Early Stop on the Underground Railroad

If you are traveling southwest Ohio I recommend embarking on a little trip to Ripley, Ohio.  Ripley sits on the Ohio River east of Cincinnati.  It is a town rich in history.  One of the most popular spots to visit in Ripley is the John Rankin House.  It is a national historic landmark.  John Rankin was a Presbyterian minister and abolitionist who is estimated to have helped over 2000 slaves escape to freedom.

The little house is estimated to have been built in 1826, making it over 200 years old.  The grounds are natural & beautiful providing a fantastic view of the Ohio River.

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Overlooking the Ohio River

Parking is free, but hours are limited, so check the museum schedule before heading out. Cost is around $5 per person to tour the house.

After overlooking the Ohio River from the John Rankin House, we couldn’t help but get a closer look on the River Walk along Front Street in Ripley, Ohio.  We recommend a stop Rockin’ Robin’s Soda Shoppe to get ice cream and watch the boats on the river.

The Parker House  is also on Front Street, Ripley, Ohio.  Parker was a former slave, inventor, and abolitionist.  Another house on Front Street is known as the Signal House.  It was owned by Vic and Betsy Billingsley and is where the attic lantern signaled Reverend Rankin that it was safe to cross the river leading slaves to freedom.    

If you want something a little more filling Cohearts Riverhouse is also on Front Street, Ripley, Ohio.  My daughter and I have eaten here and enjoyed it.  The food and service were good.

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Moyer Vineyard Winery & Restaurant

Another dining option a little further east up the river is Moyer Vineyard Winery and Restaurant .  My daughter and I ate here a few weeks ago.  What we really enjoyed here was the restaurant’s setting on the river.  I bought a bottle of River Valley Red, but haven’t tried it yet because I’m waiting to have someone to share it with 🙂 .   It is described as a soft, mellow, moderating dry red wine and is made from grapes on the property.  I’ll update you after I’ve tried it.

Needing a place to stay?  Brown’s Motel in Aberdeen, Ohio is modest & inexpensive.  It’s right across the river from Maysville, Kentucky which is also a historic little town (and home of Rosemary Clooney) worth exploring.  I’ll tell you more about it another time.


Have you ever been to Ripley,Ohio?  Tell us about your favorite place to visit when there.

Where Are the Monarchs?

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Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge Maysville to Aberdeen

Last night I took a little venture to Maysville, Kentucky to attend the 8th Annual Farm & Family Night at Maysville Community and Technical College.  While I was there, I attended the session Saving the Monarch Butterfly.

According to what I learned, the monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains are now in Texas. They are on their yearly journey north from Mexico.  Those that live west of the Rocky Mountains winter in California and spend their summers in the Northwest states.

Part of what makes monarch migration so wondrous is the fact that monarchs are the only insect to migrate a distance of 2,500 miles.  During migration monarch butterflies can fly up to 300-500 miles a day.  During their migration north monarchs will go through about 4 generations.  Those monarchs that fly south in the fall, however, can journey the whole distance living up to 9 months.

The purpose of the session was to discuss why monarchs are at risk and what can be done to help them.

Currently the monarch population is 4% of what it was in the 1970’s.  The biggest factor leading to their decline is loss of milkweed.  Other contributing factors to the decline of monarch populations are weather, use of insecticides & herbicides, and habitat loss.

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Some things we can do in Ohio to help the butterflies as we await their arrival this year is to learn about their habitat.  We can plant milkweed and other pollinator plants that monarchs need.  In addition we can learn about plants that are native to our yard that butterflies enjoy and keep them in place when possible, rather than removing them.

Being that it is almost spring (12 more days, but who’s counting?), now is a great time to think about monarch butterflies that are migrating our way.  When planning your garden try to include some nectar plants.  These can be annuals, biennials, and/or perennials.  Here are just a few examples: Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, French Marigolds, Lantana, Verbena, Zinnia,  Black Eyed Susan, Hollyhock, Phlox, New England Aster, and Purple Coneflower. Milkweed, Goldenrod, and Ironweed are often plants that we might consider undesirable, but butterflies like them.

If possible, know your plant source.  When purchasing plants ask what type of greenhouse they came from.  Ideally, buy plants raised in a chemical free greenhouse.  Often times you can find someone who has perennials who is willing to split off part of their plant that you could start in your yard.

Choose a sunny location for your plants and consider including windbreaks such as a fence or shrub.  If you have limited space many of these plants do well in pots or containers. Bird baths or water containers should be shallow with some object which will allow for butterflies to perch.  Items such as floating corks can be placed in deeper water to provide a perch.

Do you plant flowers in your gardens for butterflies?  What are your favorites?


Learn more about Protecting Monarchs and Monach Watch .

Feature photo by Chris Bending

Christmas Celebration in Peebles

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This past Saturday, December 3rd, we went to the Peebles Christmas Celebration 2016 in Peebles, Ohio.

I took the opportunity to do a little Christmas shopping at the American Legion which was set up from 10AM to 4PM.  There were about 12 vendors selling their wares.  I bought a great little snowman made out of an old signal light cover and I picked up some information on Posh products including a small sample of some Cackle Spackle (I’ve used it a couple of times and it is a refreshing mask).  There were also crafters of jewelry and woodwork to buy from.  There were other independent consultants for Scentsy and other businesses.

I try not to spend a day in Peebles without going to my favorite coffee shop, The Greene Beanery.  I went there and bought some coffee and a mug for Christmas gifts.  I bought Timot Fair Trade Coffee.  One reason I like it (besides the dark chocolate and smooth nutty taste) is because it is chemical free. It has low acidity and a full body which most coffee lovers will enjoy.  I entered my name in their Christmas Gift Basket Raffle.  Fingers crossed that my ticket is a winner!

I also did some Christmas shopping for gifts at a store I’ve never been in before: The Gospel Connection Inc. It is a christian book store and full line music store.  It is a great place to go for christian gifts such as bibles, books, apparel, music, and wall art. In addition they have guitars, mandolins, other musical instruments and lots of accessories.  I bought some gifts for my niece, sister and mom which I’m pretty sure they are going to love.

As I was walking in town I stopped to see the nativity.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus were available for children to visit by the Christmas tree from 4pm to 6PM. At 6PM the Christmas tree was lit in the center of town.

I had a front row seat for all the action at my new Vine Street atelier where I am still getting settled.  I washed the windows, vacuumed and mopped.  I set up my computer most of the way, but unfortunately I forgot the cord for my monitor.

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Signal Light Snowman

Shop online or check us out at an upcoming event.

Looking For a Sign?

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Greene Beanery Coffee House Roastery, Ohio

When you walk in the door the sign on the wall reads, “If you were waiting for a sign this is it.Tweet: If you were waiting for a sign this is it. https://ctt.ec/V1g6R+

If you are looking for a sign you’ve died and gone to heaven that is.  I’m talking about the Greene Beanery Coffee House Roastery in Peebles, Ohio located in Adams County.  The moment I walked in the door the delicious coffee aroma made me take a deep breath and bask in it.  I thought I was in heaven.

For lunch I had the featured Red Pepper Bisque  which was delicious and an iced coffee.  The ice cubes are made with frozen coffee.  Prices were $3.75 and $3.55 respectively.  With free Wi-Fi this is a great place to stop in during the day and write a blog post or get some work done.  Or just relax by the fireplace or on the porch.

Our current little gift shop location has some issues with water leaking in so I was out looking for a new space to rent or buy today.  After my stop here in Peebles I think I found my sign and where we’ll be moving to.

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