Oct 072009

After getting a clean bill of health from my new doctor at the V.A. hospital in Lexington, Kentucky on Monday morning, we returned to the Mercer County Fairgrounds that afternoon to wrap up some business and do some exploring in the area.

We love small towns, and Ohio has many charming little communities to choose from. Greenville, located about 30 miles south of Celina on U.S. Highway 127, is a friendly community with a lot of history, and one of the best small town museums we have ever found.

Annie Oakley Historical Site 4 webMidway between the two towns, the small hamlet of North Star consists of a post office, a couple of stores, a farm implement dealer, and a smattering of houses.

But North Star has a special claim to fame; Annie Oakley. America’s most celebrated female marksman was raised here, and learned to handle a rifle shooting small game to help feed her impoverished family. By the time she was seven years old, she was an accomplished hunter and trapper, even selling her excess game to a store in Greenville. A small roadside monument honors the girl sharpshooter at the site of the home she lived in. Annie Oakley is buried in a small cemetery just off Highway 127, a couple of miles from her girlhood home.

Greenville remembers Darke County’s favorite daughter with a statue of Annie Oakley downtown, as well as a two room exhibit in the fabulous Garst Museum.

We have visited many small town museums over the years, and I can’t remember one that impressed us more than the Garst Museum. Besides Annie Oakley, the museum has an extensive exhibit on another local celebrity, Lowell Thomas, one of the best known writers and filmmakers of the 20th Century. Other exhibits include Native Americans, military history, a re-created small town made up of storefronts from everything from a dentist’s office to a toy store, and an outstanding display of Currier and Ives prints.

Kitchen Aid webGreenville is also the home of the Kitchen Aid company, and visitors can tour their factory on the north side of town. On the town’s main street, the Kitchen Aid Experience Center is housed in an old department store, and visitors can see and try out a nice selection of small appliances, and shop for bargains on mixers, toasters, blenders, and accessories. Being an accomplished chef, Miss Terry loves this place, and whenever we’re in the area she stops in to drool over the goodies.

Besides lots to see and do, Greenville has some of the friendliest people we’ve met anywhere. Everybody we talked to treated us like next door neighbors and friends. When you get away from the big cities and the Interstate highways, and get out on the two lanes roads, you’ll discover the real America, in places like Greenville, where the heart and soul of our country lives.

We had originally planned to cover some stories in eastern Ohio in the next few days, but the weather is not cooperating, so we are undecided about our next move. We need to get back to Elkhart to get the new issue of the Gypsy Journal in production, so we may head in that direction and hit some locations between here and there instead.

We’re enjoying the fact that we don’t have to be anyplace and have no commitments until our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in March! We’re finally getting some of that freedom that the fulltime RV lifestyle is all about!

Quite a few people have written to ask when Bad Nick will be posting a new blog. The little imp has been taking a hiatus while all of the Ohio rally activities were going on, but I have it on good authority that he’ll be posting something any day now, and he’s got lots to say!

Thought For The Day – If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “Small Town America”

  1. NICK: I’d love to have had the time to visit the Kitchen Aid factory on our way thrugh the area. Today Nancy and I are in the Dayton, OH area to view the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. Although the weather is just plain nasty. . . cold and rainy, we can’t just sit around and mope, there’s just too much to see. Orv

  2. In a little corner of that museum there is a display about another city boy “Lt Commander Zachary Lansdowne” and The crash of the Shenandoah. In east central Ohio is another great little museum which covers that story:


  3. Okay Nick. . . now our plans have changed just because of your good influence. Instead of looking at a bunch of used airplanes, now dear Nancy says we’re going to te Kitchenaid Factory. Thanks a lot, buddy. . . just what excites me: looking at toasters. Ummm. . . now maybe a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Alright, Kitchenaid it is. Now, a real thanks for guiding us with your blog.

  4. Good thing my wife doesn’t read your blog Nick. Or we’d be heading off to that kitchenaid place too. (well probably not, but it would be on the ‘wish we could’ list…)

    Enjoy your free time, (other than the Journal stuff)! Hope the Bus sells soon so you won’t have that on your mind.

  5. In regard to your naked, homeless turtle, Suzy says it’s probably dead, also.

    We owned a Kitchenaid mixer for many years. It had been SUzy’s Mom’s mixer; she bought it refurbished. Then Suzy’s Dad used it for years in his restaurant business. We worked it hard for maybe another 15 years until it died. Suzy immediately bought a new one and used it until we moved into the motorhome. It has since moved into our daughter’s house where it is lovingly at work making cookie dough and who know what else. An excellent product!

  6. Thanks, Nick. I will go home a different route and see Annie Oakley’s home and gravesite.

    Jan Stewart

  7. Have you seen the movie “Buffalo Girls” ?? With Reba McEntire as Annie Oakley and Anjelica Huston as Calamity Jane – It’s one of my very favorites.

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