When I saw that our travels to national parks would take us to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, I called my brother-in-law Charles (a native of the area) and asked if he could give us tips on where to stay. I was thrilled when he instead suggested that he and my brother fly out from New York City, where they live now, and meet us there.
We had a quick but fantastic reunion in Canton, Ohio. Eric joined our family in hiking at Brandywine Falls, about 45 minutes away in the national park. I was impressed with the green woods and quaint old homes we passed on the way to the falls. I didn’t know much about Ohio before this visit and associated it more with factories than with bucolic scenes like this. I also loved how attentive Eric was to his little nephews. Theo and Arthur both adore him and look forward to seeing him because of his fun-loving nature.
Later in the day, Charles’ amazing friend Deborah ended up hosting a wonderful party for us, Charles’ sisters, their families and other friends. It was so great to get a family experience in the middle of our gypsy explorations where most of the time we don’t know anyone. Deborah laid out a spread that was what you would expect for a wedding or Christmas. There were tons of vegetarian options for our vegetarian family, including veg versions of burgers and hot dogs, plus plenty of salads, desserts and drinks. It was a treat to finally meet Charles’ sisters after 20 years of hearing snippets about their lives.
During our visit, it was my pleasure to make the acquaintance of Deborah’s friend Efy, a nature photographer and spiritual director. It turned out we had many similar spiritual views and were both striving for the goal of living at a higher consciousness. She is inspired by Carolyn Myss, author of such books as “Entering the Castle” and “Sacred Contracts,” which I have read at least in part. I was touched when Efy gave us a gift of her book “Healing Through Divine Light: A Journey In Photos.” In it, she shares her incredible story of overcoming Lyme disease through spiritual work and healing at a sacred spring. Her photos are uplifting- from a close-up of a graceful butterfly to a fern bathed in light to a blossoming flower.
A great thing about our travels is the chance to meet interesting people all around the country. I look forward to meeting more.
The only downside to the visit was our accommodations. Our apartment, rented through airbnb.com, was modern and beautiful with lovely views of downtown Canton but it didn’t have WiFi as advertised, which is important to me as a freelance writer. Also the apartment wasn’t fully cleaned- with Q-tips and damp towels left in the bathroom. We’ve had mostly great experiences with airbnb but seem to be running into a bad streak lately. More details will come in a future post about our stay in Toronto.