"" Writer's Wanderings

Friday, May 18, 2018

And Then There's The Cheese Trail

A few years ago I would have loved this adventure. Unfortunately cheese is no longer a friend to me but that doesn't mean that following this trail wouldn't be fun.

The cheese trail spans about 60-70 miles between Akron and Sugarcreek. There are only five stops along this trail and unlike the donut trail in Butler, there is no passport or T shirt at the end of the trail.

To find the list of cheese stops and a map, go to the Only In Your State website. 

There's also a wine and cheese trail I happened upon but I wouldn't suggest sampling and driving. That's one you may want to designate a driver for.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Butler County's Donut Trail

Got a hankering to feed your sweet tooth? Butler County Ohio has a unique way to do it--by following the trail. No, you don't have to hike although with all the donuts you'll eat or at least purchase, you may want to get the exercise.  Let me explain.

First of all, you'll need to pick up a passport. You can get one at whatever donut shop you start your sweet adventure. Each place you visit after that will give you a stamp in your passport and you can start collecting some of those delicious treats as well.

When you have finished the 80 mile trail and have made at least eleven stops, you go to the Butler County Visitor's Bureau in West Chester and show them your passport. You then get the T shirt!

Butler County is located between Dayton and Cinncinnati. Go to the Butler County Visitor's Bureau website to find the map and list of shops. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Buy Me Some Peanuts And Cracker Jack

Peanuts were growing in the US in the 1800s but were mainly used for oil and fodder for animals. As a food for consumption, it was considered a poor man's food--that is until the Civil War. The peanut was discovered as a convenient snack for the troops on both sides. Eventually the roasted peanut became a popular snack sold on street corners, at the circus and then baseball games.

With the more recent growth in peanut allergies, some ball parks actually have peanut-free areas where families can enjoy the game without the worry of peanut dust in the air. FYI, Americans consume more than 600 million pounds of peanuts a year.

While popcorn has been around for thousands of years it wasn't until 1893 when a couple of popcorn makers, Federick and Louis Rueckheim, decided to add a twist to the same old, same old. They began experimenting with adding molasses and peanuts to the popcorn and created a sweet/salty mix. In 1893 they introduced it at the World's Fair in Chicago. One of the people who tasted it said it was "crackerjack," a slang term of the times that meant "awesome." The name stuck.

The Rueckheims discovered a method of keeping the coated popcorn from sticking together which, it is said, is secret to this day.

The first Cracker Jack box to have a prize in it appeared in 1912. Since then more than 23 billion prizes have been found in the delicious mix. Some of the vintage prizes have been valued at $7,000. Wish I had kept some of those. By the way, July 5 is Cracker Jack Day!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Baseball has been around for a long time. Baseball parks, not as long. Baseball was first played in whatever space was available--race tracks, polo fields, cricket fields, parade fields, etc. It wasn't until around 1860 that the idea began to form that it would be expedient to have a ballpark and profit from it.

The first such ballpark, enclosed with stands and requiring an admission charge, is credited to William Cammeyer. He was a Brooklyn businessman and a politician. He purchased six acres of land and first built a skating rink but in 1862 made it into an enclosed ballpark with stands. Admission charge was 10 cents according to one report.

There were other ballparks that may or may not have been first but it was obvious that in the 1860s baseball was finding homes for their teams to play in. This all happening at a time when our country was embroiled in the Civil War. Check out the article on the Society For American Baseball Research to learn more.

By the way, I read that there was a covered area over a part of the stands for ladies to watch the game.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Thank You Carol Burnett

I love to laugh. At the very least I love things, situations and especially people who bring a smile to my face. This Wednesday night we were able to go to a personal appearance of Carol Burnett and spend an evening laughing and enjoying the wonderful portfolio of her work and life in comedy.

After reading her book, In Such Good Company, and posting about it, a few days later I caught the announcement that she was coming to the Connor Palace in Cleveland. It didn't take any convincing to get my husband to run to the computer and order tickets. He's a fan too and one of the best of the people in my life that make me laugh and smile.

The format of her appearance on stage was the Q&A that she always started her show with. People in the audience were able to ask questions and as in her show, some of them were tender and others were really funny. Even at her age (let's just say she's older than I am) she is quick witted and sharp not to mention inventive and creative with her humor. And it's so refreshing to find a performer with clean humor.

She brought along some of her favorite clips and told many of the stories that are also in her book but just like when it's family and the old stories are retold, we all laughed again.

Thank you Carol Burnett for the evening, for the laughs, for the years of making us smile.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Books For The Road - The Last Heiress by Mary Ellis

It's almost time to start looking for those easy reads and admit it, when you're sitting by the pool or at the beach you really want a romance, right? Here is one of interest--The Last Heiress. Mary Ellis writes many Amish stories but I really like her historical novels better. This one takes place during the Civil War. Here is the teaser:

Amanda Dunn set sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, hoping to somehow restore shipments of cotton for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. But when she meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes.

Amanda’s family across the sea deems the hardworking merchant unsuitable for the lovey and accomplished heiress. And when Nate himself begins to draw away, Amanda has her own battle for a happy future on her hands.

As the War Between the States heats up, Nate’s brother, a Confederate officer, comes for a visit. Nate begins to think about joining up—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother’s back. Yet will this potentially life-changing decision put the union between him and Amanda she so wishes for in jeopardy?

I like that it's not a boy-meets-girl-instant-flame type romance. This one builds and amid the backdrop of the South during the Civil War, it presents quite a struggle between the characters and their opinions and beliefs. It would make a good book for the road. . .or the beach.

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