Stage Door Mural

Mount Vernon, Ohio is home to some gorgeous murals including this on the side of a theater.

The Peter Pan is fantastic.

I’m always a little surprised at a really great mural as I can’t fathom the time and talent involved in making something like this become a larger than life reality.

Cars For Sale

I have really come to appreciate cars for sale along the side of the road. You see, no one thinks twice if you walk up to a car that’s for sale and start to take pictures.

You just look like a potential buyer.

Do that to any other car in someone’s driveway and you would have some explaining to do – or some e’splaining to do as Ricky used to tell Lucy.

It’s also fun to fantasize about tooling around in your own classic car!

This 1953 Buick Special was parked outside Mount Vernon, Ohio and could be yours for just $8,000. The sign says it runs great!

Twisted Angel

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This hunk of metal is part of the ruins at Ariel Foundation Park which uses metal girders recovered from a former glass plant on this site to create art. Those girders were recovered one other time – from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

They’re all different. I think this one looks like an angel.

Most people would probably just walk past this twisted hunk of metal without a second thought but I was fascinated with the shape and patina of it.

As you wander through this world, remember this:

You see what you seek. If you’re looking for a white car, you will only see white cars. If you’re looking for the bad, that’s what you’ll find.

If you’re looking for beauty, even a hundred and thirty year old steel girder against a blue sky will become a spectacular piece of abstract art. It may be the most beautiful thing you see that day.

Never stop looking for the good, friends. Even on the bad days. Your life will be better for it.


Today is Saturday.

Yesterday, you said tomorrow. Whatever it was, don’t say tomorrow for even one more day. Skip the excuses and do the thing.

You may be surprised at how good it feels. Besides, tomorrow you’ll wish you had started today.

All Aboard In Gambier

If you’re a train enthusiast and near Gambier, Ohio, there’s a neat site at a trail head for the Kokosing Gap Trail. This paved 14 mile trail follows the former Pennsylvania Railroad line from Mount Vernon to Danville.

There’s a trail head in Gambier where you’ll find a 1940 American Locomotive Company (Alco) locomotive and a 1924 Chesapeake and Ohio caboose. If you’re a train enthusiast, these pieces have a lot of history. You can read some fascinating facts about that here.

If you’re not a train enthusiast, they’re still cool to see. One thing that’s unusual about this place is that they encourage visitors to climb up in the locomotive and step up on the back of the caboose for photo ops. A lot of places frown on touching and climbing so this is a fun change of pace.

This site also includes a railroad switch and a crossing sign.

Here you’ll find restrooms in a building that resembles a train station. You can access all this from the bike path or by parking next to the tennis courts in the town park. If you follow this trail into Mount Vernon, be sure to hop on the HOOT trail and head over to Ariel Foundation Park which I wrote about this week. Click here for that story.

If you’re into geocaching, there’s a trail of eleven caches associated with this rail trail. You can get the scoop here!

The Ruins At Ariel Foundation Park

Most communities have some kind of park with a playground and picnic area. Most communities do not have anything like Ariel-Foundation Park in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The 250 acre park is the site of the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Works No. 11 and celebrates that heritage in the most imaginative way.

There are green spaces, a traditional playground, a bike path, picnic areas and all the traditional park stuff you might expect.

It’s what you don’t expect, the celebration of the land’s industrial heritage, that makes this park truly remarkable.

The factory closed in 1979 and what remains is now referred to as “The Ruins.” What was once a million square foot factory complex is now marked by old walls, a couple of remaining buildings and steel used to create art. There are four stair and elevator towers along side a series of steel pieces that resemble an industrial style Stonehenge.

The 280 foot brick smokestack has been repurposed into the Rastin Observation Tower and is the tallest structure in Knox County.

A bike path winds through the park and signage explains the story behind what you see today.

The plant was built by a gent called Jacob Coxey, a businessman and politician. He built this plant using girders salvaged from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Some of those same girders were salvaged again and used as art installations throughout the park today.

There’s a River of Glass made with smooth turquoise colored glass from the plant.

There are three former gravel quarry lakes with islands and plenty of good fishing. There are places for your events as well. I was especially taken with the old carpenter shop turned event space.

Among other things, I didn’t make it to the Clock House Museum or the labyrinth that day but this provides a reason to go back!

Perfect parks with their shiny benches and playgrounds are great but this place feels like a completely different kind of playground- one where adults are free to roam and play too! The imagination and hard work that went into this place is inspiring and my only regret is that I don’t live closer. I would be out there all the time!

If you want to know more, click here to visit their website. If you’re planning to go, 10 Pittsburgh Ave., Mt Vernon will get you there.