Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Yearly Adventure

Who can resist a garden catalog that looks like this?
Last Friday two of my sisters and I went on our annual visit to several greenhouses. Our youngest brother always gives us a sizable gift certificate complete with a catalog for Bluestone Perennials in Madison, Ohio. He also sends one to our out of state sister so she can shop on line or by mail.

Sugarloaf Greenhouse 
Elaine and Suzanne arrived by eight o’clock and shortly after we took off. Our first stop was an Amish greenhouse that is one of our favorite places; Sugarloaf Greenhouse in Parkman, Ohio. I didn’t buy as much as they did because I live close enough to go there more often. Still, I couldn't resist buying some petunias - the hanging kind for pots, a clematis, parsley, basal  and some snapdragons. I spent time talking to the older woman, who runs the greenhouse with her husband. We discussed the bad weather we’ve had and the tomato problem, although hers hadn’t suffered from wilt. For the last several years, her young granddaughters have been taking over on the sales counter.
Suzanne checking out bedding plants.

After we left there we stopped just up the road at an Amish bakery to buy some fresh baked goodies to sustain us. There were two adorable little ones playing outside; a little girl about four years old and her little brother, who is almost two. I didn’t get my camera out in time, but a man, maybe their father, was plowing the field next to the bakery with three work horses pulling the plow or disc. I’m always cautious about taking pictures because Amish don’t like having their pictures taken. It’s against their religious beliefs.

From there we wandered towards our main goal which was Bluestone Perennials, traveling past Amish farms with clothes drying on the lines, farmers working the fields and children too young to work playing outside.

I'm heading in pulling a wagon to fill up with plants.
We went through the small town of Madison to Madison on the Lake and finally arrived at Bluestone Perennials. It’s a very large business employing many with numerous greenhouses supporting a mail order business as well as local and not so local customers. I really, really, really planned to stay within the $75.00 gift certificate, but unfortunately in spite of the several shrubs and rose bushes, two trees and many flowers I’ve already bought this year not including the dahlias and cannas I dug up from last year that still need planted, I went over that limit. And I still need to buy all the annuals I want to plant. Somehow Elaine got all our flats of flowers to fit in her Honda.

I'm following behind my sister taking the picture.
When we left there we went to Geneva to have lunch in a nice little restaurant; A Cup of Joe. I ordered a senior sandwich and a cup of soup and my bill came to the whopping total of $4.26. That included a dill pickle, too. We looked at the breakfast menu and couldn’t believe the low prices for breakfasts; one was under $2.00 and would have been enough for me. Of course, we left much more than 15% or 20% tips.

Our trip would not be complete without a walk on Lake Erie’s beach. This year we went to Geneva’s State Park for our walk. The sun had disappeared so it was cloudy. As always, Suzanne and I walked the beach looking for rocks. I brought home five and she brought home three or four.

The End of the Commons General Store 
Our final stop almost always includes the End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia. It is the oldest general store in Ohio and has enlarged much since I first started going there years ago. It was also one of the first registered on the National Historical sites.  It’s now owned by a man and his wife and their family, who left Cleveland some years ago for a simpler life for their children. Many of the employees are Amish, and there are hitching posts nearby for Amish customers. They have a large variety of products for sale in multiple wooden-floored rooms. One room has a very old player piano that customers can listen to if they contact an employee to play it for them. I only bought a greeting card and ate a small bowl of their delicious ice cream; butter pecan, while I waited for my sisters to finish checking out every item in the store. Tour buses often include this store on their route. Of the houses that surround the commons, only two are less than one hundred years old. I had a great aunt who lived on the commons and now her granddaughter lives there. At least she did, but I’m not sure if she still does.

All in all it was a pleasant day in spite of the fact that it started raining while we were in the store, but it stopped raining before we got back to my house. As soon as I unloaded my plant purchases from my sister’s car, they left. I went in and thought about where I can find spaces to plant everything I bought. The good thing about an excursion like this is that there will be reminders in my garden for a long time to come of this day.

Here’s an aside apropos to nothing written above. Today is National Chocolate Chip Day so go have a chocolate chip cookie to celebrate.

What kind of yearly excursions do you look forward to?


Jim Jackson said...

Our yearly excursions are our semi-annual trips to and from our place in the U.P. of Michigan. We’re getting close. Today we’ll be in Green Bay where tomorrow I play some bridge at the Sectional tournament before heading home on Saturday.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Your yearly adventure is much longer than mine, Jim. although I usually go camping with assorted siblings at least once a year, too. Have a safe trip the rest of the way to your Michigan home.

KM Rockwood said...

What a fun day! We have a few regular trips--dinner at the Charlestown Racetrack with a brother who lives in West Virginia, a family reunion in Ocean City, NJ, every other year, etc. On the alternate years, we try to go someplace we haven't been before & would like to go. Last year it was Nice and Provence.

Gloria Alden said...

I enjoy family reunions,too, KM, but I haven't hosted one for several years on my mom's side because since the last one three relatives of the small amount on that side of the family have died. I'm considering having another one this year, though. Nice and Provence must have been a wonderful place to go. You'll have to blog about it sometime.

Kara Cerise said...

How fun, Gloria. I love snapdragons. Your brother must be very kind to send gift certificates to his sisters very year for the annual greenhouse excursion.

My husband and I try to go on one beach trip a year. There's nothing better than the sound of waves and the smell of the ocean. So relaxing.

Patg said...

Maybe the outdoor markets in Vancouver WA and downtown PDX. If I get to them. I went to Vancouver on Mother's Day because I received money tokens for it as a gift.
Downtown has more interesting booths.

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, since my youngest daughter moved to California in the S.F. area, when I go out there at least once a year, I get to visit the ocean with her. I enjoy that.

Pat, outdoor markets are always enjoyable, but I don't visit them that often. However, my youngest daughter finds many to visit in California and because of the good weather, she visits more than I do around here.

Shari Randall said...

Your brother sounds like a dear, and your garden adventure sounds like so much fun.
My life has been so helter skelter for the past few years, since my girls have graduated from college and moved, so our adventures involve going to see them. I do go back home to CT for the holidays every Christmas.
Happy Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to you too! I'm heading into the kitchen for mine right now.

E. B. Davis said...

I used to go to Ocean City, NJ every summer, KM, when I was a child. But, of course, we've all gravitated down to Hatteras. Two of my cousins vacation there as well. I'm hoping to meet up with one or both this year. I don't have many annual activities. We go to Hatteras as often as we can. Christmas with the kids or other relatives is about our only annual adventure.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, he's my baby brother, 21 years younger than me. He hates to shop so gift certificates work for him. He's a marathon runner who did the Boston Marathon this year. He missed last year because of a leg injury. All my siblings are special.I don't have any chocolate chip cookies so I'll have to settle for Moose tracks ice cream.

E.B. I can understand why you go to Hatteras so often. It has everything you enjoy.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Sound like such a fun excursion, Gloria! Great brother!

Book tours have become our annual excursions in recent years. Last year, Ben and I went to Nashville for Killer Nashville and to NYC for the Brooklyn Book Festival, plus lots of travel all around the Midwest. The year before, we rode the train to and from Malice Domestic (which is a 1,000+mile trip for us) and drove to Cleveland for Bouchercon.

This year, we're planning on attending Bouchercon in Long Island (maybe riding the train again), and I'll be touring Texas with a stop at the Texas Book Festival. Plus I want to sneak in a quick trip to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to research my next Skeet Bannion book.

Gloria Alden said...

Wow, Linda!!! You do a lot of traveling. Usually, I go on a camping trip with some of my siblings and out to San Francisco to see my youngest daughter and Malice, but day trips work better for me because of my gardens and critters. Also, I'm happiest at home with my books and it's where I write best.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Sounds like a wonderful time, Gloria. Thanks for sharing with us.