Tag Archives: hiking

Ohio: For Your Viewing Pleasure…

2 Aug

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We are rested up and ready to begin our second day in Dublin with some natural beauty. This area of Ohio is home to ravines, steep cliffs and numerous tributaries of the Scioto River; elevations range from 780′ above sea level where we are, to a high point of 1,000 ft at Glacier Ridge Metro Park. The car is parked in the small lot at Hayden Falls Park; we head out on a dirt trail that runs along the west side of the Scioto, wooden steps lead to a boardwalk, then back to a dirt path, up, down, around curves, we follow other visitors down to a shallow spot in the river. We have an up-close view of water that cascades beautifully over rugged limestone, I love the sound of the water as it rejoins the river. Families traverse the rocky riverbed, children splash, grown men test their balance as they straddle the rocks. 

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We climb back up to the trail and continue to follow the rim of the ravine; water moves swiftly, trees cling to the shoreline, exposed roots grip jagged limestone. There are overlooks and places to sit with a panoramic view. The habitat here is unique to the gorge, some rare plants can only be found on the west shore of the river, many species of birds live here too. The sound of water grows louder, we look out over the waterfall and gorge below. A group of girls have attracted a bit of an audience as they stand on the edge of the falls, one at a time they take a deep breath and leap into the deep pool; I’m too chicken to do it myself but it sure looks like fun! We re-trace our steps, it’s nice and cool in the shade. I feel far removed from the city; here in the park it’s hard to remember you’re right between Dublin and Columbus.

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Who wants ice cream? I do! In a few short minutes we are back in historic Dublin, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has a shop on Bridge Street, let’s go. Kris and I have been eating Jeni’s ice cream for many, many years. Our first scoop came from North Market in Columbus when Jeni herself was behind the counter scooping ice cream. Her exceptional quality, unique flavors and friendly employees continue to draw us in. Taste as many flavors as you like, seriously, they actually encourage it. Kris is in luck, they have his long-time favorite Brambleberry Crisp, a generous scoop fills the waffle cone. For me it’s a scoop of Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, a triangular piece of waffle cone decorates the top. DELICIOUS. So creamy, so flavorful; this is why we love Jeni’s. 

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Our time is running short, we have one more stop to make before heading north. Tucked away in Hilliard Ohio is the Early Television Museum. This non-profit institution is dedicated to the preservation of early television technology. Housed in a 4,200 sq. ft. building they have over 150 TV sets on display, this is one of those super-cool, must-see, off-the-beaten-path places; put in on your list of things-to-do-in-Ohio. The nondescript exterior provides no clue to the awesomeness awaiting inside. Displays begin at the beginning of television, those very early days of mechanical TV’s from the 1920’s and 30’s. There is a great deal of technical information posted on the walls–most of it goes right over my head, I read it anyways, fascinated by the idea of it all. The first television sets developed by John Logie Baird in England and Charles Jenkins in the US were mechanical, this was in the 1920’s, at that time TV screens were only an inch or so wide with poor picture quality. By 1930 television was being broadcast from over a dozen stations in the US, at that time manufacturers started selling TV sets and kits you could assemble yourself.

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In those days everything was about beauty, just look at these early TV’s, the consoles are large, made of fine wood with beautiful finishes, they were equal to the quality of your other home furnishings. Screens were teeny tiny in the beginning, some sets opened from the top, a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid reflected the image from the TV screen. In the early days radios and TV’s were combined into one unit, some even came with a phonograph providing a total entertainment system! Look at these beautiful consoles with their gauges, dials, buttons. The Art Deco style was big in early TV design, I love the streamlined shape and designs. Placards often include terms such as lamps, bulbs and tubes, words we don’t associate with televisions in 2017. Early manufacturers include Murphy, Mercier, Baird, hey, there’s the little dog with the gramophone, it must be an RCA. Visitors can operate some of the pre-war, post-war and early color sets using push buttons throughout the museum. We try a couple out, we are so spoiled by today’s technology, these screens are so small, the picture quality is poor, but in its day it was spectacular.

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The collection includes televisions from the 20’s and 30’s, British sets, pre 1945 American sets, post-war sets and early color sets from 1953-57–many in working condition. We wander from room to room, paneled walls are cloaked in frames containing information on specific brands, sets, advertisements and vintage photographs. Names are more familiar as we move through the years: Zenith, Fisher, GE, Philco, Admiral, Motorola, RCA. There are displays of signal boosters, portable TV’s, picture tubes. There are table-top units and floor consoles with panels that open, slide and tilt. Materials reflect the period they were manufactured. We pore over great advertisements, promotional items, light-up signs and fabulous floor displays–my favorite is the RCA Victor store display. The Sylvania Dualette 17″ TV from 1959 is probably Kris’s favorite; the funky shape, blue and white plastic housing and those legs… awesome.

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I get up close to a large unit to see what it is, in 1964 Seeburg and Emerson came together to make the Telejuke, you guessed it, a 15″ screen TV and jukebox combination to be sold to bars. In those days TV stations objected to “pay TV ” which probably halted the production of them, very few were sold, it’s quite a thing to see… We recognize more of the brands and styles as we progress through time, I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything like the 1969 AT&T MOD II Picturephone. A small section houses foreign TV sets, Kris and I agree the wild, modern set from Germany is the best of the bunch. The last section of the museum is dedicated to early TV studio equipment. You can see your friends as they would have appeared on mechanical TV in 1930, there’s a working 60 line flying spot scanner TV camera, a television transmitter and a cool old TV news truck. There’s a ton of equipment, monitors, cabinets with screens and gauges, very impressive. The Early Television Foundation was founded by Steve McVoy. As a teenager he worked in a television repair shop after school, and sometimes worked on 1940’s sets such as the RCA 630. In 1999 he sold his cable television business, was looking for something to do with his time, and decided to collect early television receivers. As his collection grew, he began to run out of space to display it. He then came up with the idea of starting a museum so he would have a place to put his growing collection and the public could easily view it. We’re so glad he did!

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BTW, the Detroit Derby Girls had a victorious evening!

Scenic Backroads: Autumn Splendor

21 Oct

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Fall has arrived in southeast Michigan; the leaves are changing, the air has turned crisp, darkness comes early. Mother Nature beckons us to spend time outdoors, soak in the warmth of the sun, the aroma of burning logs; we long to walk and hear the swish and crunch of fallen leaves, marvel at the colors that have painted the landscape. Today Kris and I are heading out to Oakland County to do just that! Rochester Rd  travels through cities large and small, once you get north of Rochester, the road changes from hectic to relaxing, a scenic rural postcard. 

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Foglers Orchard and Farm Market sits roadside, in Summer you can purchase a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, this time of year pumpkins and apples take center stage. It’s chilly this morning, roll-up doors encourage the sun to warm the building. White paper Peck bags bulge with freshly picked apples: Empire, Golden Delicious, Gala and Mac’s are just a few of the varieties available, the scent of apples permeates the air. Huge heads of cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts still on the stalk line the counter. A bin overflows with colorful gourds and teeny tiny pumpkins. In the greenhouse area families take on the all-important task of picking just the right pumpkin; out back a tractor takes folks on a hayride around the property. 

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Back on Rochester Rd. Maples add a splash of color, the street begins to wind as we meander into the countryside. A ways up (near 32 Mile) we make a turn onto Predmore Rd to check out Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District. Oakland Township was one of the original 25 townships when the Territory of Michigan was organized in 1827, this particular property was the farmstead of John Axford, he built the Greek Revival house here in the 1840’s. The farm was purchased by Jacob Kline in 1848, the family continued to operate the farm until 1925. In 1939 Detroiter Howard Coffin, an oil company executive and US congressman (who lived in Detroit’s Sherwood Forest) converted the farm to a country retreat; the house was enlarged, a field stone fireplace added, buildings updated. In 1996 the township purchased the farm, it is now on the National register of Historic Places. There are 10 buildings, a garden and orchard on the 16 acre historic district which sits adjacent to the 233 acre Cranberry Lake Park. Let’s have a look.

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We park the Jeep near the beautifully restored Flumerfelt barn, this post and beam structure dates back to 1879. Rusty antique farm equipment is on display, the lush, green grass is sprinkled with leaves. The house is not open, but I can see the fireplace through the windows–very cozy, the buildings are well maintained. In the distance we see a freshly mowed pathway leading away from the farm, how about a walk? Here the trees are already bare, weeds and wildflowers have died off leaving interesting looking seed pods. The sun peeks in and out from the clouds, a strong breeze gives flight to yellow and brown leaves. We are led into the woods, sunlight dapples the dirt trail, low boardwalks keep the feet of hikers dry in rainy periods. The trail takes us in and out of the woods back to the wide grassy trail ending back at the barn. It is here that we spot the Cranberry Lake barn quilt designed by Mary Asmus, it’s quite lovely.

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Continuing on Rochester Rd we veer onto Drahner road, Lakeville Cemetery is just a little west, it’s one of those small, quaint, very old cemeteries you find in the country, this one was established in 1843. Following a very narrow dirt road we park near the gazebo, here the Maples are steeped in color, vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, even a little lime green. We walk the hilly terrain reading tombstones dating back to the 1800’s, many are so worn by the elements I can no longer read the inscriptions. At one time it was common to write out the exact age of the deceased–years, months, right down to the number of days. Evergreen and Pines occupy one section, the ground below thick with long brown needles, it is here we discover the headstone belonging to Minoru Yamasaki and his wife Teruko. The man who changed the face of architecture, bringing us buildings such as One Woodward, Mc Gregor Memorial Conference Center on the campus of WSU and of course, most notably, the World Trade Center, is represented here by a simple headstone, a large rock rests adjacent. Tombstones are each unique in design, personal tributes to those who have passed, the grounds here are gorgeous, it’s so peaceful.

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Our journey continues taking us into Lakeville, vintage cars out for a drive pass us  as they head the opposite direction. We hang a right on Main Street, a few old structures remain, the Mill has been recently restored, painted white with red accents. Back on Rochester Rd the street hooks one direction, then another, it’s hilly here, we twist and turn past attractive homesteads, picturesque barns and splendid Fall scenery. In the northern portion of Addison Township we stop at Watershed Preserve, a 229 acre nature preserve with 4 kettle lakes and inter-connected wetlands within rolling glacial moraine deposits. The purpose of the preserve is to protect and preserve this extremely sensitive watershed and wildlife habitat. The wetlands here form the headwaters for the Belle, Clinton and Flint river systems.

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We start out on a grassy trail, referring to the large map of the preserve we choose the orange trail; leaves are just beginning to color, many are still green. The path narrows, we snake our way through the woods to one of the lakes, a dock allows us a closer look at the clear water. The next lake is larger, beavers have built themselves a mansion near the shore, the water is perfectly still, a mirror image of the sky covers the surface of the lake. Kris makes his way to the dock, getting a better look at Loon Lake. The trail changes in elevation as it curls through maturing second-growth forests and meadows, we loop around finding ourselves where we started.

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Our roadtrip continues, we turn left on Dryden Rd, a Porche club is out on a fall color tour, I lost count after 40 cars.  We are immersed in splendid scenery; silos peek out from dried-up cornstalks, long-standing churches charm us as we pass, Oaks and Maples are showy with color. We stop at High Street Eatery in Metamora for lunch, the taupe and white building resembles a home more than a business. Menu selections are made from scratch, in house, bread and baked goods come from Crust in Fenton. We sit in the front room with a pretty view looking out onto the street.

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The special of the day is an open-faced hot turkey sandwich, we order ours on the Saskatoon Prairie Seed bread, the turkey is moist, there’s just enough gravy. A generous portion of mashed potatoes, stuffing and corn also share the plate. Our Michigan salad arrives at the same time, a heap of greens is topped with apples, walnuts dried cherries and a tasty vinaigrette, everything is delicious. It has been a day well-spent in nature enjoying scenic roads that rise and fall, coiling through beautiful countryside. It’s a delightful time of year to get out and enjoy the beauty.

 

MILFORD: Fun In The Sun

19 May

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Michiganders are a tough breed; a 30 degree temperature change in twelve hours is hardly worth noteworthy, our tank tops hang next to wool sweaters and our sandals are parked next to our insulated boots in the closet. We stock up on sunscreen before the last remnants of snow have disappeared. When those first warm days arrive we burst from our cocoons and head outdoors to play in the sunshine! Surrounded by lakes and rivers, our recreational opportunities are endless. Southeast Michigan is home to the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA), a regional park district that encompasses Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Thirteen metroparks cover nearly 25,000 acres of parkland along the Huron and Clinton Rivers providing year-round activities; hike/bike trails, beaches, swimming, boating, cross-country skiing, golf and of course, picnicking.

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Today we are visiting Kensington Metropark in Milford, one of the largest of the HCMA, it has 4,481 acres of wooded, hilly terrain surrounding Kent Lake. First stop, the Farm Center; here we meet farm animals and experience rural life through a 150-year old barn, exhibits, field crops and poultry house. The first pen we approach is filled with goats; moms with youngsters and newborns are drawing aaawwws from visitors, adorable in black and white coats they seem to enjoy themselves as they climb on rocks and chase each other around, the littlest ones stick close to mom. Around the corner sheep graze, babies call after their mothers, adventurous ones come right up to the fence and enjoy a good scratch from friendly humans. The brown Swiss Cows are so pretty with their dense fur and fluffy eyelashes; they come right over for a pet on the head. Pink pigs are laying in the dirt, one is pressed against the side of the pen seeking shade on this extraordinarily warm May day. Horses graze in the fields, geese wander freely, miniature donkey’s are adorable; they too appear gentle and like interacting with people, I wonder if they make a good pet…….A covered area is home to a variety of goats and lambs, it is lunchtime; while the bigger ones are satisfied with a bale of straw, little ones are seeking out their mothers. We pop into the barn and are delighted by the sight of a pile of tiny piglets; just a few days old they are snuggled close together under a light to keep them warm as mom watches over them nearby. Upstairs we find exhibits featuring farm equipment and tools, placards explain what everything is and how it is used.

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We drive over to the Nature Center and park the Jeep, many of the hiking trails start from here. We begin on the Deer Run Trail, clumps of bright yellow wild flowers bloom alongside the gravel trail, many of the trees remain leafless. A boardwalk takes us over a marsh, the path continues through both field and forest, puddles are leftover from the recent heavy rain. A Cardinal serenades us, Kris spots him in a tree and snaps a picture, wildflowers with pale blue petals are lovely.

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We switch from one trail to another; the Aspen leads us to the Wildwing, which encircles Wildwing lake. There is a great deal of activity on this trail, here folks hold birdseed steadily in the palm of their hand, tiny birds flutter from trees to the food, thrilling the feeder and onlookers alike. This trail is quite hilly, Trillium are beginning to bloom; for most of the way we have a nice view of the lake, there is a look-out on one side. As we near the far end we take notice of an island covered in tall trees; the trees themselves are filled with nesting Herons, a rookery. I have never seen so many herons nested this closely together; Kris uses the camera to get a better look. The large birds are two distinct varieties; one is white, the other, almost black, parents take turns leaving the nest to gather food, it is an awesome sight. We near the park road, the trail ends and a boardwalk begins; wispy clouds dot the blue sky, birds chirp from weeds in the lake, here and there we spot box turtles. We reach the end, time to get some lunch!

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Kris drives us into downtown Milford, we are famished; on the right side of the street a sign duplicating a hamburger sticks out from a building, there is parking right in front, how can we resist? The place is called The Burger Joint; inside, a menu is posted on the wall near the counter, we make our selections, pay the cashier and take a seat. The dining area is filled with round tables grouped around a fireplace; decorated in bright red, gold, green and stainless, it has a casual feel. Our food arrives, everything looks good; our 1/4 lb burger is cooked perfectly, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup and mustard served on a brioche bun, it is delicious. The Southwest Chili Cheese dog is tasty; a black Angus all beef frank is split, grilled and smothered with black bean chili, cheddar cheese sauce, onions and deep fried jalapenos–yum! Everybody knows french fries are a hamburger’s best friend; hand-cut and twice fried in canola oil, these are outstanding.

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The Village of Milford is quite charming, there is an old section and a new; making our way down Main Street toward the newer area,we notice The Milford House has a take-out window serving ice cream. We did walk for a couple of hours today………Both of us order malts, double chocolate for me and caramel, made with caribou ice cream for Kris. Guernsey ice cream, and flavorful  add-ins make for a decadent treat. Sipping as we walk, we cross the street, stroll over to the waterfall and sit and finish our malts. The heat of the sun feels good, the faint scent of flowering trees is carried on the breeze; these are the kinds of days we live for.