It's hard not to love Ohio. In the Fall. It fills me up, in the same way walking among the stars would do. soaring with the eagles. swimming with dolphins. being able to breathe under water. or skip up a mountain side. It makes me feel fine. At one, with Nature. Even when you've ended up here, once again, by accident. There is a spectacular show under way, staged in the tops of the trees. The ground is dripping with leaves, and on display are all the shades in the Universe. a final hurrah. hip-hip hooray. a standing ovation to summer, before the frozen months come. No more hundred shades of green. My formerly familiar trees, are now becoming shadows of their former selves. silhouettes. mere fringes against a barely blue sky. The air astounds me with it's chill. and hiding in that tiny space between dusk and dawn are all the secrets in the world. Cool, star studded nights that tumble into non stop glorious mornings will be dearly missed. And did I mention? a state bird, the color of Christmas flowers. Oh, my!

 Dear Ohio, has anyone complimented you lately on your covered bridges. framed with the plush of trees and water.  Somehow? these escaped my attention the first time around, when I lived here before. Now I am making up for lost time. They really are sort of special. Over 125 in all. scattered through-out. mostly wooden. all historic. If you haven't seen them, I highly recommend it. a tour. Sixteen in one afternoon's time, is not impossible. flat out gorgeous, baby. Ashtabula, if you are a one trick pony, this is a good one. Madison County could take a few pointers from you. 

Also swoon worthy, are your wineries, plotting competition for California and New York. Surreptitiously, so as not to start a trend, still not every state can make this claim, or accessorize so smartly. Fields and fields of plump grapes on vines as straight as a zipper up the back of a party dress. Really, just drop everything.  It’s wine tasting time. Ohio, excellent and wine absolutely can be used in the same sentence. Here is a notion that is positively brilliant! venture to the lake area, order a bottle of Chambourcin, score some cheese and crackers, and I suspect you're in for one dreamy day. or at least one seriously tarted up afternoon. And this intriguing wine, Chambourcin, well, I suspected it was The One, or could be, after I'd devoured a few bottles several years back.  And the best part, for my money anyway, is the all together bit. So before Ohio gets all stiff-lipped and serious about winter, grab your peeps and give it a try. Seems 119 year old churches make excellent wineries. Ohio has a knack for growing grapes. Who knew? a certain serendipity and a region perched atop  the remnants of glacial beaches would create the perfect soil, rich and fertile that would become the Grand River Valley. Yep, Ohio can make a mighty fine wine.  

  Amish country? you must know by now that it has a personality all its own. It is peaceful, historic and chock full of restaurants, gift shops and show-stopping scenery. everything I crave in a one tank trip. I treat it more as a mini vacation than a shopping expedition. One that makes me happy. every. single. time. not too long, not too short. just far enough away as to not be everyday humdrum. endlessly entertaining. more a suggestion really than a direct order. Antique shops and diners can be swapped out for flea markets and Amish cooking at grandma's in places cozily named Charm, Berlin and Sugarcreek. Throw in a few cheese shops and bakeries for fun, and really, don't skimp on the atmosphere.

Also?  I think I may owe you an apology for affixing  "no ocean" every time I mention you, as if it were your middle name (yes, Ohio, no ocean, but we have...)...beaches, no ocean, but will a Great Lake do? And a lighthouse? fabulous islands. awesome Metro Parks! Plus, Mohican State Park. And Hocking Hills. water parks, world class amusement parks ~ including one that still holds the world record for the longest wooden roller coaster in the world! historical sites, arboretums, bike trails, zoos, award winning golf courses. museums, a building shaped like a basket, spectacular State fairs, corn fields, pumpkin patches and Swenson's. all these things delight me.
Oh, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Extra credit, BIG TIME!

I know Fall technically still has several weeks left on it's lease, but I can feel winter's whisper, so get out there and soak it up while you can.

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
(click here for recipe)



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