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Utica, Ohio

May 27, 2012

We went to Home Depot this afternoon… in Newark, Ohio.  Newark is about 33 miles south of Mount Vernon, and we rode over with Nell’s sister and her husband.  Nell bought a quart of paint to do some touchups, and I bought a three-step stepstool.  The little two-stepper we have just wouldn’t let me reach the top of the windshield.  This will let me reach pretty high up on the motorhome, and it will still fit in one of the basement storage compartments for easy access.

I always enjoy driving through this countryside.  It’s very green, which can sometimes be a challenge for a landscape painter, but there’s enough variation in the topography to make it interesting.

And, of course, there’s a barn around every curve.  I never tire of seeing these old structures.  Each one is a little different, and they each have their own story.

On the way, we passed the Ice Cream Festival at Utica.  This annual event is sponsored by the Velvet Ice Cream Company.  The Dager family has been making Velvet ice cream just south of Utica since 1914.

In Newark, after stops at Home Depot, Meijers (a Walmart-type store), and Kohls, where Nell bought a couple of pairs of sandals and a light jacket, we headed back toward Mount Vernon.

On the way back, we stopped in downtown Utica.  According to its website at,

“The village of Utica (formerly called Wilmington), was founded in 1810 by Major William Robertson, seven years after Ohio became the 17th state. In 1817, when the population reached 100, the name was changed to Utica in order to obtain a post office.

The early 1900s brought the gas boom and with abundant gas, the hand blown glass business developed, making Utica the largest producer of glass in the United States. In 1900, the population was 826 and in 1917, it showed 2,500. The gas fields died out near the mid 1900s and the glass industry moved, so that in 1960 the official census showed a population of 1,839. Last census the population was 2,134.

The Holophane plant, a fluorescent light manufacturing company, is the major industry in the village.

We decided to have an early dinner, and stopped at Watts Restaurant, which happens to be celebrating its 100th Anniversary.  It’s been operated by three generations of the Watts family.

Watt’s is a clean, friendly place with the kind of “just good food” on its menu one might expect at a small town restaurant.  All four of us ordered the open faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy.  And we topped it off with pie a la mode and hot fudge sundaes.  There are two things you should note in the photo above:  the size of that piece of fried chicken on the gentleman’s plate on the right; and the way the waitress is dressed.  All of the waitresses, including the very young one who waited on us, wore white uniforms.  No jeans and tee shirts here.

Here’s the link to the restaurant’s website:  When you look at the Home Page, the big round booth in the corner is where we had dinner.

Just off the main street is the Utica Mill and Supply Company.  I couldn’t find anything specific online, but I suspect it’s the local feed store for the D&L Grain and Feed Company, also located in Utica.  It really doesn’t matter.  I just thought it was a great old structure.

Remember I said there’s a barn around every curve of the highway in this part of Ohio?  Well, in most of these small towns, there’s practically a barn around every corner.  This is one block off Main Street, Utica.

And this is why I love visiting this part of Ohio.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sally Sweeney Bryenton permalink
    May 28, 2012 10:49 pm

    SOooo glad I found your site…We are about to do what you are doing…will have it all together by fall..I am an artist ,my huaband,Don retired health care person and would-be writer….we will be going slow and mostly where the wind blows us…will have a web site soon ..we are in Asheville NC..stop by!! I found a great sounding site ..Harvest Hosts..Sally B

    • May 29, 2012 12:37 am

      Hi Sally! We’re off to kind of a slow start due to some health issues in the family. But we are living in the motorhome and making things work, even though we’re not travelling as much as we planned. It’s pretty darned liberating. Thanks for checking in!

      • sally sweeney bryenton permalink
        May 29, 2012 11:41 am

        life does have a way of rearranging our best laid plans…if you are still doing daytrips ,you might check out the new modernmuseum of art in cleveland and if you have never been to the cleveland museum of art…well its fantastic,,,i spent my early years there and miss being able to wander its galleries on a regular basis…

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