Happy Trails to Me

I’m recently back home after a two week art residency spent working with seniors in Granville, Ohio with funding from the Ohio Arts Council and its Artful Aging Ohio program. You can see more about it on my artist website.

On most days, I was finished teaching by mid afternoon. What to do then? I challenged myself to find interesting places to visit and to explore the area. I found lots of nice places to walk outdoors, and that’s what I enjoyed most. It was a beautiful part of the country, and it was a beautiful time of year to be visiting (though the weather was a little too warm for me).

Granville, itself, was a beautiful town. There was so much beautiful landscaping everywhere. One nice spot was the Robbins Hunter Museum. I particularly liked the plant shown flowering below. It’s taken me a while, but I finally identified it: a calycanthus.

Calycanthus

I spent one afternoon walking around Inniswood Metro Park and enjoyed the gardens there. (Remember, you can click on any of the photos in the following galleries to get a bigger image.)

On a couple other afternoons/evenings I walked around the Dawes Arboretum. I didn’t discover it until my second week or I would have spent even more time there. Of course there were some amazing trees, but there were also plenty of wonderful paths through a variety of gardens and ecosystems. The following photo gallery gives a hint at it all, but there was so much more. There were so many birds singing and flitting around that I wished I had my binoculars. I also discovered how much insects love common milkweed and how sweetly it smells.

I was near my alma mater, Kenyon College, so I also spent one afternoon/evening visiting it. Again, I wished I hadn’t waited until the second week to do so. Even though it was a 45 minute drive, I would have gone back a second time.

I began my visit in one of my favorite places: the Kokosing Gap Trail. I love the old railway bridge across the river and the views of the countryside. At the bridge, I was surprised to find that there is now a whole system of hiking trails around the campus and I had a great time exploring some of them. I could have easily spent another evening or two exploring more.

After enjoying the wooded River Trail, I went up to campus and did a quick walk around to see the old buildings and new construction. Unfortunately, since it was an evening in the summer everything was closed and no one was around. Before I left, I stopped at the Brown Family Environmental Center to see the gardens there and to try a few more trails. I’m glad the late-setting sun allowed me extra time to explore.

I’d never realized how many Native American earthworks were in the area. There are a large number in Newark, near Granville. I drove by them often as I traveled from place to place for my residency. They were interesting to explore.

earthworks wall

photogenic tree

My lodging for the two weeks was at the beautiful Orchard House Bed and Breakfast. I enjoyed my stay and appreciated the scenic, rural location. I enjoyed going to sleep while watching lightning bugs glitter in the treetops outside my window. I enjoyed watching the swallows, wrens, chickadees, cardinals, chipmunks, and pet cat every morning from the breakfast room. The new owners Dean and Jody are committed to local foods, so my breakfasts ranged from deliciously simple (as in: eggs from the owners’ chickens, local sausage from free range hogs, herbs from the owners’ garden, locally baked bread, and locally roasted coffee purchased directly from Central American farmers by the coffee shop owner) to berry-filled bread pudding, quiche, sausage and sweet potato scramble, and cinnamon roll pancakes. I even got to watch the sun set on the summer solstice while sitting next to a campfire near grazing goats, sheep, a llama, chickens, and peacocks.

 

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