Doggy Smiles

While waiting for curbside lunch pickup yesterday, I turned to see this cute little guy in the front seat of this car. When I rolled down my window for a phone picture, the fella in back popped up to mug for the camera too.

When I told them to smile for a picture, this is what happened. The little guy smiled first.

And then the big fellow.

Sometimes the surprises we find while out and about help to soften the edges of our stressful lives. These fellows don’t know or care about the world’s problems. They were just pleased to meet a stranger, to enjoy a light breeze, and for their owner to come back after running inside for her order.

Life isn’t so bad when you think about it that way and are glad for what you have.

Evening Walk

Seasonal allergies have left me sedentary for a lot of this year. While everyone else is clamoring to get outside, I have largely avoided the great outdoors as allergies have been causing my ears to fill with fluid and my head to feel like it may explode.

I live in the woods so you can imagine how frustrating this has been.

Luckily, conditions have improved the last few weeks and I’m making a concerted effort to breathe fresh air and exercise most days.

My favorite place for a quick walk seemed especially beautiful Monday night. It was humid and hot even at 7 p.m. but it still felt good to move around after a day hiding in the air conditioning.

There’s a paved bike path as well as this short dirt trail around an island in the lake.

I encountered this young couple a few times. They looked so peaceful here I had to sneak a quick picture.

It always surprises me how this place changes with the seasons, the weather and the time of day making it interesting to photograph nearly every visit. While nature often attacks my body, causing fits of headaches and vertigo, there’s something inspiring about the natural world and how it changes around us.

Heritage Farm Museum

Yesterday I told you about my quest to Hillbilly Hotdogs in West Virginia. Since we were driving all that way, I suggested we visit the Heritage Farm Museum just twenty minutes down the road.

This place was a labor of love for a couple who enjoyed antiques and had a passion for telling the story of life in Appalachia. They acquired log structures and relocated them to this property to set up as a village. Some structures are for lodging while most are open to walk through including a church and a mercantile.

There are seven museums that tell the story of life in Appalachia through the years. Technology, transportation, toys and West Virginia industry are among the topics discussed in these museums. They also have a petting zoo and a tractor-pulled wagon train ride tour that are part of your admission ticket.

I liked the peacock!

There’s plenty for kids to do and more adventurous souls might enjoy some of their adventure activities like the zip line tour or rock climbing wall which are offered for an additional price.

And no, that is not my brand of adventure so I skipped that stuff and kept my feet on firm ground. They also have a big tree house accessible either by bridges or by going through a short ropes course. My friend took the challenge while I stuck to the regular bridges. He was quite pleased with himself and I was happy that I understood my limitations.

Once in the treehouse, you have great views of the village and there are a few other fun things to do from up there.

They do serve food on site and have clean restrooms. This is the kind of place where you could spend a few hours like we did or pass an entire day. I have camera photos and a few more stories to share from here another day so stay tuned. Meanwhile, visit their website if you want details like seasonal hours and admission information.

Hillbilly Hotdogs

If you’re looking for a slice of Americana and a unique dining experience, look no further than Hillbilly Hotdogs at Lesage, West Virginia. It’s between Gallipolis, Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia on Route 2.

They specialize in gourmet hot dogs but do it under the guise of pure Appalachia complete with lots of junk, an outhouse (it’s just for looks) and dining rooms made out of old school buses. They even have a weddin’ chapel on site if you wish to tie the knot with your kissin’ cuzzin.

Let’s stop here for a moment. First, it’s more than hot dogs. They have sandwiches, salads, deserts and even a vegan menu so I was able to have a cool gourmet hot dog too.

Second, I’m not a fan of anything that exploits the Appalachian region or our people as I live in Appalachian Ohio where it feels like someone is always ready to put us down. However, this place is all in good fun and and is own and run by locals. You know how it’s ok for you to say something bad about your relative but it’s not ok for someone else to say it?

Same theory.

Anyway….. the place dates to the late nineties. From the road, it looks like a shack with some picnic tables amidst a sea of motorcycles and cars of all make and model.

Look closer though and there’s no telling what you’ll find. The yard is filled with stuff – from old collectibles to pure junk and a lot of kitsch thrown in for good measure.

I ventured down on Friday with a friend. They have outdoor dining space but I wanted to eat in one of the school buses so that’s what we did.

I got the Lockwood veggie dog, fries and a drink for about $7.50. The dog was a lot to handle and a little messy to eat but I didn’t complain. I liked the creativity of lettuce, onion, tomato, shredded cheddar, mustard and ketchup on a veggie dog. It also comes with slaw but I asked to hold that.

My friend said his food was good too. He got something with hot dog sauce, some hot sauce and jalapeños because he evidently enjoys punishing himself!

We ate inside one of the two old school buses turned dining cars. I watched with interest as the line never really went down and people kept coming the entire time we were there.

This place has received a ton of press over the years but none more influential than a feature on the tv show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This show practically turned this unusual roadside hot dog stand into a household name.

Want to learn more? Click here to visit their website! Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the other thing we did while in the area.

Old Cat, Young Cat

This picture comes from an antique mall up around Canton. It was on my phone because I liked the chairs and just snapped a quick picture. Not until last night did I notice the yellow sign hanging above the chairs.

It reads:

Old cat

Young cat

Several stupid cats

Please drive slowly

I laughed hard when I saw it and am sad that I missed out on this awesome sign. Although, experience has taught me that cats are incredibly smart. They’re also often set in their ways, understanding how to get their way by simply wearing you down. That seems pretty smart to me!

Hasty Tasty

This cool sign is visible from the highway as you approach Dayton from the east. It always catches my eye so I exited for a closer look last Saturday.

It’s a great vintage sign but there was a line out the door at this locally owned pancake house. I suspect they weren’t there for the sign. After all, it’s been in business since 1952 so they clearly know a thing or two about satisfying customers.

The menu looks extensive and it smelled wonderful when I hopped out of the car for this photo. I really must go back for a meal sometime. If you’re in the area, stop by the Hasty Tasty at 3509 Linden Ave, Dayton and let me know what you think about the food. It’s also close to the One Dollar Book Swap which I told you about this week.