I’ve been involved in an online writing community since 2000. Two of the friends I’ve made there live in Ohio: T. some distance south of Columbus, and A. in an eastern suburb of Cleveland. I had the great pleasure of visiting both of them this weekend.
Steve was kind enough to drive me to Newark on Saturday, where I picked up a rental car. I met T. and M., a friend of hers, at the Franklin Park Conservatory. This is a botanical garden, but they also have several indoor biomes. (Given the time of year, there wasn’t anything of interest to see in the outdoors part.) The place is set up really nice and it’s very diverse. I’ll add a few photos to give you an idea:
When we’d seen everything at the conservatory, we drove to the North Market for lunch, and to a Starbucks afterwards for tea. We pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon there, chatting about everything and nothing that’s connected us for the past seven plus years. T., thank you again for the great time we had.
I drove up to Cleveland on Sunday morning to meet A. and her husband R. at a local restaurant. We didn’t have anything specific planned to do in Cleveland, and we didn’t need anything. We had such a great time chatting that we spent several hours at the restaurant (extending lunch into tea), simply talking. A. then invited me over to her place for supper and to watch the Super Bowl. That was an invitation I couldn’t pass up! A. prepared a very tasty meal, which we ate in front of the television. As a bonus, the game turned out to be a very good and exciting one. A., thank you again for your hospitality and a great day.
I spent the night at a nearby hotel and had all of Monday to do some sightseeing and get back to Granville. I started out by driving up to Lake Erie, which brought me past the North Chagrin Reservation. This is one of sixteen parks in the Greater Cleveland area and it has a number of trails set out. At first, it looked a bit tricky to go hiking, as the paths were covered with a thin layer of snow and ice. However, it wasn’t slippery at all, so I did two 1.6-mile walks. The snow and ice made for some beautiful scenery:
I spent the rest of the day driving back to Newark and Granville, avoiding the freeways as much as possible. With its rolling hills, the Ohio countryside between Cleveland and Newark is actually quite beautiful. Of course, it’s also Amish territory, and indeed I encountered several horse-drawn buggies on the road.
After dropping the car off at the rental company, Steve brought me back to Granville for the last night of my stay in Ohio. It’s been a very successful visit scientifically and a wonderful experience overall. Steve’s input on my research was invaluable and his untiring efforts to make sure I enjoyed myself were very much appreciated. I’ll be flying back home tomorrow a very happy person.