Part of the fun of going through last year's photos at this time of year is reliving warm-weather adventures in the middle of winter. It's making me look forward to spring! I thought I'd share two of the Starfighter trips John and I made last fall...
SWANK AIRFIELD in Butler, Ohio.
This grass strip (see it right behind the wing there?) is one of my FAVORITE places to go as it's got everything you could possibly want. You can camp right next to the river, go swimming in the summer, there's a shady gazebo for picnicking, it's right on one of Ohio's major bike trails, and there's an amazing diner right in town. It also has an old-skool water pump and a bathroom. The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) is working hard to get places like this spiffed up and put on aeronautical charts. For a long time, Swank Field was a bit of a secret and not everyone knew where it was. (Hopefully it still kinda stays that way.) From our neck of the woods, just fly north-northeast, pass the south end of Delaware lake, keep on going until you pass in between two small-ish lakes. When you see the three radio towers in a row off to your left, look for the river and the town and swoop in over the valley. No GPS required!
Butler is perfect for scootering, and we went straight down the bike path toward The Whiffletree.
The Whiffletree, famous for its John Wayne decor, is closed on Wednesdays, and the last time we flew in I got so excited dreaming of their amazing home fries, only to have my hopes dashed by the CLOSED sign. (I think our airport home base needs to create a restaurant reference list of what's open when. Maybe a fun summer to-do list item...?) This was not a Wednesday, though, so all was well. Breakfast accomplished!
NORTH BASS ISLAND in Lake Erie.
First stop: Port Clinton for lunch at the Tin Goose Diner (there always seems to be food involved in these trips). It was our original intention to head to Kelly's Island, but we got a late start and really wanted to save that for a day when there was more time to ride around the island. The Tin Goose NEVER disappoints, and their soups are the best I've had ever.
I always love looking at this part of the Ohio chart. Just past the Cedar Point roller coasters... all these little tiny islands with airstrips on them.
We've gone to Kelley's and to Put-in-Bay, but not the others, so I asked John if we could try a different one, and we chose North Bass. We bought some cookies and hot cocoa to go at the Tin Goose, and took off. It was a perfect day for a cookie picnic.
Most of the island was bought by the state in and is now North Bass Island State Park. People still live there, but not very many. It's beautiful from the air! I want to go back again when we have more time to go exploring.
This little building is the post office and airport of the community, Isle Saint George. Somewhere on the island there's a museum in an old schoolhouse, and next time I'd like to go & find out more about the island's history.
This was our picnic view. The beach was rocky, but there were enough flat spots to put down a blanket and have a nap.
Even without the salt, Lake Erie feels just like the sea, which makes me feel not so far away from New England where I grew up. I wonder sometimes about living someplace like this, isolated and remote, even just for a season. Winter with all its snow and ice, or summer with storms and fireflies...