A beautiful morning suggested to us that, rather than venture further into Kentucky, we might explore some of southern Ohio, in particular Adams County. Our reasons will become clear, but in the meantime, our attention was drawn to a sign on the highway, directing us to Chilo on the Ohio river and with a split second decision made, we were there.
What we found was an old lock house from the days when the river wasn’t navigable and that scale attached to the wall provoked my interest. Has the Ohio river flooded, then?
One of the information panels revealed the extent to which it did, in 1937, to an astonishing level of 73ft – that’s half way up that lock house, currently marked with a small brass plaque. Oh my. Hard to imagine that broad river flooding to that degree, though sure enough, there was the photographic proof right there in front of me.
We hadn’t really come to gaze at the river though, but passing through Ripley, where the Underground Railroad “conductors” operated to assist escaping slaves cross the river to relative freedom, we reflected on the incredible efforts which were made to get them to safety.
Anyway, what about the clothes line? A clue is on the top of this hotel, situated just inside Adams County. I snapped the picture whilst travelling at speed, accompanied by a yell “there’s one!”
We decided to spend the day following the Ohio Quilt Barn Trail, referred to as a “clothesline of quilts” and equipped with saved internet information to access offline using our Note tablets and a rather small scale map.
Testing my Hero’s patience, we spotted another and screeched to a halt having missed a couple along the way. Our map wasn’t the most accurate and, I suspect, way out of date. We were trying to navigate our way, watch out for quilts on barns, keep an eye on the map and have cameras at the ready. Oh, and thankfully, my Hero was concentrating on driving and keeping us all safe.
But it was getting challenging. I was beginning to realise that we couldn’t spent the whole day doing this without having one almighty row. Much as I loved spotting the quilts and snapping a picture, it wasn’t fair to have to keep making sudden stops!
Some were bright enough to see from a distance, or situated right there on a roadside, so there wasn’t a problem.
Others were high on a hill and shone out from a distance, but still, it wasn’t proving to be as easy as we thought.
As we spotted this one, off to the left and screeched to a halt to take the photo, we spotted someone waving – we hopped out of the car to speak and explain what we were doing and met Ann Taylor of The Quilt Barn who not only welcomed us into her studio/workshop, but introduced us to her amazing machine too
But best of all, she offered us printed maps, up to date information about the Quilt Barn Trail and provided us with everything we needed to continue on our journey happily. We learned a little about the history of the barn quilt movement which began right here (the very first one was just up the road) and we really appreciated the encouragement she offered us.
Armed with a list of addresses and a map, suddenly finding these quilts became much easier.
Even so, some were easier to spot than others.
Some weren’t even on the map, but now we’d got our eyes in, they didn’t elude us!
Most were on old barns – in fact, Ann had told us that some had collapsed since the original quilt barn trail had been organised.
But some were in more urban settings (though here, urban referred to a town small enough to be a village in our terms)
This one wasn’t painted, but pieced together with different colours of wood to create the design.
Occasionally, we’d spot a real stunner!
We saw way too many quilts to share here and were thwarted in our efforts to see some by road closures and poor map reading (mine!). But coming to the end of the list, we were determined to see these last few.
Last one was this sunflower and we really felt we’d ended on a high. What a great way to get off the beaten track and see some of the beautiful hidden corners of Adams County, Ohio
Following the clothes line was fun – thanks to Ann, we survived the journey, too!