Fabulous food finds in Wayne County, Ohio

As much as I want to consider myself a “foodie,”  I’m more of a “see-food-and-eat-it” type of gal.  But my trip to Wayne County had me considering the diversity of foods we enjoy in Ohio and eager to seek out more unique foods whilst traveling. Here’s a small taste (pun!) of the fabulous foods you can enjoy throughout Wayne County, Ohio.

Fabulous food finds in Wayne County, Ohio - stop by Lehman's for 300 kinds of soda.

Try up to 300 kinds of soda

Lehman’s Hardware is chockablock full of anything you could ever need.  What I didn’t expect was 300 types of sodas!  If you’re in the mood to try something new, or revisit an old favorite – make sure you stop by this Kidron institution.  Lehman’s is located on the Kidron Square.

Fabulous food finds in Wayne County, Ohio- Dutch Kitchen is just the spot for Amish Country comfort foods.

Gobble up all the comfort foods

Dutch Kitchen is a one-stop shop for any Amish Country comfort foods.  From family-style meals to fresh-baked bread and pastries, you won’t leave with an empty stomach.  I tried the local favorite, a hot ham and swiss, and it was the best I’ve ever had.  I left full and happy.  You’ll find Dutch Kitchen located just off of Route 30 in Dalton.

Fabulous food finds in Wayne County, Ohio- Smucker's Foods is headquartered in Wayne County. Try the many brands you grew up on!

Embrace the foods of your childhood

“With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.”  You’ve heard that countless times over the years, right?  J.M. Smucker started making apple cider and butter back in 1897 from trees probably planted by Johnny Appleseed.  While Smucker was well-known throughout the area back then, he’s now well-known throughout the USA and world!  Smucker’s doesn’t just own the brand that carries their name, but also JIF, Crisco, and the dry-goods section of Pillsbury!  They even own Meow Mix!

 

My favorite part of their flagship store?  The ability to take home a personalized gift on your favorite food!  How darling is this photo of my kids, put on a strawberry jam label? The Smucker’s store is located at 333 Wadsworth Rd in Orrville.

Fabulous Foods of Wayne County, Ohio- Lerch's donuts are a local favorite. Bet you can't eat just one!

Try not to eat a whole box of donuts

I use the word “try” very loosely, because a Lerch’s donut in my hand doesn’t last very long!  Wayne County’s own donut perfector doesn’t even have a store front-  they made the food truck fashionable a long time ago!  Their mobile stand is located in the Portage Square Plaza at 2312 Akron Rd- March – Thanksgiving.  You can also find Lerch’s donuts at many local county fairs.

 Fabulous foods of Wayne County- Shisler's Cheese House

Cheese and bologna and chocolates- Oh my!

Shisler’s Cheese House has been in business for over 60 years.  Specializing in Amish Country staples of trail bologna and swiss cheese, you’ll also find gourmet chocolates and local food products.  Oh yes, there are pies!  What you’ll love even more than the Swiss cheese is the family-owned charm and convenient location.  You can find them just off of Route 30 in Orrville.

This is just a sampling of the fabulous foods you’ll enjoy in Wayne County, Ohio!  Have you been?  What’s your favorite diet splurge?

Looking for somewhere to stay?  I loved my time at the St. Paul Hotel. Check current rates HERE.

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Fabulous foods of Wayne County, Ohio - what to eat while visiting Wayne County, Ohio. There's more to offer than just Amish foods, although you'll want to try those, too! How about 300 kinds of soda or the most amazing donuts?

I was hosted as a guest of the Wayne County CVB.  All opinions are my own!

Post contains affiliate links.

 

Best Christmas gifts for the homeschool mom

Homeschool moms wear a lot of hats:  teacher, principal, and curriculum advisor, not to mention their homemaking roles, financial advisor, etc.  While that may create stress the other 364 days per year, on Christmas Day it means many more options for gifts!

Here are my favorite Christmas gifts for the homeschool mom.  Some for her, some to make homeschooling easier.  The things she wants but won’t ask for!  Read to the end for a fantastic giveaway just in time for the holidays!

EXPO Dry Erase Markers

Let’s just begin with reality- Dry erase markers are equivalent to liquid gold in our home.  They can also cause mama to LOSE HER COOL when the kiddos steal them for their personal coloring.  Save her sanity and stick some of these in your homeschool mom’s stocking.  She will love you for it!

Field guide to trees and Field guide to birds

Our family takes many nature hikes and the children are always asking about birds and trees and well, they are not a part of my repertoire!  These field guides are helpful for any mom that enjoys the outdoors, or uses Charlotte Mason-type curriculum.

Best Christmas gifts for the homeschool mom

Office essentials

Homeschooling often happens at the kitchen table, but it always feels good when it’s a little organized and pretty.  These office items from Target are perfect for making the homeschool mom feel pampered.  The globe will help her with teaching lessons, the files and paper organizer are great for separating each child’s work, and the bookends are functional and cute!  (I have these bookends and I love them).

 

The Unhurried Homeschooler or Teaching from Rest

Not gonna lie, most homeschooling moms could use a little encouragement.  Reading books from those who have been or are currently walking the homeschooling road is one way to help!  Both of these books have been on my “to-read” list for awhile and both received rave reviews.

 

For the Laura Ingalls Wilder fanatic

It seems to me that nearly every other homeschool mom has read the Little House books to her kiddos.  We’re almost done with the series and this new scarf from Litographs takes Laura’s words right off of the page!  Or this novel based on the life of Caroline.  Every time I start whining about motherhood or cooking, I think of how much easier we have it than Caroline.

Amazon gift card

I don’t know how you could go wrong with gifting an Amazon gift card.  Hopefully she’ll use it on herself and not school supplies, but even then, it’s always a great gift!

Best Christmas gifts for the homeschool mom- a massage

Groupon for a massage

She needs an hour of quiet and relaxation, you want to save a few dollars.  Why not check Groupon for excellent savings?  A massage, a pedicure, or an hour at the spa- I doubt the homeschool mom in your life will be too picky about which gift you choose!


best gifts for the homeschool mom

A new t-shirt to show the world she’s a proud homeschool mom

What’s even better?  You could win one!  I’m partnering with 6Money’s Creations to give one reader a chance at winning one of these styles.  You pick the design and the t-shirt size.  (Rules: Must be a US Resident, drawing ends 12/7 at 5:00pm and will be chosen at random.  Must follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below for ways to enter).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which Christmas gift is your favorite?

** This post contains affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. **

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Picking the Perfect Family Road Trip Vehicle

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I didn’t formally mention it on the blog, but back in March we purchased a used 2014 Chrysler Town and Country.  My 2005 Dodge Caravan was beginning to have a more issues than we wanted to deal with, and we decided that it was the proper time for a replacement.

Mr. Yoder Toter and I had many lengthy discussions about getting an SUV versus sticking with a minivan.  We spoke to friends and family about the pros and cons of each vehicle, taking into consideration our family of five.   Because we do a lot of traveling, we researched gas mileage and storage holds.

Most of all, we considered our budget.   We had been saving for months and we didn’t want to go into debt.  Buying a car is no small decision- especially knowing that we don’t believe in car payments!

It came down to the question- “what would be the best vehicle for family travel?”  Here’s why we chose another minivan and why we find it to be the perfect family road trip vehicle!

How we chose our perfect family road trip vehicle. Yes, we went with another minivan- and here are the factors we considered.

Stow ‘n Go

Most Dodge and Chrysler minivans are fitted with the option to Stow ‘n Go the seats.  This means that the seats fold down into the bottom of the vehicle.  It takes less than 15 seconds to fold a seat down and create extra storage space.  This is convenient for positioning a cooler in the aisle or hauling extra suitcases.  While we checked out other brands of minivans, I knew I’d become too accustomed to the Stow ‘n Go in our old minivan.

Cruise Control

Another non-negotiable is cruise control.  A speed demon by nature (my husband calls me Richard Petty- yikes!), cruise control allows me to stay within a safe zone and give my foot a rest while driving on the highway.

Gas mileage

While our minivan will never get us the gas mileage of my husband’s Honda Fit, it still surpasses most SUVs.  We were able to get nearly 25 mpg while driving to North Carolina in September!  We like to spend money on experiences and hotels, not gas- so getting great gas mileage while road tripping is a must!

Space

Our friends with SUVs told us that they didn’t feel the trunk space was adequate for traveling with a large family.  Also, without the added head room or aisle-way that the van provides, we realized it may be harder to help little ones in third row seating.  These things, coupled with the Stow ‘n Go, really sold us on the minivan being the go-to family roadtrip vehicle.

Price

Obviously, the price was important and another reason why we went with a minivan over the SUV.  Mr YT was pressed endlessly to the screen of his smartphone in research until an unlikely deal showed up.   He drove to Cleveland early the next morning to purchase the Town and Country!  Yes, I let my husband buy a vehicle without me seeing it first! #wifeoftheyear

How we chose the perfect family road trip vehicle. Here are the factors we considered and why we went with another minivan.

That’s how we found our perfect family road trip vehicle!   If are ready to look for something new, cars.com enables you to research vehicles, sell your old car, and find a new car!  It’s a one-stop website!

What type of vehicle works best for your family?

Travel smarter with Global Allianz

Emergency Help Overseas

Oh, the stories I could tell.  Over the seven years I spent as a travel agent, I saw a number of trips interrupted or cancelled because of medical and family emergencies.  The unthinkable happens – an appendix burst a few days before an international flight, a son passes away while cruising the Caribbean, or an epic snowstorm closes down an airport.  (Yes, these all happened to my clients)!  The most stressful?  My own mother’s medical emergency while visiting Europe.

Travel insurance is a vital piece of vacation planning. We purchased Allianz Global Assistance before taking our 3-week trip to Australia.  Traveling with small children, the last thing I wanted to be concerned about was lacking emergency assistance.  So much time and money goes into travel, and protecting that investment -and our health- was something I valued.

So, being the travel insurance advocate that I am, I was excited to hear how the TravelSmart™️ App by Allianz Global Assistance would give me even more confidence to travel safely.

The redesigned TravelSmart app makes it easier than ever to get help when traveling and manage your Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance policy.

Travel Safely with TravelSmart

The redesigned TravelSmart™️ app makes it easier than ever to get assistance while traveling!  First things first, you have instant access to your travel insurance policy.  Any Global Allianz travel insurance policy is accessible from the home screen.  You can even look at benefit allowances or download a PDF of the policy.

While dealing with an emergency, the last thing you want to be searching for is a chunk of papers in the bottom of your suitcase.  The TravelSmart™️ App allows travelers to file and track claims right from their smartphone.

When I flew to London to help with my mother’s emergency, it would have been so nice to have file a claim at the touch of a button.  Instead, in an effort to help out my dad and get the ball rolling, I spent lots of time in the hotel lobby inserting coins into a payphone.  Technology can really save time in the midst of an emergency.

Additionally, The TravelSmart™️ App has a Medication Dictionary which gives international names for 750 common drugs!   Instead of sending an email or making an expensive phone call to your doctor at home, the answer to drug names are right at your fingertips, any time of the day.  In addition, 60+ first aid terms are translated.  So, if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation at a foreign ER, you’ll know how to ask for the help you require.

TravelSmart App by Global Allianz. Offers a medical translator of over 700 common drug names.

Travelers in need of a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or police station, can use the app’s function titled, Assistance Around Me. The geolocation service links with Apple or Google Maps to give helpful directions.  Because 911 doesn’t work in every country, you can even access local ambulance numbers and dial them directly from the App.  Lost passport?  Directions to the closest embassy are included!

You’ll never travel alone

Often we think of travel insurance as only being for epic travel disasters or emergencies.  But what about lost luggage?  Delayed flights?  These happen frequently among travelers and TravelSmart™️ App by Global Alliaz can help you with these as well.

After entering your initial flight information, you’ll get real time updates on your flight status.  You can also file a claim for lost luggage directly from the App.

Travelers can also set their claim to be paid by direct deposit or debit card payment.  What a help this is for younger travelers (like me) that rarely visit a physical bank!  Also, for travelers on an extended trip, this leaves the possibility of receiving your money back before returning home.

There is no purchase necessary to download the TravelSmart App.  Feel free to give it a try!

Want more information on how the TravelSmart™️ App by Global Allianz could help you in an emergency?

Watch this short video:

Have you had an emergency during travel?  Can you see how this App would make your life easier?  I’d love to hear from you!

*This post was sponsored by Allianz Worldwide Assistance.  All opinions are my own.*

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The TravelSmart App from Global Allianz allows you to view your travel insurance policy, get emergency help at the touch of a button, and file a claim directly from your phone. You'll never travel alone.

Holiday events within a 5-hour drive of Central Ohio

I’ve spent the last 15 years within an hour of Columbus, Ohio, so I’m finding I’m ready to get out and explore more of my home and neighboring states.  The Midwest (and Pennsylvania) enjoy a plethora of events to relish in Yuletide joy!

Here’s a guide to Christmas & holiday displays, including light shows, festivals, and shopping opportunities.

Ohio

Ohio Girl Travels gives a rundown of Ohio’s Best Christmas Lights Displays.

Clifton Mill is less than an hour’s drive from Dayton or Columbus.  The day after Thanksgiving, the lights come on- over 3.5 million Christmas lights draping the banks around this historic grist mill.  You can read more about this breathtaking destination on Adventure Mom‘s blog, Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.

Looking for a unique holiday experience?  How about taking a city light tour while riding a Segway?  SegWave of Sandusky, Ohio is offering one-hour holiday light tours of their downtown.  Nightly one-hour tours begin on November 25th!

For more on visiting Sandusky

Did you know that the Christmas Story house is based in Cleveland, OH?  Not only can you take a tour, you can stay the night!  Check out Mojo Traveler’s review of the tour HERE.

Holiday events within a 5 hour drive of Central Ohio
Credit: A Christmas Story House & Museum

Michigan

I’ve always wanted to go to Bronner’s Christmas store in Frankenmuth, Michigan! Bronner’s is the largest Christmas store IN THE WORLD.  Check out this post from Kana at Life in Wanderlust for more information on visiting!

Indiana

Indiana is full of holiday cheer for the family.  Here’s a few things you won’t want to miss:

Holiday events within a short drive of Central Ohio
Fort Wayne’s Night of Lights

Downtown Fort Wayne offers the Night of Lights on November 22 (Thanksgiving Eve).  The night offers an appearance by Santa and his reindeer and concludes with fireworks at Parkview Field.  Fort Wayne also offers a Festival of Trees at the Embassy Theatre. This runs from Nov 22-29th.

For more on visiting Fort Wayne.

Indianapolis has some fun holiday events of it’s own.  Lindsay from Let Me Give You Some Advice recommends Garfield Park’s Crossing at the Conservatory.  This is a family-friendly & budget-friendly holiday display.

Men may be even more excited than the ladies about Lights at the Brickyard, a drive-thru holiday display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  This year you can actually drive your vehicle on the oval and across the Yard of Bricks!  How fun?!  Before you go, purchase your tickets online!

Lights at the Indy 500 racetrack - Holiday events within a 5 hour drive of Columbus
The lights at Indy

If historic homes bursting with holiday decor are your thing, check out Madison, Indiana’s tour of homes taking place Nov 24 & 25 and Dec 1 & 2.  Madison is just 1.5 hours from Cincinnati!

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh isn’t a bad drive from much of Central Ohio!  Karyn from Sand and Snow her best tips for visiting Pittsburgh during the holidays!

For more on visiting Pittsburgh.

West Virginia

I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the Oglebay Festival of Lights.  Oglebay, outside of Wheeling, is one of the nation’s largest outdoor light displays.  They offer special programs like breakfast with Santa and Good Zoo’s reindeer training program.   Overnight packages are available, too!

 

What are some of your favorite holiday happenings in Ohio and her bordering states?

*This is not a sponsored post, but may contain affiliate links.

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Holiday events within a 5-hour drive within Central Ohio. The best Christmas lights, experiences and happenings around Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Eat, drink, and buy all the goods in Wooster, Ohio

Things to do in downtown Wooster

I grew up a meager 30 minutes from downtown Wooster, Ohio-  Mr. Yoder and I even had our first date at the Wooster cinema!  Yet, other than just passing through, I hadn’t been to Wooster in over 10 years!

So when I was invited to Wooster to experience the small city as a travel blogger, my interest was piqued. I wondered, “What are we going to find to do in Wooster?”  I’m overjoyed to report that there are plenty of local restaurants, quaint shops, and plenty of coffeehouses.  Here’s my list of things to do in Wooster, Ohio

Where to eat:

Downtown Wooster has over 27 restaurants.  Say WHAT?  Yes!  Here are a few suggestions.

Broken Rocks Cafe – Fresh baked breads, homemade soups and sandwiches, and a full bar.  This is where the locals go for lunch hours and an evening with friends.

Things to do in Wooster, Ohio - Broken Rocks Cafe

Basil Asian Bistro – Delicious Asian cuisine in a modern downtown location.  The perfect place for a date night, Basil offers outdoor dining and a full bar.

Spoon Market & Deli – This urban vibe of this cafe makes me think of Nashville, TN not Wooster, OH.  They serve all-day breakfast, plus lunch & dinner.  The bar is made of reclaimed materials and there’s even a small play area for kids. #allthepraisehands

Where to get coffee:

Wooster has no shortage of coffee houses.  I know where I’d find myself blogging a rainy day away.

Sure House Coffee – Located just steps away from the St. Paul Hotel, Sure House Coffee strives to use as many Fair Trade and local products as possible.

Tulipan Hungarian Bakery and Cafe –  Open since 2004, Tulipan offers pastries, croissants, and strudels, along with coffee & tea.  I love the small round tables and antique counter – it reminds me of the perfect place to have afternoon desserts with your best friend.

Things to do in Wooster, OH- Tulipan Cafe and Bakery

Templeton’s Scottish Bakery & Coffeehouse – Located in the basement of the Liberty Street Marketplace, Templeton’s does have the ambiance of being “across the pond.”  As if their name wasn’t enough to evoke the Scots, they also serve hot porridge for breakfast.

Things to do in Wooster, Ohio

Where to shop:

Books In Stock – If perusing the aisles of a used and rare book store is up your alley, you’ll want to spend an afternoon at Books In Stock.  A downtown Wooster business for over 25 years, you can’t leave without something new to read.

The Urban Cottage – Farmhouse decor, reclaimed wood, and gifts for person that has everything.  If money was no object, this is where I’d buy ALL the things.

Blue Spruce Boutique – You might think you stepped into the likes of Anthropologie, but you’re still in downtown Wooster!  This boutique contains a curated collection of everything from baby gifts to succulents.  I’ll be going back to spend some of my Christmas cash, guaranteed!

Everything Rubbermaid – Rubbermaid isn’t made in Wooster anymore, but their flagship store still resides downtown.  You’ll find what the name says- EVERYTHING.  And for kiddos tired of sightseeing, they even have a play area.

Things to do in Wooster, Ohio - Everything Rubbermaid

For everything else:

Faithful Little Cupcake – If you’ve already eaten too much, make sure you at least grab a half dozen of these glorious cupcakes to take home.  You’re welcome.

Meatheads Union– A trendy, butcher shop that also serves lunch.  They offer homemade sausages such as Mexican chorizo and German brats.

Grab a beer with friends at JAFB – Paul Fryman has been all over the world brewing beer, but in 2011, he decided to come back to his hometown.  The atmosphere in this renovated fire station has the character of a German beer hall.

Pick out a gift or take home groceries from Local Roots Market & Cafe – Seasonal and sustainable foods can be found, as well as local crafts.  I enjoyed looking at the handmade soaps and lotions.

Best Instagram spots:

Window art – located on Liberty Street, across from Broken Rocks Cafe.  Make sure your wings are straight, unlike mine!

Things to do in Wooster, OH- best Instagram spots

Before I die chalkboard mural – Add something from your Bucket List to this public art.  Located on Walnut Street, next to the Local Roots Market.

Things to do in Wooster, Ohio - Best Instagram spots

Wayne County Courthouse – At the northwest corner of the square, the imposing courthouse is a similar style to Philadelphia city hall.

So there’s my list of things to do in downtown Wooster, Ohio!  I feel like I’m not even scratching the surface!  What’s your favorite?

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Things to do in Wooster, Ohio. Where to eat, shop, and drink coffee. Wooster is a college town with lots of local businesses. You'll want to add this to your Ohio Bucket List. Things to do in Wooster, Ohio. Where to eat, shop, and drink coffee. Wooster, Ohio is home to the College of Wooster and full of things to do for the whole family.

I was hosted in Wooster, OH as a guest of the Wayne County CVB.  All opinions are my own.

5 FREE Christmas Events near Columbus, Ohio

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Central Ohio is the perfect place to enjoy the Christmas season with your family!  The chilled air and falling snow will get you in the mood to take in the sights and sounds with your children.  Here are 5 free Christmas events near Columbus, Ohio!

Scioto Mile Christmas lights

Bicentennial Park along the Scioto Mile is a great place to chill in the heat of summer, but now you can enjoy it once the holiday season hits.  The lights go on November 17th, but the inaugural celebration for 2017 will be a WinterFest event taking place on Saturday, December 2nd.  WinterFest includes a free concert of various local and national performers from 11 am- 4 pm.  Food trucks and beer vendors will also be present, with  a portion of food and beverage sales going to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.  

If you can’t make it, the lights stay up until January, so swing by after that holiday party or business meeting.

Ohio Statehouse

The lights turn on December 7th at the family-friendly Holiday Festival, but there’s a chance to see the Victorian-era decorations the entire month (check website for times). Located in the center of downtown Columbus, you won’t want to miss the beauty and majesty of the Christmas at the Statehouse.  A visit is also a great way to sneak some education into a two-week Christmas break.

5 Free Christmas events near Columbus Ohio
Photo credit: ohiostatehouse.org

State Auto’s Nativity Scene

Bob Pein, State Auto’s Founder, began decorating the company’s downtown headquarters building in 1932 as a “Christmas gift to the community.” The present day decor, a life-sized Nativity scene, has become a destination for locals and travelers alike.  The display will open Tuesday, December 5th through New Years Day beginning at 5:30 pm each evening with local choirs performing on the weekends.  This may just be your new Christmas family tradition- and it’s absolutely FREE.  Check their website for special choir performances.

Village Lights in Historic German Village

Bundle up the kids and give them a taste of yesteryear as you begin the holiday season in German Village.  German Village is a FREE destination year-round, but when you add luminarias, a Christmas market, and warm beverages, you’ll feel more like you’ve been transported from Columbus, Ohio to Munich, Germany.  The Village Lights Festival is December 3rd from 5-9 pm.  Not only is the event free, but the parking is free as well, with a free shuttle running from 2 local parking lots.  More info HERE.

Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour

A 30-minute drive from downtown Columbus: Granville, Ohio is like stepping foot into a small New England town.  Granville’s Christmas Candlelight Tour is completely free, yet you may want to pack a little cash (along with the kids) so you can enjoy a holiday beverage at a restaurant , or take the children on a magical horse-drawn carriage through the small city.  

Luminaries and lighted Christmas trees will line the streets making for a Winter Wonderland as you pop in and out of local churches to hear Christmas music.  The Granville Candlelight Walking Tour takes place December 2nd from 1-9 pm.  

 

Check current rates at Columbus hotels.

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5 Free Christmas Events near Columbus, Ohio. Take the family and enjoy a night out around the city- from a life-sized Nativity Scene to a Christmas Market or a WinterFest with music. You'll find it all in Central Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Best Christmas gifts for the travel-obsessed woman

**This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.**

Do you know this type of woman?  The one that asks for a special trip or a weekend away in lieu of fancy shoes or the latest electronic?  The mom that brags about recent adventures instead of her latest set of wheels?  Oh wait, I’m talking about me.  Anyhow, here’s my list of the best Christmas gifts for the travel-obsessed woman.  Someone send this to my husband, please. 😉

Best Christmas gifts for the travel obsessed woman

Try the World Snack Box

Even if a woman has everything, she still eats!  I love the idea of a snack box because it 1. doesn’t require grocery shopping and 2. can be used by a woman on the go!  The Try the World Snack box is a curated box of locally-made snacks from all over the globe.

 

AMIR Camera Lens Kit

This is THE gift for the lady who takes a slew of photos on her phone, and really who doesn’t?!  This lens set allows the traveler to take her photography up a notch with a fish-eye lens, a macro lens, and a wide-angle lens!  And it’s under $15.  Sometimes I just don’t want to haul my DSLR camera around, and I’d like to see how this would add to my photography skills without toting all the extra weight.

 


World Changer Coin Bank

While this bank is a beautiful way to save some travel funds, what is even more important is that it is Fair Trade!  The World Changer Coin Bank from Trades of Hope is crafted in Bangladesh, giving impoverished women the chance to provide for their families.

 

Best gifts for the travel obsessed woman

HopSooken Packing Cubes

I can’t sing the joys of packing cubes enough.  If there’s a woman on your list that is traveling soon, share with her the satisfaction of having extra room in her luggage and removing clothes that are UNWRINKLED.  I pack each of my children in a different cube, so unpacking is a breeze and then THEY can be in charge of their individual cube.  My set didn’t come with a laundry bag, and this one definitely beats having to bring extra plastic bags.

 

Best Christmas gifts for the travel obsessed woman

Map art from Minted

I adore this map artwork from Minted.  It may be meant for a child’s room, but I think it could go in many spaces.  Minted also offers artwork of different cities, it would be easy to find something for the traveling woman!  As a perk, you’ll earn 4 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points for every $1 you spend at the shop!  Now that’s something to celebrate.  Get the Chrome extension HERE.

 

Winter shawl/scarf

I know I had a scarf on last year’s holiday list, but they really are the most versatile thing in a traveling mom’s closet.  On our beach trip this summer, I wore a lightweight scarf and it came in handy when we encountered a rank-smelling rest stop bathroom. Yes, you can even breathe into them!  #keepingitreal Scarves can add statement to an outfit, serve as a wrap on a cold airplane, cover a nursing baby, etc etc etc.  Buy all the scarves.  This one is under $15, too!

 

Best Christmas gifts for the travel obsessed woman

Clear Bottom Inflatable Raft

What more does an over-extended lady need than a clear-bottomed raft to watch the ocean move beneath her?  I DON’T KNOW.  Get out, skipper, Momma’s ready for a rest while watching the fishies. We’ve been talking for ages about visiting Hawaii in 2018 and I think all I’d need to pack is a bathing suit, my sweet family, and this.

Fossil Passport Cover

This pretty in pink passport cover is the perfect stocking stuffer for the frequent traveler.

 

What’s on your Christmas list?  Any of these items make the cut? 

 

 

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Best Christmas gifts for the travel obsessed woman

The best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio

Amish Country, Ohio has no shortage of restaurants to please your palate.  When I was growing up, it was hard to find much outside of  roast beef & chicken with mashed potatoes- however, Amish Country now offers plenty of unique flavors, plus some old favorites.

While visiting Holmes County and surrounds, you’ll find a plethora of baked goods and full dinners .  It’s difficult to narrow down  the best restaurant at which to eat, so I’ve compiled my own list of the best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio.  Here are all the details:

Der Dutchman

Walnut Creek’s staple restaurant, Der Dutchman, began in 1969 in an old hardware store.  The newer location’s dining room includes a sweeping view over a valley of farmland, making this one of the most nostalgic places to eat in Holmes County.  An attached bakery allows visitors to take home the restaurants’ baked goods and  assortment of pies.   My husband recommends the broasted chicken, while my mother recommends you leave room for the red raspberry cream pie.

Der Dutchman is located at 4967 Walnut Street, Walnut Creek, OH 44687.  The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday from 7 am- 8 pm.

Rebecca’s Bistro

If you’re visiting Amish Country as a tourist, but want to eat where the locals eat, be sure to stop by Rebecca’s Bistro.  Rebecca’s is only open for breakfast & lunch.  Customers rave about their fresh salads and homemade soups.  Outdoor dining is available during the summer, where you’ll watch Amish buggies clip-clop through the busy streets of downtown Walnut Creek.

Rebecca’s Bistro is located at 4986 Walnut Street, Walnut Creek, OH.  The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm.

Olde World Bakery & Bistro

Olde World Bakery and Bistro takes it’s name from it’s approach to baking in an old-fashioned way.  Their goods are made without hydrogenated oils, box mixes, or bleached flours.  Finding gluten-free dining options in Amish Country is rare, but Olde World Bakery offers them!    This is a fun place to eat with a friend, the dining room is ample and the service is quick enough to meet on a lunch break.

Olde World Bakery is located in Berlin and Millersburg.  I recommend their downtown Millersburg location at 73 W. Jackson Street.  Hours are 8 am – 8 pm Monday- Saturday.

Best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio The best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio

Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant

Another long-standing staple of Amish Country is the Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant.  As you drive by in downtown Berlin, you may notice the restaurant by the line out the door!  Locals have been visiting the place since it was a grocery store with a dining counter back in the 1940s, but now travelers have caught on to their affordable meals, large serving sizes, and a large variety of pies.  Believe it or not, Boyd and Wurthmann will still serve you a cup of coffee for 75 cents!  If your belly is too full for a meal, this is the place to sit at the counter for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee!

Boyd and Wurthmann is located at  4819 East Main Street, Berlin.  They are open from 5:30 am- 7:30 pm Monday – Saturday.

The best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio - Boyd and Wurthmann

Bags Sports Pub

Too tired of country-style cooking or want a craft beer?    Bags Sports Pub is the place for you to eat in Amish Country!  Bags is a locally-owned pub with a full bar and daily lunch and dinner specials.  There are locations in both Millersburg and Sugarcreek, but I prefer the Millersburg location for its proximity to Millersburg Brewery, and it’s spot on the square overlooking the impressive courthouse! My favorite at Bags is the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich on a pretzel bun (pictured below), while my husband adores the Jalapeno Burger.  Whatever you choose, make sure you try the pretzel bun AND enjoy a local brew from the Millersburg Brewery.  Also, Bags IS open on Sundays!  A rarity in Holmes County.

Bags Sports Pub,  Jackson St, Millersburg – Open Sunday – Saturday 11 am – 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am- 10 pm.

The best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio

Quince Bakery & Cafe

Located in Kidron, Ohio, across the road from Lehman’s Hardware; Quince is another delicious stop to add to your favorite places to eat in Amish Country.  You can eat here for breakfast or lunch or pop in for a donut or cookies to take with you.  There’s a daily soup special as well as different cookie and pie selections to look forward to, so no visit will be the same.

Quince Bakery is located at 4776 Kidron Rd, Kidron.  They are open Tuesday- Saturday from 7 am – 3 pm.

 

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The best places to eat in Amish Country, Ohio

St. Paul Hotel – Wooster, Ohio

Downtown hotel in the heart of Wayne County

Not going to lie, I’m a hotel snob.  I like lush bedding, a spacious bathroom, and good breakfast options.  Imagine my surprise when I found this all at a boutique hotel in small-town Ohio?  Yes, it’s true.  The St. Paul Hotel in Wooster, Ohio is sure to please even the snobbiest of travelers (cough cough, me)!

The St. Paul Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Wooster, just two blocks from the square.  There are numerous dining and coffee options within a very short walk.

If you’re looking for modern conveniences, the St. Paul Hotel offers in room Wi-Fi, heated bathroom floor tiles (ohmygoodness, heavenly), and a rainwater shower plus a hand-held shower wand!  I appreciated that my corner room also had numerous windows and a Keurig coffeemaker.  The amenities kit was Tommy Bahama products.

St. Paul Hotel- Wooster Ohio St. Paul Hotel- Wooster Ohio St. Paul Hotel- Wooster, OhioSt. Paul Hotel- Wooster, Ohio

Maybe what impressed me the most was the history behind this hotel.  The St. Paul hotel has been rebirthed from it’s former life!  From the the early 1900s-1970s, the building did operate as a hotel, but it had a questionable past as a place of basement betting and card games.  Little history is known about those early years as a hotel- although there would have only been one guest bathroom per floor.  In the 1970s, the hotel was purchased by a non-profit group and turned into a subsidized housing, which was used until 2008.

At that time, the non-profit went out of business and a local developer came up with the idea for a boutique hotel.  While the building sustained an entire “gut job,” the interior brick walls were saved for the trendy exposed brick feature.  Dressers, beds, and desks were made by a company in Orrville, Ohio.  Each shower is enclosed with tempered glass made by the Wooster Glass Company.  My favorite piece of the interior may be this piece of stained glassed located in the hotel lobby.  The St. Paul O.P.N. glass was found at a Wooster antique store.  The hotel seems to fully encompass the ingenuity and history of the community – something I really enjoyed!St. Paul Hotel- Wooster, Ohio

The St Paul Hotel is the only property to service the downtown Wooster area.  Parking is free and getting around the small city by foot or car is very easy.  Wooster is located less than 30 minutes to Ohio’s Amish Country and close to attractions like Secrest Arboretum and the J.M. Smucker company store.

I would recommend the St. Paul Hotel for a romantic getaway or a birthday celebration.  The hotel would also work for family travel, but do note that the rooms do not have bathtubs.  Check rates now.

Have you visited Wooster?  Where have you stayed?

**I was hosted at the St. Paul Hotel as a guest of the Wayne County CVB.  All opinions are my own**

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St. Paul Hotel- Wooster, Ohio- downtown boutique hotel