The weekend was available for cruising but weather reports laced with moisture kept me from committing to any definite target. I did not want to waste a late summer driving day so, when I caught sight of the sun, hit the road with vague plans. A friend had made me aware of an antique machinery show near Georgetown and I knew that some decent looking country lay in the same direction. I headed that way with a technique I've often used for getting home after "accidentally" getting lost under blue skies. I think of this (I've never had to say it out loud) as "jagging" and the technique involves plugging a destination into the GPS and taking the most "on target" path at each intersection. There is no routing software involved so the resulting path is, at best, a zigzag sort of thing. Sometimes, it's not even that. When the needle hovers around the 45 degree mark, picking the more direct path can be pretty arbitrary. Sometimes a road that was an obvious choice at an intersection make a big turn and heads away from the destination. But the idea is not to get somewhere quickly or along the shortest route. My goal is to have an enjoyable drive and jagging often leads me down roads I might otherwise never see and sometimes those roads are quite nice.

The picture is of the House of Joy at Grailville, at the east edge of Loveland. Grailville is a 300 acre women's retreat which includes gardens, trails, and lots of quiet. I have passed the striking building any number of time but this was the first time I've snapped a picture. O'bannonville Road actually splits Grailville and I pulled into the long driveway across from the House of Joy to get a picture. There was little traffic but, sure enough, the one car that did appear needed to pull into that same driveway. I was off to the side and the car could have passed by me but I got into my car and pulled it up another foot or two. This was somewhat of a token move but it was appreciated by the car's occupants and made me no longer a criminal in their eyes. But my intrusion did not totally escape punishment. In many years of parking the car with top down, the interior had been spared any unwanted avian deposits. Not so today! At least it was easily cleaned.

At the old railroad depot in Mount Orab, there were indications that a painting project had begun. No signs of current activity were evident so I have some concern about whether or not it is actually continuing. Hopefully my concerns are unfounded and there will be a nice white depot here on my next visit.

I had been on the lookout for an interesting breakfast stop but had had no luck. The towns of Owensville and Williamsburg had looked promising but proved otherwise. At first, things seemed only slightly better at Mount Orab. There were plenty of chain fast food joints near Route 32 but I figured they were past their cutoff time and I prefer something other than cookie cutter chain food on a road trip. Even if it's not a very formal one. Randy's Diner looked promising but was "Temporarily Closed". Not an encouraging sign. Then, as I gave up and headed on toward Georgetown, there was the Country Inn at the south edge of town. Fresh coffee, an omelet, and home fries soon had me full and happy.

Now, it was basically a straight shot down US 68 to Georgetown. This very readable, but not too usable, barn was near the turnoff for downtown. A sign identified an old road spur as the Mount Orab Pike and I suspect that might have been what ran past the barn when it was first painted and the current 68 was yet to come. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that, although I've seen plenty of the barn sized advertisements, I've never been to Rock City. One more item for the list.

ADDENDUM: I finally made it to Rock City in November of 2004. I couldn't see seven states through the mist and fog but Rock City was great.

Inside the city, an unexplained collection of bicycles fills a porch and lawn. There were bikes of every size & style so I don't think it was a stopover for a long distance outing and I spotted no sign indicating that they were for sale. Just there.

Locals call the collection of well maintained nineteenth century buildings on the west of the courthouse square, Commercial Row. Most of these date to the latter part of the century while the courthouse was built just about at the century's mid point (1851). Elsewhere in Georgetown, there are several building that predate the courthouse.

Here is the event that put Georgetown in my thoughts this weekend, the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery show. People with any sort of mechanical interest could find something here to grab their attention and, for those completely unimpressed with things that clank, clunk, and chug, there was lemonade & ice cream. A car show was included and it had plenty of fast cars and pretty cars but it also had more "natural" Model T's than I can recall ever seeing. By "natural" I mean that they had not been restored to some concours standard so that getting them dirty would be sinful nor were they modified into a hot rods with just a semblance of a T remaining. These were simply 80 year old vehicles maintained to be no less and no more drivable than when new. I missed the Model T Rodeo but was there for the parade of tractors.

There was an impressive flea market section with tools and parts for sale that offered a glimpse into the past just by laying there. There were several working exhibits including the making of concrete blocks and shingles. I had learned of the show from Mike and I found him, as expected, in the blacksmith shop. That's him pumping air into the forge and when I left, I took with me a miniature horseshoe he had made.

As hinted at by those buildings on the square, Georgetown is proud of its history and there is quite a bit of it around the town. A particular source of pride is the town's role in educating the country's 18th president, Ulysses Grant. The Grant family moved to Georgetown when Ulysses was about a year old and it was from here that he headed off to West Point at age 17. The brick house that Jesse Grant, Ulysses' father, built now serves as a museum. On my visit, Lee was manning the site and served up a wonderful amount of information about the house, its residents, its contents, and the town it stands in.

Jesse was a tanner and his tannery, also of brick, still stands just across the street from the house. It has long been a private residence but the current owners have indicated that they will leave it to an historical organization. A solid two seat outhouse completes the trio of brick buildings that were once sort of a Grant complex. These three survive at least partly due the their brick construction. There is a large open space next to the house and it seems reasonable to think that it wasn't always empty. Ohio Historical Society personnel are currently focusing attention on that space and have already done a little digging and some electronic exploration. It looks like Georgetown may soon learn a little more of its history.

Another bit of Georgetown's past that has benefited from the Grant connection is the school house where the future president received his early education. Most of the benches and the wall mounted desks are not original although they are supposed to be faithful reproductions. An exception is the well worn bench, said to be one once used by Grant, in the third picture. On this day, it was Judy who was watching over the school and she generously shared her knowledge of local history.

I thought I'd include one example of the tree lined roads that made up a fair amount of the day's travel. I can't even tell you exactly where this picture was taken other than between Georgetown and the Ohio River. Earlier in the day I had been on heavily tree lined one lanes as well as similar two lanes. Nice drives.

One reason I headed toward the river rather than more homeward was to round out the Grant theme. Another reason is the fact that driving along the big river is just neat. This is Grant's birthplace in Point Pleasant. I have been inside the house in the past but closing time had already passed before I got there today. But at least the house was there and that wasn't always the case. For some period ending in 1927, the little house made an extensive tour by barge and rail. The Grant Memorial Bridge is adjacent to the house and a pleasant park, complete with river view, is just beyond.

In New Richmond, I found the Landing Restaurant & Marina which not only offered a river view but served good food. It is in a building constructed in the 1800s as a port building for the C&O Railroad. Before it became the Landing, in 1980, it was known as Ferry Gardens since it sat at one end of the New Richmond Ferry. I ended the day enjoying dinner while watching the sun set over the Ohio.

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