Whew! My-oh-my, did I have a whirlwind of a trip with my sassy sister-in-law Linda (I’m married to her cute brother!)…why, we were a couple of tornadoes-in-blue jeans ripping down the road in her lipstick-red Mom-Van…stopping whenever we wanted to….(which was every time we saw a sign for antiques or billboards for Foot-Hi pie) in fact the motto of our trip was….”Nobody’s the boss of us!”. You see, there wasn’t anyone to tell us “no, we don’t have time to stop”. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our husbands and LOVE to travel with them, and they will stop for us, from time to time,(bless their hearts!) but it’s hard to relax and enjoy a 50,000 square foot Antique mall when hubby is in the car waiting. Y’all know what I mean!

And don’t your eyes get real big, and your mouth open wide to catch your breath, as you zoom passed a fabulous place at 75 mph that you just know would make your heart skip a beat if you could only take a peek inside! (just one peek, pretty please, with a cherry on top!)Men are hunters, they focus on one thing until they conquer it. My hubby admits it. Our destination is his prey (or quest) when traveling, so it’s peddle-to-the-metal until he conquers it. Women are gatherers, we like to take our time to gather ideas, gather inspiration, gather knowledge, gather beauty, smell the roses and eat some yummy things along the way, then gather some more sweet moments, gather chocolate, gather pretty things that warm and delight our hearts…so we can bring them home to beautify and bring comfort to our nest. And then we like to savor those moments and chat about it, over sweet tea or a hot cup of coffee, and share with each other all the things we’ve gathered! Yes, we women thrive on gathering goodness. And goodness knows, that’s what Linda and I did! (‘cuz…… nobody was the boss of us!)
Saint Louis wasn’t our first stop, but it’s where we landed for a couple of days..

The St. Louis Arch over looking the Mississippi River is so spectacular….you could actually take an elevator ride to the top!
Underneath the Arch is a fascinating museum about the American Frontier. It’s all about the Pioneers who braved the unknown as they headed West for a better life. A darling General Store next to the Museum….

We met up with some girls from Church to enjoy the Fabulous Joyce Meyer Women’s Conference….click here to see a quick video of it.

Joyce was an inspiration, as was, the music by Darlene Zschech from Hillsong! If you are needing to find more joy in your life, I recommend any Joyce Meyer books!As you may know, the Palin / Biden debate was held in St. Louis,( the same night I was there ) so I went with some Church gals to the After-The-Debate Rally to see V.P. hopeful, Mrs. Sarah Palin and family. It was exciting to say the least!

You can see Mr. Palin in the center shaking hands and signing autographs.

Love my Sarah Palin souvenir!

I even got to see old Abe Lincoln in person!

Imagine that! See if you can find him!

We crossed The mighty Mississippi and into Illinois….

…for the Best Pie in America.

In the middle of a corn field, just off Interstate 70, in Highland, Illinois is a darling restaurant called Blue Springs Cafe…home of the Foot High Pies.

It was my birthday….and normally I would love

to have a big piece of German Chocolate cake…..

….but on this day I settled for a slice of Heaven

(actually two slices, we shared Coconut Cream and Banana Cream)

……yumm….

The crust was amazing… flaky, golden crisp… the filling and foot-high meringue were simply, sweet perfection. The baker said they use 12 egg whites per pie to swirl a cloud of meringue 12 inches high!

The meals are served family style….just like at Grandma’s house!

(We passed on the Livers and Gizzards! ew!)

We oooed and ahhhed as we soared by acres of corn fields

and quaint white farmhouses….
and lots and lots of gorgeous barns!!

The homes in the Midwest are so adorable….like sweet doll houses! Notice the candles in the windows! Lots of the homes we saw had them…so warm and welcoming! I wanted to knock on their door to see what they were having for dinner! (Probably, Chicken’n'Dumplin’s, with Pumpkin pie for dessert!)

Speaking of candles…we hit the mother load at the Warm Glow candle outlet in Centerville, Indiana! Oh my goodness! Come take a look……….

I am told that the flame on the giant candle actually flickers at night! Okay…you know what I’m going to say right?
I love this place so much I want to marry it!



It was very Disneyland-ish!

(Don’t get me started about Disneyland!)

On the road again….passing through old fashioned small towns with storybook charm….

Stopping for a bite to eat at one of our favorite joys…..Cracker Barrel! Such a friendly down-home happy place…


Instead of stopping at gas stations for bathroom breaks (those can sometimes be a little scary) we would stop at Cracker Barrel….you can find them throughout the midwest, just off the highway….it’s always clean, safe, welcoming and you get to walk through the general store….filled to the brim with pretty and delightful things…..ripe for gathering! And they have sweet tea to go!


We finally made it to Ohio….beautiful Ohio!
Some of the neighborhoods are paved with bricks that were laid in the 1800′s!

We stopped at an adorable market called Dorothy Lane in Kettering, Ohio.Bill’s Donuts gave us a sweet look of small town life… Linda and her daughter Heather…..


Heather and I at this heartwarming shop….so fun!
Grandma’s Parlor gift shop on the way to Lebanon Ohio….

Lebanon is such an adorable little town…

filled with little antique shops and history!
This was once the house of the town doctor in the 1800′s. Just look at this Town Hall! Love it!We stopped for some much needed Creme Brule’ at this very famous Inn…established in 1803. The Golden Lamb, served hospitality, nourishment and overnight stay to 12 Presidents including U.S. Grant, J.Q. Adams and Ronald Reagan. Other famous guests of the Inn included Samuel Clemmons (Mark Twain) and Charles Dickens. You can go upstairs and view the rooms they stayed in. Most of what you see is original, and has been preserved…including the handrail up to Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemmons rooms, which I am sure they held onto since the steps are a bit steep….so as I held onto this same smooth beam of wood it was a bit awe-inspiring!
On the way back we took a wrong turn (oopsie doopsie!)….we drove about an hour on this little skinny road that led deep into the woods without seeing any sign of civilization! We were a bit concerned…if we had needed help it would have been difficult to tell anyone where we were! We did have a GPS, fortunately, (and God’s guardian angels…more importantly!) so we could see there was a way out! We finally rounded a corner to find a little town with people!

And just a few blocks further we found
Indiana’s largest Antique mall ( Webb’s)….huh! what do ya know!
Do you think we stopped? Of course!
Because….nobody was the boss of us!
Now that I am home, my heart is full with giggle-filled memories…I am thankful to be back with my wonderful hubby and daughter….I missed them too much!
Come visit me next week for my One-Year-Of-Blogging Anniversary Give Away!! I will also address some of the questions I’ve been asked.
God Bless you!
Ruthann

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