Every year up in Springfield, Ohio, there is a wonderful living history event called The Fair at New Boston. Held on the site of the Battle of Peckuwe, the Shawnee villages of Peckuwe and Kispoko, and later the town of New Boston, this fair presents life as it was between 1790 and 1810 in the new United States. There is an area for the milita, with a full-sized Revolutionary War cannon and a bronze British light six-pounder both being demonstrated (very loudly!) throughout each day. An area for tents with a bit of “what life was like” in an encampment and among the people, an Indian village, and of course many artisans and shopkeepers displaying their wares. There’s even entertainment at the Cheapside stage and various famous frontiersmen to be seen throughout the day.
The day we went to the fair was hot. I mean hot. As it turns out, it’s a good thing we didn’t wait until Sunday to go, as Sunday was even hotter still, and had a heat warning out for much of the area. As a result, we didn’t wander through the milita encampment, nor did we go through the woods to the Indian village – though we’ve done both before and thoroughly enjoyed them. I took some photos of things we did wind up seeing, not including the magician in Cheapside (where we went to sit in the sparse shade for a bit!). Continue reading “Labor Day Weekend Part 2: The Fair at New Boston”→
As much as Hims and I would have loved to take this three day weekend and gone to the coast or something, we know better. Talk about crowds and inflated prices everywhere! Instead, we took Saturday and drove down to Lebanon to have a wonderful brunch at Ohio’s oldest inn: The Golden Lamb. Afterwards, we drove up to Springfield and attended the Fair at New Boston. (More about that in the next post!)
The Golden Lamb first opened in 1803 in Lebanon, Ohio, as a “house of public entertainment” – a tavern and inn. It began as a two-story log building owned by Jonas Seaman, and later replaced by the new owner, Ichabod Corwin, with a “fine brick hostel”. This makes up the oldest part of the building today – the lobby area, Dickens dining room, and the oldest rooms above – from what I understand.
Since then, people including Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Daniel Webster, Mark Twain, and quite a number of U.S. Presidents have stayed a night (or few) there. And yes – it even has its own ghosts!
We were seated for brunch in The Lebanon Room, the site of the original log tavern. (You walk straight back through the lobby to get to it.) We’ve never been seated back there, so it was a nice, new experience.
Sunday came, and Hims took me up to Wapakoneta, Ohio, to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, a treasure trove of things about the space program, the moon landing, and Neil Armstrong. I have been a space geek ever since I was a little girl. After all, I upstaged Apollo VIII by discovering my hands as astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders discovered what it was like to fly around the moon! Okay – so only my family remarked on my discovery. It was still pretty cool.
The museum is in decent shape, though you can see its age and that it could use an infusion of a quarter of a million dollars or so, something I wouldn’t mind helping with once I receive that lottery money that’s going to be coming my way. At the entrance is one wall of flight history, and the opposite wall showing all the astronauts from Ohio. There have been 29 astronauts from Ohio so far, including John Glenn (first American in Earth orbit, oldest person to make a space flight, and U.S. Senator), Judith Resnick (died in the Challenger disaster), and Neil Armstrong (first person to fly a spacecraft onto the moon, and first person to walk on the moon). So yeah – lots of photos on that wall!
This is the backup spacesuit for Apollo XI, the moon landing mission. The card next to it says the suit weighs 190 pounds on Earth, but only 32 pounds on the moon.
With shoes, jean shorts, change in my pocket, etc., I weighed in at 236.1 pounds that morning. Thankfully the talking scale didn’t announce that to the world! It went on to tell me that, had I been on the moon, I would have weighed 39.3 pounds, and on Mars I would have weighed about what I did in junior high – 92.0 pounds!
The museum features an interesting thirty minute video with footage of the moon landing I’d never seen before. If you happen to be around Wapakoneta, or find yourself driving through the area, you should take a couple hours out and go check out the museum. (I learned later it has a AAA discount, too – bonus!)
Saturday was the day designated as “Going Where The Road Takes Us” day. The road decided to take us south, down into Kentucky! I hadn’t been in Kentucky since I was a baby. (There’s a great photo of Mom holding me in Louisville, with Fort Knox behind us.) We started to think we’d go down to Lexington – and we did, sort of. Turns out the road decided to just take us skirting the north edge of the city and turning east, then northeast. Oooh! I pointed to a road sign – Blue Licks Battlefield. “A battlefield! Can we go?” Hims was reticent, but the Jeep we were driving decided it would be good to check it out.
I wanted to go because not only do I just love history, but I had never been to a battlefield (at least not a designated one) before, and was curious to see it. I learned after we arrived and went in the museum that this wasn’t a Civil War battlefield as I sort of assumed, but a battle fought in 1782 and regarded as the final battle of the Revolutionary War. Out of all the names of settlers who fought there, two jumped out at me, for obvious reasons: Daniel Boone and his son, Israel. I soon learned that 21-year-old Israel lost his life while fighting next to his father against a British-led force of Indians – now I won’t be able to watch the old television series without thinking of that!
The museum, while small, is really cool. Okay – if you are into this part of history, it is. Many artifacts from prehistoric times all the way through the Battle of Blue Licks, including a mastadon tooth, larger than a loaf of bread and weighing about five pounds – yes, we could pick it up and feel its weight! After going through the exhibits and wandering back outside, we headed for the restaurant attached to the lodge. It looked nice, and was very clean, but as I texted my friend Dee: it was like eating at a retirement home cafeteria. The food was okay, and I was really hungry, but I wouldn’t send people to eat there.
Instead of heading straight for Cincinnati on a highway, we took the scenic State Route 52, which follows the Ohio River. It was just beautiful. We could see a barge out there, making its way up the river, and quite a few personal boats dotting the water. The road runs right through Point Pleasant, Ohio – with the birthplace of President Ulysses Grant right at the roadside.
Grant was born in this tiny frame cottage on April 22, 1822, to Jesse Grant and Hannah Simpson Grant. Though the house has been added to, with two rooms attached later on (one they now use for a reception area and a very small one they use for a few display cases), the house was originally only one room.
The straw-stuffed matress beneath the quilt rests on a rope-frame bed – I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would be compared to matresses of today. The bed belonged to Grant’s parents, the small trunk at its foot was made by his father, who was a tanner. The cradle in the corner was Grant’s.
The china cabinet is original to the Grant family; the pots and pans in the fireplace belonged to his mother and the rifle over the mantle was his father’s. If you look at the picture hanging on the wall, you can see the reflection of the spinning wheel close to where I was standing. If I was to guess, I think this entire house (the original part) is about the size of my living room – and that’s really not big.
It had been a long day, but I was still smiling. How could I not smile – I was getting my history geek on!
I’d love to go back and explore a bit more. It’s not that far away, so maybe I will.
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, a three-day or sometimes four-day weekend for many people. It’s not all about the start of summer vacations, or barbeques, or long-weekend trips to the coast – Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of all the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the military. So far, I’ve uncovered only one person who was killed during wartime in my family tree – my great grand-uncle John Linsey Ingle, wounded in a battle at Black River Bridge, Mississippi, and died of his wounds in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1863. (I might write more about him on Monday.)
We are taking advantage of the long weekend and taking a few day-trips around the area. I love being able to just go and drive somewhere, explore little new places and revisit places I’ve been to before and loved.
Driving around a bit this morning, we picked a few things up that we needed in “regular life”, and tried to get on a highway – only to be cut off by a large truck. Oh well! Undaunted, Hims turns into a small doctor’s office parking lot. Next to it, hidden from the road by some thick trees, was a house that seemed to be undergoing renovation. I smiled up to the man working near the Dumpster, hoping he wouldn’t be mad at our slight trespass.
He didn’t wave back. He didn’t acknowledge me at all. In fact, Hims then asked if I brought my camera, which I hadn’t, though I did have my cell phone. “Too bad,” he said. “That’s just creepy.” And then I realized that wasn’t a person after all, but a mannequin hanging out over the Dumpster! Naturally, me being me, I had to then get out of the car and walk over to take a couple photos.
Getting on the highway, we drove up to a college town called Yellow Springs. It’s and artsy and hippy kind of town, and proud of it! Lots of history, too, like the place we headed for lunch: Ye Old Trail Tavern. It’s Ohio’s oldest tavern, and serves some really good food from a small menu.
After walking around a bit and browsing in a few shops, we found our way back to the car and set out to go to the farmers’ market, which just opened its summer season today in Bellbrook. On the way, we got to look out across beautiful fields with new crops planted in them like this one:
And because I am who I am, and I love doing things like this… I painted my nails sort of red, white, and blue for the holiday yesterday. I know they aren’t the neatest!
The polishes I used were all by Zoya. The red is Sarah, the silver is Trixie, and the blue is Song. I felt like being all sparkly!
Yes, again it’s not Friday. I know! But it’s somebody’s Friday for their workweek somewhere, so that counts.
Cuz I said.
A few days before Thanksgiving last year, Hims and I took a little drive and found ourselves at the Miamisburg Mound. The Miamisburg Mound is the largest conical earthwork in Ohio, and during excavation in 1869 it was discovered to be the burial place of at least one bark-covered skeleton about eight feet down, with an empty vault twenty-eight feet below that surrounded by logs. Historians believe this was the work of the Adena people, who are said to have lived in this area in prehistoric times (1000 B.C. to 400 A.D.)
We actually walked – I mean hiked! – all the way up the 116 steps to the top, which is more than three feet shorter than what the mound originally was. (The beginning of the excavation sheared off the top of the mound before deciding to try it a different way.) It took me awhile, and I had to stop and catch my breath three different times. Hey – I made it, though! I was a bit envious of an older gentleman who was taking his exercise there that morning, jogging up and down the stairs a number of times while we visited. Not sure if I’ll ever get to that point.
I’m hoping to get back to the Mound sometime soon, to take photos of it while it’s all green and covered in grass and wildflowers. Maybe take a picnic with us!
I love picnics in the park in springtime. Today was the first one for the year, and Hims and I chose to go to the Bellbrock Park in Sugarcreek/Bellbrook.
Another thing I love? History – and this area is rich with it. The park where we ate this afternoon was the site of the Sugarcreek United Presbyterian Church from 1859 to 1871, when the members moved to their present location. There were plans for the vacant structure to be converted into apartments in 1883 after sitting vacant for a decade, but those plans were scrapped when workers discovered the water in the basement well contained magnetic properties. The apartment plans were scrapped, and a seventy room hotel was built – The Magnetic Springs Hotel. In the 1800s, mineral springs were huge attractions. People believed that the water had restorative properties, bathing in it and drinking it to become healthier. (Much like the often believed curative properties of Bath, England, as well as many late 19th Century resorts in the United States.) For ten years, people came to take advantage of the mineral springs at the hotel, bringing much prosperity to the town of Bellbrook, but sadly the hotel burned to the ground in July, 1893. (There is a good little article about it from the Dayton Daily News here.)
This was the odd photo here… There was a wedding last weekend when we passed by, and this netting was draped all around the gazebo, sparkling with a ton of glitter sprinkled through it. When I threw some napkins away, the shiny stuff glinted up at me from inside the trash can as the sun hit it. I never expected to see wedding decorations in the park garbage.