Alan Cottrill, left, with Maj inside Alan’s Studio and Gallery
As soon as we had introduced ourselves Alan immediately noticed the small leather medicine bag that I wore around my neck. Understanding proper protocol he did not ask what was carried within. I knew that Sher and I were in for a treat interacting with this gifted and learned sculptor.
Alan graciously shared with me his history that led to his work in the 3D world of sculpture. From an international multi-millionaire businessman at 30 to a starving artist in New York City at 40, he explained how each came about. Alan really lit up when he recounted the “first time” he “touched clay”. Thus the paint brush was put aside and his true genius showed itself.
Small version with photo of final scupture in place
Red Cloud study board
I was fascinated to learn that Alan spends so much time learning everything he can about the person who will be featured in his work. A bust of George Armstrong Custer is displayed on the first floor of the Gallery. A duplicate is now at West Point. Alan spent a lot of research time on the photos, life and times of Custer. Then I noticed a large board on an easel with mutiple photos and a book about Red Cloud, the famed Ogala Souix War leader. Thus I was able to see the beginings of what will in the future be another fine sculpture by Alan Cottrill.
His Gallery in Zanesville, Ohio is filled with hundreds of his works. His early paintings are also displayed. He shared that his favorite works are the two sarcophagi for his wife and himself. His children’s faces adorn the sides of each, and never will you see a more poignant depiction of love of spouse and family.
A trip to Zanesville is in order for anyone who loves art. This is the Gallery website.
The Cottrill sarcophagi
Meadows Casino main entrance
We were at the Meadows Casino and Racetrack and had just pulled into the property. With our RV we have to be careful where we go with clearence heights keeping us from entering most parking garages as well as the and length and width of our Thor Four Winds not relly suitable for some auto parking lots. We were so surprised when a security guard indicated for us to follow him. We followed and he took us to the special area where RV’s park. It was a long way from the Casino entrance. Talking to each other as we followed the guard, we had decided that it was just too far for us to walk. After the guard stopped and indicated a very level spot for us to park he asked if we were going to spend the night.
Surprised? Well we were as we thought this Casino was only open until midnight. Maj explanined that we had decided to not stay as the walk was too far. This kind security guard said he had no intention of letting us walk! He would take us to the entrance. The security guards also drive the shuttle and all we had to do was call the front desk of the Casino and they would come get us from our RV anytime we wanted. They also took us from the Casino back to the RV.
We thought this was great as the Security Guards were patrolling the parking lots and that way they knew we were there. We did spend the night and really had fun at the casino and race track which is part of the casino. The casino is huge with tons of slots and live dealer table games. There are plenty of smoking and no smoking areas as well.
The Meadows Casino and Racetrack is on I-79 south of Pittsburgh in Washington, Pennsylvania. There is also a hotel on the property. Check out the Meadows website here. Stop here on your way to Pittsburgh. It is a great facility and very RV friendly.
An impressive view of the Casino. You can see the back stretch of the harness racing track above the right parking garage.
Rachael removing the molds
We’ve met the nicest people on our travels through the United States. On Monday we were at the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery. This is located in Zanesville, Ohio and we almost passed by this town as we were traveling on Interstate 70.
Rachael Girton has been working at the Alan Cottrill Studio and Gallery for almost 8 years. She has been working for Mr. Cottrill since high school. She was in a government sponsered program for disabled teens who might have trouble finding a job as an adult. Rachele has type 1 Diabetes which is the most serious form of diabetes.
She started working at the Gallery while in high school and was such a valued employee that she has been there for almost 8 years.
Maj was fascinated with the process
Abe revealed! The molds will be used for the “lost wax” process
She is a totally delightful person and we were so happy to meet her. She led us through the process of removing the molds from a bust of Abe Lincoln. It was fascinating watching her carefully removing the two mold pieces. Maj was there watching her every move!
Be sure to visit Alan Cotrill’s website here to see more of Alan’s remarkable works.
Today we are in Zanesville, Ohio. We are on our way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and saw signs for the visitors center for Muskingum Co., so we stopped and it is a pretty neat place. I’m really glad we stopped because we found out where the big Longaberger Basket is. The people at the welcome center are so helpful. They told us other places to see as we travel in Muskingum County. We are going to visit Alan Cottrill Sculpture and Gallery now. I wish it would stop raining so we could pictures of the sculptures he has along the street. Hopefully we will get some and have them up tonight.
We did not have to wait in mid afternoon.
When our son and daughter-in-law suggested we go to Melt Bar and Grilled in Columbus, Ohio, I was a little skeptical. A grilled cheese restaurant? Little did I know how surprised (and satisfied) Sher and I would be after dining at this unique eatery.
Grilled cheese? Yes. On thick Texas toast. Any cheese you want. Then things get interesting, because you then pick what else goes onto the sandwich. For example, Mom’s Meatloaf Diner comes with a slab of meatloaf and redskin garlic mashed taters. Other culinary delights cover most menu possibilities with pork, beef, chicken, fish and of course vegetarian/vegan.
Each sandwich comes with a huge order of fresh cut fries. You can order either a whole or half size of the sandwich of choice. The half size will fill you up. The whole order size will leave you pleasantly stuffed. Our waiter confessed that even though great desserts are offered most patrons are too full to order any dessert.
Unique design behind the register
My “Backyard BBQ” with beef and thick cut onion rings and cheddar cheese. Tasty!
Craft beers are available from the bar. Any combination of sandwich fixins are available to order. Menu items change all the time, according to our waiter. This is a fun place to eat unique and tasty food for reasonable prices. Melt Bar and Grilled started in the Cleveland area in 2006 and now have locations scattered around Ohio. Check out the Melt Bar and Grilled website for all kinds of info including locations and hours for all the Ohio locations.
Sher and I give this eatery a solid five stars. We did not have to wait as we went at an off hour. Our son said there the place is usually packed. Go eat at one, expect a busy place but the wait will be worth it.
Our campsite next to the Ohio River
Sher and I were fortunate to have a couple of days with our 10 year old granddaughter while she was on Spring Break. She wanted to camp, so I booked a night at the Little Farm on the River RV Resort. Located on the Ohio River between Lawrenceburg and Vevay, Indiana, this park is really a gem on the waters.
Little Farm RV park is divided into two seperate camping areas. One is right next to the river while the other is about 300 yards away and is the site of the office and store. There is a great one acre catch and release fishing pond near the office. The views of the Ohio River from the river sites are up close and personal.
The staff at this park is stellar. They delivered our purchased firewood right to the firepit. Dave even threw in enough kindling pieces to insure a great fire start. My were those S’mores delicious! Our site was level and had full hook-ups. Roy is the onsite maintenance manager and is also very knowledgeable in RV service and repairs. There are very few RV issues that he can’t handle on site.
Enjoying the campfire & making S’mores
It was fun watching the coal barges on the river
We chose to have a site on the river. What a treat to camp on such a quiet site. The stars were out in force, the night sounds lulled us to sleep. Another bonus of the river sites comes several times when the barge traffic passes slowly up river.
This park hosts several rallies each year. In addition there are fun activities and events scheduled around all the fair weather holidays including Halloween. Fishing Derbys are held each Saturday. Kids and adults alike will enjoy corn hole tourneys, arcades, biking and hay rides. Seems like there is always something exciting going on at the Little Farm on the River RV Park!
Reservations are suggested, please check the website here. Ask about Passport America discounts when you make your reservation. Plan on a stay at this friendly, safe and fun RV park if your travels take you near Cincinnati,
Indianapolis or Louisville. You won’t be disappointed.
One of two large, clean bath and laundry buildings
One of the beautiful butterflies
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio is a most remarkable facility. Nestled in the beauty of the Franklin Park, the Conservatory houses a wide varitey of fauna from all over the world. Different ecosystems are represented in different “rooms” within the massive structure.
Himalayan Mountain fauna is found in one of the rooms. You can move from the Himalayan Mountains through a door and enjoy desert plants in yet another room, Man made stone outcroppings set the foundation for all of the plants on display. Waterfalls and other water features add to the ambience of the displays.
Of special interest is the tropical rain forest room that also serves as a home to hundreds of butterflies. Bred on site, the different species of butterflies are released several times during the week by staff members. During these informative release shows the staff discusses the life cycles and traits of each butterfly.
Strange cacti in the desert hall
Brilliant color and striking bloom
Parts of the facility was under renovation when we visitied with our granddaughter, however the construction did not interfere with our enjoyment of the many plants and ecosystems represented.
Make sure to plan a visit to the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. All pertainent information is on their website here.
Nathan and Adelaide Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media
The musical comedy Guys and Dolls is now running at Beef & Boads Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indianapolis. This intimate venue, beloved by Indy theater goers for decades, provides a perfect setting for this sometimes madcap story of two couples attempting to sort out their feelings.
The cast is filled with Beef and Boards favorties. Eddie Curry has the role of pro gambler Nathan Detroit. Nathan is in a race to procure a location for the biggest craps game ever seen. Adding to the frivolity is the local cop, played by Daniel Scharbrough, who is constantly breathing down Nathan’s neck in an effort to bust the game. Enter Sky Masterson who will bet on anything. Nathan sees this as a chance to make a sure bet with Masterson in order to get the cash to rent the place for the craps game.
The bet brings in a sweet, innocent Mission worker named Sarah Brown, played by Betsy Norton. The bet is that Masterson can get Sarah to go to Havana, Cuba with him for dinner. Meanwhile Nathan is still wooing Miss Adelaide, played by Deb Wims. Nahan and Adelaide have been “engaged” for 14 years. Both men have different ideas of romance. Both women also have different ideas about their perfect man.
Things get crazy quickly. The floating craps game ends up in a couple of unlikely places. Sky and Sarah go to Havana and return. Nathan and Adelaide plan more than one wedding time. Other gamblers join in the search for the perfect game. The cop keeps trying to bust the game. Laced throughout the cast sings, dances, laughs and just carries on!
This favorite won a Tony for Best Musical when on Broadway. The Beef and Boards version features all of the famous songs including “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat”.
Guys and Dolls runs through May15 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. You will really love the buffet that Chef Odell Ward prepares for this production.
Call for reservations at the Beef & Boards box office at 317-872-9664 or visit the Beef & Boards website here.
“The Guys” Photo courtesy Beef & Boards Media
Photo courtesy Beef & Boards
Sher and I are looking forward to seeing “Guys and Dolls” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indy this weekend. Some of our favorite actors are playing in this fun musical. We’re anticipating great performances from Eddie Curry, Jeff Stockberger and Deb Wims, among others.
I’ll have a full report on the show sometime Sunday.
Here is the Beef & Boards website. Get your tickets now!