I had one of those “oh wait, I think so-and-so lives here” as we drove through suburban Cleveland.
I saw the Cleveland Clinic and remembered that a friend from college-whom I had not seen in 18 years-Sandhia Varyani, lived near by. So, I called her and got to see her-and introduce her to the kids. A nice side benefit.
As much fun as that was, it wasn’t our primary goal when we stayed in Solon, OH (named after a Greek leader? I should look).
The reason we selected it was because of its proximity to Mentor, OH, the home of America’s 20th President, James A. Garfield.
The Park Ranger was first rate and very kid-friendly in the hour long tour of the home. Garfield, who only made it to Day 200 of his Presidency before he was assassinated by a guy with delusions of grandeur, was extremely well read. His library had over 5,000 books and he could speak French and German as well as reading Latin and Greek.
The Junior Park Ranger program gave the kids some great activities as they went through the house and they also got a sense of what life was like in the 1880’s. The “deep dive” was just what we had in mind when we visited.
2.5 hours later, after a drive across central Ohio, we found ourselves in Marion, home of the 29th President, Warren G. Harding. While the house was closed (we still counted it as a visit), we did get to sit on his porch and read some facts about him from Wikipedia (where else?)
Harding was known for many scandals during his administration and has consistently ranked near the bottom of US Presidents. However, it seems like some folks are now looking at his stance on the 8-hour work day, women’s issues, and Civil Rights to try and portray him in a different light.
Like Garfield and McKinley, he didn’t make it out of office…though he wasn’t assassinated.
We stopped at a great park on a beautiful day. It felt like Heartland America in small town America. Very quaint.
After sufficient energy was burned off, we drove to Columbus where we had some Graeter’s ice cream (I had to go with Buckeye flavor) and then spent some quality time with my cousins, Lee and Shelby Nathans.
Our Holiday Inn Express had a mini water park (slides and fountains, etc.), so we had a chance to catch up over pizza while the kids seriously frolicked. The NFO is on point during our trips for securing lodging and she rocks it when it comes to finding a place with a pool and a fridge…so we got to swim every night. (I also helped the kids understand why I like hot tubs).
The next morning-and our final official activity on the trip-took us to COSI-Columbus Museum of Science and Industry-which is definitely one of the best museums of its kind that I’ve seen. The exhibits were fantastic and the bonus was that we had a chance to spend some time with the NFO’s cousin, Bruria Martin and her kids, who are living in Columbus for 2 years (from Israel). Outside, the kids had the opportunity to sit in some tractors, which they loved.
The kids are at a good age now. A degree of self-sufficiency that makes movement easier. They can cooperate and assist and with the iPads, they are generally placid for the ride.
All of this makes the ultimate objective-instilling curiosity and a passion for discovery-easier to accomplish.
The theme of “visiting the homes of Presidents” makes it easy for us to get motivated and have a core focus.
Whatever it is…I would call this trip a success.