Lighthouses, Cherries and Small Towns - Part One

We left the trade show and headed to our first stop in Erie, Pa. As usual the gps said to take the interstate but it looked like there was a much more interesting way to go. We headed north toward the lake. We found the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

There are a few things you may not know about us. We love cherries - especially right off the tree, Small towns - we live in one, Lighthouses, Drawbridges and tall ships. Either we seek out these things or they draw us to them. Either way you can imagine how excited we were to get to see all of them in two days of travel, and have a glass of wine to top it off.

Our first find of the trip was a quaint little town, Ashtabula, Ohio. They have a great little downtown with a lot of cute shops, a fantastic lift bridge and a park overlooking the water and a huge coal port. The town was settled in 1803. All of the buildings in town have plaques giving the history of the occupants over the years. We are still in awe of how they can grow such beautiful hanging baskets in the north.

We had time to visit a couple of the shops downtown. Heartmade Boutique was full of interesting and handmade items. She makes her own bath soaps and salts. She also does custom orders - great for weddings! Picked up a few little gifts while there.

Down the street was a great little chocolate shop - oh yea, that's another thing we love! Marianne's Chocolates is also on the main street. Never have tried sherbet fudge before, maybe not a favorite, but the rocky road is great!

A big feature of Ashtabula is the lift bridgeBuilt in 1925, it is one of only two of its type that remain in service in the state of Ohio. We talked with Jim, who had the afternoon shift. He retired from the transportation department 8 years ago and took a temporary part time job operating the bridge. He has been working an 8 hour shift 6 days a week since then. He is very knowledgeable about the operation of the bridge and will share the information with you - just holler up at him as you walk under the operators box. He said the bridge is so well balanced that it will not lift if someone is standing on it. The bridge does not operate in the winter because of ice buildup. Jim told us that a barge would be coming by in about 20 minutes and we were lucky enough to see it from the park.

More to come!