Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day trip to Mt. Vernon, Ohio

December 29th and we had a bad case of cabin fever.  Can't go boating, or camping so DAY TRIP it is! I went on line and simply looked at a map of Ohio and picked a place that I didn't think we had been.  Mt. Vernon it was.  So after breakfast we were off.

After about an hour drive we arrived in the town of Mt. Vernon.  We parked near the town square and started out exploring.  First stop 8 Sisters Bakery for a snack, yes a snack even though it was after 11.  I guess you could say we had dessert first!  We then walked over to Kudos (15 N. Main Street) which is an artists co-op, I could have spent most of the day there.  We talked to one of the artists and she gave us some great ideas of where to eat and what to visit while in town.  We always try to talk with the locals to see what is popular in the area.

Entering into downtown Mt. Vernon

Sweets at 8 Sisters Bakery
A cute little shop in the back of 8 Sisters

Some sweets for the stroll around town
A visit to Kudos a local artists co-op

We made a decision that we wanted to tour the local park but would eat lunch first.  Yes Mike had just finished his donut.  So off we went down the street and decided to stop in a new place called Build a Biscuit at 3 N. Main Street.  We walked into this quaint little place and were quickly greeted by a friendly young woman, the owner.  What a wonderful place this was.  She served exactly what you think, these delicious big biscuit and at least a dozen different ideas of toppings.  If you visit Build a Biscuit be sure to talk with the owner she has some wonderful stories to share of how she started her shop here in Ohio.

Build a Biscuit

Such a yummy menu
Cozy fun seating
Things to do while you wait
This was the Ham and Cheese Biscuit and it was FABULOUS!!!!

Now that we had enjoyed this wonderful lunch it was time to go work it off with a walk over at Ariel Foundation Park.  I can't begin to describe this park so I decided to pull something off the parks website.  at

"Ariel-Foundation Park is a spectacular 250-acre public green space under construction in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The park is being built on the site of the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass manufacturing plant. Located within walking distance of Mount Vernon’s historic downtown, Ariel-Foundation Park will be one of the most unique public parks in Ohio. Visitors will be able to enjoy lakes, woods, walking trails, picnic areas, a bike path, an events center, a restored railroad depot, historic ruins, terraced landscaping and more. Some sections of the park are already open and ready to visit. Other sections are in various stages of development. The entire park is expected to be completed sometime in 2015. We hope you will visit us soon!"

By the time we arrived at this one of a kind park it had started to drizzle, but we were so intrigued by this place that we headed out weather or not.  It was so worth it.  This park is an awesome example of making a derelict building and location into a beautiful use of space.

The remaining smoke stack that you can now walk up.

Glass chunks left over from the days of PPG

Parts of the old PPG building were purposely left standing

This was an awesome place to take photos, specially portraits


Mike even got a picture of me.
Just being a little silly

Elevator Shafts from the original building

Freight Elevator

A portion of the original PPG building were left standing

The observation area on the old smoke stack.

A river of glass

This part of the old building that was left standing is now a venue for concerts, parties, etc.

The park is still a work in progress but what has already been completed is spectacular

Beautiful samples of the glass that was melted down to make sheets of glass

At the one end of the park is lake and a woods area.  There are also several steel sculptures of parts of the old buildings.  It really was a fantastic place to spend the day taking a nice walk.

We will absolutely be back in the spring to see how this has progressed along.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Reviewing and cleaning out!

Well as most everyone knows we brought the sailboat we purchased in New Jersey back to Columbus on Monday.  Today we made a trip back down to our friends the Kerns and paid a visit to our boat.  Once again the Kerns are generously allowing us to leave our boat there for the winter.  We had a few things we wanted to get done before the snow flies, although that could be a while since it is supposed to be in the 70's on Sunday.  

Any way we made a trip to Mt Sterling and climbed aboard the....oh yeah we haven't named her yet, so for now it will just be "the boat".  Our goal today was to figure out the mast raising system and clear everything out of the boat and take it home to sort through.  Four hours later the task was completed.  This mast raising system was a lot more difficult than our first sailboat we owned.  We were able to get it up and no one fell off.  It's a long way down when you are on the hard.

Mast is up!

Captain is still on the boat.

Couple of things about our new boat.  First it is a little younger than the Lady J.  This one is a 1989, where the Lady J was a 1973.  This one is in much better condition and cleaner, not as many battle scars.  There will be a lot less that we have to do to her to get her comfortable for us to spend time on.

A couple specifics about this boat:

Catalina 25 Sailboat (25 feet)
Fixed wing keel
8 foot beam
10 horse inboard diesel

Compared to the Lady J
36 Foot Gulfstar Trawler
3 foot draft
12 foot beam
2 - 85 horse diesel engines

BIG difference in boats.  The Lady J was considered a live aboard type of boat where the Catalina is considered a day-weekender boat.  We do however plan to use this boat to cruise across the Erie Canal (again) and hopefully this time make it all the way.  Here are some photos of what she looked like before we removed all her "stuff".

A view coming down the steps inside.

The forepeak

The head sink area, which doesn't work.  We will be taking this out and putting in a storage cabinet.
We can take four steps to the galleys sink to wash our hands.

The head on this boat is a porta pot.

The view looking back towards the hatch.  Mike will be sleeping there in the opening in the back on the left.

The Galley.  Going to need a stove and some repairs made to the ice box.

Hard a work stepping the mast.

After everything was stripped out.  This will be our table that folds up out of the way.  Mike already has revisions planned for this one.  (Imagine that)

So our first day of work on this little sweet sail is finished.  Now time for planning, refinishing, organizing and learning new systems.  

Stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Last day for the Jersey Shore

What a beautiful day it has been here in New Jersey.  Not a cloud in the sky and cool, but not unbearably cold.  We took a ride over to the Sandy Hook National Park.  It is home to old Fort Hancock and proving ground.  It is a bit run down and many buildings are no longer in use, but the grounds were still very nice to tour.

We toured the Sandy Hook lighthouse, which was the first lighthouse on the eastern shore.  They were not giving tours up the lighthouse till 1:00 p.m. so we decided just to walk the grounds.

It was beautiful and the sky was really that blue.
We also took some time walking around the park to see the ocean and also Sandy Hook Bay. 

You can barely see the buildings on the horizon but that is New York City

We walked over to the Bay side and it was just spectacular there too.

Walk the plank?

A few steps ahead as I am always stopping to take pictures.

Oh that reflection

We saw a couple of these along the beach.

After an invigorating walk on the beach we headed over to the Navesink Twin Lighthouses.  What a beautiful place. Here we were able to walk to the top of one of the lighthouses.  What a view from the top.

Navesink Twin Lighthouses

We climbed this one to the top.

Fresnel lens

A view from half way up.

These bars made me feel much safer


Loved the stairs in the lighthouse

We enjoyed a yummy lunch at Bahres restaurant.  We had the most scrumptious lobster bisque along with a delightful lunch and the view was picturesque.  When you come off season there are no crowds and the sites and sounds are completely different.   

After lunch we visited one of Mike's old Navy buddies, John and his delightful wife Eileen.  Since it starts to get dark a lot earlier here on the eastern shore we decided to get one more look at some BIG WATER before we returned to the hotel.  It was a beautiful day and we are both excited about picking up our boat tomorrow and heading home.

We had a little company

Being that it was off season, it was really quiet and deserted.