Friday, June 23, 2017

Southern Ohio In June

A trip south!   Well, southern Ohio!  I75 out of Toledo is now 3 lanes but the construction is not totally done and the amount of overloaded semi trucks still rumble and roar down that road.  St Rt 68 was our preferred choice and the well-groomed fields and historic old towns were much more enjoyable!  H chose John Bryan State Park for our first nights stay.

John Bryan St Pk is one of the first state owned parks and sits between Yellow Springs and Clifton on the Little Miami River Gorge.  Ohio State Parks have no water hookups at the individual sites and this state park has only latrines – no showers, no flush toilets.  However – the sites are spacious and the campground is located on the crest of several rolling hills, which made up for everything else!    Yellow Springs is known for its liberal arts college – Antioch College and its alumni Rod Sterling (Twilight Zone) and Leonard Nimoy!  3 miles east of John Bryan Park is historic Clifton and the still operating 1802 mill that bears its name. The Clifton Gorge Mill sits ON the edge of a shallower portion of the gorge.  The Mill now has a restaurant and gift shop.  The Mill is hung with millions of white lights that are lit each Christmas season.  Next to the mill is a covered bridge, which afforded a great place for pictures of the shallow gorge, waterfalls and water wheel.
Caesar Creek St. Park

I thought we were in Florida – the heat and humidity was present and our “move down the road” the next morning was a lengthy 28 miles from John Bryan St Park to Caesar Creek St Park!  While northern Ohio is as flat as a pancake, the southern part of this beautiful state is all rolling hills covered in magnificent woodlands, limestone cliffs and meandering rivers – including the Little Miami River, which has a earthen dam at the southern end of the lake.  The Caesar Creek area was named for a black slave captured by the Shawnee on a raid to the Ohio River.  They adopted him and gave him the valley as his hunting ground.  The valley was impounded in 1978 by the Army Corps of Engineers to assist in the flood control of the Little Miami River watershed.  The 4,700 acre park was dedicated soon after.

Each day was full of exploring the different sites in the park along with trips to nearby Lebanon, Dayton - even Cincinnati and Covington Kentucky!  In Lebanon – I finally got to eat at the site of Ohio’s Oldest Inn!   “The Golden Lamb” was established in 1803 and in 1815 a two-story Federal style brick building replaced the original log tavern.  Our lunch was great but even greater was knowing that the likes of Mark Twain, Dewitt Clinton, Charles Dickens, Wm Henry Harrison and Ulysses S Grant also ate and slept there! Guests are encouraged to explore the upper floors of the building and to look into the uniquely furnished rooms with the name of the famous visitor who stayed there!
Carillon Park

In Dayton, H was in his glory – reliving all the trips he and his fellow NCR co workers made there in order to learn their life’s trade!  National Cash Register has now moved to Atlanta Georgia and their old headquarters complex is now the University of Dayton!   The former education and dorm campus is now the campus of a Christian school!  Our first major stop on that day’s list of places to revisit was one of Dayton’s best known landmarks - Carillon Historical Park – directly across the street from the original HQ buildings and easily seen from the I75 expressway nearby!   This 151 ft tall carillon with 57 bells was a gift of Colonel Edward Deeds (past NCR Chairman & founder of the Delco Corp) and his wife Edith who was inspired by carillon music she heard on a trip to Europe.  Her carillon was completed in 1942 and its beautiful music can be heard yet today.  Colonel Deeds opened the historical park with displays that focused on Dayton’s transportation, industrial and inventive history.  Our favorites were:  the history of NCR and the collection of 90+ cash registers, the building that houses the history of the 1913 Great Flood that destroyed most of Dayton and of course everything of the Wright Brothers! 
Cinci River Front Park

Our jaunt to Cinci was on sometimes winding but always scenic state roads so to avoid the always-hectic I75.  We ended up on Rt 52 – right along the massive Ohio River and right into a busy downtown!  We were surprised to see all the pedestrians who were heading towards the river – most of whom where attired in the color RED!  We soon realized that there was a baseball game between the Cinci REDS and the LA Dodgers at their waterfront stadium. (Cinci lost by one point!)  Over just ONE of the many bridges that cross the massive Ohio River to Covington, we found a good spot for a great view of the impressive skyline of the expansive city we had just left! 

Also, another sight that is in clear view of I75 is the old German Mainstrasse Village and it’s stately red brick clock tower.  There happened to be a 3-day festival going on, so several blocks were closed to vehicle traffic but wide open to pedestrians and to all the beer, food and other various vendors!

We came  - We saw – We took pictures!  Monday arrived – still hot and muggy with a promise of rain so we hitched up the “train” and headed north once more.    Our next venture will be even farther north!