Western PA Jan 23-25 2006

Monday January 23

Gene arrived about 12:45. First order of business was lunch. We headed toward the Main Street Grille & Pizzeria, but it turned out to be closed for remodeling. So we had lunch at the Jimmy the Greek's sandwich shop at Ellwood Rd and Cascade Ave. Good food!

And our adventure begins, with the first stop being . . .

Lawrence County Court House.
The building is in the National Register of Historic Places.
It was built between 1850 and 1852.
The original contract was for $12,004, but with changes and overruns, the final cost was $32,000.
That example of mis-management set a tradition closely followed by the County Commissioners of today.

Stopped at the Lawrence County Historical Society looking for a New Castle walking tour.
but it turned out they are closed Sunday and Monday, so no info.

Went looking for Edward C. Darley in Oak Park Cemetery, an RAOGK request.
But the office manager not there, so it was a no go.

Checked out Sankey Lane east of Mercer Road. Nothing really of interest at the end of the lane.
The building seen from Maitland is in the Haven Point development, whose entrance is on Maitland. But there's a "No Trespassing" sign, so we didn't get to see it close up.

Toured Lakewood Rd north off Maitland up the creek to Neshannock Falls.

Checked out quarries: George Washington and PA956, a jeep trail, and along Young, Vossler, Kino Roads. To see what they look like from above, click here.
Not very scenic. They are full of water and vegetation growing up to the shore. Disappointing!

Stopped to see Gene's cousin Helen Williams Thompson who lives in Wilmington Twp on Johnston Rd, but nobody home.

We went looking for a couple of post offices I thought might be interesting:
New Bedford, PA 16140. But the village of New Bedford turned out to be much larger than expected, so we didn't even bother finding the post office.

And . . .

Villa Maria, PA 16155.
Found! And it's even located in a
nuclear weapon-free zone.

It's in a very strange location . . . within the Villa Maria Community Center complex. The complex is the Motherhouse for the Sisters of the Humility of Mary and includes the Villa Maria Retreat Center, retirement apartments, a farm, and the US Post Office with its own zip code. Well, so much for the separation of church and state.

The sisters do a LOT of good work including much help for the poor and the environment.

Click here for a Google Earth view of the complex.

Returned home via US422 and Maitland Rd.
With Beverly, went into New Castle for dinner . . .
Yerage's at 630 E Washington had lights on and OPEN signs on both front and back doors, but was closed. Apparently they don't pay attention to details! A bad sign.
So we continued on down Business US422 and had dinner at the Nifty Fifties Diner at 1130 Butler Ave. Good food, great waitress.

Tuesday January 24

Discovered broken tailpipe on the Suzuki. Decided it wouldn't slow us down, but we did take a coat hanger with us to wire it up if needed.
Bev went to Erie to visit her father, so we headed north, stopping first for . . .
Breakfast at Mugsie's Coffee House in New Wilmington.   Hooray for cappuccino!

Driving through Hermitage, we saw this spiffy looking building at the intersection of US62 and PA18.

It's the First National Bank building.

North of Hermitage, we visited several areas along the Shenango River:

Golden Run Wildlife Area. Big Bend Historic Area.
For more photos of the areas, click on one of the photos or here.
A tree on US19 about 6 miles north of Mercer, just north of the B&LE RR overpass.

Checked out the status of . . .

The Kuharik Pottery at 325 N Sassafras, Mercer.

Mercer Livestock Auction

Tuesdays starting at 11:00AM. Or so.

Pennsylvania Quality Assured Beef.
It's What's For Dinner.

Just north of Mercer on US19. You can't miss it. . . just watch for the 20 foot tall steer beside the road.

Got gassed at Sandy Lake Boro. Also got recommendation for lunch, which we took.
Lunch at Grantham's Landing on Georgetown Rd, just off PA173 4 miles north of Sandy Lake.
Gene broke a tooth on his burger. Fortunately, no pain.

We visited a bridge across French Creek in the northeast corner of Mercer county that was built in the 19th century.

It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

For more info and photos,
click on the photo or here.

With help from USAtek, a.k.a. Certainty Tech Internet, a Sandy Lake PC shop, we located Highland Aplaca at 1404 Millbrook Rd east of PA173 and north of IS80. Drove up the driveway but there was nobody visibly around, so we left.

Discovered both Grove City (Katy's Korner and Steese's) ice cream shops closed.
Shortly later, the Suzuki started coughing, running rough and turned on its "service soon" light. But it eventually got over it and started running smooth. The "service soon" light didn't go off until the next day, though.

Checked out the future site of a Super Walmart in London. It is being resisted by a couple of grocery owners in the area and one local resident. I look forward to its completion. As do others living along PA208 who display placards in their yards saying "We Welcome Walmart". Placards probably supplied free of charge by Walmart.

Returned home.
Larry was outvoted for dinner location, so we returned to Yerage's in New Castle. No beer. Larry drove and paid. Peter Yerage, the restaurant owner, has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. The place used to be called Relic's Main Street Cafe.

Wednesday January 25

Snow overnight.
Breakfast at Hudson Lunch, 102 E Washington St in downtown New Castle.
Then to Steamers Coffee & Tea for cappuccino and coffee.

We stopped by the (now open) Lawrence County Historical society, had a nice chat with Bob Pressner. He supplied us with copies of New Castle walking tour pamphlets.

We wanted to photograph some of the great old house on North Hill. Since there was a high temperature of about 30 degrees that day, we opted to drive the walking tour. We should go back and walk it during balmier times.

The photo to the left is the Ohl house at 208 E. Lincoln Ave.
For more info and photos of other houses,
click on the photo or here.

Zelienople . . .
Slid down an icy side street, then . . .
Lunch at the Kountry Kitchen, 111 S Main St, a half block south of the Kaufman House.

The Passavant House at 243 S Main St, Zelienople.
This is the home of the Zelienople Historical Society.
According to their web site, the Society is open M-F 9-3. But they were closed!

The house was a present from Baron Dettmar Basse to his daughter Zelie
on her marriage to Philipp Louis Passavant in June 1807.

Next on to The Harmony Museum . . .
The Harmony Historic District is a National Historic Landmark.
Museum hours are 12-4, with tours 1-4. Closed Mon. They were open as advertised. We stumbled in just as a tour was beginning. It was a great tour given by a very knowledgeable guide (which made it a great tour). The Harmonists lived here from 1804 until 1814, when they sold the town and its 9000 acres of lands to Abraham Ziegler, a Mennonite from Lehigh County, PA.

Harmonist Cemetery.

100 Harmonists are buried here.

The stone wall and one ton rotating gate were built by Mennonite stone workers in 1869. It was contracted after the Harmonists returned from New Harmony, Indiana and were living in Economie, on the Ohio River.

We returned home and Gene shoved off at 4:00, doggie bag in hand.
Icy road on US422 around Michael's Restaurant.

Larry's Other Place
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