It has been tradition that around our wedding anniversary I ride along with Matt to do his fall themed stories for Ohio’s Country Journal. This usually entails an apple orchard or an agri tourism story finished by visiting one of Ohio’s wineries. This last stop has become a favorite. Those of you who know Matt know that he is very conservative in his spending. It did not take me long to realize that he was looking for a cheap anniversary gift.
This year it seemed our schedules were jammed packed and the children needed to ride along with us. We knew it would be an adventure, maybe more of one than we expected.
Our day began early to get the chores finished and making sure the animals were able to make it through the day with us gone. On a typical day Matt or I, whoever is around, is in the barn several times to make sure everything is OK. We still have bottle lambs so my grandparents agreed to come around noon to feed the lambs and check the animals’ water. Of course, we had to make arrangements for my family to take care of all the animals while we were gone for a few days working at the tree farm. Having livestock really ties you close to home most of the time.
We packed up the car and headed north to The Pine Tree Barn. This was a story about Roger Dush and his family who operate a Christmas tree farm and an extraordinary furniture and gift shop. It is always fun to see how other tree farmers operate their businesses and get ideas we can use on our farm. This gift shop has heirloom furniture, kid’s gifts, home décor, Christmas and even some women’s apparel. It was not exactly the perfect place for our children, but the kiddy train corner entertained them most of the time. The weather was not great, rain and cold temperatures were not ideal but, the kids did not seem to mind. They sat on the tractors and rode on the farm caboose. They also have a restaurant, The Granary, which looked a little too nice for my now dirty children. Roger assured us it would be fine so we decided to dine.
We sat down and Parker opened up his menu and he spilled the water all over the table. I thought I had it cleaned up without any of the patrons or employees noticing, but they did and came right over to help me with the clean up. This spill was not too bad. They even brought gold fish for the kids while we were waiting on Matt to join us. We ordered our food which was delish and almost escaped the restaurant without another scene. The check had been paid and we were about to leave. Parker was standing on the bench beside me giving me a big hug. I picked him up and his foot brushed the Hot Chocolate s on the table. One cup hit the other and we had dueling cups of spilling hot cocoa. There was nothing I could do to cover up this mess and it was a mess. All I could do was gracefully flag down the waitress, leave a hefty tip and exit the restaurant as fast as we could. Our waitress was so kind and politely said she had it under control.
The next spot on the tour of NE Ohio was Moreland Fruit farm. The weather was still rainy and chilly but we decided to brave the elements and hit the apple orchard. What damage could my children do out there? We picked apples and they said that whatever you eat in the orchard is FREE. The kids each enjoyed an apple they picked for dessert. They had fun and were running all over getting out all that extra energy. While Matt was still talking and taking photos, we decided to see if there was anything we could do to be of help. There were two Amish girls working in the back filling orders. They gave us jobs and the kids had so much fun. One of the girls was particularly beautiful and Parker must have taken notice. He went outside plucked a flower from the garden and gave it to her. After I explained we do not pick peoples’ flowers, I reassured him that it was a very kind act and pretty darn cute. This was the only cute thing he did on this trip. After a cider tasting, we hopped back in the car with hopes of the children taking naps on the hour drive up to Canton.
We were headed to Gervasi Vineyard and this was the stop I was most looking forward to. We pull in the drive and the wrought iron detailed sign was a preview of what we were to see. It was like we pulled into Italy and the infrastructure was more than impressive. Parker was just drifting off and Campbell was wide awake. We drove past at least 4 buildings including the carriage house and the market place and then were told to drive around the large body of water to meet the owner. At this point I told Matt we would wait in the car until the weather got better and he is ready to tour the grounds.
This is the part when my cute little son turned into some other child I have never met before. He cried and was blatantly defiant for a good 15 minutes. If I asked him to not put the keys in the car 10 times it was 20. He pushed all the buttons, bit his sister, hit and was just plain B-A-D. Of course at this point Campbell had to go to the bathroom. There was no place to go, the building was under construction and I did not think letting her go outside was the proper Winery etiquette. I told her she was going to have to go in one of Parker’s diapers. She was obviously concerned, but she really had to go. I was just mortified and praying that Matt would hurry up this visit so we could leave. With the flashers blinking and screaming that could be heard outside the car doors, I was at my wit’s end. I just wanted to put in ear plugs and take a nap. Matt comes out to find me frazzled and exhausted. He asked me if I wanted to go check out the buildings and I said NO let’s get of out here. We left and I never got to experience the inside of Gervasi, but I saw pictures and it looks incredible.
I wish I could tell you our journey was over but we still had a 2.5 hour car ride to the tree farm in Findlay. It was a long ride full of Parker unbuckling his car seat every 30 seconds and terrorizing his sister. As soon as we arrived at Cracker Barrel to meet Matt’s parents (Mama and Papa) Parker turned on his Reese charm and acted as if he had been a perfect little man all day. Campbell behaved excellent and I was so proud of her for being a big girl. This was a wedding anniversary trip I will soon not forget. Next time I think we may leave the children at home.