Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket, We Have a New Basket!

We have lived in Lorain County in Northeast Ohio for 37 years and this week discovered a hidden treasure that has actually been in existence here for almost 150 years!!!

This hidden treasure is the BERLIN FRUIT BOX COMPANY located on Mechanic St. which is off of State Rt. 61 in Berlin Heights, Ohio and it is just a short 25 minute drive from Hallauer House B & B. It was founded by Samuel Patterson in 1858 and is still owned and operated by his descendants!

Now I know you all will recognize their farm market basket. It's the one you get at your local market to carry your fruits and vegetables or the one you get to carry your flowers and geraniums home from the garden center. Yeah, that one! This is one of mine that I have kept forever!

The company is the oldest basket making company in Ohio (yes, even older than Longaberger!) and the second oldest basket company in the entire country! It began to supply the farmers with wooden baskets, crates, barrels and ladders but as the years passed, the company expanded into making home baskets. These special baskets are hand made from maple, cherry, and for all of you Ohio State fans, the buckeye tree! These 'buckeye baskets' are even gray so put a scarlet red scarf in it and it's perfect for all Buckeye fans!

The company is open for tours Monday thru Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. year round. We arrived in the early afternoon and were lucky that a tour was just starting. During the 30 minute tour, we learned about the company, how the logs are cut, and then watched as the machine, still operating since the 1920's, shaved off the veneer from a huge log. Then another machine cut the veneer into the strips used in the basket weaving. We watched the artists at work as they formed and wove the home baskets out of the various wooden strips. Our 9 year old granddaughter was with us and she was enthralled with the process and the workmanship of each basket. Our only wish was that we could have purchased a basket of each style! As it is, we found one to hold some of our brochures.

Now when you come to visit Oberlin, you have one more place to add to your list of things to see and do while you are here! So when you're planning that sta-cation, plan a trip to Oberlin in Northern Ohio. You'll be surprised how many wonderful places we have for you to visit! We will soon be adding a new package to our list of packages and specials. We'll call it the "Ohio Appreciation Package," and yes, it will include a Berlin Fruit Box Company basket and all products made in Ohio! Stay tuned for details or call and ask about it. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Restaurant Review

It's hard to believe but there are times when Oberlin has so many visitors that it can be hard to get a table in one of our outstanding restaurants. But don't worry, we do have a fine restaurant called Nine Bistro located at Grey Hawk Golf Course just 10 minutes from here in LaGrange. The restaurant is not just for golfers but also for the general public with facilities for banquets, weddings, and meetings.

Before we journeyed into Cleveland for a Playhouse Square production of "I Love You Because" at the 14th Street Theatre, we decided to go to dinner at Nine Bistro since we had not been there since last summer. The restaurant offers you a fine dining experience either inside or on the expansive outdoor patio with fans for cooling or heaters for heating! Since there was a chill in the air we decided to sit inside at a table in front of the crackling fireplace. When the weather warms and the outside patio opens, it is a great place to relax, dine, enjoy a drink and breath in the fresh country air as you watch the golfers play by.

Joe and I shared a crab cake appetizer made with real crab meat which was served in a spicy aioli sauce and we each had a glass of house wine at a price of $3.00 per glass, (Happy Hour time!) The hard, crusty bread dipped in herbed olive oil/garlic was delightful. Joe ordered the fillet duet which consisted of two tender, char-grilled fillets accompanied with a cremini mushroom wine cream sauce, the traditional baked potato and fresh seasonal vegetables. Half way through he said, "This is the best fillet I have ever eaten!" Now that's a testimonial!

I was presented with my order of Asian salmon which was crusted with sesame seed and pan seared and drizzled with a sesame seed soy glaze. It rested atop a molded white rice pillow and was accompanied with the fresh seasonal vegetables. The salmon was superb and cooked just right. All in all we were thrilled with our meal but too full to enjoy one of the many desserts offered after the meal.

For all of you golfers, the golf course itself has been voted as one of the top 10 of America's Best new afforable public courses when it opened in 2004. I'll follow up at a later date with a post about the golf course itself. But if you want information immediately just follow this link:

So when you're making your plans for your summer stacation, keep us in mind. Play some golf at Grey Hawk, dine at Nine Bistro, and come home to Hallauer House Bed & Breakfast! Come on! You know you want to! You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Arrival in Lorain County!

We returned from San Francisco to some really super news - the Lorain Port Authority has secured a new ferry boat that will shuttle people from Lorain to the Lake Erie Islands! That means that we here in Lorain County will not have to travel 45 minutes to an hour in order to secure transportation to Kelly's Island or Put-in-Bay!

The catamaran, which will be operated by the Jet Express, will have space for 147 passengers and will initially provide service once a day-each way- on Friday's, Saturday's, and Sunday's. The boat ride will last approximately 70 minutes. Because the boat needs to be inspected and upgraded, service will not begin this year until around July 4th but in coming years will probably begin around Memorial Day. So if you are in the midst of making summer sta-cation plans and you'd really like to visit the Lake Erie Islands then come to Lorain County and take the new ferry out of the Black River Landing in Lorain. It's only a short drive from Oberlin to the Landing so plan to stay at Hallauer House B & B. After a complimentary breakfast drive up to Lorain, catch the ferry, explore the islands, ferry back to Lorain, and then come home to Hallauer House! What better way to spend a summer vacation!

Planning a family reunion? The boat will be available for charters! So plan the reunion around the use of the ferry! Now that sounds like fun! Think about it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vacation is Over!

Last week we took some time off from Innkeeping to visit our Coast Guard daughter in Petaluma, Calif. just north of San Francisco. We looked forward to our trip but now we're glad we're home. There is nothing like a vacation to make you appreciate what you already have! We will miss our daughter but we will not miss the traffic congestion even on Sunday, the fog, the high prices and the higher taxes.

Here in Oberlin and vicinity we have NO traffic jams, cheaper prices on everything, short commutes to where you need to go, a growing number of vineyards and wineries, great theater and music venues, a short drive to a Great Lake, a short drive to a major city with amenities all it's own, great places to ride a bike, secret gardens and fantastic metro parks, mounds of history, superb restaurants, one of the best art museums in the world, a world renowned orchestra, a world renowned college, a world famous amusement park, farmers markets, and the list goes on and on. Ohio really is the heart of it all. We loved San Francisco but we decided we love Ohio more! Now if Spring would just hurry up and get here!!!!!

So we're home and welcoming guests. We hope that you will be one of them!