. It was interesting to show the kids this park, but we have to say that we were universally underwhlemed by the poor signage, the inadequate and poorly serviced Visitor Centers and after a picnic lunch, we were out of the park and on the road to our next stop. It is fair to say, however, that there was no entrance fee and the park had an amazing looking bike path along the edge of the canal. I can see how, if you hadn't just spent the past three months seeing a lot of what North America has to offer, it would be a great place to go for a bike ride, have a picnic or shop at some farmstands. We stopped at one really pretty stand, but the goods were overpriced and only a minority of the produce was grown at the farm or even labelled as 'grown locally'.
We then travelled a long hour east into Pennsylvania and towards another good slice of Amish Country and New Wilmington, the little Pennsylvania Dutch town where Grandma Saylor (Tim's Mom) grew up and graduated from high school. The choice destinations in this town were all pre-determined by Tim's memories of when he had come out to visit his Grandpa and Grandma as a boy growing up. Our first stop was the Amish Cheese house where we stopped and got sweet Lebanon Balogna (a form of luncheon) that Tim always remembered his Grandpa serving for lunch. Then, we drove past Grandpa and Grandma's House, found the school where Pete and Tim had bounced their superballs that they had gotten from Mr. Miller's toy store, and stopped in for sundaes and a slice of lemon meringue pie at the diner that had previously been an ice cream store that made its own ice cream and served skyscrapers of different scoops of ice cream
. We were there in the middle of the afternoon and as we were eating, two ladies came in and said, matter of factly "we're just here for some pie and something to drink; it was cute and very evocative of small-town middle America. Our final stop in this town was the Tavern on the Green, a well-established local eatery that was and still is considered one of, if not the nicest places in town. The restaurant is famous for two things and that does not include the fact that Gramma's best friend from high school owned it for a while. The two things are their sticky buns; a sweet buttery and brown sugary spiral roll and the fact that this establishment served for a time as a stop on The Underground Railroad. This was not a railroad at all, but rather a term for the loose network of houses and farms that hid slaves on their escape route North from their owners both before and during the American Civil War which ended in 1865.
We all had a grand time here and also saw several horses and buggies around the joint. Tim, especially, enjoyed his time on nostalgia lane. After this we drove an hour South to get to West Virgina, the 44th State we have now been in. After a few wrong turns we found the bridge over the Ohio river and after taking a photo of the sign welcoming us to "Wild and Wonderful" West Virginia, we turned around and drove an hour back to our campground where we had a play, dinner and bed in anticipation of the drive to Buffalo, New York tomorrow.
Wow, today marks the first day of the fourth month since we left home and embarked on this crazy journey. We awoke and the kids took some time playing at the lake before we loaded up and headed out to explore Cuyahoga National Park, the last National Park to see on this particular road trip. We found the entrance to the park, eventually, and no thanks to the signage! We had to look closely and employ a few navigation skills before we finally found the entrance and pulled off to take a photo. This innocuous park that lurks in the upper middle class neighborhoods of the Cuyahoga Valley basically tracks and follows the Ohio and Erie Canals up towards Lake Erie. For those who are not aware, it was the formation of these canals that opened up Ohio and the area as a legitimate place of business and prosperity and before the trains, there was no direct link to this part of the USA. Even after the arrival of the railroad, goods were shipped on the Erie Canal, like lumber, coal and hay. The men and animals that worked and hauled the goods knew every inch of the way