Day 13 – Ohio, West Virginia, to Pennsylvania

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Aware that we had a hard deadline to make for our tour of Kentuck Knob, we wasted as little time as possible in getting out of the Hotel Millersburg this morning. Our plan was to have breakfast at an Amish restaurant in nearby Berlin as recommended by our host at the hotel last night. We checked out around 8:00 am and headed for Berlin where we were lucky to find a park across the road from the Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant and seats inside. It was crowded. Perhaps we should not have been too surprised by that. I had overheard the host at our hotel telling other guests that there was nowhere in Millersburg that served breakfast and Berlin did not seem to have a lot open at that time.

Majella had egg with home fries covered in gravy and some toast with a ‘cappuccino’ topped with a large dollop of ‘whipped cream’. I had coffee with the daily special – ham and cheese omelette with home fries and rye bread toast. The home fries were finely cut potato fried in a pan. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere but could not linger long.

We were back on the road just before 9:00 am with the GPS indicating an ETA of around 12:30 at our B&B near Vanderbilt PA. Unfortunately the route it had planned headed south to the I-70 and then east, missing the chance to experience the countryside. I knew from some work last night in Google Maps that we could go cross country in a generally south-easterly direction toward Wheeling and still make much the same time so I pointed the GPS toward an intermediate destination to distract it from the Interstate.

I figured that we could afford to spend about an hour on side trips and still find the B&B (on a country road) in daylight before moving on to catch our tour at Kentuck Knob. We had not gone far when Majella was already wishing that she had more time to spend enjoying the pretty countryside and the array of Amish and other stores selling crafts and related goods. We were held up for a bit by road works and as we came out of that she spotted Walnut Creek Amish Flea Market. She decided to spend at least part of our buffer time there. We wandered around looking at the mix of kitsch and genuine articles. Majella did buy a couple of things before we headed off again.

About 2 hours on we reached Cadiz. It was time for coffee and a change of driver. As we drove through town we saw no sign of a coffee shop but we did spot signs advertising the Clark Gable and Coal Museums. They were separate attractions and we decided to visit the Clark Gable birth house. An older woman offered us the seniors discount for the tour with her as guide so we took it. It was the actual house in which Clark Gable was born but his family moved to another house in the area at 10 months. The house had some replica furniture and household items and a lot of Clark Gable memorabilia, including his blue Cadillac with the black top so it looked like a convertible – which he wanted but his wife did not. As we finished the tour we asked about coffee and were given directions to a place back in town. We missed that one, saw a sign for another that turned out to be abandoned, and finished buying Cokes (Cherry for Majella, Vanilla for me) in the Dollar General store before I took the wheel and drove on.

From there it was steady driving to our B&B. We stopped once for fuel but, with the GPS showing an ETA of 1:52 pm, we did not want to stop and risk not catching our tour if we were delayed further along. Once we left the I-70 at Belle Vernon the roads became narrow and winding, as the hills became steeper, and we wondered at times if the GPS could be heading in the right direction. It was and we made it to the B&B at about 1:45 pm, a little better than the GPS had estimated but not as much as we typically gain. Jonathan, son of the hosts, greeted us and showed us our room where we deposited our luggage before heading off to find Kentuck Knob.

When the GPS offered a route with unsealed roads I declined so it recalculated and off we went. At first the roads seemed much like those on which we had come to Vanderbilt but once we had passed through Dunbar we headed into the woods and I began to wonder if we were going in the right direction. I had downloaded area maps to Offmaps on my iPad and with the GPS on there was able to confirm that we were going toward Kentuck Knob by the shortest route. We still had not eaten lunch and had thought we might find something near Kentuck Knob. However, when we came across the ‘Junkyard Grille’ as we entered a clearing in the woods we were intrigued and decided to stop. Majella ordered a BLT and I opted for a cup of chilli. After what seemed an interminable wait (15 minutes or so) we got our food and headed off along the road to make the last 10 km or so to Kentuck Knob and eat it there.

We arrived at Kentuck Knob just before 3:00 pm. When I checked in I was offered spots on the 3:30 pm tour instead of the 4:00 pm I had booked. We took those, figuring we could use the time afterwards rather than waiting. We ate our lunch and checked out the gift shop until 3:30 pm when the shuttle took us up to the house for the guided tour. Photos were not allowed inside but I have some from outside that will get to Flickr when I am able. The tour guide was a Frank Lloyd Wright fan and provided some interesting details about the design and history of the house. It was built for the Hagans who had a business nearby and were inspired by the Fallingwater house that we will see tomorrow. They lived there for 30 years but when they passed on it was bought by Lord Palumbo from the UK who has some of his collectibles in the house but does not live there. From that perspective it is not as interesting as the Wright house we saw in West Lafayette which has been lived in by the same family for whom it was built and is much more ‘original’. Still this was an interesting house and a fascinating insight into the way that Wright worked on design.

After touring the house we walked down through the sculpture garden to the visitor centre and drove to Connellsville, mostly along the route we had taken to Kentuck Knob. We drove through looking for somewhere to eat but failed to spot anywhere promising. I resorted to looking for POIs on the GPS but the first of those drew a blank though we did see something that looked promising along the way. That turned out not to look so good on the inside and we finished at the Italian Oven which was recommended by a man that Majella stopped in the street. Majella had chicken with pasta and salad (all together which is unusual) with iced tea. I had fettuccine with arrabbiatta sauce and beer.

Distance covered today was just 310 km. That’s short by our standards but we saw a lot and it seems a fitting celebration for Majella’s birthday.