I just arrived back from a weekend trip to Ashtabula, Ohio for my cousin’s high school graduation turned family reunion.
On my dad’s side, there are 5 siblings and 4 of them came for the gathering, as well as extended family, old friends, and neighbors of this small Ohio town, outside of Cleveland. Naturally, the majority of my time was spent hugging and shaking hands with old people that had some connection to my dad in some which way. I guess that’s a given at family reunion type deals.
It was a nice change of pace and little getaway for the weekend if anything.
My dad and I left at about 7:30 AM Friday morning after I got little to no sleep from staying up working on that darn subject people call Economics. JK, it’s not too bad, just poor planning on my part. The car ride was 7 hours. Yes, you read that correctly, 7 whole hours. Now I like road trips and all, but this drive is slightly on the boring, flat side and when you see signs like this it tends to send you into panic mode.
On the road, I had a delicious Chocolate Mint Zone bar. Mint + chocolate (+protein)= perfection!
Finally at around 2 PM, we arrived at our hotel, The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake. We’ve stayed here before for a family wedding and its honestly very nice and super scenic, located right on Lake Erie.
Here was the view from our window. So much for swimming in the outdoor pool like I had planned. Womp womp.
Coming from Northern Virginia and really only experiencing smaller lakes, I’m always a little taken back by the immensity of the Great Lakes. When you’re looking out, it seems as though it could be a sea or ocean in front of you. Plus, the color is gorgeous, almost caribbean-esque.
I worked up quite the appetite sitting for hours upon hours in the car, so I whipped out a little snack in the room.
These Sabra hummus to go packs have been so handy for me!
I actually packed A LOT of snacks on this trip in a nifty cooler. You never know when you travel what kind of food options you will have, so being prepared is essential. Also, considering there are specific regional diets all across the nation, the food served in the Midwest is a little different from my personal liking, but I managed.
We headed to my Uncle’s house for dinner the first night and as I expected, it was a very country-style meal. There was pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad. Well as good as I am sure it all was, I just grabbed some pulled pork and a little bit of BBQ sauce and was set.
I’m not a big country-cooking fan, never have been. Again, this is probably just being the daughter of my health conscious New Yorker mother, as country cooking is not exactly known for reaping health benefits. I did however appreciate the whole wheat buns and the pulled pork did have a great flavor.
Later when we returned, I needed something extra, so I dug through the cooler and grabbed an apple. I wanted to slice it up like I usually do, so without a kitchen knife handy, I improvised with one of my dad’s many handy dandy killer knives.
He literally brings a knife like this wherever we go and encourages me to do the same. That’s my dad for ya.
The next morning, Saturday, I awoke at 7 AM and went for a little run alongside Lake Erie.
When I finally reached the water, it was so beautiful, especially since the sun was still rising up.
The weather was great at that time, with just the right amount of breeze, but wow was it getting humid. I arrived back to my room only to realize how poodley I was looking. I swear, my hair tells all when it comes to weather. No need to check The Weather Channel, just send me out and watch what my hair does.
Later that morning, we headed to Sunrise Cafe in downtown Geneva on the Lake. This place is known for their “real” rude wait staff. Upon entering, you’re ordered to sit down, shut up and listen up. You pretty much need to be prepared to take some, but also hash some out. That’s the whole dynamic of this small town, lakeside breakfast joint. Our waitress wore a tiara, but ironically proceeded to call me Princess, as I had special requests I’m sure her regulars do not: omelette browning preference, no butter on my toast, etc. Sorry not sorry!
This was my breakfast in the end: 3 egg omelette w/ mushrooms & Swiss cheese and home fries. Yum.
The rest of the day was spent helping my Cousin Ben and fam prepare for his grad party that afternoon. We help set up tables, table cloths, chairs, balloons, ice: all the grad party essentials.
It was a beautiful set up and there ended up being a great turn out. I met lots of new people and enjoyed some yummy food. I pretty much just snacked the whole time. Unpictured, but I had a pizza square, a boatload of celery, carrots and cauliflower, and a variety of delicious homemade cookies.
Here’s one of the few pics I have from the actual party itself, with my Aunt Dale.
Later on, the group of us went to a local winery. Much to my surprise, Ashtabula County has the greatest amount of wine country in all of Ohio.
For dinner, I ordered the Bourbon Salmon w/ seasonal veggies & red skin potato garlic mashed potatoes.
It was all very good, at this place called Grand River Cellars. With 16 bottles of wine for the table and live entertainment, let’s just say, there was a lot of wine, dancing, and wine.
Oh, and LOTS of pictures taken, really all in front of this purdy fire place. Here are my first cousins from my dad’s side that made it to Ohio this weekend, including the graduate himself, Ben!
Alright, so onto this morning! I went on another run along the lake. How could I pass up such a scenic workout? In order to create excitement in my run, I switched up my direction and started at the trial’s end and ran in the opposite direction.
Here are some shots I took:
Pretty in pink?
Soaking up some sunshine!
OH and there was a causal triathlon taking place as we were there, so here is the aftermath from mile marker 87. Yep, 87!
For breakfast, we headed to a different little breakfast joint with staff just a wee bit more polite, Cup of Joes.
I had some coffee, oatmeal w/ cinnamon, veggie omelet (mushrooms, peppers, onions) & hashbrowns. Yes, quite a large breakfast, but my dad did come to my assistance toward the end.
*Keep in mind though, one should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a peasant. Never ever skip breakfast! The whole point of it is to break your fast from night time and kickstart your metabolism for the day, ya hear?
On the trip home, the long trafficky, rainy trip home, I had a Clif bar. They’re not my favorite consistency, but they usually always have good flavor.
I was ecstatic when I finally got home and was so hungry that I quick made up a sandwich from what I could find in the kitchen. It ended up tasting mighty fine.
It was grilled chicken, garlic hummus, tomato and spinach on Great Harvest Bread Co. Dakota bread w/ a side of yellow bell peppers & hummus.
Now I am enjoying some soothing The Republic of Tea green tea to settle my stomach for the night. Plus, green tea is so awesome for you. There are so many health benefits, its cray cray.
Overall, I’m glad I took the trip to Ohio and got to meet, greet and catch up with some family and friends. Every little experience opens you up to more things, whether you’re expecting it to or not. Even the smallest things can change your perspective on life.
Furthermore, I think that traveling is so important. Everyone should travel if they can. Within the country, as well as abroad, traveling opens you up to the world around you with its different types of people and places,expanding your horizons. There are so many different ways of life out there just waiting for you to come and explore them. And let’s face it, being cultured makes you cool.