Wrightstown Church

It feels like the middle of nowhere. Which, of course, is the middle of somewhere to someone.

It’s called Bible Christian Church and it’s along a country lane in a spot-in-the-road called Wrightstown in Morgan County. Founded in the 1840s, it has been a church and even a township hall. We drove by earlier this month while taking a detour in my mother’s old stomping grounds.

She had stories about the long ago people who worshiped here but didn’t know much else about the history. Her memories of the place all come from her childhood and were vague. What I do know is that it’s a lovely scene, high atop a hill in a beautiful rural area. It’s peaceful and serene.

It was too pretty to not stop and capture.

Lake Katherine In Spring

Lake Katherine State Nature Preserve has become one of my favorite places on earth. I had hiked there a few times over the years but it was always in the dead of winter or on sweltering Indian Summer days and always with someone else.

Last year I had a chance to explore solo and saw the place with new eyes.

The trails aren’t too long or too difficult for most hikers. But you can piece together a few trails for a longer experience. Each of them offers something outstanding to enjoy.

I stopped by after work one night earlier this month and was struck by how beautiful it is everywhere you turn. I was a little sad that I didn’t pack my camera that day because I saw a ton of birds, butterflies and dragonflies that my iPhone simply couldn’t manage. One dragonfly seemed to stick with me, providing unexpected company for several minutes.

It was a delightful end to a work day and much needed respite from life’s chaos. We all need that sometimes, don’t we? Remember this- there’s not much that can’t be fixed by fresh air in your lungs and dirt beneath your feet.

Here’s something I wrote about Lake Katherine last fall. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it from the trail.

Meeting A Wolf

The woman who plans activities at my local library is always on the hunt for something interesting to bring to our rural community. They have a drum circle, a writing club, occasional live performances and all sorts of artsy activities. This is where I tried my hand at Pysanky, the art of decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs.

On Saturday, the library hosted a Wolf Ambassador from the Ohio Canid Center. This organization works with animals that come from working ambassador lines. That means they are not a rescue organization and do not take in wild animals. Her wolves are specifically bred to interact with humans and help people understand their species.

For the program, owner operator Rachel brings a slideshow and a wolf. This time, we met 13 year old Lucian, the organization’s first ambassador animal. He is semi-retired but was still a pro with our room full of adults and kids.

While I believe that every living creature (even the ugly spider) is an important part of the ecosystem, I knew precious little about wolves other than that they are more or less considered vermin in ranch dominant states. They are being slaughtered with abandon in Wyoming since being removed from the endangered species list in 2021.

It’s definitely a polarizing topic but for our purposes here, I’ll just tell you that having a reasonably intimate look at this animal was pretty special.

His eyes are soulful and stunning. He seemed quite shy, looking for a place to hide and sometimes nuzzling against Rachel’s leg like a toddler afraid to meet someone new. She explained that their instinct is to hide or run. This was illustrated by the occasional cry of a child or chatter among the audience that would cause him to prance or seek a hiding place. He badly wanted to hide behind the curtain.

Wolves are carnivores and, in the wild, are hunters. They are opportunists who tend to seek out the small and the sick rather than the strongest and healthiest of their prey.

They don’t grow to be as large as most people believe. She said, at 86 pounds, Lucian is of average size for a male.

The center also has a coyote and a red fox. You can book private sessions with an animal including a walk with a wolf similar to the one I encountered in Colorado. She also does photography sessions. I’m scheming to do something because I was dying to touch Lucian.

While Rachel said she commonly does library programs and similar events, it’s too stressful for the animals to be close to or touched by a lot of people so she has a strict no touching rule for these larger events.

It was a good program with a nice overview of their personalities and behavior. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an event like this, I recommend it!

If you’re interested in knowing more, visit their website to see the animals and even book a session.

Payne’s Restaurant

If you’re ever in Gas City, Indiana and have a hankering for some British food, I have just the place for you. Payne’s Restaurant is located just off I-69 on the outskirts of town.

Their menu is constantly changing and uses a lot of locally sourced ingredients. Plus, the atmosphere is cozy and service is great.

I’m going to preface the rest of this by saying that I am not their target market. Their menu is very meat heavy and there were no vegetarian options on the menu the day I was there. Luckily, I sometimes eat fish so I chose the fish and chips with a garden salad.

The fish was divine. The fries came flavored with vinegar. I don’t like vinegar. And the garden salad consisted of some vegetables and croutons with no greens and doused in vinegar.

It wasn’t quite what I expected.

All the same, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the fish. If you’re a meat eater, you’ll have lots of interesting things to choose from so give it a whirl! Ok is, they have a Garfield statue out front!

I asked the waiter how a British restaurant run by British people ends up at an interstate exit in rural Indiana. He said the owner came to Indiana for the James Dean stuff and just never left.

Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their news!

Cambridge City, Indiana

I stopped for a picture here because I just liked the scene. The viaduct and the Chug-A-Lug Pub sign make a shabby but eclectic combination. Truth is, Cambridge City, Indiana isn’t a city at all. Their population peaked at around 2,500 in 1970. Today, about 1,750 people call this quaint town home.

Located along the historic National Road, I have antiqued here before. When I was there in April, it was just to drive through – although I did meander off the beaten path for a few minutes.

There are several nice murals that tell the story of the town’s history.

I live in Vinton County so I always look for this place along the National Road.

Worshipers were beginning to arrive for services at the Methodist Church when I was passing through.

The place is just quaint and lovely and clearly a source of pride for its residents. It seems like a nice place to live and it’s proximity to Richmond and Indianapolis are a plus to me. Residents can access the culture, healthcare, jobs and other amenities of the cities while maintaining their small town lifestyle.

It’s one of several cute small towns along the National Road in Indiana. If you’re a road tripper, I recommend following this route to get a taste of the kind of Americana you’ll only find in small rural communities. It’s a special experience so hit the road, brake for pictures, stop for diner pie and, as always, enjoy the journey.