My blog dress and header has changed! As a newlywed, I am excited to present a whole new theme.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stella's Maumee River trip to Grand Rapids Ohio, Part 1

On Sunday, my good friends Jon and Monica asked if we wanted to go out on the boat with them. I would never turn down a chance to get out on the water! I love boating, but have rarely ever had the chance to do it. I also thought it would be great to give Stella one more adventure!

We put the boat in the Maumee River at Napoleon, Ohio. Though the Maumee runs through my city, there is a large dam between the city and where we wanted to go. Doesn't Stella look excited to get going?

Here she is with my son Jared who has become her buddy and partner in crime. They're all set for a day of adventure!

Jon and Monica declined to be photographed close up, and the only picture of me was pretty crummy, lol.

We shoved off from the docks, and we're off!

The Maumee is a pretty big river. This is the only picture I got as we were just starting out, because after this we were going so fast that I felt it was best to put my camera away!

At one point we did slow down a little and I snapped another pic of Jared. My son Sean doesn't like being out on the water, so he didn't come along. Plus he had to work later.

After a nice long trip up the river, we went through a lock and into a canal along side the river. We couldn't continue on the river as there was a dam that boats cannot cross. But what a pretty and quiet canal!

We came to the boat docks outside of a small historic river town called Grand Rapids. It is historic for the rapids and for record floods. The town also sponsors an apple butter festival each October that brings up to 70,000 people to this quaint little town of 1000.

Before heading into town, we crossed the canal to the towpath that separates the canal from the river.

Here is Stella overlooking the river.

My son hopped down to the riverbank so he could take pics of the island in the river with the dam on either side. It's hard to see the dam unless you click on the pic to enlarge it.

You can see the rapids here. It's quite shallow here during normal times.

Some people found a nice spot for fishing!

At the end of the towpath is this gate where water from the canal runs into the river. It's quite a drop.

Here is where the water empties. The water is running pretty darn fast here.

Daredevil Stella snuck away from us and put one little booted foot over the edge thinking that she might jump into the river and test the rapids! Monica grabbed her just in time! No, Stella! That girl, you really have to watch her, but for the most part, she has been very well behaved during her visit with me.

My son and Jon were helping a lady who got stuck in the gravel on the other side of the canal. Unfortunately, I didn't snap a pic of them pushing her vehicle. Turned out she forgot to undo the parking brake, lol.

The downtown stores are so cute, even from the back facing the canal. Here is a mural of a local restaurant and the back patio.

We came into the downtown area through this little park, built in an alley. They had benches, flowers planted, international flags, a drinking fountain, and toilets.

Here is a view of the downtown. See, it really is just a little bitty town, but it is oh so quaint and utterly charming!

Here is the front of LaRoe's Restaurant, the same place that has the mural in the back. It's well known in the area and people drive for miles to come eat there. Jared and Monica are checking out the menu posted in front.

I was so charmed by this cute bed and breakfast The Mill House. It looks so unassuming, but you can click on the website and see how pretty the rooms are. It also has a pretty back yard where an actual mill stone sits. It really was a grain mill in olden times.

There was a Victorian home across the road that just took my breath away! Upon closer inspection, I found that it too was a bed and breakfast, the Housley House. I would gladly stay at either one! But I would want to tour the inside of both, of course.

Nearby was this pretty white building, The Shambles British Tea Room. It's name suggests that the sign was put on there crooked on purpose! It was closed, so we couldn't go in.

Next to the shop is a huge marker, showing how deep floods of days gone by have been. The flood of 1904 was above my head! I'm surprised that it was the highest flood as the flood of 1913 was more known in this area. A huge portion of Ohio had massive flooding. The northwest part of Ohio was once part of the Great Black Swamp. Every spring the town has its annual flood watch where residents watch how high the river rises.

On the other side of the shop is the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe. This just makes me so nostalgic! Don't you wish they had one of these in every town?

A little further down the street is this sweet bridal shop. Such a well kept building!

Aren't these lamps incredible? There are little touches like this all over the town.

I love these old fashioned window displays.

Can you see the chandelier in this one? Sorry there is so much reflection in the window. Also, there is a cloche over a cake topper. So sweet!

There was so much yet to see, but as I don't want to make this post overly long, you'll have to come back tomorrow for more! We'll be going inside the most amazing general store that I have seen since my childhood, checking out an historic town hall,a park, and a sweet little house before heading back down the mighty Maumee.

Please do click on the links so that you can learn more about this amazing little town. Also, check out yesterday's post where Stella visits Lake Erie.

Part 2 will post on Wednesday around 6:00 PM eastern time.

See you then!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Stella at Marblehead Lighthouse

Stella will be leaving my home probably tomorrow. I'm afraid that I kept her much longer than I was supposed to, but there was one place I really wanted to take her before I sent her on. Any trip to the United States should include a visit to the Great Lakes! Ohio is bordered on the north by Lake Erie.

On the Lake Erie shoreline east of Port Clinton, Ohio, is Marblehead Lighthouse! It's one of my favorite places to just sit and watch the waves crash. Here is Stella with the lighthouse in the background.

While walking to the lighthouse, we paused to take a picture of Stella with the lake in the background.

See that land in the distance? That isn't the opposite shore, but Kelley's Island, a large island where you can find glacial grooves. There are also wineries on the Lake Erie islands which also includes South Bass Island and party town Put-in-Bay, also called the Mardi Gras of Lake Erie!

The best way to see it from the mainland is through a viewer, like my daughter Tara is using here. She and I had a great day!

Here are a few views of the lighthouse. I really like the red paint! The lighthouse is still in use. We didn't go inside as it was past hours, plus I am a big sissy baby and terrified of heights and wouldn't have done it anyhow.

There is a museum on the grounds which used to be the caretaker's house. How I would love to live there right on the shore! Wouldn't it be fun? The house is so charming and even has a white picket fence.

Just in case you get lost, this will let you know which direction you are facing.

We took a little path to the shore and looked across to see the famous amusement park Cedar Point across the bay.

Here it is a little closer. You can see the huge rides! If you can't see them, click on the pic to enlarge it.

Stella liked being at the shore and enjoyed seeing the waves crash into the big rocks.

She also liked the way the exposed tree roots looked on shore, eroded by the water.

My daughter and I enjoyed the shoreline too.

That's one shiny face in that last pic. It was a pretty hot day.

We enjoyed watching the boats on the lake, and people watching.

Although we couldn't get close enough to take a picture, everyone on shore was much amused by a little raccoon who came out from between the rocks! One little girl came around the end of a big rock and found herself face to face with the little creature and she screamed and ran. It was pretty funny, and despite it all, she was very excited to see a raccoon in real life for the very first time.

Tara, Stella and I also just spent some relaxing time sitting on the rocks and taking in the beautiful scenery.

It was a wonderful day and I was so glad to be able to show Stella one of the Great Lakes! She said she would never forget it.

Stay tuned tomorrow because we unexpectedly got to take Stella on another adventure!