6/23/17 – 7/1/17

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Most people don’t know it but there is a national park in Ohio. Despite the rainy forecast, we managed to bike along the Ohio and Erie Canal and enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk to Brandywine Falls. Plus we now have another stamp in our National Park Passport book.

It’s Been Way Too Long!

Although it was over 10 years since we saw our Ohio relatives, it didn’t take us long to catch up and feel like it was yesterday since our last visit.

Lisa Lander (aka the first Lisa Lander), hosted a gathering at her lovely home with an amazing feast that was enjoyed by all. Uncle Mike was the grill master and perfectly cooked the delicious seafood kabobs. Dennis and Nancy participated in the event by Skyping on the laptop which allowed them to talk with sister Joanie, brother Mike, and others.

Special thanks to Lisa for organizing this special day … it was wonderful to see you and the family!

 

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

It’s was time for a botanical garden visit, so why not combine it with a zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo has beautiful garden displays throughout the park with naturalistic environments for the animals. It’s a large zoo with indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring some common and unusual animals from around the world. After a long afternoon of walking around we finally found the feature attraction, baby hippo Fiona. OMG … she’s so adorable! Large crowds were gathered to see the interaction of the baby with mom. Hippos are so graceful underwater and fun to watch.

Visit to Hillsboro

Every afternoon my Uncle Bud visits his wife (my aunt) Fay at the Heartland Nursing Home. We were happy when he said we could join him so we met him there at 3:00. Uncle Bud greeted us warmly and had a tray with ice cream to share with Fay and the caregivers. Everyone inside knew him and was happy to receive his special treat. We surprised Aunt Fay with our visit but she quickly remembered us and updated us on the latest family happenings. Again we Skyped with my parents, giving them time to reunite with each other. This is why we came … these moments are priceless! (Sorry no photo)

Happy Birthday Damon

Celebrating Damon’s birthday began at Applebee’s for dinner, followed by a visit to Jungle Jim’s, and concluded with dessert at Lisa’s. So everyone knows about Applebee’s but do you know about Jungle Jim’s? … certainly we didn’t. It’s hard to describe this store but if you combined Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, Rainforest Cafe, and Epcot you’d get something like Jungle Jim’s. It is an amazing grocery store that has EVERYTHING!!!  Aisles of produce, cheeses, meat, bugs, talking animated animals, beers from everywhere, sections from India, Europe, Mexico, etc., the size of a warehouse, and bathrooms that look like a port-a-potty but open up into a full size multi-stall bathroom. Where else can you get chocolate peanut butter beer called “Sweet Baby Jesus”? How did it taste Damon? A really a fun experience!

Now it’s time again to brag and be amazed by Lisa’s dessert. But before that, I just want to say that Lisa is one bad-ass! Got to see her in full bike attire tonight since she rode her Harley Davidson. Impressive for sure! OK, back to the dessert … it was a lemon cheesecake that Damon requested for his birthday that took 20 hours to prepare. Boy, what a good Aunt you are Lisa! So delicious and so beautiful … 2 pieces weren’t enough.

Overnight Visit at Cousin Mike’s

We love long driveway’s and cousin Mike and Cherylyn’s is perfect for an overnight (or longer) stay. Even though we were there less than 24 hours, we managed to have a lot of fun in that timeframe. Including a house/garden tour, motorcycle ride, chicken BBQ, Baileys with Frangelico drinks, and a great game of Bananagrams!

Did I mention a motorcycle ride? Yes! Me and cousin Mike took a great ride on his beautiful Harley. Smooth riding, hugging the turns, riding through covered bridges, brought me back to my younger years on the back of a bike. Thanks Mike … you’re so cool!

We had such a wonderful time with ya’all and we promise it won’t take another 10 years before we visit again.

Crossing Paths

Timing is everything and it perfectly matched up to meet Russell and Lindsey at a nearby campground while they were heading back from a five week cross-country trip. They went to some national parks and suggested some places for us to visit when we head that way.

That evening, Antonia and Marshall who live nearby in Bowling Green, picked us up at the campground and we went to dinner at Poco Piatti which is a delicious tapas bar.  We enjoyed sampling an assortment of small dishes and hearing their traveling stories. Some of their adventures were near-death experiences which amazed and frightened us. Afterwards, we went back to their home to see a collection of keepsakes that came from around the world. We unfortunately forgot to get a photo of us together but we have the wonderful memory of the fun time we had that night. Thanks again for the delicious dinner and hope to see you again soon.

When we returned to the campground, Russell had started a campfire, so of course, we had another dessert … smores! They stayed overnight and headed out the next morning to continue their trip back home to Massachusetts. It was wonderful that you stopped by and great seeing you both!