Adventure Day Close To Home

Yesterday was epic. I didn’t travel far or do anything expensive. Instead, I spent the day being a tourist in my own backyard in nearby Chillicothe, Ohio.

The truth is, I didn’t actually do anything I had planned. The original plan was to go for a walk, hit a car show and eat Donato’s plant based pizza at the park.

None of this actually happened.

The lovely thing about solo adventures is there’s no one to complain when you go off script. What’s even better is that off script is often where the magic happens.

I started my day at Adena Mansion and Gardens, the historic home of Thomas Worthington. He was Ohio’s sixth governor, a founding father of Ohio who did so many things in his lifetime that he and his home will require their own story this week.

Ten dollars buys you a guided tour of the home, admission to a museum and access to explore the grounds. Here you’ll learn about life in Ohio when the state was young, about the life and career of this important figure in our history, and about others like Tecumseh and Henry Clay who visited here.

After that I hit up downtown Chillicothe which has experienced a rebirth in recent years. There are several nice specialty shops and restaurants here and the business community has done a great job of advocating for themselves. They have made improvements in the historic downtown and worked hard to draw in visitors who have money.

Downtown was busy as there were a couple of events in town and some stores were taking advantage of the extra foot traffic with sales. I don’t enjoy crowds so I didn’t dwell here but having live music was pretty cool

I had lunch at Carl’s Townhouse which is a 1939 era dinner that began life at the New York World’s Fair. A quick grilled cheese and fries were just the ticket to provide sustenance for the rest of my day.

Then it was a stroll down the street to Apollo Records where I chatted with the owner about the Flying Burrito Brothers and an amazing up and coming artist named Charlie Crockett. I found a great vintage Aretha Franklin album and a Roseanne Cash that I didn’t know but literally purchased for the cool cover art.

Then it was up the street to Grandpa Joe’s Candy Store for a cold drink and dessert before heading to Wheatberry Books for a new title and a chat with the clerk. She was excited about the Wendell Berry book I had chosen. Wheatberry is a small independent bookstore but their shelves are lined with all the books I either own or want to own. They even have a robust section for kids. Here’s something I once wrote on Wheatberry.

After that, it was a stroll through Yoctangee Park to see the swans, geese and ducks. I followed the sound of music to the ice cream truck because it was hot and humid and everyone’s a kid when the ice cream truck is nearby!

Afterward, it was a quick browse through Chillicothe Antique Emporium where I located a bargain and chatted with the owner about the old time soda fountain he assembled and added to his store. He collected the various pieces over time and from places as far away as Georgia. It is well done and you can sit for a cold drink, some ice cream or fresh popcorn! Click here for something I once wrote about that place.

Chillicothe has a lot of history and there’s much more than you can accomplish in a day. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is an interesting stop to learn about the mound builders of this region. It has become internationally renowned and we are lucky to have it. In the summer, the outdoor drama Tecumseh tells the story of the Shawnee Chief who promoted intertribal unity to push back against the US Expansion into tribal lands.

Chillicothe has carved out a place for itself for specialty interests. The bookstore and record shop are practically unicorns in this day and age but there are other specialties. There’s an old school bike shop, a music store, a stained glass shop, a dojo and a place that specializes in aromatherapy. Plus antiques, clothing boutiques and a place where you can buy specialty toy soldiers designed for the serious collector. There is literally something for everyone in a tidy space along downtown streets lined with some very cool architecture. There’s even a great bike path and tons more to see and do than you can fit into a day.

Along the way yesterday, I had meaningful conversations with people who I never imagined I needed to meet. My Adena docent was fantastic and I met two retirees on my tour who I could have chatted with for hours. They didn’t bat an eyelash when I struck up a conversation and, as it turns out, they were open to talk about topics that I’ve never quite been comfortable discussing with my own friends.

It was an enriching and rewarding day, not necessarily for what I did so much as who I met along the way. More on that soon. For now, know this: the price of admission will get you into a place. The act of learning comes from talking to people about things that are new to you, talking to people about things that are important to them, talking to people about things that enlighten you.

Always, always, always be open to hearing someone else’s perspective.

Check back this week for stories about yesterday including more on Thomas Worthington and his Adena.

Here’s one more picture from the park.

Isn’t it peaceful?

Enjoy the Small Things

Remember when something so simple as a little change for the gumbball machine made your day?

It can still be that way if you allow it to happen.

This machine sits in a Chillicothe dinner called Carl’s Townhouse. Going there and seeing their counter is a simple pleasure for me.

Simple pleasures can be all sorts of things – finding a favorite candy from your youth in the checkout lane at the grocery, a few stolen moments to watch the sunrise, singing along to a favorite song- there is no right or wrong answer if it makes you happy.

Find a simple pleasure and go enjoy it today!

Carl’s Townhouse


I love a good diner. A fancy meal is great once in a while but if you want to impress me take me to a place with a lunch counter and an honest to goodness rotary phone on the wall. If I whip out my phone and start taking pictures you’ll know you did good.

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I hit two antique malls in downtown Chillicothe and had lunch with my mother at Carl’s Townhouse. Carl’s is a local landmark that began life at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. According to their menu, it was purchased by a local resident and brought to Chillicothe where it operated as NCL, an acronym of Nice Clean Lunch as well as the names of the original owners Nagley, Conrad and Landrum.

A fellow named Carl Reinhard purchased the building in 1951 and operated it as Carl’s Townhouse until his retirement thirty years later. Since then, ownership has changed a couple of times. Most notably, it was moved to its current site in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition at its original Paint Street location.

Moved to Second Street in the dead of night, the building was restored and expanded over the next two years. It has operated here ever since, using the original Carl’s menu of sandwiches, soups, homemade pies and all day breakfast on the weekends.

46525501_2028883797189801_3957679086133837824_nThe black and white tile floors are gorgeous and I love all the chrome but the crown jewel here really is the counter. I love the counter and the stools. 

And I can’t believe I did this but there’s a rotary phone on the wall and I totally forgot to take a picture. I grew up with a rotary wall phone but it’s not something you see much these days.

Saturday was gloomy and cold so my mother had vegetable soup (which she said was really good) and grilled cheese. I had onion rings with my grilled cheese along with a piece of butterscotch cream pie that was to die for.

They have a daily special, good service and fabulous atmosphere. The food isn’t fancy, just your diner fair but we really enjoyed it. If you’re downtown and looking for something a little different but still quick, Carl’s is the way to go.

Carl’s Townhouse is located at 95 W. Second St. in Chillicothe. If you go, Sweet William’s across the street has the best chocolate dipped strawberries and Totem Supply Company just down the block carries some fun gift items and retro tshirts featuring local spots of bygone years like Rinks and Camp Sherman. And, of course, there are a few good places to find antiques in town and some great specialty shops including Apollo Records and Ivy’s Home and Garden. Take some time to explore!