Since sharing my “Dating Again” post, I’ve been… Well… Dating again. Surprise! It has been a few months, and maybe I’ll share how we met soon but, for now, we’ll be calling him Lucky. He’s always calling himself lucky for having met me (and also, he asked to be called that). Ha!
Learning about Farm Life in Ohio
My birthday is coming up, and Lucky asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. After hearing so many stories about him growing up on the farm, I wanted to visit his hometown in Ohio! This worked out well since Lucky’s been wanting to see his parents as it’s been over eight years since he last visited the family.
Originally, we were planning on going during Labor Day weekend since Ohio State was playing Notre Dame, and Lucky is a huge football fan, but my cousin’s wedding was that weekend in Salt Lake City, so, instead, we ended up going this past weekend. It was the only weekend we were free before the weather got too cold! I did hear from a few people that if we had visited Ohio in two or three weeks, we could have seen the leaves change colors! Oh well. We’ll just have to visit again next year to see the fall foliage!
Flying from Phoenix, Arizona to Cleveland, Ohio
We packed our bags and flew out Thursday night to Cleveland, Ohio. It was pretty late when we landed, and we were both starving. Our first stop was McDonald’s – my favorite fast food! To start off the first hour in Ohio, I found out that there was no Hot n’ Spicy McChicken – they served salt and pepper McChicken! It was not the same. Still good, but definitely not the same. After we got some food in our system, we drove an hour south of Cleveland to his hometown. We stayed with Lucky’s cousin, who was so kind for hosting us!
Day 1 in Ohio
In the morning, we visited Lucky’s oldest brother’s family. They started a membership-based service where you pre-pay for months’ worth of produce and collect them on a weekly basis! It was pretty cool to see how they built the greenhouses and grow produce.
Sure House Coffee Roasting Co. in Orrville
Afterward, we grabbed coffee with Lucky’s other cousin (he has a very large family) from Sure House Coffee Roasting Co. in Orrville. We also visited the cousin’s husband at his work, where we ran into a few of Lucky’s childhood friends. It’s so crazy how small the community is and how everyone is all connected!
Hero House in Wooster
We decided to stop in Wooster for lunch. We went to Hero House, a sandwich place that Lucky would grab lunch from all the time when he used to work near there! While I didn’t get a photo of our delicious sandwich, I did get a photo of a framed ASU stadium picture that they hung on the wall for the National Championship Game Miami vs. Ohio State in 2003. It’s always fun for me to see Arizona in other states!
After lunch, we drove down to Walnut Creek – home to the largest Amish settlement in the United States! We saw several Amish families riding in traditional buggies. It was really fascinating to learn more about the Amish’s and Mennonites’ communities. We didn’t stop to walk around the neighborhood, since I was really tired, but hoping we can do that next time!
Leroy’s Place in Wooster
Later, we drove back up to Wooster and grabbed drinks at Leroy’s Place, a bar that Lucky was a regular at when he used to live in Ohio. We also met the owner of Bradley’s of Sterling at Leroy’s. Bradley’s is another bar that Lucky would occasionally go to; unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop by Bradley’s during this trip, but we did drive by it!
After Leroy’s, we surprised Lucky’s parents by visiting their house. I also got to see all of Lucky’s award-winning woodworking projects from high school. His parent’s house has a lamp that he built during his freshman year and a grandfather clock built during his sophomore year. I’m sad that I forgot to take a photo of the lamp and grandfather clock! I told Lucky to build a grandfather clock when we get back to Arizona and to do a comparison of the two clocks. Hopefully, that will be a project we can work on together, but he says it takes over 500 hours to build a grandfather clock – wow!
Sonnets for Dinner in Wadsworth
We went out to dinner at Sonnets with Lucky’s cousin that we were staying with and his girlfriend. Sonnets is a coffee and whiskey bar in Wadsworth, Ohio. I tried their chicken po’ boy, which was pretty good! I also tried hushpuppies for the first time! A hushpuppy is a deep-fried cornbread ball – I’ve never heard of hushpuppies before, so I did some quick googling and learned that it originated in the South.
As we were heading out, I noticed a banner saying, “Live Coffee. Hot Music. Loud Food.” I was so confused by this slogan! What are live coffee and loud food? Is it a play on words? Are you supposed to rearrange the adjectives? I might have spent a few hours (maybe days) trying to figure out the meaning behind this slogan. Either way, it’s a great branding tactic because being the problem-solver I am, it got me thinking about it for DAYS!
Day 2 in Ohio
The next day, we grabbed breakfast at Valley Café in Wadsworth. We also had to hunt down a coffee shop for a cup of iced mocha! We stopped at two different places, but both of them didn’t offer mocha. Luckily, at our third location, they served iced mocha! The third time’s the charm, right?
I think moving forward for traveling, I’ll need to figure out some type of coffee arrangement for my iced mocha addiction. If I don’t have an iced mocha within one or two hours of waking up, I can get really grumpy! I’m very selective about my coffee – my iced mocha has to be served with whole milk and no whipped cream.
After getting my coffee fix, we visited Lucky’s childhood friend so they could catch up! His house was so charming, and I loved how it was surrounded by trees, so it was pretty hidden and secluded. Makes me want to live in a quiet place away from everyone!
Family Gathering at the Dairy Farm
We then joined all of Lucky’s family that lives in Ohio at his sister’s house for late lunch/early dinner. This was the grand family event of the entire trip! Lucky has a really big family, and I loved getting to know everyone! He has lots of nieces and nephews – it was so much fun. Everyone was great and welcoming. I love his big family!
Lucky’s sister’s family runs a dairy farm, so I got to learn about how the whole operation works. One of Lucky’s nieces gave us a wonderful tour around the dairy farm. She’s smart and sweet! I know nothing about farm life, so I had a lot of questions for her, ha. They have around 200 cows, and I was able to see how the milking process works. I also learned that there are different types of cows – milking cows and beef cows (and there are no chocolate milk cows!).
Did you know that cows get milked twice a day? If cows don’t get milked, it can be extremely uncomfortable for them and could lead to serious infections. It’s actually a good thing for cows to get milked! On average, a cow can produce 8 gallons of milk daily. The fattier the milk, the higher in demand it is! This is because it allows you to extract the fat from the milk to create other dairy products, like cheese or butter.
We also climbed up the silo – it was about 80 feet tall! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared! It took a moment for me to mentally prep myself before climbing up, but the view was so worth it. Lucky’s niece told me that occasionally she and her friends would climb up the top of the silo and stargaze. I love stargazing so that sounds like a dream.
We ended the night in the barn rope swinging! I was really nervous at first, but it ended up being really fun. My foot got stuck on the rope, so I had a huge rope burn on my ankle, but it was so worth it!
From Cleveland to Des Moines!
We initially planned on staying in Ohio from Thursday until Monday morning. Our trip was cut short by a day because I got a great work opportunity to attend a conference in Des Moines, Iowa. This was the first conference that was curated for account services in advertising and marketing, so I couldn’t pass this opportunity up!
This trip was so much fun! Lucky was so considerate throughout the trip because since we were visiting his hometown, he didn’t want to make the entire trip about catching up with friends and family. He made sure that we did things that I wanted to do since it was my birthday trip, which I did because all I wanted to do was learn more about his childhood, ha. I had such a great time in Ohio meeting Lucky’s family and learning about farming. I can’t wait to be back on the farm soon!