Saturday, May 27, 2017

Home Again, Home Again Jiggedy Jig

I had a planned list of sites I wanted to see on the way home from Atlanta...Pigeon  Forge, the Cincinnati mushroom house, the Bible wax museum, and more. Because of time constraints, I was forced to narrow them down to just a couple. I decided that the Ark Encounter in Kentucky and the Christmas Story House in Cleveland were most essential.

That didn't stop me from taking advantage of a roadside stop along the way. After all, what says Georgia better than peaches, pecans, and peanuts?

I also made a brief  stop in Williamstown, Kentucky to mail a letter, only to discover that they were having their annual Derby Day celebrations. Small towns are always fun. Then I was on to the main event...The Ark Encounter.

The Ark Encounter is not visible from the main street...a wise decision on the part of the developers. There would be no freebie photos or traffic jams at the side of the road. My decision to go at opening time, 9 a.m. was a good one. I was able to get a prime parking spot in front of admissions. I purchased my ticket and parking pass, and hopped on the bus which was to take visitors to the attraction. As we approached the ark, everyone on the bus was in awe. There it was, massive, sprawled before us, the largest timber frame structure in the U.S. I noted that wifi and a zipline had been added. Obviously not available in Noah's day. I also wondered briefly whose arm they had used to measure the cubits. All answered in the wikipedia site-

The interior was even more amazing, overwhelming, and magnificent than the exterior. So many details were included. I had seen a t.v. programme about the building of the ark and the fundamentalist interpretation of this Bible story. Now, many of my preconceived notions of how this would be presented were dashed.

The entire structure was three stories high with ramps leading to each floor. There were urns, jugs, bags of grain, gardens, animal models in cages, dioramas, living and working spaces, and some interesting accompanying descriptions and explanations.

Noah and the dove
I don't know what else to say apart from the photos don't begin to do it justice. Despite the admission price and parking...somewhere around $50 U.S., I would absolutely go back and would recommend this to roadside attraction to anyone, no matter what their beliefs.

I stayed longer than I had planned and when I checked the hours for the Christmas Story House, I panicked. Garmin told me I wouldn't arrive there until 4:30 and it was scheduled to close at 5. Since I was travelling to Cleveland, Ohio from Williamstown, Kentucky, I had to plan for only one simultaneous bathroom/food/gas break of no more than ten minutes. Somehow, I knew I could make up that time with my style. As long as there were no major delays, construction, or other road foul ups, I'd make it. I had to make it!

I resisted all temptation along the way. Grabbed a quick break between Cincinnati and Columbus,
looked longingly across the street and moved on.
I just knew that anything I missed along the way now, would be worth missing for me to finally see Ralphie's house.
The trip was relatively smooth. In fact, even with the stop, I arrived in Cleveland, at 4:10, ecstatic about what immediately caught my eye. There it stood...exactly as in the movie but without the snow, almost at the corner of W.11th and Rowley, (Cleveland St. in the movie) was the house. It had been purchased by a developer and restored in 2004. The furnishings were original.

 In true tourist fashion, there was also a museum and a huge gift shop where one could purchase all "Christmas Story" souvenir essentials. Several enterprising neighbours were more than happy to provide parking on their lawns for a nominal fee of $5.  As it turned out, there was lots of street parking, but I had no time to lose. I parked, ran and bought my ticket, and headed for the house. The last tour was beginning. It didn't include all the earlier tour details about the house but was more of a question and answer, then wander around on your own session. I actually preferred that.

With my eye on my watch, I thoroughly explored the house, the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, and the infamous leg lamp. How thrilled I was to get there on time to see it all.

I had time to spare for a quick trip through both the museum and the gift shop  to see the displays, costumes, news clippings, and some props from the movie. I enjoyed the window displays from Higbee's Dept. Store, the hats, and of course, dad's 1937 Oldsmobile.

You look like a pink nightmare

I read that for between $400 and $2000 a night (seasonal) it's possible to spend the night in the Christmas Story house and use all the facilities. I guess I'm not that much of a fanatic. Apparently, the night starts once the tours end, then morning checkout is prior to tours starting. Odd deal.

I made a small souvenir purchase (it's a secret), plus the Jean Shepherd book, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash", on which the movie was based. Then I spent my last night at a hotel outside Cleveland. There were Canada geese in the parking lot.  It was rainy and cool. I realized I was close to home. I was able to relax and reflect on the crazy week that had passed...packing, driving, finding rental accommodation, unloading two vehicles, shopping for furniture, connecting utilities, acquiring insurances, visiting the social security office and much, much more. Then I thought about my additional adventures enroute. I wondered whether the next week could possibly be as chaotic.

Interesting article -

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