Saint Paul, MN Oct. 23
Well, Trip Six came to an end four days earlier than expected. Chris lost the crown on one of her teeth Friday night. A trip to Urgent Dental Care Saturday morning indicated they could fix it but it would be wiser to have it repaired back home since the repair might take several visits. They also advised that, while it was not critical to fix it immediately, it would be wiser to head home and have it repaired soon. So, Saturday we drove to Madison WI and made it home Sunday afternoon. Dayton, Indianapolis, and Springfield IL will have to wait for another trip.
Thursday and Friday were spent in Cambridge and Columbus, Ohio. So frequently in the past we have zipped through this area without more than an overnight stop or a re-fueling stop. With more leisure time, it was time to do further explorations. And we may have to come back again. Cambridge has a Christmas celebration based on the theme of Charles Dickens Christmas village. Entirely volunteer funded and operated, they have over 150 hand-made, full-size Dickens characters that are placed in the downtown area with music and Christmas lighting. It seems delightful.
In the past, Cambridge had been the glass-making and pottery-making center of Ohio. Times have changed and only small artisans are open now. We visited Mosser Glass and took a tour of their factory. Only 20+ people are employed there but they still have several furnaces to view and a brand-new display area. We watched the making of deep red pressed glass cake plates and green salt and pepper shakers. Then we headed for the display area and spent more money than we expected. Christmas gifts are partially taken care of.
Our second stop was at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass. Cambridge Glass was a high-end, hand-made glass product in the first half of the 20th century. At its peak, 700 employees worked for the company. The employees did everything from glass making, barrel making (for shipments), coal mining to create their own electricity, sales, etc. The glass, while no longer made, exists in many homes around the U.S. and is a major collectible. Natural gas and oil deposits helped fuel the glass-making industry. Today, oil fracking is the newest industry.
The National Museum was established by collectors to showcase the quality, variety, and range of glass products made by Cambridge. This was not a company with which we had been familiar before our visit. A volunteer on duty gave us a personal tour, explaining the various glass products and their popularity. Since we had already shot the wad at Mosser, we refrained from any further purchases here.
Lunch was at a local restaurant. Theo’s is large and was empty when we entered around 11 AM. When we left at noon, it was full. A good turnout for a town of 10,000.
The National Road is the name given to the first road authorized by the fledgling U.S. government. It extended from Cumberland MD to eastern Ohio in its first authorization in 1811. It provided the young country with a means for transportation from the settled areas to the new frontier. George Washington had encouraged its building, observing during the French and Indian Wars of the need for a transportation route to bind the country together.
The National Road museum details the need for and the building of the road in the early 1800s. As railroads progressed, road usage declined. Then, as the auto came into the forefront, the road was upgraded and then eventually replaced by Interstate 70. Those graceful stone arch bridges are mainly gone now, replaced by concrete and steel bridges high above valleys and creeks.
The same building also houses the Zane Grey Museum. Zane Grey is less known today. He wrote in the early 1900s, featuring stories about the West. His novels outsold those of Faulkner, Lewis, and other contemporary and award-winning American authors of the same period. His books were made into movies and a Zane Grey movie title guaranteed a boffo box office. He suffered from depression and found its cure in travel to the West and the Pacific, often accompanied by a “secretary” that took no notes and wrote no letters. His wife and kids stayed behind until later in life when the boys accompanied him on some of his travels. Zane Grey’s ancestors helped found the town of Zanesville; the museum is located on the old National Road just east of Zanesville.
The museum’s third collection is of art pottery created in this county of Ohio. The heavy, quality clay deposits encouraged the production of pottery dating back to the late 1700s. As industrialization came onto the scene in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this area embraced both mass produced pottery and specialized art pottery.
After the museum we drove to Zanesville to pick up a prescription. We also stopped at an overlook of the “World famous” Y bridge. It crosses the Licking and Muskingum Rivers. This is supposedly the only bridge that intersects in a Y shape over water. The current one is the fourth version; early ones burnt or were replaced. I am sure you are as impressed as we were.
Friday we drove to Columbus, the state capital and toured the capitol building. It was built in 1861 and has that Greek revival feel of grandiosity and openness inside but is not beautiful. Lunch was in German Village, a historic, restored part of town. Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus dates back to 1886 and is still family run. We also stopped in their fudge store where the fudge they make is rated one of the top five in the country by Paula Deen. (It did taste good; I bought some fresh off the mixing table.)
After the tour, we went to the Topiary Park. The Park is the only topiary gardens in the U.S.based on a work of art; the painting by Georges Seurat titled: “A Sunday afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte”. The painting hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. Unfortunately the pond and part of the area were roped off for repairs although many of the topiary are recognizable. 80 yews are clipped into 3-dimensional sculptures of 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat.
Our final choice was between the Ohio History Museum and Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It was a sunny, pleasant day so the Conservatory won out. In addition, our Como Park membership meant the $9 admission fee was waived. Franklin Park consists of typical indoor settings of deserts, lilies, tropical rainforest, etc. Dale Chihuly glass artwork is scattered throughout the conservatory; evidently on long-term loan, not owned by Franklin Park. While AAA rates this as a must-see; my rating is more like pleasant but not earth-shattering.
Saturday’s drive did not begin until noon, after the dental appointment. The route is a familiar one, through Indianapolis, over to Bloomington IL to avoid Chicago, and up through Wisconsin. The fall leaf colors would have been more enjoyable without the rain and darkness but we still marveled at them. Even back in St. Paul, where I worried most of the trees would be bare, there is still sufficient post-peak colors to demonstrate the marvelous work of nature.
Ed and Chris Monday Oct 20th 7 pm