Most foreigners, and even some Americans, are surprised to hear that I have not traveled to all 50 states. Actually, I have been to more countries than I have been states in the US. Europeans forget that each state is as big as some countries. Just like traveling to different countries, the food, people and culture differ from state-to-state. Therefore, I've decided that perhaps we should get passport stamps each time we venture into another state. Well, that would make crossing state lines quite difficult, but I definitely experience culture shock every time I leave New England and the east coast.
My dad, my stepmom and I headed out to Ohio for a Bridal Shower. You can say it was like some kind of family road-trip. When I am not in the car, I like to think that I like road trips but the moment they start, I cannot wait to get out of the car. Driving on endless roads is not something I enjoy....especially when the scenery stays the same. I think I started to complain about 45 minutes in!
Our first stop from Pennsylvania to Ohio was right off route 80 at Trucker World. Have you been there? It looked like something in a movie. It was Disneyland for truckers!!! There was a saloon, clothing shops, truck repairs, restaurants (if you can call them restaurants), arcades etc. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture. Apparently, it was trucker appreciation week. They had a live band from New Orleans, a cook out that served jamabalya and alligator, and lots of activities. Boy, was it a sight to see.
We then ventured through the back streets of Ohio and wandered into Mesopotamia. We stopped at the End of the Commons General Store. Supposedly, it is one of the oldest general stores. However, I was quite disappointed in the merchandise. It seemed to be geared towards tourists and most was private labeled. The store brand root beer was made by a distributor and was no different than regular soda. I love trying homemade root beer but rarely do places make the real stuff. So far, my favorite is Virgil's Root Beer, which tastes the most similar to what I had growing up. The "homemade" bread had high fructose corn syrup in it, can you believe that? We have Amish in State College and I love buying their food. However, I have never ever seen high fructose corn syrup in any of their products! My advice: visit Mesopotamia to pet the horses tied up outside the store but by your food elsewhere... it was also pricey.
By the way, somehow a 3.5 hour drive turned into 6 almost 6.5 hours... I was not happy.
On a positive note, I got to take lots of pictures.... often forcing my father to stop the car so that I could get out to grab a shot. Enjoy these shots from my venture into America :)
Lake Erie: what a beautiful place!
This shot was taken from Fairport Harbor, Ohio, which is right on Lake Erie. There were thousands of seagulls hanging out by the lighthouse. I didn't want to disturb them so I enjoyed the view of the lighthouse from afar.
Bridal shower fun - Carly is getting married!
Pretty ladies at the bridal shower allowed me to take their photo. What a beautiful family. I call the photo on the left, sisters, daughters, nieces, moms. The picture on the right captures three generations of women celebrating!
A wrong turn leads you to an Amish country road!
On our last day in Ohio, we did not intend to do any exploring. However, we accidentally made a wrong turn down one of the country roads and ended up in an Amish community. Although I couldn't tell you exactly where we were, I would highly recommend stopping to pet the animals. They were all really friendly - especially the baby horse, who may have only been a few weeks old.
No one ever said Ohio was known for their fine cuisine. Therefore, maybe pack your own lunch... especially if you're vegan. Surprisingly, most restaurants that we visited knew what vegan was and often had an entry specifically labeled, "vegan". Yet, the taste and sustenance was of question.