September 15, 2011

Camp Meetings

For those of you who have been reading this blog, thank you for bearing with me through the dearth of postings.  I came to the belated conclusion that it was much more important to spend my evenings talking with my friends who joined me on this trip than taking the time to write about the day’s events.  I am going to attempt to catch up on the last ten days and will post the entries with the actual dates the events took place.  So, here goes.

After mostly interstate driving yesterday, I got my back roads fix today.  Although the drive through Indiana and Ohio was lovely, I had forgotten how much more populated this part of the country really is.  With a town almost every ten miles, the going was quite a bit slower than I had anticipated.

Jane and I grabbed a bit of lunch at a gas station convenience store, and here we were introduced to Charley Biggs Chicken N’ Sauce and fried pickle chips.  We stopped to eat at a wayside picnic area where we were almost blown away.  Pretty yummy lunch!

Fried Pickle Chips
Our break for the afternoon was an archeological site, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ohio.  The Ohio River Valley is known for its mounds of various shapes and enclosures, often built in geometric patterns.  These Hopewell earthworks were used for a variety of ceremonial and social activities between 200 BC to AD 500.  The artifacts that had been excavated from the mounds were amazing and were on display in the museum.  A copper bird and pipes with carved animal figures were my favorites.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Mounds Are In the Background

It was time to look for a campground when we left Hopewell, and there was only one in the vicinity.  Jane found a gem with the Lancaster Camp Ground in Lancaster, Ohio.  Who would have thought that we would end up in a Christian campground that prohibits alcohol?  Certainly not I!  We felt like teenagers sneaking wine in opaque glasses so no one would catch us.

The campground, however, turned out to be the perfect setting for two historic preservationists.  Lancaster Camp Ground is a wonderful historic district and has been a Camp Meeting since its inception in 1878.  The association expanded its mission in 1892 from a purely religious focus to include Chautauqua lectures and performances.  Thousands came by train to participate.  An auditorium and hotel were constructed, and tents gave way to cottages.  Most of the buildings are still standing, and the site is a throwback to another era.

Woodside Hotel at the Lancaster Camp Ground
Jane and I spoke with a feisty woman who first came to the Camp Ground in the 1930s when she was only three weeks old.  She has lived there almost every summer since that time.  Walking around the narrow streets, looking at the architecture and peering into the windows of the public buildings was a perfect way for us to spend an evening.

Lancaster Camp Ground
Lancaster Camp Ground
Lancaster Camp Ground

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