Saturday, Dana and I decided it was time for a day trip. We had already talked about going over to Austinburg, Ohio, to ride a few miles on the Western Reservie Greenway bicycle trail. It turned out to be a beautiful day, in the low 80’s, and low humidity so we decided to make it an “Ashtabula Day.”
We started out around noon (we are NOT early risers, and spent the morning having breakfast and reading the papers on our patio), heading east on I-90 about 30 miles to Ashtabula, Ohio. Our first stop in Ashtabula was Los Compadres, a Mexican restaurant that has been getting good reviews.
Of course, the street it was on was closed on the approach end, so we following a very round about detour but finally made it about 1 pm. It is a really pretty place, decorated with some nice artwork and the staff was nice, we got a big basket of warm chips and salsa. The salsa was fresh and flavorful. Salsa is different in every Mexican restaurant around here, and I would have to say this rated near the top. I had Taquitos Mexicanos, 1 chicken and 1beef taquito with salad, guacamole and refried beans. Dana had the Burrito Special, a ground beef burrito with rice on the side. They were both good but we thought the meat was lacking seasoning. We decided we would try it again sometime at dinnertime because the larger dishes sounded really good. Unfortunately, did not get to try the margaritas, either, too much driving ahead!
From there we headed to Ashtabula Harbor, Bridge Street to be exact, for the Beach Glass Festival.
This turned out to be a fun and funky street fest, lots of jewelry vendors with an emphasis on items made with Lake Erie beach glass, of course. There were also booths with tie-dyed scarves, candles, paintings and various other interesting items. Bridge St. is a main street through Ashtabula and crosses the river in the middle of town. The “bridge” on Bridge St. is a lift bridge that rises every ½ hour in the summer to let boat traffic pass to and from Lake Erie. So part of the entertainment was watching people cool their heels in their cars waiting for the bridge to lower so they could continue on their merry ways. We stopped into a coffee shop “Harbor Perk” and I got a frozen Chai, heaven! Some festival scenes…
After perusing all the booths and stopping in a couple of gifty type shops, we drove up to Overlook Park to watch the bridge go up and down from another angle, and take some photos of the boats going up and down the river.
It’s a nice park and if you ever go there is also an interesting Coast Guard museum, but we had been there another time skipped it.
About 4 pm we headed south to Austinburg. By 4:30 we were on the trail.
This is one of our favorite out-of-town bike trails, beautiful scenery, shady, mostly flat, built on a former railway. In just a few miles you pass different ecosystems, hardwood forest, wetlands, farmland, small towns, a river.
It’s not too “buggy” but if you go put on some bug spray, we got bit a couple of times when we stopped, being out late in the pm. Saw and heard a lot of common birds, most interesting was an Eastern Bluebird. A rabbit darted across the trail in front of us near the trail head. We have seen a lot of wildlife on other tips, including deer and wild turkeys. We took the south end from Austinburg toward Rock Creek. This being our first ride of the year, we only rode 4.5 miles out and back, that was enough believe me. The trail appears flat but there are long grades in spots. We had it mostly to ourselves, passing just a few people out and back. Stopped to take a few photos.
One other interesting thing about this trail is at various spots there are historical signs with stories and history of the Underground Railroad activities in the area, the people and homes involved. It was a real hot spot, being between the Ohio River and Lake Erie, in a very remote rural area with lots of abolitionist supporters.
We finished our ride about 6 pm and went south looking for a place to have our picnic dinner. The park we sometimes stop at was full, so we turned around and headed back north, finally stopping back in Austinburg and the township park. We never noticed it before, and it was very nice with picnic tables, ball field, playground and restrooms. We ate our turkey sandwiches and potato salad in peace, reflecting on our ride and all we had seen that day. The day ended as we enjoyed The Prairie Home Companion on WKSU radio while we drove home. It was an especially good episode including songs and stories by Arlo Guthrie, comedy with Martin Sheen and banjo picking by Steve Martin, along with the usual radio entertainment by Garrison Keillor and his mates.
Want to see all my photos? Click this link…
So long until our next adventure……….!