Okay, back to the big birthday trip.
Oh. You thought I was done?
We experienced every season, weather wise, while in the Cleveland and Canton area. We arrived to sun and a warm afternoon, followed by a sunny, slightly cooler day, then winds, and, finally, we woke up to snow! (I had to check the map, because I really felt like I was back in the biggest little city!)
(That really has nothing to do with this post, but just a little FYI.)
The fourth day of our fieldtrip around Ohio was planned as a Wild Card Day, for Ralph to choose whatever he might like to do, and of course I had provided a list of ideas.
In the end, he chose to go to the Amish Country.
(Squeal! My own personal secret first choice.)
Previously, I had thought the Amish were only in Pennsylvania, but I was wrong. There are several sweet little towns largely populated with Amish and Mennonite families, just outside of the Canton and Akron areas of Ohio.
We first made our way out to Homestead Furniture, an Amish owned and run store that supplies the American Embassies around the world with Amish made wood furniture. We met and chatted with a very nice Amish woman working in the store, and she gave us directions to the Amish and Mennonite visitors Center.
It’s fascinating to me how the ordinary becomes extraordinary when seen through a visitor’s eyes. Case in point, we were en route to the Amish Visitor Center when we saw a grocery store over on our right, and the parking lot was semi full of parked cars……and horse buggies.
An everyday sight to locals, and a snap-your-head-around-for-a-double-take-open-your-mouth-and-gawk moment for the three amigos from the Pacific Northwest. Seriously, we were so busy shouting out to each other in the car, “ohmygosh! There's a buggy! Look! They park like cars do! Wow! Wouldyalookatthat!”.
We stopped in at Der Bake Oven, aMennonite Bakery, (They lured us in with a sign that read "homemade soft serve ice cream.") and, oh my.
Notice the beadboard ceiling, and the cute ladders shelving? So charming.
The menu looked so good that we decided that we needed to stay for a late lunch.
The decor was cottage-farmhouse looking, with board and batten walls and ceilings, linen upholstered chairs, and some pretty creative lighting, and photos of their own baked goods with quotations as artwork. (Did you notice the colander lights above the menu?)
You know I had to take a bajillion pictures.
Loved. It. All.
Oh, and the food was delicious.
We chatted up the Amish sisters working the counter, and one of them was so kind as to even take a picture with the birthday boy.
I don't know if I mentioned it throughout the birthday saga, but there was one disclaimer, and that was that this trip was all about Ralph....
Unless we saw a thrift shop.
(I try to get my thrift on whenever and wherever we see a thrift store, thankyouverymuch.)
Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to add that disclaimer.
(Which Ralph is totally used to by this time.)
Here's why....One of the other kinda-cool-and-sort-of-surprising-to-me experiences from this trip was stopping in a thrift shop right there in Amish country, and finding Amish clothes, and bonnets for re-sale. (I have no idea why I found this so surprising. I think for some reason I figured that they since things were hand made, they never got donated, or I didn't think things like Amish Bonnets ever became truly "worn out".
In the end, I bought a sweet little all-hand-sewn Amish toddler sized dress and smock.
For three bucks.
That made my day.