Family and Friends/Ohio

We flew  first class (using miles) from San Francisco  to Detroit. Only one choice for breakfast….and we were in the 3rd row, and one choice of a bland white wine (made more palatable with ice cubes).  Not a happy camper.

Our rental car had been “up graded” to a Prius.  No problem, we have driven Toyotas  for years. Ha! We needed help just to test drive it around the yard.    After stopping to thank our “teacher”,  she had to show us how to start it again.

Normally it was an hour’s drive from Detroit to Toledo but it took 3 hours. We had no knowledge that the I-75 was being expanded and most of the highway was a single lane.  But,  being from California, it was refreshing to see the rain  after 9 months of drought! (Something positive here.)

outdoor-poolDestination:   Maumee Bay Lodge

And of course the pool had been closed for two weeks…but we had a lake view plus a heated indoor pool and hot tub. Our good friends of 50 years, Sam and Nancy Bonasso, would arrive in time for dinner.

With the sun shining, we took a walk in the Lodge  woods.

A walk through the park

Returning we found a phone message to join our friends in their room for wine and cheese. And their wine was far superior to what we had on the plane.


All of us smiling seraphically…probably due to the wine and cheese.

The next day we drove into Toledo to see the, “The Glass Pavilion”, a newer edition to the Toledo Art Museum.

Glass Pavillion

We were delighted with the Ancient  and Modern  displays arranged in this contemporary sunlit glass building.  The wonderful guides, about our age, probably retired, and enjoying their work…..when asked a question they weren’t sure of, ran off and back with answers!


Main Museum

We then crossed the street to the 1910 Museum and ate lunch in the  glass patio, built overlooking a small park.  The restaurant servers had the same “can do” attitude as the guides in the Pavilion!

Afterword, we divided and went to see particular sites. I found a, “Marisol  exhibit ”  of 15 life size figures (done in 1960) called “The Party”.  All had her face superimposed on the models with fifteen different expressions.

The Party 2

Uncomfortable at parties, this was her reaction to social pressure.

Later that afternoon we headed to Port Clinton and the 1812 Island House Restaurant.



We had an excellent meal and marveled at the restoration that had been done in the 20+ years since we had been there.  After a bit a wine, we got Sam to talk about his current Project: Mechanical Concrete.


In the first picture we see a worker  positioning the abandoned tires. Then, 2nd picture, the leveling of small stones constrained by the reused  tires  and connected together to form a road bed.  In the background behind the worker in the 1st picture, we see the compressed road bed.

11111All is inexpensive and low tech. It Is primarily used in compromised soil situations. Delighted by his concise presentation,  I ordered  “bubbly” for the table. We all toasted!


And the bar lit up with its Christmas lights.

Island House Bar

The next morning Sam and Nancy departed for home and we drove to down town Toledo.


This is an overview of down town Toledo and the Maumee River. We arrived at our hotel The Grand Plaza to find a jam packed entranced teaming with a “Parking valet” service. Mike snagged an open slot  and told the  service person we would be using them later.

We checked into a large corner room with windows overlooking both the river and downtown. It had started to rain but I took this picture from the window of  our  room.


You can look down and see the lovely greenery that surrounds this  site and lit  bridge. The hotel dining room was closed for a conference banquet so we grabbed our umbrellas and headed out. We found  The Blarney Event Center about 5 blocks away near the ball field.

The Blarney dinning roomA wonderful older …and cozier building.  We sat in the left corner booth and had an excellent  meal  watching the rain and listening to the muted sounds of the 8 sports T.V.s surrounding the bar.

Frank and Sally arrived at the Hotel on Sunday afternoon.

033My older brother Frank is a, “Windsurfer  Extraordinaire”  and Sally  is a “Pianist and Organist Extraordinaire” and as long as we can keep them away from the water and music, they are fun.

They (including Mike) are standing in front of their Grosse Pointe, Michigan home , which I should add, is almost next to Lake Saint Clair.  I also took a picture of their front yard and the surrounding magnificent trees that we (from the Midwest) miss most in California.


To celebrate their arrival, we went to an Italian restaurant directly across the Maumee River from our hotel. That was almost a mistake….we were unable to shut Frank up about the many times they windsurfed under the bridge…..but our orders of Cape Cod lobsters finally did.


The next day we headed  to the Old West End  and Robinwood  Ave looking at our first (family) home for 10 years. Then, 2 blocks away, to Scottwood and our home for the following 50 years…. and shared some interesting memories.  We had a 3 car garage with chauffeur‘s  “quarters” also containing a bathroom,  but no chauffeur.  Frank reminisced  about his, and our brother Tom’s friends, who, after a night of whooping it up could not make it home. They could spend the night in the quarters but had to be gone by dawn.

On our return to the hotel, we showed them our recent discovery of an old building being renovated.


Look at the top 3 floors on the right where the original, classically arched windows are being exposed  by the removal of the 1960’s curtain wall. Beautiful!   No information was available…. But we’re hoping for the return of the Classic.

The next morning, after getting kicked out of  our  restaurant for talking so long, we parted. Frank and Sally for home and we were moving to the Ramada Inn at Westgate for 3 days. The plans were to pick up Tim and Joanne Kemper for dinner that eve, but we arrived to find cheese & crackers  with  a lovely bottle of wine waiting.

They had been our next-door neighbors for 8 years…sharing backyards, kids and dogs….and that was 34 years ago. Now they are parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  But we shared a memorable period  of time with them.  We ended up at The Real Seafood Restaurant overlooking the river “catching up”…..and I don’t remember what we ate or drank….but it was good!


This is the  same picture I used for last night’s dinner …but  was next door.

Excited about  today’s “mini-reunion”  lunch that my high school  classmate  Mary Murnen  had arranged. I Was devastated  when she called to say her grandson was having serious surgery that morning.  (Successful!)  And,  typically, Mary had arranged  for another classmate to pick me up so the festivities would continue.

Mini reunion high school August 2013

The picture I had taken didn’t turn out,  but this is almost the same pic taken  2 years earlier. Being all females—of course the conversation continued.

That evening we met another group of 40+ years friends  at the Beirut Restaurant and it was packed.  Even with reservations  we had to spend time in the lovely bar before being seated…but not a hardship.

Beirut Restaurent

Sue and John Weglian: John  and I first met at the Village Players Theatre eons ago.  I would call him first for ANY  play I directed.  Of course he was good…he was a lawyer! Sue and West Veyo:  West and Mike became friends through their University contacts and could disparage certain administrators to their heart’s content.  The conversation was electric and we were the last to leave the restaurant.

Last, but certainly not least, was a fresh perch feast at the Quicks.

Charlie Quick volunteered to  continue (34 years ago) Mike’s  “Wine Club” when we moved to California. Above and beyond his University teaching was his fantastic ability as a Lake Erie fisherman…and we all benefited.  Carol Quick, above and beyond her School District Administration abilities, read (consumed) books.  On our occasional 2 day bus-wine-tasting travels, she could begin and finish a novel.

As always, when we invited them to dinner, Carol responded  “Great.  Charlie caught some Perch  this morning!  And bring Chet Zupadka with you.”

Chet’s wife had recently died. So we picked him up and had a wonderful  time  eating  and talking over each other. Even normally not-loquacious-Chet  joined in…

Our last day in Toledo. On to Florida  and Mike’s family tomorrow.  Out of the lovely rain and into lovely  sunshine.


About carolinebotwin

Caroline Botwin and her husband Mike are retired educators who have always had a yen for travelling: he with a PH.D and teaching Architectural Engineering plus California wine education, and she having taught high school English, speech and drama. Both wanted to learn first hand about other cultures. While Mike predominately studied buildings and structures and met with winemakers, Caroline hunted for ancient sites and peoples. And kept journals of all their travels.
This entry was posted in Ohio. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.