Vacation Trip Breakdown

JP turned the big 3-1 this past weekend, so to celebrate, we hopped in her ’09 Sentra with her yellow lab and headed 5.5 hours away to her hometown of Mansfield, OH. I’ve only been to Mansfield, or Ohio in general, just a few times to go back to visit JP’s fam. I like to think of it as a small-medium sized town nestled in between Cleveland and Columbus and boasts not only the small-town life (full of family-owned businesses) but also suburban areas on the outskirts of the town. (That’s where JP’s fam lives). We started our ride at about 7 p.m. Illinois time (8 p.m. Ohio time) and the ride seemed pretty smooth.

Chance ready to leave Chicago!

We stopped maybe twice to let Chance (the yellow lab) out for a walk and also to grab some Dairy Queen! Sweeeet! We arrived in Mansfield about 2 a.m. local time and quickly unloaded only what we needed for the night and headed directly to bed.

courtesy of Tom Kiser via

In the morning, JP’s parents were off to work and JP and I hung out with her younger sister (who is actually my age) for the day. We ate at my favorite place in all of Ohio … DAIRYLAND! Which is kind of like a Tastey Freeze, and is like a small food stand with car hops and amazing pizza burgers and deep friend pickles. Oh my! It’s only open seasonally, so we had to head down there a total of twice during our visit before the big ice cream cone was taken down for the season and the doors closed in 3 weeks.

We did a lot of family stuff during the trip, such as also celebrate JP’s uncle’s 50th birthday which isn’t until the end of the month. It was a fun night where we played bags, yard ball (aka bocce ball), ate amazing cook-out food and sat around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning.

JP and her cheese

Me w/JP's aunt Pam in an intense game of bags. Form!

We also had some fun with JP’s family mascot Peg. See, Peg is a tricky creature. She was gifted as a white elephant gift at last year’s family Christmas fiasco at JP’s family’s big brew-haha. Now, she makes the rounds around family members and really just scares the crap out of everyone. JP received her welcomingly at Christmas and Peg spent a few months with us until we decided Peg would make a fantastic wedding gift to JP’s young cousin and his lovely bride. Little did they know that amidst all those amazing wedding presents, would be the best present of all … PEG! Thus, Peg made it to JP’s uncle’s b-day party and was all the rage!

me and peg

During the trip, JP and I also headed to Lodi, OH to visit the outlet malls. She wanted to pick up some stuff at one of the stores and I wanted to check out the fudge at the Rocky Mountain Fudge Factory! The mall has a small “train” station that drives adults and mostly children all around the mall fairgrounds. Reallll country!

We had a pretty low-key Sunday and Monday. JP and I went to breakfast with her mom and sister before heading back to Chicago. On our way through town, while running some errands, I spotted this gem:

GTL, Mansfield style

Yes, folks. That’s Mansfield’s version of Jersey Shore’s favorite GTL….gym, tanning, laundry can also loosely be related to Storage, Wash and Tan. So, there ya have it! Our short 4-day trip across the midwest! It seems like I’ve been off forever but I’m glad to be back in Illinois and such.


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