Cat In A Bag

Scout knows that seeing my work bag come out is bad news. It’s a sign that he’s about to be abandoned.

He doesn’t know and probably doesn’t care where I go when I leave but he does know that he will be sad. In this moment, he was pulling pens and a notebook out of the bag and seemed to be contemplating stuffing himself inside.

Maybe he thinks he’ll go with me someday.

Luckily, he doesn’t have to worry about that today. It’s Sunday and that means we’re home to do some chores, rest and recharge for the week ahead.

Enjoy your day, friends.

Carillon Historical Park

Wealthy people who spend their resources creating something affordable for others to enjoy are some of my favorite people. It’s even better when what they create disguises learning with fun.

Once upon a time, there was a couple named Edward and Edith Deeds. He was a noted industrialist and they were well known as Dayton, Ohio elite. Their list of contributions to the world and to Dayton is pretty lengthy but the one I want to talk about is Carillon Historical Park.

This 65 acre park and museum center is a terrific day trip for any history buff or anyone looking for a fun way to learn about something different.

You enter through a visitors center and rather large museum. Here you’ll find exhibits about the stories that make Dayton special. Did you know that Dayton gave the world the cash register and the electric automobile self starter?

Under this roof, you’ll find everything from an enormous collection of gorgeous antique cash registers to a working carousel you can ride on. There are antique toys, Frigidaire appliances and artwork. Theres an inexplicably large collection of vintage beer steins and pictures of entertainers who fare from the Gem City.

There’s a ton of neat stuff to see.

And then you go outside to a village made up of recreated buildings that are historically important. I told you earlier this week about the incredible Wright Brothers tribute. There’s also a 19th century school house, an early tavern, a small filling station and print shop. There’s a museum of transportation where you can walk through train and trolley cars that are so ornate they put our modern public transit vehicles to shame.

One of the most moving museums is about the 1913 flood. They use a combination of pictures, artifacts and sound to tell deeply personal and moving accounts of what it was like. There’s an imagine of people using telephone lines to escape. Sounds effects convincingly transport you to another time. The blue line on the building’s exterior represents the flood line and will break your heart. It’s so high you have to stand back to even see it.

This park was dedicated in 1950 and still grows. In fact, it is vibrant. There are so many interesting things to see here that it is well worth the $12 adult admission.

In case you are wondering, they do have a Carillon here. Known as the Deeds Carillon, it is 151 feet tall and has 57 bells, making it the largest Carillon in Ohio. And like an idiot, I didn’t even think to snap a picture of it. Next trip!

This place reminds me a lot of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s smaller than Greenfield but it’s also cheaper and closer to home for my Ohio readers – perfect for a late summer day trip!

Next time, we’ll talk about where we ate. Meanwhile, plan your trip to this fabulous place by learning more here. Oh, and that carousel? It’s just a dollar a ride!

Quick, Healthy Lunch For One

As a pescatarian person in a world that centers on beef, chicken and bacon, I find that quick and affordable healthy meals can be a challenge.

My schedule sometimes allows me time at my home office and other days on the road. When I travel, the lunch options are somewhat limited and mostly unhealthy so I try to eat reasonably healthy when cooking at home.

I like to cook but am often pressed for time- either because of scheduling or because I wait till I’m already hungry to start preparing food.

Shortcuts are my friends.

One of my regular lunches is the best kind of shortcut. This family size stir fry was on sale and came with all the veggies plus two sauce packets. So it’s easy to make half of the bag at one time!

Sometimes they come with noodles. This one did not but that was fine because I had a microwaveable packet of jasmine rice. That rice packet claims to be a single serving. That seems like too much for one meal so I just use half.

Half of a family pack of veggies and half the rice packet are perfect together. Then I sauté some frozen shrimp to round out the meal.

It all cooks up quickly and it is affordable. Cooking for one or two doesn’t have to be the challenge that society tells us it is. You just have to be creative and smart.

The Belle Of Cincinnati

Before planes, trains and automobiles dominated the landscape of American travel, the riverboat was a key means of moving people up and down our nation’s rivers.

On Tuesday, I got to spend a couple of hours on a sightseeing cruise aboard the Belle of Cincinnati. While a throwback to a long gone era, this riverboat features modern conveniences including a lunch or dinner buffet, a bar and gift shop.

Every summer, this sightseeing boat leaves its Cincinnati home for a summer cruise tour of historic river towns. They stop in Huntington in West Virginia, Ashland and Maysville in Kentucky and Portsmouth and Gallipolis in Ohio. Sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises are offered at each city.

I opted for just the sightseeing cruise in Gallipolis Tuesday night. The cost was significantly less than the dinner ticket and seemed the wisest option given that the vegetarian dinner option sounded sketchy. When someone uses a phrase like “vegetarian pasta bake” without description on a menu they typically translates to white pasta covered in cheese. I have become such a skeptic about food that I decided to skip it.

I met a friend at boarding time and we were pleased to learn that we could sit anywhere we liked. So we headed up to the top deck. I am afraid of heights but surprisingly had no trouble sitting there or even climbing the stairs to get up there.

The forecast had been for showers so I came prepared with rain gear that was completely unnecessary. Just before boarding began at 6:30, the sun came out and the sky turned blue, a lovely contrast to the puffy white clouds that made me think the Universe was conspiring to make my life better.

The temperature was in the upper seventies but a steady breeze made it feel much cooler. That breeze gave life to several American flags along the boat’s top deck. A DJ played a vast array of music to please nearly any taste. We heard a lot of country music, some disco and oldies. This encouraged a group of, shall we say, older ladies to get up and dance.

Within two songs, they had cleared a dance floor near the DJ and showed us all their line dancing skills. A couple of songs later, the DJ was up teaching them a new dance. By the end of the night, other employees had jumped in on the fun, at one point leading a conga line through the center of the crowd.

I’m not much of a joiner but people watching is one of my favorite activities and this place was ripe with opportunity.

It was festive and fun!

All the same, I found the changing sky positively captivating and loved how the setting sun illuminated the clouds. The slow, smooth glide of our boat was exactly the relaxing change of pace I needed. It’s unusual to move so slowly you hardly know you’re moving at all. Meanwhile, small speedboats zipped by and even an enormous barge seemed to be moving quite fast.

It was a night to remember.

Their last stop of the summer cruise is today at Maysville, KY. After that, they’ll be headed home for a full schedule of cruises offered by BB Riverboats, the company that owns this and other riverboats.

Want to learn more about the company and book a ride? Click here!

1905 Wright Flyer III

On Saturday afternoon, I got to stand in the presence of an airplane that the Wright Brothers considered their most important aircraft. It is the 1905 Wright Flyer III and it is the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark.

It should come as no surprise that it is in Dayton – Orville and Wilbur’s hometown – at a place called Carillon Park.

I’ll stop here to say that telling you about the park will take a few tries because there are so many special things to see there. It’s like Disney for middle aged history buffs!

As part of this complex you’ll find the Wright Brothers National Museum. This complex includes a museum filled with artifacts plus an exact reproduction of the brothers’ most famous Dayton bicycle shop. They moved a few times but this specific shop is where their most important aviation work was done. It’s a rebuild because Henry Ford swooped in and bought the original for his Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum up in Michigan. That place is pretty special to visit too.

The bicycle shop is set up to represent how their shop would have looked in late 1901 complete with work benches full of tools and a small office.

But I digress.

The centerpiece of this museum is this restored plane in a building that Orville Wright helped design before his death in 1948. He oversaw the aircraft restoration too. They call this his final project and it is quite the legacy.

The room is quiet and dimly lit. The best way to describe this place is as a giant swimming pool with a plane set inside and a walkway around.

This is a beautiful way to see this plane because it gives you a great view of the mechanisms involved in controlling the plane.

There are a number of artifacts including a scrap of fabric from the original Kitty Hawk plane, a number of their possessions and photos including one of Orville with Amelia Earhart in 1929. There’s even a rare bicycle they designed.

Stay tuned for more about Carillon Park. It’s pretty fabulous with all its unique buildings and museums. It’s a celebration of the contributions Dayton has made to the world. Cost of admission? Just $12 for adults with special rates for seniors and kids.

Second Street Market

Second Street Market in Dayton, Ohio is one of those things that makes me wish I lived closer to a city. In fact, I would be there all the time if I lived closer.

This public market is part of the Five Rivers MetroParks system and is reminiscent of something you might see in Europe. Outside the 1911 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad warehouse, you’ll find all manner of vendors including farmers with their produce and fresh flowers.

There are crafters and other vendors too. Inside, you’ll find more of that along with folks selling Dayton products, handmade jewelry, fancy flavored olive oils, and locally grown meat.

There’s a walk-up coffee shop, a vegan place, a Chinese restaurant and a place that makes fresh bagels daily. My friend and I each had a breakfast bowl from a Mexican place – it was potatoes, eggs, salsa, peppers and queso served on a bed of fresh made tortilla chips. This was the best meal I’ve had in ages and friendly passersby even asked what we had that looked so good.

We also met a MetroParks employee who talked about growing herbs in containers. There was a guy playing guitar and the people watching was superb. Plus, everyone was friendly and the atmosphere is charming.

I couldn’t help but imagine strolling through here on a summer morning, basket in hand, to select perfectly ripe peaches and zucchini. I would treat myself to a bouquet of fresh flowers too!

A girl can dream!

They’re open year round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Parking is free. Find them on Facebook or click here to visit their website for details.