.)

The museum is also home to the Newark Holy Stones, which were uncovered in the 1860s in Newark Ohio.  They were excavated among artifacts from the Hopewell Indian culture; however, the inscriptions are in Hebrew and one of the stones is believed (by some) to bear the image of Moses.  A mystery (or scam from the 1800s) wouldn't you say?  Fascinating, nonetheless.

One day in Coshocton just was not enough.  Besides, the doggies had missed out on all the fun that we had.    Soooo...

We loaded up Bandido and Tequila and headed back to Roscoe Village the next morning.  The first stop was at the leather shop, where the leathersmith fashioned dog collars for each dog with their name (and a Texas star) imprinted in the leather.  We then took the dogs on a three-mile walk along the extensive trail system along the canal.  

By the time we finished our walk we were hungry.  We stopped by "Uncorked" and got permission to have lunch with our dogs on the outdoor patio.  

We love dog-friendly towns.

Tomorrow morning we will make a fairly short drive to Mansfield to see my brother and sister-in-law.  More later.

The pet picture of the day was taken outside one of the local businesses.  When we walked by the first time, Bandido cowered when he passed the statue of the cow.  What kind of cattle dog is afraid of cows??!  He thought it was real until he got a good sniff.  His next reaction was, "Oh, I knew that was not real, take our picture next to it."

Two cattle dogs with a cow

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