Thursday, October 27, 2011


The second weekend in October is the prettiest one of the season.

Because it's so predictable, we have festivals planned for this particular weekend every year.  Enter the Fall Foliage Tour.  It's a route you drive yourself that winds down country roads and has options for historic stops and photo ops along the way, including Chatham's annual Apple Butter Festival.

This is the place where homemade bean soup and chili are cooked in large kettles, and donuts are made to order.  There is also a craft fair (featuring our friend, Karen), and a local minister dressed as Johnny Appleseed.  Not to be missed.

And, of course, the apple butter.

(I was sure to buy the big jars this time.)

There were fourteen places of interest and nine host sites along the tour.  We chose four places on the map to visit, in addition to Chatham: York Historical Campus (York Historical Society), John Smart House (Medina Historical Society), the Medina County Home, and the 2011 winner of the Medina County Big Tree Contest.

Yes, a tree.

As we pulled up to the York Historical Campus, we were met by two large John Deere tractors that stood watch outside a spacious barn. The barn housed several tables of baked goods and vintage wares: arrowheads, instruments, pipes, guns, blankets, signage, and a loom from the early 1800s.

Cindy was a lovely gal who told me all about her childhood growing up with a father who made banjos from car parts and wooden dolls that danced on platforms.  When I asked her if she would play something on one of her father's banjos, she agreed with a shy smile, and proceeded to pull out finger picks from her pocket.  I think she was hoping for requests.

Next door to the barn was the Historical Society.  Staged inside of a one-room schoolhouse, we were greeted by a singing quartet and a sweet old lady dressed for the occasion.  We took turns sitting in the cramped desks and reading aged diplomas on the walls.  I wonder what life was like for that first graduating class.

While touring the John Smart House back in Medina, we came across this original beehive used by Amos Root during the founding years of his company (a company that would later put our city on the map).

Another stop of the day was at the Medina County Home.  Billed as a tour of a historic house, we learned en route, the property is actually a fully functioning 60-bed care facility.  From the elderly to mentally disabled, this place is funded by the city and has assisted hundreds of residents over the years.  

During our visit, we saw the laundry room and "Herman's Hide-A-Way."  Herman is a senior resident who used to spend time in this little nook carving wood.  He is wheelchair-bound now, but not before branding his corner with a carved sign.  I would love to know what it's like to live inside of Herman's mind.  His body may be frail, but I like to think his mind is still as sharp as his carving tools.

This, my friends, is the prize winning tree.

And the sun bather at the beginning of this post?  He greeted us with his tan on our way out to the parking lot.

Now, the fifth Saturday of October is coming up and I will say, the weather has taken a turn.  The weekend of the Fall Foliage Tour was gorgeous.  We have had a wealth of rain and wind lately, which I suspect will become snow in a month's time.

Thankfully, we've been through this before.  I think we're about ready to trade our flip-flops for Sorels, and not give a second thought to weeding or mowing the lawn, or to that dang groundhog who has taken up residence in our yard.

They do hibernate, right?

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