It has become a Labor Day tradition for Kim and me to take off on a long drive for the day, just to see what we can see.
This year we decided to head to "the top of Ohio" (the west central area, which is the highest, hilliest part of the state) in search of the mysterious Piatt Castle, also known as Mac-A-Cheek.
The weather was not the best...very foggy!
We ate breakfast at the Two Broke Girls Restaurant in Union City, right on the Indiana/Ohio state line.
Oh yes! These two broke girls are speaking my language!
About 2 hours into our drive, the clouds finally began to break up and blue skies peeked out occasionally.
Alas! It truly does exist...a castle in Ohio!
Well, not exactly a castle...but calling it that is very intriguing and good for marketing. It sure pulled us in!
This is Mac-A-Cheek, a mansion built in the 1800s by the Abram Piatt, a general for the Union Army in the Civil War. After the war, he and his brother built 2 mansions on the family property (his brother's home was named Mac-O-Chee and is privately owned and not open for tours) in an effort to bring some "civilization" to the wild back country of Ohio.
Since it was finished in the late 1800s, a descendant of the Piatt family has lived in Mac-A-Cheek. The current resident is Abram's great-great-granddaughter and her husband, who are in their 70s now. They have private living quarters in the home, but the rest of the mansion is open for tourists.
The names Mac-A-Cheek and Mak-O-Chee come from the Shawnee name which means "smiling valley." Being alongside a small river, there were lots of Shawnee villages in the area when it was being settled by white folks...and plenty of conflicts between the two peoples during those times.
The castle was actually a very fancy farmhouse, as the Piatt family farmed the surrounding lands for many years.
I don't know the story of this stone teddy bear, but it added a whimsical touch to the gardens.
The inside was beautiful, with much attention given to details. As we climbed this staircase, I told Kim I wondered how many Piatt children had slid down that bannister over the years. It would certainly be very tempting for any child!
What I loved most about the house were the gorgeous painted ceilings!
This is the ceiling in the drawing room.
The Piatt men had a fascination with nature and odd things...like this chair made of horns. In fact, there were antlers and horns all over the home, most of them bought on travels and brought back to decorate the mansion.
And lots of collections of found items...arrowheads, rocks, shells, feathers, bones, and other odds and ends. This box was called the Treasure Box.
My grandsons Abram and Krew would love looking at all those treasures!
The beautiful parquet floors and unique paneling...this home was truly a showcase. It took 7 years to build it.
Upstairs were several bedrooms, as well as a room of Piatt family military memorabilia.
Oh...and the little house attached to the far right side? That is the family dog house, still used today!
Very fascinating, a glimpse into life back in the 19th- and early 20th centuries. Places like this get my imagination going in full gear, visualizing what things must have been like for the people who lived here generations ago.
After we left Mac-A-Cheek, we were so close to Middletown, Ohio that we just had to check it out.
This Middletown makes our Middletown, Indiana look like a metropolis! Not much there, a few houses around an intersection...
We meandered our way back west, stopping in Richmond, Indiana for a very late lunch at the place we had our very first date.
There was a different restaurant back then, but in this same spot. Our first meal ever at a Fricker's.
Since they didn't have ice cream (and Kim had promised me ice cream!), we drove a few miles and stopped at Dairy Queen for peanut buster parfaits.
A wonderful Labor Day trip with my man...
...in search of Mac-A-Cheek.