Saturday, August 27, 2011

Westerville, Ohio

Randy and I are in Westerville, Ohio.  I hate to call this little city a "suburb," since that makes it sound like an appendage, and it is not that at all. This is a really fun and upscale place !

We left Akron this morning before noon and drove south on I71 to Rt 13 where we veered off the beaten path and drove through some of the loveliest farming communities of mid-Ohio.  Barns and small towns were delightful to slowly enjoy.  We had to chuckle at one sign in front of a local bar, written in chalk on a blackboard.  It read "BAD CHECKS!" and then gave the name of the man who apparently had written one of those to this tavern.  Ya don't want to mess with a small town dealer, I guess!

We are in Westerville to attend calling hours tomorrow for the mother of our brother-in-law. Our initial plan had been to go north to Cleveland, but with this family occurrence (and construction on I-77N)  we chose instead to come south and spend my final weekend before I go back to school in this lovely little city.

We're not going down to Columbus, which is just a stone's throw further south. We already did that in July.  Instead, we're enjoying Westerville. We are nestled in a room at the Ramada Inn, after a short search of other hostelries.  A bus full of elderly Texans escaping the interminable summer heat of San Antonio are also here, and they all were enjoying our Ohio cool late-summer evening, outside.

The main part of town, State Street, is beautiful with brick buildings. A Graeters Ice Cream shop seemed to be a huge draw, and people were lined up into the street awaiting what I have heard is a marvelous treat.  One older building, in particular, reminded us of the vintage buildings in  Guthrie, Oklahoma, that we so enjoyed a few summers ago. The State Street street lamps are decorated with the most glorious baskets of hanging petunias that I have ever seen in my life.  They must be four feet long, all in bright pink, up and down both sides of State Street. Each small business seems unique and interesting.  It is probably a good thing that we arrived in this part of town after most of them had closed!

We chose a local eatery for our dinner. We actually selected it from its description in our AAA guide. It is called The Old Bag of Nails.  What a name! (Our waitress could not tell us why it is so named, so I leave you in the dark about that, also.)  A stuffed (real) bear greeted us from the wall on our entry, and its friend, a moose, held hats over the bar.  We both enjoyed grilled fish and excellent service at The Old Bag.  While Temperance was very important in Westerville a long time ago, it does not seem to be the rule here today.  Lots of jolly people were enjoying their drinks along with us.  There is actually an area of town honoring the Temperance Movement, which was very strong here.............long ago.

After dinner we walked up and down State Street, and found a little brick-lined alley that led us to a coffee shop called Java Central.  It seemed to be overflowing with customers, and the smell of good coffee permeated the alley. A bluegrass trio was making great music inside, and every seat was filled. Luckily, we were outside the back of the music room, and we could see the crowd and the singers, and hear it perfectly, while we sat at an opportunistically-placed table and chair set.  Randy went inside and came back with a "coffee toffee" drink, which was totally divine.

Back in our car on our way "home" to the Ramada, we stopped at Half Price Books, which called to me from a strip mall.  We spent half an hour there locating a few good audio books and yet another copy of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" for our return trip tomorrow afternoon. (For only $1, well under half-price.............such a deal!)

Tomorrow we will don our summer darks, offer our condolences, and be on our way home to Akron.  Today we drove through Bellville, Mount Vernon, and Sunbury, Ohio.............the heartland of our state.  If we had stayed on the interstate, we would have missed the polite young lady at the Shell station in Centerburg, and the Amish lady who sold Randy a blackberry pie at the side of the road somewhere along the way.

On Tuesday I go back to school............until I can find an extra day and a reason to be on the road again.

copyright:  KP Gillenwater