You can argue about the season in which rural Ohio is at its best. Throw out winter — of course! — and you could argue endlessly about the lush springs, the blue sky summer days, and the colors and tastes of autumn.
Spring, of course, has its own colors — they’re just more subtle. Standing on Cousin Jeff’s elevated deck, looking out at the trees and plants and fallen pine needles and grass, you see just about every shade of green you can imagine. Couple it with cool air that smells of growing plants and bright songs from a number of different birds, and you’ve got a feast for the senses.
Cousin Jeff lives on Lake Mohawk, near Malvern, Ohio. Lake Mohawk is one of many man-made lakes in Ohio — I think the only natural lake in the Buckeye State is Lake Erie — and was made from an old quarry and some fresh springs and streams. It’s been around for years and has reached a mature state, with lots of fish to be found.
This little boy and his Dad were enjoying a warm late Saturday afternoon, fishing from one of the docks in the lake. Dad was putting bait on a hook and giving some instruction, Son was trying his luck, and they both were having a grand time.
Yesterday Kish and I drove east and north on a weekend trip. Our destination was Carroll County, to pay a visit to Cousin Jeff.
Carroll County is one of the least populous– and therefore one of the most bucolic — counties in Ohio. It’s primarily farming territory, with some Amish communities mixed in and the occasional fracking platform tucked behind a screen of trees. It’s a wonderful place to go if you like rolling countryside, the sound of birdsong, and winding roads that seem to never really go anywhere except past pretty Midwestern scenery, with horses and cows, silos and hay bales, and farmhouses and barns.
During our visit we stopped at the lovely Twigg Winery, where I had a glass of tasty Ohio red and we took in the captivating vista inadequately pictured above. There we bought several cartons of strawberries that were hand-picked yesterday morning. Forget the fist-sized, fibrous monstrosities you get at your neighborhood mega-grocery store — these sweet, tart beauties were bursting with flavor and freshness and made you remember what strawberries are supposed to taste like.
Carroll County is a good place to visit if you want to get off the beaten path and kick back into our rural heritage.