Vintage en Vogue

There’s a great new vintage shop in downtown Logan, Ohio. Vintage en Vogue is a neat boutique packed with antiques, vintage items, art, decor and even some clothes and accessories.

Everything seems to be good quality and the prices are fair.

It’s also staged so beautifully that I wanted to linger a while. I’m saving for some upcoming adventures but wanted to support them so I bought a cute sunflower T-shirt with the promise to go back again soon.

The owner was delightful and so very welcoming that I imagine there will be a return trip in my near future. You should check them out too!

Find Vintage en Vogue at 45 West Main Street in Logan and be sure to follow them on Facebook too. While you’re in town, check out the other downtown shops as well as the Logan Antique Mall on Rt. 664.

Supporting Small Businesses: A Gift To Myself

One Christmas gifts to myself was the act of going into some small businesses in Ligonier and buying some things specifically to help them out. Small businesses play a vital role in any community, especially a place like Ligonier where the economy is based on tourism and locally owned businesses. I like to support them when I can.

There aren’t many chains in this town. Instead, you find small specialty shops and restaurants where everything is prepared to order and where greasy sacks of food aren’t passed through car windows.

These places often employ just a few people but they do far more for the community than the big box store that sends its profits to an out-of-state corporate office or, even worse, an online retailer that has no presence in the community at all.

In Ligonier, local businesses help sponsor events like the Christmas lights on the Diamond. They support the Chamber of Commerce and refer customers to other businesses in town. The level of community spirit and involvement here is enviable.

The ice cream parlor even sells these tokens so that first responders can enjoy free ice cream when they come in.

I picked up a handmade Russian ornament from a Christmas store and a bracelet made with silk infused piano wire from a boutique that sells handmade goods. That bracelet is officially my favorite piece of jewelry right now. I found a pretty plum scarf and Christmas broach at a ladies clothing store, delicious chocolates from the candy store and a hand painted miniature from another delightful shop.

My friend bought a warm winter coat from a shoe and outdoor wear store that has been in business for over a century. The current proprietor is the third generation to own it.

I didn’t especially need anything I bought but I found some small treats for myself. Plus, it inspired great joy to buy some small luxury items while supporting those shops.

If I were far wealthier than I am, I would have bought this life sized Santa or one of the other half dozen others they had with different faces and different colored robes. Each is unique and several hundred dollars beyond my budget.

No one does a happy dance like a small business owner who just made a sale and I was glad to contribute to their good day- even if I couldn’t afford the gorgeous Santa.

Claire’s Restaurant and Bar

Lunch in Estes Park was at a cute place called Claire’s Restaurant and Bar. We randomly selected it because their online menu included a few vegetarian options but, random or not, it was a superb choice.

They offer soups, salads and wraps along with pasta, steaks and all matter of other dishes meaning there’s literally something for everyone. I had an Impossible Burger with fries and a great salad. Everything seemed fresh and thoughtfully presented. Plus, the menu changes seasonally so there’s always opportunity to discover something new.

This family business is cozy inside with outdoor seating for fair days. Stained glass over our table provided unexpected joy.

I would absolutely go back if ever given the choice. Want to know more? Click here!

Village Market

It’s inviting, isn’t it?

For a while, there were a couple of guys sitting here just watching the day go by and it made me feel at peace.

It’s in Gambier, just down the street from the Amish folks who sold me some goodies. The town has a number of local shops and restaurants with some sidewalk space. These types of establishments lend character to the town and give visitors cause to slow down and even linger a while.

That is my kind of place.

Thomas, West Virginia

I went to Virginia hoping to see some pretty fall leaves. The colors there were muted and the leaves were just starting to turn. However, coming home through the country roads of West Virginia I found some of the most stunning fall colors I’ve seen in years.

This picture was taken just a few miles outside the tiny town of Thomas, West Virginia. I had driven through rain that morning and experienced the fade and resurgence of the sun off and on for another hour or so as I made my way north through some West Virginia country towns.

I stopped briefly to explore Thomas and chatted with a shopkeeper who sold me local pure maple syrup. I’m at that stage in life where I want to support small businesses without dragging home too much clutter. So whenever I find myself in a position with nothing else to buy I reach for food items that I might view as a luxury later – local maple syrup or honey, fudge, jams, pancake mixes and other things that I can enjoy but won’t be around forever like a shirt or a coaster.

The shopkeeper said this was the best fall foliage they’ve seen in a few years. Sadly, many businesses remain Covid closed and tourists are mostly staying away. Consequently, the rest of the world is missing out on the spectacular colors currently dressing the mountainsides.

Come back tomorrow for more about Thomas. I think you’ll like their story.

PS- I just started a Facebook page for this blog. I’ll post some bonus content there so be sure to follow. Find it by searching Make The Journey Fun or just click here and click like.

Time For Some Changes

When this blog began almost two years ago, it was partly an answer to calls from friends who wanted to know about my adventures. It was partly a distraction from a major life change. It was partly an outlet for sharing words and pictures that matter to me.

In the beginning it was mostly about my travels both far from home and in my own backyard. The blog has evolved some. I still tell those stories but occasionally share about other things happening in my world – food, books, Scout, and the random things that turn my head.

Daffodil 2020It’s time for things to shift again, at least for a while. As I type, I’m staring at my hands which are dry and sometimes bloody from the near compulsive hand washing that has become socially acceptable. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day for adventure but there’s nowhere to be. It’s too windy to go outside so when I get up from this desk, it will be to go to another room to perhaps read a book or organize something or maybe just take a nap.

I’m not complaining because I’m safe at home. I’m not a victim of this pandemic but a lucky human who is healthy, who has a safe place to live, and plenty to eat. There are a ton of things to do in this house and one day life will go back to normal.

Meanwhile, plans are on hold or perhaps just cancelled. Book talks and concerts have been postponed. My list of museums, restaurants and junk shops to visit keeps getting longer. I’m looking at small businesses in my community – a riding stable that does guided trail rides, an antique store, and a host of others that I worry for because times are always tough for a small business without having all their customers quarantined. How much can I afford to support these businesses when this is all over?

Plans for my epic summer vacation are now on hold to the degree that I gathered up all the brochures and maps and stuffed them in a drawer. It’s almost too much to hope that I’ll be able to go.

Obviously, I have no new adventures to tell you about right now.

Part of me wants to just live in this quiet world I wake up in every day. And it is quiet. It’s made up mostly of books, music and birdsong. I’m currently working from home so that keeps me busy. Scout entertains me too but there are days I don’t even turn on the tv except to hear the governor give his daily briefing. While others are going stir crazy, trapped in prisons of their own making, I’m perfectly fine. Disappointed about lost adventures, but fine because I know there are better days ahead.

So I’m going to shift things again, just a bit, and hopefully for not too long. When this is all over, I want all of us to be prepared to do something important. For those who can, I want us to go out into the world, boldly and without apology, to do all the things we cannot do today and to support the small businesses that need us more than ever.

Shop. Eat in a restaurant. Stroll through a museum. Fly. Stay in a hotel. Take that guided trail ride. Sit in a crowd of like minded people and listen to beautiful music. There’s so much to see and do. We need to go out and be part of it.

So I’m going to start talking about the places I want to go when this over and then I can tell you more about them after I visit. Someday.

There’s also probably going to be more stuff about what I’m reading, maybe some about music, and a little about what’s going on here in my very small corner of the world. Perhaps by looking more closely at my everyday life I can start to appreciate it more.

Life will return to normal someday and we need to be prepared for that inevitability. We also need to embrace the world we wake up in now because there’s no point in wishing our lives away by waiting for tomorrow.

It’s sort of a tight rope to walk.

Who’s with me? Comment and tell me how you’re coping and what you’re looking forward to doing when this is all over.