By Kevin Williams
How many of you enjoy exploring small towns? The off-the beaten path places that the highways don't take you? Frankfort, Ohio is a small town of about 1000 people between Columbus and Chillicothe, Ohio. About 100 Old Order Mennonites (16 families) live in the rural countryside outside of town. The Old Order Mennonites here travel by horse and buggy, so their range is limited. But Frankfort provides most of what the Mennonites need to thrive: bank, post office, hardware store, and some groceries. I love small towns, maybe not living in one, but at least passing through them. They often have a greasy diner that serves breakfast all-day, a dairy bar,and a lot of charm.
OKAY, TEN MEMORABLE LITTLE TOWNS
Okay, just seeing how many of you have heard of any of these. Don't ask me how I came up with this list. And NOTE I didn't say these were my "favorite" little towns, although some are. But if someone stuck a gun to my head and said "name 10 favorite some towns", this is probably the list I'd come up with. Some of them are on my list because they just exude grit, others, I have personal connections or sentimental memories of, and others are, indeed, favorites because of beauty. I started to write a brief description of each or why it made my list below, but I think the explanation above is sufficient. This is already a pretty self-indulgent post, I don't think everyone wants to hear every connection I have to the list below. So, again: personal, sentimental, beautiful, plucky, or gritty. Canadian small towns, by the way, are often so much more "bustling" and charming that similar-sized places in the US. Retail main streets haven't been decimated as much there as here.
Linda from KY
I haven't been to any of the little towns on your list, but I have been to Rabbit Hash, KY. You've heard of it, right? It's a micro-village in Boone County, and they elect a dog as their mayor. It's considerably off the beaten path and sitting right alongside the Ohio River. You can see one of SE Indiana's casinos on the other side of the river. It has nothing to do with Plain culture, though.
Heard about Rabbit Hash my whole life, but never been...have to go sometime, my parents just visited there last year for the first time
Have heard of Watseka, IL, but don't think I've ever been there. Used to pick up a radio station from there while traveling to and from Terre Haute IN and Chicago.
Made that drive numerous times, US 41....peaceful, not as crowded as the main highway, but still good road....
I live in Washington Court House, Ohio, and before Route 35 was rebuilt, a person would have to drive through Frankfort to go to Chillicothe. Your pictures brings back memories, and I enjoy reading your articles.
Dorothy - thanks for checking in and for the kind words. Hard to imagine that area without US 35, makes for a nice straight shot from Dayton to Athens, that is for sure! - Kevin
I am from Alexandria, Ontario. I am familiar with the town of Aylmer, Ontario. We are Holdeman Mennonites.
Thanks, Roger, for checking in...I've been near Alexandria, but not there, will have to check out your area sometime!
Geneva, IN is about 13 miles from where I live in Pennville. The Gene Straton Porter home is a must-see if you visit. My grandchildren love to go to the Limberlost wetlands outside of town and draw pictures of the different things they see there.
Brenda, that sounds quite idyllic. I know right where you are, have been there many times. If I ever publish my next book entitled "Not So Simple" I have a whole chapter written about the Limberlost area....one of these days I might finish the book!
I have been in Hana, Maui. It is a beautiful little town. It is quite eclectic. The scenery is beautiful on the way to Hana. So many waterfalls and ocean views. One of my favorite memories was seeing cows and horses corralled by wire fencing on one side and the ocean on he other. Just beautiful.
Jeannie, it was gorgeous....the Hana Highway was a bit of a white-knuckle experience, we ended up continuing past Hana and just driving around the island, that remote area past Hana is also just amazingly gorgeous!
I have been too Eatonville, Washington several times over the years, it's the home of Northwest Trek, a wildlife park awesome awesome place, a family must if you ever get that way. I live in Eastern Oergon, a small town. Thank you Kevin wonderful newsletter have a great day!
Thank you, Roxanne, for visiting Amish365 from eastern Oregon! I forgot about Northwest Trek, we have driven by the entrance a couple of times but on each occasion didn't have enough time, but it looked intriguing, we'll have to make time next time (whenever that is!)
As you would expect I've been to Gratis many times. I'm not familiar with any of the rest although I would love to visit all of the 9.
Good and bad memories in Gratis....but, yea, I've been there plenty of times too. When you live in Middletown and want to go anywhere west you kind of have to go through Gratis.