My mom’s old shade garden. My dad’s fence still looks good.

Jiggety-jig.

Did your mom say that nursery rhyme upon returning home (with our without the fat pig?). Mine did, and now I do the same, fully expecting the eye-rolls from the kids in the back seat.

So, I promised a photo-filled post of my trip home to Ohio, and I’m finally delivering. If you came here looking for writing advice, reviews, or interviews, please see the categories above. Or, take this advice: returning to your childhood home with your children for the first time can feel daunting, but it’s good for the soul–and stories.

One of my boys said he’d expected my childhood home, below, to be in a small town, but we were out of town on a country road.

The new owners painted the cedar shingles and the old red front door, but they haven’t cut down the tree-swing tree.

A trip through town, and the boys got to see my old high school; and the town square with the library, movie theater, and elementary school where my mom worked, and where the annual Geauga County Maple Festival is still held.

We also visited with my childhood best friend and her super funny and smart 3-year-old–and my boys got to experience Cleveland for the first time.

Of course, we went to the West Side Market–with it’s colorful produce hall, meats, cheeses, pastas (don’t miss the pierogies), baked goods, herbs and spices. I left with an armful of the some of the iconic tastes of Northeast Ohio: smoked Hungarian paprika, pepperoni bread, and mish-mosh bialys (not to be confused with bagels).

After a lunch of bratwurst sandwiches for the grownups and hot dogs for the kids, we treated ourselves to Mitchell’s Homemade ice cream–and the boys got to see it being made right there in the Ohio City shop.

For the country leg of our city/country day, we headed east to the Holden Arboretum, 3,500 acres of gardens and natural beauty. The boys’ favorite parts: the bridge 65 feet above the forest floor and the 12-storey high tower we climbed to look out above the canopy of trees–for miles, all the way to Lake Erie. (My apologies to any park guests there for my sons’ unending questioning at such heights: “Think we’d die if we fell from here? How about here?”)

From Northeast Ohio, we headed west to my dad’s hood of Port Clinton, Ohio, where we spent the rest of our vacation in Lake Erie Shores & Islands fashion. More heights–we ferried to Put-in-Bay, the ubiquitous party village on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, and captured from atop Perry’s Monument views of the lake (no filter, btw), along with other islands and even mainland Canada in the distance.

Best view with your brew award, this trip, goes to Twin Oast Brewing (those tower-looking things are the oasts), which overlooks a 60-acre farm estate with apricot trees forever (and plenty of lawn for a couple boys to throw a football).

Of course, into each Ohio vacation some rain must fall (sorry, Longfellow)–or else the boys wouldn’t get to visit Ghostly Manor, with their favorite arcade and roller rink–where they had their first V.R. experience (see below).

Whew! God bless all you travel bloggers out there. This post took me forever! May all the weekend and vacation-time forces be with you.

Now, it’s your turn: how are you recharging this season? Taking any trips? Returning home? And, if you have kids, have you taken them to your childhood home? What was their reaction?

Happy Summer, and thank you for stopping by!

~Rebecca

30 thoughts on “Home again, home again…

  1. Hi Rebecca! I must say that the places of your youth sounds amazing! We take our kids to our childhood home each time we go back to Italy… it’s a weird feeling because even if we moved from Italy to UsA almost nine years ago, every time we go back to Italy on vacation it seems we never left. And the kids seem like feeling the same… enjoy the rest of your summer and good job on your “traveling blog style post”!

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    1. Thank you! Don’t you love that about home–that it always feels right and good? That you always feel like it’s your place? I’m sure it’s wonderful to share Italy with your kids–and great to let them into your past experiences by knowing your home. I appreciate you checking out my post!

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  2. I’m heading home to Kentucky Friday. We never go back to my hometown now that my mom is gone. We will be staying with my brother about 40 miles south of my hometown. We will spend at least two nights with my MIL in the house where my wife grew up. I’m looking forward to just relaxing and not rushing around to see things like we do on most trips.

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  3. Sounds nice. I hope you have good weather. Same–in that, once my dad moved away from my childhood home, we never visited. Some of what I miss most are the quiet moments–sitting around the dining room table, dinners on the back desk in summer. It was an idyllic place to grow up, out in the country, and of course I couldn’t wait to get out of there! Now, with my own kids, I love to get back. A relaxing vacation sounds wonderful–enjoy!

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  4. Did you have well water in your childhood country home? I admired but did not envy my country-living classmates. They learned to tolerate the smell of well water (which has strong notes of sulfur in Allen County, btw). They had no cable TV at the time, too. I feel such aspects of country living helped them build a level of resilience that came much later in life for a city-dweller like myself. One of my aunts married a farmer 38 years ago, and I’m still amazed at the fullness of her and her husband’s days.

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    1. We had chickens and a couple ducks when I was little but I don’t know that I developed many useful skills from living in the country. Farmers we definitely weren’t–such a hard life, but full, I’m sure. You’d feel like you really deserved your sleep at the end of the day! Mostly, I wished we lived in town–and couldn’t wait to move to the city! We were on a well, but it wasn’t sulphur-smelling. An aunt and uncle did have terrible-smelling water–and we would bring our own water, even just to brush teeth! No cable TV for us either, so all the early MTV I missed out on. I guess the grass is always greener–both of my parents grew up in towns and wanted to do the country thing with their family. Of course, I wanted just the opposite! The downside was all the driving. There is nothing that I love more now than being able to ride my bike or walk somewhere!

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    1. Thank you! I thought of you–we were so close to Ignatius! It looks great down there; so much different than when my sister lived in Ohio City 10 years ago. Was so nice to see so many people out–tourists, young families. We had a blast!

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  5. Love your post, Rebecca! Makes me want to revisit Cleveland, and especially make a stop at that West Side Market, which looks incredible! I’ve never been to Put-in-Bay but lots of folks I know most certainly have (it’s a popular destination for northeast Indiana folks). Looks like you all had a wonderful trip! Enjoy the rest of your summer. I’m in northern Michigan as I write this. Cooler here, thank heavens! Deb

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    1. Thank you for checking out my post! It was such fun–the vacay and the reminiscing, both! Cleveland looks so great; I only wish we had longer. Next trip, I want to go to the art museum–I haven’t been since the huge renovation/expansion. I’d also like to visit Public Square with all the theaters, since I spent so much time there in my dancing days. But we had to do kid-friendly stuff. The West Side Market’s the best–I mean, who doesn’t like food!? Put-in-Bay is nice during the week. The weekends are too crazy! When I was a kid, we’d rent bikes and ride all over the island, swim at the state park. Now, most everyone uses golf carts, so that’s a shame. We keep thinking we’ll try going over to Kelley’s Island, which is more low-key, but P-i-B has good stuff for the kids (and more bars all the time for the adults, of course). I hope you’re loving your time in MI–could you send some of that cool air down my way? We’re sweltering in MD. Another pool day, I think. Have a wonderful summer–can’t wait to hear about all you read, did, and wrote!

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      1. Just seeing your comment here, Rebecca — sorry I’m tardy! I actually know of (don’t know them personally) someone north of me, in Indiana, who provides golf carts for Put-in-Bay. I can imagine they might be a distraction. We like to go to Mackinaw Island, and there you have only horse-drawn carriages or bikes, no cars or golf carts. I always wonder if they’ll ever give in though to more motorized vehicles — I hope not. I’m back in northern Indiana, and oh my gosh is it hot! I’m ready to go back north. When we left MI Monday it was 60 degrees in the morning; by the time we got home, it was 85 degrees! Yikes! Stay cool — and keep writing! 🙂

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  6. We’ve made several trips to my childhood home since I had the kids, but my daughter is only now beginning to understand the implications of those trips. We may have to go back when my son’s a little older, so they can both see and understand. (The last time we were there, he was 2 — he of course doesn’t remember it.)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! So, of course, I had to look up the history of Cleveland’s West Side Market after I received your reply. It was actually built to serve as a market (though I agree it does look like it could have been a train station first, with all the tile). Here’s what I found:

      “In 2008, the West Side Market was designated as one of “10 Great Public Places in America,” by the American Planning Association and continues to offer an authentic and culturally diverse shopping experience. The West Side Market celebrated its Centennial in 2012.” from: http://westsidemarket.org/about/market-history/

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      1. I’m glad I prompted your curiosity. Before I wrote that comment, I went to check myself. I was disappointed to find out that the intention of the marketplace was to be a marketplace. It’s still a fascinating looking place.

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  7. Yes, my Mom did say that little rhyme – but just the first line. And usually as we returned home from an outing. I didn’t realize there was more to it than that. Looks like a beautiful area with some amazing food!

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    1. We had such fun–thank you for checking out my post. Not France, but the North “coast” of Ohio is lovely, especially in the summer. I’m longing for those cooler temps, as we got up to 96 in Maryland today–ugh. Hope you’re keeping cool and enjoying the summer!

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