Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HIGHWAYS & BYWAYS, PART 2 - Finding Gomer, via Mayberry

After the disappointing visit to the Lincoln Ridge Pumpkin and Mum Fall Festival, we ventured on in search of Gomer and a traveling Welsh exhibit ~ only stopping in twelve towns across the country.  With Kevin definitely having Welsh ancestry and me being fairly confident of some (still working on that side of the family tree but with my maiden name, I'm thinking, good grief, there's got to be some Welsh blood in there somewhere!), we were very curious to see the exihibit.  Neither of us having heard of Gomer (oh gee, ya' think??), we did a little online research before our trip and learned that the very small community (just slightly over 200 folk) is home to the Wales-Ohio project, including a museum with incredible resources and interesting events (although it's not open in January, February, and March because "it's just too cold and nobody shows up").

Of course, the first challenge was to actually find Gomer.  I mean, in northwest Ohio, there are a lot of places a town of 200 can hide.  Having taken a cursory look at Mapquest, we were convinced that surely we could find Gomer Road (obviously the ONLY road that would lead to the "promised land") somewhere along SR 30 so that's the direction we headed.  We didn't find it.  We did find Mayberry Road and were greatly tempted to follow that....hmmm....but a few u-turns and finally a stop at a nearby Speedway where there was a great debate among those in attendance, we had the directions we needed to Gomer.

The Welsh in America exhibit was being hosted by the Gomer U.C.C. and at the time we arrived was well attended.  In the center of the room were 6 two-sided topical banners telling the story, the history of the Welsh in America, and for us, it was fascinating to feel so connected to this story.  There were some things that we knew, but much we learned.  We now know that Ellis Island was named for a Welshman, Samuel Ellis, who had a tavern on the island, and that the phrase, "keeping up with the Joneses" arose out of 19th century New York when a wealthy Welsh couple named Jones kept improving their estate and their neighbors kept trying to do the same.  We also learned that the Welsh came to America bringing their ideas of equal rights, free speech, and non-conformity (yay!).

Surrounding the room were items from the Gomer Welsh Museum and hostesses served us (frequently!) Welsh treats which we enjoyed greatly (and picked up some recipes for a few) - Welsh cakes, imported Welsh cheese, scones.  Yes, our trip to Gomer was definitely the "win" for the day.

Despite the treats we enjoyed at the Welsh exhibit, we had planned to wrap up our day with a visit to Landeck, home of Keith's Tavern and its "World Famous Fried Chicken."  More country roads, more bean fields, and more trees showing their autumn colors and we pulled into Landeck, passing Kill Road just inside the town limits ~ I commented, "Who would want to live on 'Kill Road'?"  We found Keith's Tavern easily ~ I know, I know, it's not like Gomer and Landeck make it hard on us :) ~ and were seated, fortunately, just before what we are guessing Sunday early evening mass had let out as the place filled almost to capacity about ten minutes after we arrived.

We both ordered the fried chicken and were happy to be seated under the big screen TV so we could get the news that the Rays had clinched first place in the ALC East.  It also helped to pass the time, and I do mean time, that we had to wait for our meal.  Now, maybe someone can comment on here and tell me that "home-fried" chicken takes twenty to twenty-five minutes to prepare...I don't know.  That's why I don't run a restaurant.  But I have had "home-fried" chicken at other places that was served in a considerably shorter time.  That being noted, I do need to say that the chicken I had at Keith's was great, and yes, I licked my fingers when I was done.  So a definite "thumbs up" on the chicken....but the sides, well, let's just say, next time I'll order a four-piece chicken and skip the sides completely.  I had mashed potatoes (pretty sure they were homemade but they were "gummy") and anytime I get coleslaw served in the little plastic container with the cover...well, I just don't go there.  Rolls?  Call me cynical but I'm guessing GFS.  So, our trip to Keith's in Landeck ended up as a "bye."

All in all, not too bad a day for a Sunday Highways and Byways....stay tuned :)

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