Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recently a dream came true when Fogeyisms enjoyed a week of tent camping and day hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah National Park. Our base camp was at an elevation of about 3,500 feet in the Big Meadows Campground where new friend Tod, an architect from Charlottesville, VA, entertained lodge guests with impromptu guitar music (above).

That's yours truly (right) savoring the moment when I first stepped on this grand daddy of American trails and rested my hand on a trail marker post. (Photo by hike leader and friend Ted Kmet).

Another photo will appear Thursday to introduce my four companions on this adventure and a series of my favorite hiking/camping photos will appear Saturday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A horseback statue of General Phil Sheridan—the only such Civil War statue in Ohio—dominates the square in Somerset while (below) lady friend Sue Brooks and sister Patsy Love are attended to in the Clay Haus restaurant. Shortly after this picture, church bells rang and the room was filled with diners.


Somerset is a quaint Ohio village with two delightful surprises for the casual visitor. Drive south on Ohio 13 into Perry County and you will run smack into the town’s traffic circle and a large statue of horseback, Civil War General, Phil Sheridan who grew up there.

In that war he wound up being General Ulysses S. Grant’s right hand man and was largely responsible for defeating General Robert E. Lee’s army and consequent surrender at Appomattox.

Not a bad legacy for a country fellow who stood a mere 5’ 5” tall and about whom Abe Lincoln once quipped, he has “...such long arms that if his ankles itch he can scratch them without stooping.”

To the general’s left is the Clay Haus, just a wee bit down US 22 toward Lancaster, once a private residence from the early 1800s and now a marvelous eatery that absolutely engulfs visitors in history—and sumptuous food with a decided German flavor.

I eagerly filled my plate with sauerkraut and sausage, dressing and home-made noodles, so fast, in fact, I had to go back to the buffet and make my salad a second course of this delicious meal. After a hefty chunk of lemon cream pie with a dollop of whipped cream I was satisfied even if my next meal didn’t come until the following Tuesday.

During renovation of the old residence into the restaurant in 1978 it was discovered the outside door and front windows of the street-facing wall in the basement now faced a solid wall of foundation stones and brick. Evidently what once had been the street level entry to the home had been filled making the second floor of the structure the new entry level.

Another feature of the historic home restaurant is, well, ghosts. Scott Snider who manages the place for the Snider family is quoted in the Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio that even talking about such ghostly activity makes the hair on his arm stand up.

My lady friend Sue Brooks and I were in town to meet her sister, Patsy Love, both of whom grew up on the family farm just outside of Junction City, the next town south, more or less. In fact, Patsy still lives on the old homestead.

Before lunch Sue was showing me the interior of the town’s modest grocery—which she clearly remembered as being their movie theater in the 1950s. There we ran into Kevin Snider, no relation to Scott, who shared lots of remembrances with Sue.

Our task that day was to pick up a couple of church pews for mutual Mansfield friend, Don Karger, which were in Patsy’s custody--the pews, not the friend. The pews came from a now demolished country church once attended by past generations of the Love family.

Turns out, the church building had been long abandoned then struck by two bad storms recently which led to the necessity of its demolition. While we stood in the cemetery which surrounded the sandstone foundation of the old church, Patsy pointed to a church building on a nearby hill.

“That congregation once was part of this church,” she reminisced. “But they had troubles and a split occurred.”

You learn such things about the tapestry of life when you simply take time for a visit to small town USA.
Curious: http://clayhaus.com/

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lady friend Sue Brooks enjoys reminiscing with Kevin Snider in a chance encounter in the general store at Somerset, OH. Sue grew up nearby and this building was the town movie hall in the 1950s. Please stop by Saturday when we tell the story of a nostalgic visit in a blog item entitled “Great Food, A General and A Ghost or Two—“

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Later this week Fogeyisms will take you to Somerset, OH and a peek at General Phil Sheridan's hometown. Meanwhile, we have enjoyed a week's camping and hiking adventure on the Appalachian Trail (above) in the Shenandoah National Park of Virginia. Items chronicling that marvelous experience will begin to appear on the blog September 29th and will continue until the material is exhausted.

The image (above) is representative of the trail's surface. I like to think of the experience as exquisitely grueling. We will tell you all about our adventure once we conclude our visit to the general's hometown.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Makenna Curtis-Collins, 10, above, ponders a nice graphic display within the visitor center at the earthwork mound site in Newark. In the small photo lower right Grandma Sue Brooks, left, Makenna and Patsy Love, Sue’s sister, help show the scale of the mound construction while bottom right, Makenna adds some perspective to the moat dig along the inside wall of the circular mound.

and a golf course

Nearly 2,000 years ago the Hopewell culture built what is now known as The Great Circle Earthworks in Newark, OH.

The Great Circle is one part of the Newark Earthworks State memorial, the largest system of connected geometric earthworks built anywhere in the world.

The earthworks cover several square miles. The mounds range in height from 3 to 14 feet and include an octagon large enough to hold four Roman ‘Colosseums’. Two parallel mounds connect it to a circle that encloses 20 acres and their construction required decades of labor according to a November 2005 article in the New York Times.

The mounds’ purpose remained a mystery until 1982 when it was discovered they (the mounds) aligned perfectly with part of the lunar cycle. Modern measurements show the Newark site is more precisely constructed than the lunar observatory at Stonehenge.

In fact, Stonehenge could fit inside the mounds’ aligning circle, one of the smaller geometric shapes at the Newark site.

The Newark Great Circle has a diameter of some 1,180 feet and its interior is lined with a 5 foot deep moat.

The circle also was used as a vast ceremonial center by its builders and was the spiritual center of the Hopewell’s far-flung empire.

Archaeoastronomy research has demonstrated advanced scientific understanding by the prehistoric cultures responsible for these creations. While pondering the depth of this ancient knowledge I wondered why, some 500 years later Christopher and his pals, left the “advanced” civilization of Europe and worried about sailing off the end of the Earth.

Meanwhile, today the Moundbuilders Country Club of Newark blankets a large segment of this ancient site. The golf club has leased the site since 1933 where members today whack golf balls hither and yon over land once hallowed to an ancient civilization.

“Playing golf on a Native American spiritual site is a fundamental desecration,” said Richard Shiels, a history professor at OSU’s Newark Campus, in the Times article.

Fogeyisms agrees.

Interested in your own visit? Here’s some handy information: http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/places/c08/greatcircle.shtml


Ohio Indian Mounds: Hallowed Ground and a Nice Par 3 by Christopher Maag, the New York Times, November 28, 2005.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

The blemish of a golf course blankets part of the Newark, OH Earthworks in this aerial view from the Earthworks visitor’s center. Saturday Fogeyisms takes a peek at this remnant of the Hopewell culture dating from Biblical times, first seen by white settlers in 1802 and now, still partially desecrated by a golf course. Egad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Fogeyisms has been wandering around the Appalachian Trail in the vicinity of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia this past week. Sometime during the week of September 20th we expect to begin to chronicle those experiences on the blog. We hope you will stop by and enjoy whatever it is that results from this adventure.

Meanwhile, through the convenience of the blog queue our regular schedule will be met later this week with an article on an historical attraction recently visited in Newark, OH.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Marblehead Lighthouse, Est. 1822


Once in awhile life awards you a bonus day.

I had one of those on a recent bicycling ride with companions Ken Johnson and Lynn Rush while we rolled 30 miles around the Marblehead Peninsula and leisurely savored its visual—and tasty—treats.

We launched our ride that day from cousins Brad and Karen’s canal-side digs near the East Harbor State Park and eased our way toward the fairy-book village of Lakeside; a town established in 1873 and known as a pioneer of the Chautauqua movement.

It protects itself from the ravages of society by gated entrances on its arrival streets and spends its tranquil days resting on the shore of Ohio’s greatest lake while the rest of the world grinds itself through life.

Folks still sit on the porch there and often waved a cheery “Hello” as we rolled by.

We enjoyed a cup of coffee at a quaint bistro in the town center. That refreshment started out to be a cup of tea next door until we learned that treat was, indeed, High Tea and required a reservation.

Thusly fortified we surrendered our permission-to-visit paper at an outgoing town gate and survived our way through late season traffic, quickly joking at our safe arrival in a Marblehead cemetery with a stunning view of a massive, limestone quarry.

From there we survived another short blast of automobile mayhem then escaped to the tranquility of a county road, soon arriving at the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve, 19 acres surrounded by abandoned limestone quarry and protecting this rarest of Ohio’s native plant species.

From there it was a sprint down another highway segment, shortly after which we performed the mild larceny of riding around the gate that extracts a toll from vehicles using a causeway to visit Johnson’s Island, the site of a Civil War Cemetery.

I silently hoped the unknown Confederate soldiers and their identified companions buried there were truly resting in peace.

Just around the corner, so to speak, was Bay Point; a hoity-toity yacht club that preferred to have its member’s gas-guzzling SUVs romping around the premises while bicyclists were compelled to park their bikes by the gate and walk.

We did a mutual eye-roll and complied. Lynn and hubby and her daughter and young family both have boats there and have otherwise enjoyed the club’s ambiance for lots of years.

I was following her down their boat dock’s ramp as a thick hunk of rope where we were about to step suddenly woke up and slithered into the water. At the same time I heard a mild shriek as Lynn’s beginning warning about water snakes being common—suddenly came true.

From that boat place it was a short gauntlet to the Marblehead Lighthouse. In operation since 1822, it is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes.

From there it was a gentle re-visit through Lakeside for a convenient bicycle-bypass of that segment of the busy state highway—and a dish of ice cream, of course. That left us with another ricochet through society’s love affair with their automobiles as we survived our way back to East Harbor and a day-ending interlude on a beach-front, park bench.

Gulls squawked overhead as waves slapped the shore under a brisk north wind and reminded us the halcyon days of summer were about to end.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bicycling friend Ken Johnson, Bellville lends a hand to Lynn Rush, Mansfield as they pop atop this limestone boulder on the Marblehead Peninsula for a peek at the quarry far below. This was but one stop on a very enchanting day of bicycling Fogeyisms will be telling you about in Saturday’s feature story. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed the ride.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Escape from the Deep by Alex Kershaw

By October 1944 the US Navy submarine Tang already was legendary. It had sunk more enemy ships, rescued more downed airmen and pulled off more daring surface attacks than any other allied submarine in the Pacific Theater of WW II. Then on her 5th patrol, one of her own torpedoes malfunctioned with a “circular run” and sunk her—leaving only 9 survivors. This is their amazing story of survival.

From Sea to Shining Sea by James A. Thom

An exhaustive but hugely informative 931 pages set in Virginia in the mid 1700s on the Clark family. Son George Rogers Clark led the army that took all the land from the Allegheny Mountains to the Mississippi River from the British. Younger son William later joins Meriwether Lewis in leading the expedition that bore their names and claimed all the territory to the Pacific Ocean for their new country. Another of Thom’s meticulously researched historical novels.

Nightwalkers by P. T. Deutermann

In this guy’s earlier works story lines were quite fresh and the kind of reads you did not want to put down. While he did not achieve the popularity of Tom Clancy; just like Clancy, Deutermann ran out of gas. This one was ho hum at best.

Out of Captivity by Gary Brozek

This book chronicles one of the longest civilian hostage crises in US history. Civilian employees in the country’s war on drugs were held by terrorists for 1,967 days in the Colombian jungle. That’s just short of 5 and ½ years. Their spotter plane crashed in February 2003 and they were prisoners of Marxist rebels until their rescue by the Colombian Army.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It was 1903 when a 15 year old immigrant, unable to speak English came to the US with a dream. 15 years later Joseph Dager’s American dream came true when he sold his first batch of Velvet Ice Cream from the basement of a Utica, OH confectionary store. In 1960 the company restored an old mill south of town and has operated there ever since.


The old mill at the Velvet Ice Cream Company in Utica, OH is the kind of place that wraps you in the warm and fuzzy memories of childhood.

A water wheel splashes merrily as it trundles around at the comfortable speed of that time gone by. Just over there a squadron of ducks enjoys duck stuff on the mill pond.

The grist mill was built in 1817 and today hosts a period ice cream parlour (above) where the company dispenses its delicious treats with more than 500 flavors to nearly 150,000 visitors annually.

Sue Brooks, my new square dance partner, and I recently eased around the site and absorbed the charm of its antiquity. We soon learned the Bunkhouse Reelers, a square dance group from Buckeye Lake, were the afternoon’s scheduled entertainment.

Sue, being a veteran square dancer, knew some of those delightful folks and shortly we were invited guests in four dances as part of their afternoon show on the mill patio (pictured below). We smiled our hearty acceptance to later join them at their home dance venue then relaxed by slurping our icy treats while sitting on the mill pond wall.

Then, a squadron of bicyclists rolled into the parking area in a single-file choreography, ablaze in their bright, day-glo colored cycling shirts. I didn’t recognize their club shirts but was astonished at the apparent familiarity of the last rider.

Turns out he was my cycling friend Gary Courtright from Bellville and I knew most of the other riders from my old Mansfield area cycling club including Lynn Rush with whom I will be spending some time soon hiking segments of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia with other mutual friends from Florida.

I would learn later they did 50 miles that day in a hilly round-trip from Mt. Vernon. That made me quite happy my exercise that afternoon was confined to the dance floor.

In the course of a few hours of a gentle summer afternoon the mill visit morphed from fuzzy, childhood memories to the enchantment of new experiences and gave promise to memories yet to be.

Can’t ask for much more than that.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Permit me to introduce my new square dance partner and companion, Sue Brooks. We did this self-portrait at the Knox County waterfall recently featured on the blog. And, that occurred soon after our recent visit to the Velvet Ice Cream Company and its charmingly restored gristmill in Utica, OH which will be our feature story Saturday. We hope you will join us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It’s a bit late in the season for this pearl of information but you may find it helpful nevertheless. The recommended ratio for home-made hummingbird feed is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.

If, like me, you prefer a quart jar for your stock supply you will soon learn adding a cup of sugar to a quart of boiling water (1:4) will exceed the capacity of your storage jar—and, spilled sugar water is, well, very sticky!

So—reduce your sugar to ¾ cup and use three cups of boiling water. Your jar will fill exactly as the one pictured to the left and, I believe, you will keep the mathematical purists of you family happy with your compliance to the correct formula.

Other bird feeder purists will argue the red food coloring in the solution is neither necessary nor desirable.

Be that as it may. I use a drop of food coloring in my formula--not to attract these marvelous little birds. The colorful feeder will do that quite nicely.

The dab of coloration simply helps my aging eyes see the remaining level of solution. Thankyouverymuch!