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2019 – Sightseeing Along Lake Erie in N.E. Ohio

Our stay in northeastern Ohio was a longer stay for us and that gave us plenty of time to explore the area.

We never get our fill of waterfalls so even though we hiked Watkins Glen and then visited Niagara Falls over the past few weeks, we took a day trip and visited a couple more waterfalls near Cleveland OH. Chagrin Falls, just south of Cleveland is located in the town of Chagrin. There are cute shops and restaurants around it. It is obviously a destination for people wanting to get out of the big city and although not overwhelming the falls are pretty and a nice place to eat lunch or just hang out. From there we drove through the country and arrived at the Brandywine Falls in beautiful Cayahoga Valley National Park. The falls have hiking and biking trails. We walked down a boardwalk for a great view of the falls. It is beautiful and well worth the effort to get down there and back. There is also an overlook for people who cannot or choose to not take the stairs.

On the Saturday before Labor Day We drove to Geneva-On-The-Lake and found it very busy due to a variety of events happening that day. We especially enjoyed a big Volkswagen car show in the city park which was filled with VWs and camper vans from across the years. Afterward, we enjoyed sitting on a bench and listening to the waves of Lake Erie for a while.

We went to Cleveland to visit the Historic William G. Matthew steam ship but found that it was only open on weekends after Labor Day. The ship is adjacent to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and since we were already there so we thought we would check it out. Honestly, since we aren’t fans of current popular music our expectations weren’t very high but there was more of interest to us than we expected. We spent most of our time in the sections of the museum that focus on the early days of rock and roll music. We heard lots of music and watched clips of singers from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. We saw photos, costumes and other memorabilia from many singers and groups. It was interesting seeing displays of groups like The Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Temptations. Other singers included Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and many more. We were able to walk through the tour bus that was built for Johnny and June Cash and their son. Interesting and sobering to us was the way the music changed to darker, angry, themes as time passed.

There is a historically unique restaurant near our campground: Covered Bridge Pizza in North Kingsville. The dining area is inside a covered bridge. The bridge was originally the Foreman Road Bridge built in 1862. In 1972 the county decided to replace it and the old bridge was sold for five dollars! It was carefully dismantled and placed in storage. In 1975 half of the old bridge was used to open the restaurant we visited and in 1977 a second location was opened using the other half of the bridge. There are a variety of items on the menu but we were there for pizza. The crust is made fresh daily and the spicy sauce along with the meat and cheese made an excellent lunch.

On a clear sunny day we took a picnic and visited a few of the many parks along Lake Erie. It was fun seeing the various parks. One was small with few picnic tables and small playground. Another had a large covered area with tables and a concession with boardwalks down to the beach. Yet another had a covered area with tables and several porch type swings with the beach area adjacent to it. We had a pleasant lunch by carrying our lunch and chairs down close to the water. A nice quiet way to spend a few hours.

When we saw advertising about a balloon glow not far from our campground we decided to go. There were eight of the giant hot air balloons that were beautiful when lit up. There were a lot of people there enjoying the display. The business, Debonné, hosts a full scale hot air balloon festival in the spring, it must be amazing to see.

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2018 – Sightseeing the Ashtabula, Ohio area

This is our second visit to the Ashtabula, Ohio area and we enjoyed it again this time.

Although the weather was cloudy and threatening rain we decided to check out the Ashtabula Beach Glass Festival. The Festival takes place on Bridge Street with historic buildings, local shops and eating places where the Ashtabula River meets Lake Erie. The Festival features Beach glass which is old glass that has been smoothed by the lake then picked from the beach and made into jewelry, added to paintings, and used to create artistic objects. Several vendors were there and we had fun looking and shopping. I was very impressed with one lady who took the beach glass, various rocks and used them to craft turtles to sell. She said this is their 9th year at the festival. In a store there is a local wood craftsman who is selling tables, lamps and many other objects made from driftwood.

We took a day trip around Ashtabula County visiting parks on Lake Erie. We saw lighthouses from a distance, enjoyed the sound of the water washing in on the beaches as well as the more rugged coastal areas, and a sunny day.

On Sunday we drove to Conneaut Lake Park on Lake Erie for fireworks. We got there in time to watch the sky change as the sun went down and children started waving light sabers, throwing glow balls and enjoying sparklers. We watched several Chinese lanterns float up and out disappearing above the lake. The park was full of families as people filled the beach and the hillside overlooking the beach. Around 10:15 PM the fireworks started and for about 30 minutes we enjoyed them. The show ended with a beautiful grand finale.

At Geneva-on-the-Lake we ate at Eddies Grill, a famous burger place that has been a staple there since 1950. It was fun to see all the people. We especially enjoyed the smooth flavor of the root beer. It was a real treat. From there it just a short walk down to the beach. There are many tourist type shops all around with every type of food place you can think of. It was a fun and relaxing time.

Our campground was on the outskirts of Jefferson. We thought the Jefferson Diner was a great local eatery. Also, the Dairy Delight was just right on a hot July day.

When we visited the area before we checked out several covered bridges, a fun way to spend an afternoon.

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2018 – Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails – Jefferson, Ohio

Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails at Jefferson, Ohio has a lot going for it. There are many nice campsites. The big rigs have some really long pull through, 50 amp, FHU sites that are out in the open. There are also a number of back in sites suitable for most any sized rig. Other areas of the campground have more trees. Most of those sites are 30 amp FHU sites. Many are big enough for bigger rigs, but are popular with those with smaller rigs. Kenisee Lake is an unusual Thousand Trails in that campsites are assigned rather than the usual pick-your-own site approach. It works here because those with larger RVs are happy to park in the big 50 amp sites. Those with the smaller rigs are happy to park in the prettier sites near the lake. Everyone likes the set up with people being assigned suitable sites. If there was a mixture of FHU and W/E only sites there would be a lot of pushback about this campground breaking with the Thousand Trails first-come-first-served policy but as it is people are okay with this approach. It might be worth noting that the big rig portion of the campground has no restroom or bathhouse. Also, as is the rule rather than the exception, there are many sites that have been sold to seasonals.

Other reviews are here: 20132019

The main feature of Kenisee Lake is, well, Kenisee Lake – a pretty lake. There is also a small pool, nice mini-golf course, basketball court, Activity Center, and other amenities. The tenting area is more popular than we usually see at Thousand Trails.

My Verizon signal was usable but not strong. Data throughput was slow but workable, especially using the signal booster. I had no problem getting satellite TV.

During our stay the weather wasn’t great. It seemed to be either raining or, when the rain ended, very hot and humid. While the gravel surface of our campsite kept us above water the rest of the campsite tended to go underwater. Of course, we can’t blame the campground for the weather but it would be nice to not have to wade through water to get in and out of the RV.

I don’t think, of all the Thousand Trails we’ve visited, that I’ve ever seen as active, on hands manager as Vickie. She was out and about constantly and when there was an issue with my electricity she’s the one who showed up with the multimeter to check it out.

We like Kenisee Lake and will happily return here on future trips across northeastern Ohio.

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2017 – Southwestern Ohio Sightseeing

20170530_113924.jpg I’ve enjoyed our third stay in southwestern Ohio. We drove a short 40 minutes to visit nearby Clifton which was settled in 1802. The Historic Clifton Mill is one of the few working water powered grist mills in the U.S. It contains a gift shop and restaurant. Not far from there we visited Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. We hiked one of the trails down by the river to the falls. We really liked the area and hope to go back another time.

20170603_130605.jpg A fun local event was the Corwin, Ohio Tractor show. We got to town around 11:30 for the tractor parade and saw people putting their chairs under a tree so we joined them and found that it was a family of several generations that live in the area and came to see their friends and neighbors on their tractors. We saw a lot of old tractors that have been refurbished and look like they did when they were new. I saw one that I had never seen before and found out it was a cultivator tractor built in 1948 for use on truck farms. The engine was behind the driver so they could see the furrows in front of them. Following the parade there was a meal of pulled pork, coleslaw, green beans with new potatoes, desserts and drinks. The tractors were parked all around so we could get a closer look. A fun way to spend a sunny Saturday morning.

20170605_141437.jpg Being as close to the Museum of the Air Force in Dayton as we were Scott couldn’t resist making another visit. A new section has been added since our last visit so we made a bee line to it. We focused on just that hanger and one other rather than trying to see the entire place – an exhausting effort! We especially enjoyed seeing the Presidential planes as well as many experimental, one-of-a-kind planes. We did an earlier review of the Museum here.

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2017 – Campground Review: Wilmington, OH Thousand Trails

20170525_120333.jpg We’re just finishing up our third stay at Wilmington, Ohio Thousand Trails. Since I’ve already done a couple of reviews of this campground this installment is just a quick wrap up.

The other reviews with more photos are here:

We were happy to find a nice spot in Loop A, arriving just ahead of the busy Memorial Day weekend. The place quickly filled up, including most of the seasonal sites, many of which had family and friends as guests. We got a kick out of watching the kids coast down the nearby paved road on scooters and bikes. They were having such a good time that it was fun to watch them. The campground staff pulled out all the stops in planning activities for all. We enjoyed a free member-appreciation cookout and special music at the campground church service on Sunday.

20170526_100013.jpg One big change to the campground since our last visit was a complete remodel of the pool area. It looks very good and got a lot of use on its opening day weekend.

We made some new friends, most of whom happen to seasonal site holders. We also enjoyed getting to know some previously Facebook only friends: David and Judy Evans who came in during our second week here.

One disappointment to us was our visit to the nearby gas station/convenience store where we had enjoyed soft serve chocolate ice cream on our previous visits. They no longer have soft serve. We were rather bummed out about that!

All in all, while we’d rather be out exploring new places, we’ve enjoyed our third stay here and rank Wilmington Thousand Trails in the top third of the Thousand Trails we’ve visited.

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Campground Review: Wilmington, OH Thousand Trails

100_4664.JPG This was our second stay at Wilmington, OH Thousand Trails. We were here over two years ago and, in fact, stayed in a site just down the road from where we stayed this time. Our first stay, though, was a rather wet and stormy one. This time, we’ve enjoyed ideal weather. We still like this place and now that we’ve stayed in so many Thousand Trails I think we can say that this one is above average.

Other reviews of this campground are here:

100_4667.JPG The common Thousand Trails issue of many of the more desirable sites being rented out to long term residents is in play here. I think it’s kind of sad that there are so many nice sites with empty trailers sitting on them while traveling members have just a few spots to pick from. This is nothing against people who take advantage of the deal but I do wish more consideration was given to regular members.

We’ve enjoyed the company of our good friends Ron and Theresa Corwin. They are traveling from the east and we are traveling from the north and we met here for these two weeks. Ron willingly took on some projects on our camper and for that I am very grateful. We also enjoyed lots of fun fellowship with them during our stay. To make things even better, Jackie’s brother Jim, and his wife, Phyllis came to visit her mother who lives nearby. It was lots of fun to spend time with them.

This is a quiet campground – a nice place for leisurely walks and evening campfires. We also enjoyed a concert by the Weaver Believer band.

Since we did a review of this campground with lots of photos and some of the area sights, especially our time at the National Museum of the Air Force, on our previous visit I’ll not repeat the same information here but I will mention that I’ve added some photos to the campground photo album. We do like this campground and expect to return for future visits.

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Shortstop: Ottawa Metro Park Campground – Lima, OH

100_4654.JPG Ottawa Metro Park Campground is a nice campground located just a few minutes off of I75 in Lima, Ohio, making it a great two night stop for us. The roads and the spacious, level campsites are paved. There are both back in and pull-through sites. The trees in the campground are smaller, so they don’t offer much shade but, as a result of their size, getting satellite TV is no problem. Some sites offer 50 amp electric but the majority are 30 amp. All sites are water/electric and there is a dump station in the campground. The restroom/shower building is modern and clean. During our stay the price was $25 a night with an over-60 senior discount price of $20. There are some terrific, paved walking trails and a swimming beach in the park. The only negative I saw about the campground is that it’s all first-come/first-served with no reservations possible. For RVers out on the road this arraignment doesn’t work very well. We arrived the weekend after Labor Day and had no problem getting a site. If you plan on coming to this park during busier times, you might want to try arriving on a weeknight; or at least you will want to have a backup campground in mind. My Verizon 4G signal was a usable 2 bars. This place is a real winner, especially if you don’t mind taking a chance on getting a site when traveling during busy times of the year.

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Campground Review: Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails, Jefferson, OH

2013-07-09 11.10.29.jpg For this move we drove from the southwestern corner of Ohio to the northeastern corner, a distance of around 260 miles, to Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails near Jefferson, Ohio.  We arrived just ahead of a big thunderstorm which was followed a couple of days later by an even bigger storm that prompted us to leave the camper and hang out in the Activity Center for a while.  The second storm, though, had a welcome benefit as it ushered in a cold front and a few days of beautiful clear skies and highs in the 70’s.  As I write this, the glorious cool days are past and we’re back into humid highs of near 90.  It was nice while it lasted.

Other reviews are here: 20182019

2013-07-10 10.05.51.jpg There are four camping loops here at Kenisee.  “A Loop” is, I think, the best.  It has more shade trees with nice roomy sites.   “B” and “C” are okay, but without as much shade.  “D Loop” isn’t a good place to be in wet conditions.  There was a lot of standing water there over the first several days of our stay and I don’t think anyone would have even thought of putting a RV there.  With dryer conditions it might be okay, but the sites really aren’t that great under any condition.  One very nice thing about this campground is that all sites are full hook-up, thus there’s no scramble to grab the sewer sites and not as much resentment concerning the seasonals taking all the sewer sites as we’ve seen elsewhere.

2013-07-11 17.11.27.jpg Kenisee Lake, itself is a beautiful lake.  There are a couple of other ponds on the property.  Just about all the Thousand Trails campgrounds have miniature golf, but the course here is better than any we have seen.  I think it’s nice enough to be a commercial course.  There’s also a heated pool and other amenities.  The WiFi here isn’t worth much.  You have to be right in the Activity Center to use it, and then it’s fair at best.  I had somewhat better luck with my 4G.  It wasn’t the best cellular connect I’ve had but it did the job.

There were some nice activities over the weekend: ice cream, a chocolate fountain (along with the showing of “Willie Wonka”), and a few other children’s activities.  One afternoon we enjoyed listening to a rehearsal session of a family bluegrass group that just happens to be staying here.  They are “Amber Waves Band” and we hope to hear them in concert somewhere down the line.

The area has some interesting attractions.  There are covered bridges, some nice beach and waterfront parks at Lake Erie, and other historical sites and events.  Nearby Jefferson has a scenic railroad but it doesn’t start operations till late in the summer and into the fall.

We like Kenisee Lake Thousand Trails and will likely return here as part of a future swing through the Great Lakes states.

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Around northeastern Ohio

image-018.jpgIt has been an interesting week here at Kenisse Lakes Thousand Trails and Ashtabula County Ohio. We saw several Covered bridges including the Smolen-Gulf Bridge which is the longest and the Liberty Bridge which is the shortest one.  We especially enjoyed driving the scenic road along Lake Erie from Geneva to Ashbula. Along the way we stopped at Saybrook township park the lake and were surprised by the many colors visible in the water.  We ate a picnic lunch at Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula and enjoyed the view of Lake Erie as well as the beautiful flowers in the park.

2013-07-12 13.05.18.jpg We enjoyed it all so much that a couple of days later went back to Ashbula to continue our sightseeing on up the shoreline to the east.  We had picnic lunch at Conneaut Township Park and again enjoyed seeing Lake Erie as well as the nearby Light House.

image-030.jpg On Saturday we attended ‘Early America Live’ in Jefferson, OH.  There were people in 1890’s period clothing who chatted with us “in character.”  We enjoyed touring the restored Historic train depot and attended a service at the old Methodist church with a circuit riding preacher. The music for the song service was played on a pump organ by a local musician.  We also chatted with a woman who as dying yarn using local plants, flowers and walnuts and also a lady who was spinning yarn from various animals hair including buffalo. There’s also an 1800’s home, a post office, school, inn, and a pharmacy.

On Sunday we enjoyed worshiping at the Jefferson, OH Church of the Nazarene.  Our time in northeastern Ohio has been relaxing and interesting.  It’s a pretty area with lots to see and do.

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Campground Review: Wilmington, OH Thousand Trails

2013-06-26 10.45.25.jpg Wilmington, OH Thousand Trails is located about 50 miles from Cincinnati and 25 miles from Dayton.  Our stay here is for 13 days which is long enough to look around but also to have some down days.  We’ve done plenty of both.

Other reviews of this campground are here:

As is the case with all the Thousand Trails, many sites have been sold to seasonals.  That means that available full hook up sites are limited.  When we arrived we were told that on that Tuesday afternoon there was only one FH site available.  We headed straight for it and were pleased to find that it was a nice, shady spot that suited us just fine.  Some folks we met previously came in right behind us and had to pick a temporary spot and then move the next day when someone left.  I take it that this kind of stuff is standard for Thousand Trails.  It feels a bit unfair that people who paid a lot for their memberships in years gone by are being trumped by locals who park an RV on a desirable site and only use it on occasion.

2013-07-03 11.32.00.jpg Anyway, we were able to get a nice spot on the first try and we were happy about that.  Having not had a sewer hookup the week before, we had lots of laundry to do.  I think we used or little Spendide washer/dryer non-stop the first few days were were here.

Our weather has been wet but cool.  A couple of days brought us hour after hour of drippy, drizzly conditions.  It was more rain than anyone in a campground wants but it has kept the temperatures down in the 70’s.  We’ve had the awning out and spent a lot of time sitting outside enjoying the coolness if not the rain.

Our stay here started off in an unexpected way when the camp host came to tell us that our friends who arrived right after we did were trying to reach us.  He had a health issue and had to be taken by ambulance to a big hospital in Cincinnati.  We ended up spending the better part of a day with them as he underwent a procedure.  The end result was good and we were thankful for not only that but for the opportunity to provide support for some nice folks in their hour of need.

2013-06-26 12.40.09.jpg We made some trips to the Dayton area.  One was to attend church and hear our friend Pete Vecchi minister.  It was a big Sunday for him and his congregation as he presented to them the details of some big changes coming to that church.  Pete brought a very good sermon and I was glad I was there to support him as a friend on that particular Sunday.  Then, we returned to visit the National Museum of the Air Force.  We were joined by another friend, Mary Oberer, for that visit.  We enjoyed her company and we loved the museum.  I can see myself returning there someday.  Jackie blogged about it with lots of photos in the post prior to this one.

2013-07-04 12.11.39.jpg Independence Day was a wet one here in this part of Ohio.  It pretty much grounded us through the day.  Then the rain let up for a few of the evening hours. When we heard that the Wilmington fireworks display was going to happen as scheduled we decided to go.  They were really good. We sat on our lawn chairs in the bed of the pickup, parked in the Kroger parking lot with hundreds of others and watched the show.  The rain held off just long enough for the display to nearly finish before it started coming down again and then continued through the night.

The Thousand Trails here has three loops.  I think Loop C is probably the nicest.  We’ve been in Loop A and it’s pretty good.  Loop B is the original campground.  It’s not as desirable, specifically because it has no sewer hookups or even shower house.

I’ve had weak park WiFi here using my external WiFiRanger.  It really isn’t good enough for heavy use but would do in a pinch for checking email and the like.  The connect is better, of course, if you go the the park activity center and use it there.

icecream.jpg We have a few more days here.  Tomorrow we’ll go back to Wilmington to check out the start of the Clinton County Fair.  We may stop off for some ice cream at J&D’s Market.  It’s near the campground and they serve terrific soft serve chocolate ice cream (sorry to say they don’t have soft serve anymore).  On Sunday we’ll attend church and then come back to the TT for a pot luck dinner and gospel singing.

While this Thousand Trails isn’t especially close to either Dayton or Cincinnati it’s close enough to serve as a base of operations for visiting those cities.  If you can get a site in Loop’s A or C with full hookups you’ll enjoy the place.

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