Day 4: March 18, 2011
One Museum & Two Meals
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Since I'd not made it there for dinner, the Saratoga Restaurant naturally became my breakfast destination. As I crossed the street to get a picture of the front of the restaurant, someone climbed into a van parked by the door and drove off. I later learned that someone was owner Jim Economos. The Saratoga has been in business since 1916 and operated by the Economos family since 1935. It looks much as it did back then and feels as welcoming as an old friend. I sat at the counter where Jim's daughter, Chrisi took and delivered my order. She and her brother Eric are the third generation of the family to operate the restaurant. Here's a better look at the Swiss & mushroom omelet. Jim returned and graciously agreed to a photo. On the wall behind him there is a picture of the Packard coupe that Jim "parks" at the museum. Jim, Chrisi, and everyone else at the restaurant were extremely friendly and easily chatted about their business and their town. This is a place I'll return to every chance I get.

The stated mission of the One and Only Presidential Museum is to honor all of this country's presidents including the eight who served under the Articles of Confederation but there's more to it. Nick Pahys' basic premise, that John Hanson and the seven who followed him are pretty much unknown today, is certainly true. That this is intentional and villainous, which is also part of the Pahys message, is not so certain.

A few years ago the museum moved from Hartsgrove, Ohio, to a spot beside a gravel road near Williamsfield, Ohio, and it still has something of a not-finished-unpacking feel. Paintings of the eight pre-Washington presidents that apparently were prominent in Hartsgrove are still around but they're not all together and some are partially hidden behind other things. Paintings of another group of eight, the presidents from Ohio, are displayed together; probably because Nick is also an Ohioan. Each of the fifty-two (Remember we're starting with Hanson.) has a place on the wall with either a painting or photograph topping an array of related information. In order to give his claims some real weight, Nick might mention one or two of the many awards he has received. In the photo he's holding his American Medal of Honor from the American Biographical Institute. The International Biographical Center has named him one of 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century. There are many more and some are listed on the awards page of the museum's website. Nick regularly corresponds with world leaders and will gladly share some of that, too. One example is the letter on Buckingham Palace letterhead thanking him for his birthday wishes to the queen. It's signed by a Lady in Waiting because kings and queens don't write their own letters.

It's probably obvious that Nick Pahys is a "one and only" himself. I learned about him and the museum from Roadside America. They accurately describe a visit with Nick so I knew pretty much what to expect. Of course, experiencing Nick is a lot different than reading about Nick. He has some health issues (5 heart attacks, 2 strokes, two bouts with cancer, bad back, bad knees). He uses a powered chair to get around the museum but stepped from it several times to reach something particular. This unsteady extra vehicular activity made me nervous and I was relieved each time he returned to the chair. I was also a little relieved when I stepped out of the place but I felt a little guilty, too. It took awhile to leave. There aren't many pauses in Nick's delivery. A visit with Nick can be intense but it is also entertaining and educational. Yep, Nick Pahys is a "one and only".

Although I hadn't planned it, when I returned to US-11 and realized I was only about twenty miles from Lake Erie, I headed toward the shore. I had one beer at a pub in Ashtabula, gazed at the big water, waved at some seagulls, then turned back south.

To reach cheap lodging, I traveled a little farther than expected and ended the day in Mentor, Ohio. Between Mardi Gras and Easter, one thing you can count on in Ohio is Friday fish fries. With the aid of the internet, I soon found one less than three miles from the motel. I was soon enjoying a fine meal at St Mary of the Assumption. One of my addictions is frozen custard. It's not a constant craving but when I spot a stand, particularly one I haven't tried, I gotta have it. I spotted this stand on the way to dinner and stopped for a coconut concrete on the way back. I'm one happy camper in Mentor.

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