October 15, 2016


“Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office-seeking.”  Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States

Carol writes:  We had just about completed our counterclockwise loop around the state of Ohio.  What an interesting 2 months it had been!

Our final campground in Ohio was on the shore of Lake Erie at Camp Perry, a National Guard training facility that claims to have the largest outdoor rifle range in the world. 
As we took our customary afternoon walk to check out our surroundings in a new campground, we saw hundreds of National Guard members sharpening their marksmanship skills at a long stretch of targets facing into the open waters along the shore of Lake Erie. 

The state of Ohio lays claim to eight presidents with deep roots in the Buckeye State.  As presidential history junkies, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the home and museum devoted to Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States (1877-1881).  From our campground at Camp Perry it was a short drive to Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio, home of the Hayes family estate.

In addition to serving as our 19th President, Hayes also served as a General in the Civil War, Congressman from Ohio, Governor of Ohio, father to eight children and devoted husband to Lucy.  Spiegel Grove was his home for most of his adult life, and that is the place where he retired to private life with his wife after serving one term in the presidency.

The 25-acre wooded estate of Spiegel Grove consisted of the 100-year-old Hayes Museum and Library, a forerunner of the modern system of presidential libraries,

the 31-room Hayes family mansion, with the first floor restored to the 1880s era,

and the burial site of the President and his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes.

The museum wonderfully chronicled the extraordinary life of service of Rutherford B. Hayes and his loving marriage to Lucy. There was a marvelous collection of old photographs and personal items that I have always found to be fascinating, such as...

the wedding dress of Lucy Webb Hayes,

a ring owned by President Hayes that contained the hair of George Washington,

and the Hayes presidential carriage.

As usual, I found it frustrating not being allowed to take pictures inside an historic mansion, but the Internet came to my rescue…

Internet photo of Drawing Room
The years of the Hayes presidency included overseeing the final days of Reconstruction; however, despite some laudable successes, many historians would agree that the presidential years of Rutherford B. Hayes were relatively unremarkable.  Although the presidency was undoubtedly the crowning achievement of his life, Hayes himself preferred to be called “General” in recognition of the Civil War years he devoted to preserving the union and fighting to end slavery.


As governor of Ohio, Hayes considered his proudest achievement to be the establishment of The Ohio State University as a land grant college in 1870.  There’s a whole lot of Buckeye fans who would agree.


Some of the most scenic communities along the shore of Lake Erie can be found on the offshore islands.  Four years ago we were treated to a delightful day with my brother and his wife at Lake Erie’s Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island.

That day was so memorable that we longed for a repeat experience—this time on nearby Kelleys Island.  The ferry ride over on the calm waters of Lake Erie was breathtaking in its beauty.

The village was quaint and harkened back to a simpler time in the past. 

For a change of pace, we decided to rent a golf cart and soon found ourselves riding past exquisite homes along the water in the high-rent district.

By a quirk of nature, Kelleys Island is home to the finest example of glacial grooves in the world.  On the north end of the island there was a series of spectacular grooves that have been exposed for almost 400 feet in length.  These giant grooves were carved into the limestone bedrock by the action of an advancing continental glacier as it flowed down into northern Ohio from Canada 25,000 years ago.

This so-called Wisconsin Glacier was a much as a mile thick and covered many thousands of square miles throughout Canada, the Great Lakes, and several of our northern states.

Throw in a cemetery crawl past tombstones of some of the earliest settlers on Kelleys Island, mixed in with a lunch of yummy fried lake perch, and we couldn’t have had a more wonderful day driving our golf cart along the hidden gems on Kelleys Island.

During our stay at Camp Perry my brother and his wife made one last visit to our campground.  This was the fourth time they have caught up with us on the road this summer during our travels in Michigan and Ohio.  We look forward to seeing them again soon!

Time to head into Indiana Amish country for some minor warranty work on our motorhome at the Entegra factory in Middlebury, Indiana.  We are looking forward to meeting other Entegra owners and spending time with some of the expert Entegra service people who have served us so well.

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