Well, we finally left the frigid tundra of Wisconsin after 10 days of eating and visiting friends and family. We wanted to share a few of the highlights of this next leg of our Journey. Our last stop before heading out of Wisconsin, of course, had to do with cheese…what else? Mars Cheese Castle is a stop along the highway. They boasted over 300 kinds of cheese. I (Amber) was on cheese overload.
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Amber, forever a cheese head!

We contributed heavily to the Illinois Interstate freeways system by utilizing their toll roads through Chicago and made a couple small town stops in Indiana. It was small town picture perfect with the local police hanging out on the corner by the main street movie theater or watching snow mobiles filling up at the gas station on the edge of town.DSC_0225 DSC_0231DSC_0346Then we crossed the border into those idyllic farmlands of Ohio. We were a little surprised at what we say dominating the landscape. Of course nothing says “Welcome to Ohio” like a huge cooling tower.DSC_0246I knew of a great local place in Toledo called Tony Packo’s Cafe. A couple of things about me. 1. I go to restaurants that are on the food network or get a lot of hype for one reason or another 2. I usually forget to take photos before hungrily digging in. If I do manage to get a photo it is just a quick shot with my phone – so sorry for the poor quality. One of the things Tony’s is famous for its Hungarian dumplings. Lee tried those and I had the cabbage roll.

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Chicken paprikas with dumplings and a cabbage roll.

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Apparently it’s a thing for famous people to come to Tony Packo’s and sign buns! (This is only a very small sampling). Lee wondered why they did not ask him to sign one. He guessed it was because they were busy.

From there we made it to Cleveland and their Market District. The Market District is home to the famous West Side Market which was built in 1912. It’s easy to see why it is a must see when visiting Cleveland. It was amazing! It was like going back in time. Meats, cheese, bread, vegetables, pastries – all prepared and displayed like it was a festival. And everyone was so friendly and seemed to be having a great time doing their job.DSC_0336DSC_0306DSC_0318 DSC_0303 DSC_0328The Market District itself is also something to see with its many eateries and breweries and coffee shops all within a two block radius.  Foodie heaven! Too bad we were there in the morning and Lee doesn’t believe in drinking beer before noon.  I don’t know, I don’t get it.

No beer? :(
No beer? :(

Just east of Erie Pennsylvania is Presque Isle State Park. It was about eleven degrees when we visited and there was a good breeze blowing. We managed to stay outside long enough to capture a few images. Even though it is actually a huge state park, in these conditions, we felt like real arctic explores. DSC_0367DSC_0371 DSC_0359DSC_0259We also just happened to see this guy loading a package into the covered compartment of his fan boat, apparently for delivery over lake. We caught this series of photos as he gunned the engine, shot down over the frozen beach and into the water. I wish we could have captured the roar that went with these pics!DSC_0282DSC_0283DSC_0285DSC_0274Our first stop in New York State was Valvo‘s candy shop. We could not miss it – Dolly Dimples (the bulbous-headed waitress) is hard to miss! The place is full of very kind of candy and an odd collection of second-hand collectibles from a life-size Frankenstein to guardian angels and gnomes. We resisted buying anything since the car is pretty full and already has a life-size Peter Pan on board (aka Lee).DSC_0405 DSC_0403 DSC_0404 DSC_0402

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Coming Up – Niagara Falls!