Pay No Attention

Pay no attention to the lump under the area rug. Scout thinks he’s the best at finding hiding places. So just keep moving. There’s nothing to see here, folks.

Truth is, he’s so sleek and dark that he’s nearly invisible sitting in plain sight. Unless he’s in a patch of sunlight, that is.

I like how the light reflects off his coat and makes him look so dapper. He’s a handsome boy and he knows it. Just like he knows he’s the best at hiding.

Happy Monday, friends. Go forth and do all the things you do well!

York Steak House

Sometimes you find adventure and fun around every corner and without even trying. Sometimes the thing you looked forward to doing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That was the case yesterday.

I belong to a Facebook group called Ohio Road Trips where I occasionally get adventure inspiration. I try to not get too excited about the recommendations because people often pan things that I like and hype things that I think are terrible. But when a gentleman shared his pictures from York Steak House in Columbus, I thought it sounded fun.

York was a popular chain in the sixties and seventies, using a cafeteria format to serve mostly steak, chicken and seafood. It was a contemporary of chains like Bonanza and Ponderosa which were enjoying their heyday when I was a kid. While York peaked at about 200 locations that were located largely in shopping malls, most locations closed in 1989.

The Columbus restaurant opened in 1966 and is said to be the only one left. It remains family owned and operated and has the feel of an early eighties time capsule.

Everything is made to order in an open kitchen. Most meals come with one trip past the salad bar. And take note, it’s an actual salad bar where you make a salad. There’s not a lot of extra stuff like cottage cheese and fruit and the like.

It’s feels like a sort of odd process if you’ve never been there. When you get in line, you grab a tray, cutlery and napkins before placing your order with someone behind the counter. That person will provide you a salad plate and cup. Next, you can pick up your dessert if you see fit before fixing your salad. Keep going to fill your glass with the Coke product of your choice. Past that you’ll find complimentary butter and little cups of sour cream for a quarter apiece. This is a step up from years ago when they also charged you for the butter.

Finally, you’ll make your way to the cash register to pay for your meal.

After that, it becomes like a regular restaurant. You seat yourself with your salad and drink. A waitress will refill your drinks and bring your meal when it’s ready.

You’ll exit the dining room via a different door than where you entered.

The regulars who came through before us seemed as happy as clams but we were a little perplexed as to how everything worked.

My food was great – fish, a delicious baked potato and a tasty yeast roll. I forget sometimes how much better a baked potato is when it comes from the oven rather than the microwave!

I actually went with my parents to celebrate my mother’s recent 70th birthday. In retrospect, this wasn’t the best choice for a celebratory meal but it certainly was a unique experience.

My favorite part was actually this sign.

Don’t ask why. I couldn’t begin to answer you other than to say it reminds me of the menu boards of the old Ponderosa steakhouses of my childhood

York Steak House is located along the National Road and is certainly unique to the National Road experience. All you roadies out there looking for a blast from the past might consider a stop here. Learn more at their website.

Happiness Is….

Happiness is a sunny Sunday when all the neighbors are out enjoying a break from the cold and snow. I encountered many people on my walk Sunday but none more courteous than the gentleman who held the reigns of this buggy. He greeted me and tipped his hat ever so slightly.

It was a perfect day for a stroll, a drive or even to just sit and bask in the light of an unseasonably warm February day. I saw a family out on the beach with a metal detector, dog walkers and kiddos on the playground.

It was a good day for us all.

As for today, they’re calling for 39 degrees and overcast conditions, a step up from last night’s rain. That’s the thing about Ohio weather. If you don’t like it, just wait a day or maybe an hour and it will change!

Mary B’s Diner

Mary B’s Diner has been on my list for some time. It’s in Parkersburg, West Virginia in an unassuming building on a busy corner.

They specialize in home cooking and, while their menu is broad, it isn’t at all fancy. From burgers and grilled cheese to meatloaf and homemade soups, it seems there’s something for everyone. People at a neighboring table ordered enormous taco salads that looked amazing.

They have a few daily specials and offer breakfast all day. I opted for a veggie omelette that came with hash browns and toast. My mother also opted for an omelette with bacon and cheese.

Their vast menu of homemade pies was too much to resist but I must admit that there were so many to choose from it felt a little overwhelming. By the time our waitress had finished naming them all, I couldn’t remember the beginning of the list. I chose the peanut butter cream and my mother went with chocolate cream. Both were delicious.

The pictures really don’t do justice for the food and certainly don’t tell the tale of the great service. The place was hopping and our waitress made sure we wanted for nothing.

I would absolutely go back. Find Mary B’s Diner at 2212 Pike Street, Parkersburg. If you go, take note that instead of waiting for someone to come and ask how many, there’s a list that you sign your party to. I have never seen this done but it seems to work for them. Find Mary B’s and their menu online by clicking here.

Finish Each Day

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leo Petroglyph and Nature Preserve

Yesterday presented an unexpected opportunity to visit Leo Petroglyph and Nature Preserve in Jackson County, Ohio. A petroglyph is a form of rock art that involves carving an image into the surface of a rock.

At Leo, ancient peoples carved 37 figures of people, snakes, human footprints and animals into a sandstone outcropping. It’s said to be one of the finest examples of rock art in Ohio. Historians are puzzled by the origin and meaning of this art but are fairly certain it was left by the Fort Ancient peoples. Time has taken its toll but it is now protected by a wood shelter house with a walkway around the rock.

Perhaps the highlight here is a short nature trail through the woods that takes you through a gorge past cliffs and Eastern Hemlock. I imagine it will be a great place to see native wildflowers in a couple of months.

See the face?

The sky was gorgeous.

Yesterday was a great day to see some icicles in the gorge and to breath in the clean air of an unseasonably warm February day.

It will be cold and snowy again later this week but this gasp of warm air felt incredibly nice. I hope to go back in May when the ice has melted and the wildflowers bloom.