“The first electrically lighted city in the world!”

We took a weekend trip in early June to visit a dear friend of mine in Wabash, Indiana.  We learned that Wabash was “The first electrically lighted city in the world!” and enjoyed the historical architecture and community and cultural offerings during our stay.  Our first stop was the cottage, where we slept for two nights, and right away, we checked out the clean and lovely space and enjoyed the screened in porch, swing, and lawn chairs near a creek lined by tall Japanese elm trees.  A large red-headed woodpecker flew over to a nearby tree and neither one of us had ever seen a woodpecker of such great size!  Squirrels and robins also were happy and frolicking about on the trees.  

Next, we met our friend downtown and enjoyed the First Fridays, which involved visiting the Reading Room Bookstore (we got some free soft homemade ginger cookies from the Wabash Free Will Baptist Church just outside the entrance and had pleasant conversations with the friendly manager of the bookstore once inside), Murdoc’s Coffee for a refresher (we purchased tasty coffee, tshirts, and a local artist’s vinyl record flower), shopping at Bellazo Revived Style (reasonably priced women’s clothing, jewelry, local stickers, and home decor), and dinner at the Market Street Grill.  Pecan chicken (uniquely delicious), house salad with hot bacon dressing (again, uniquely delicious), filet mignon, and a burger with fries were our more than satisfying selections.  Of all these locations, we were especially impressed with Modoc’s Market: Espresso Bar & Coffee Shop (the namesake and there’s a good story of a runaway circus elephant in 1942). Not only do they offer quality coffee, but they also have a fun gift shop and an artistic relaxing lounge area surrounded by themed decor while promoting community sharing (leave/take shelves for baskets, etc… as well as shelves of books to share).  They also actively promote recycling and even have a blackboard noting the stats on how they are personally positively making a difference on the planet with their recycling efforts.  After our time in downtown Wabash, our friend invited us to her home for a lovely visit, tea and dessert.  We got to meet her adorable fur babies as well.

The following morning, we enjoyed the peaceful Charlie Creek Gardens, which included a small waterfall, and the farmers’ market, where we picked up a birthday gift (a flease chew toy) for our little Yorkie/Bishon back home.  Our friend purchased a really cute apron covered in owls and I wanted to purchase a jean skirt made from a pair of men’s jeans and added material for a frilly lining and belt, but it was too small.  Conveniently nearby, we walked through the Honeywell Center (performing arts theatre), which allowed us to view local art displays and my husband was impressed to see the Blue Oyster Cult on the lineup of concerts.  It was also here that we learned Crystal Gayle lived in Wabash for a time.  

Our next destination was Huntington, IN, where we walked around the lovely Huntington University with the impressive 1897 brick administration building, fountain, Mirror Lake, auditorium, and studio theatre, all surrounded by trees.  Such a peaceful and beautiful campus!  We then met another friend at a unique and local favorite restaurant, Pizza Junction (a restaurant in a former train station, where we experienced two trains speeding by right next to us during our time there).  Yummy pizza, breadsticks, and salad were devoured by all.  Within a short drive after lunch, we thoroughly enjoyed Huntington’s beautiful Sunken Gardens, which was a quarry they turned into a lovely natural space with fountains to be enjoyed near their Veterans Memorial and park.  What a unique experience to walk down into a garden; such a magical feeling, as if we were stepping into a storybook!  Afterward, on our way out of town, we drove around the Saunt Felix Catholic Center to see its impressive architecture with Spanish influence. 

Onward, we headed to Fort Wayne, stopping for coffee, blueberry lemon gelato, and soft serve ice cream in quaint Roanoke at Moose & Mollie’s Cafe & Gelato.  Hyde Brothers Booksellers in Fort Wayne was a must stop, as I have not been there in years and fondly remember many special book purchases and the friendly cats.  We all enjoyed our time and found some book gems while appreciating the comfortable seating during conversations and book perusing.  Of course, I had to get a tshirt there too!  A cool mural of the city is painted on the outside wall of the store, where colorful lawn chairs are placed in the grassy lot nearby, so we enjoyed some conversation there too and my husband discovered a plant store next door called Honey Plant, where we purchased an olive bonsai tree and a clay planter designed by a local artist.  Upon entering the store, the design of the store, lighting, and placement of plants is immediately aesthetically pleasing.  Our friend pointed out the white African Violets and the many young plants available at reasonable prices.  We wanted to go check out the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory and the Old Fort Wayne, but we had to save them for our next visit down the road.  Later that evening, we were back in Wabash and had dinner at Braves Breakfast & Grill and were delighted with the varied menu.  We opted to eat dessert along with coffee and tea at our cottage while visiting in the living room and kitchen enjoying the electric fireplace followed by time sitting on the screened in porch and time in the lawn chairs by the firepit, listening to the leaves waving in the wind above.  We said our “see you soons” and had a good night’s rest.

We got up early in the morning and went through the drive through at Scooter’s Coffee (est. 1998) and their Peanut Butter Crunch Blender is out of this world full of flavor.  On our way bright and early in order to have a good amount of time at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, which is free and has an amazing collection of historical information, photos, and aircraft, and houses airplanes, rockets, missiles, etc…  Truly, this museum is unbelievably impressive and positively overwhelming!  One afternoon does not do it justice, so we already plan on future returns.  We had fun in the gift shop and found many rare finds.  We got our Historic History Connection Passport stamped here too, which we had picked up when we fortunately happened upon Fort Recovery, Ohio, where we acquired the passport and received our first stamp, near the headwaters of the Wabash River in our travels on the way to the Air Force Museum.  We met a very kind woman at the Fort Recovery State Museum and she showed us around the museum and shared some history of the area.  We bought a couple of books focused on the area, a poster, and a meaningful and personal gift for my mom.  This experience was unexpected and truly meant to be for us- so sporadically special!  Our dinner at Cracker Barrel in Pickerington, OH along our drive home  was a most pleasant way to wrap up our midwest weekend trip.