Saturday, September 24, 2022

All About Ashtabula and the Area

Jefferson, Ohio.  Thousand Trails Kenisee Lake. Site: B-9

Highs: 50's to low 60's.  Lows: 40's to 50's. Fall is here!  ATT hot spot--download speed is 4.88, upload speed is 0.6. that's terrible! Forget about streaming anything on using your phone hotspot! T-Mobile Mifi download speed is 9.37, upload speed is 1.38--not very good but we can still use the internet! Water is about 56 psi's, so that is good water pressure. Sparky is reporting these speeds now on the blog because it's important to know which how the connections are is going to work for researching, posting photos, a blog, water and sewer hookups and communicating with family. More and more people are working on the road and need to know these things.

We are in Jefferson, Ohio, just outside of Ashtabula, in the northeast corner of Ohio, very close to Lake Erie at Thousand Trails Kenisee Lake RV park, free with our camping membership. We are here for four nights on our way to Indiana next. The road leading into the park turn off is narrow and winding. Be careful and watch out for deer as well. Note: DO NOT FOLLOW GPS directions or Mapquest directions to get to the park. Both will lead you straight to a low clearance (10ft. 8") bridge. 

Kenisee Lake is a very small park with two small lakes, 119 sites, only a few are available for pull through (10?) and the rest are back in. Many sites are taken up with seasonal rigs. This seems to be the trend at many Thousand Trails parks. The park has BIG, wide open green spaces and huge resident flocks of geese. They could put a ton more sites in if they wanted to. 

All sites for campers moving on through are out in the open, with no trees and are gravel and grass sites, level. There is a pool (now closed for the season) and a very small laundry room if you need it. The cons are: the gravel sites flood when it rains, and a variety of cell phone services all struggle with speed and good connections. The park is located in a small town with limited shopping options, but if you don't mind driving a bit, there is plenty to see and do in the area. The pros are: it's clean, it's quiet, and in the county you can take a covered bridge tour on your own, or check out the barn quilt tour on your own as well. The town of Geneva-on-the-Lake, a summer resort town right on Lake Erie is nearby, but pretty much shuts down after Labor Day. There are LOTS of wineries (30) in the area. And of course, lots of recreational opportunities at Lake Erie and a very nice bike trail just a couple of miles from the RV park, called the Western Reserve Greenway Bike Trail, with the trailhead closest being Eagleville trailhead. 

In addition, here are some other ideas if you are in the Ashtabula area:

Pick apples at Brant Apple Orchard, (Aug-November) and try a cider slushy or cider donuts. We got some cider and it was delicious! 

Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge
Do the covered bridge tour on your own...get a map and off you go! There are 19 covered bridges in the area. It's a fun drive and the map places you logically and most efficiently as to how to visit them. Check out the beautiful Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge--the longest covered bridge in the US, but definitely not the oldest. It is 613 feet long. There is a beautiful park there, too. Here is a shot of the bridge side walkway, (to the left), there is a walkway on both sides. 

Root Road Bridge

If you are an architecture buff, know that there are 5 truss patterns found within the 19 covered bridges. They are: the Burr Arch, the Town Lattice Truss, the Howe Truss, the Inverted Harp Truss, and the Pratt Truss (which is the Smolen-Gulf Bridge). The insides of these bridges are AMAZING! 

Middle Bridge-Howe Truss

Eldy is waving hi thru the Root Bridge!

The map tells you the year, the type of structure, the clearance, and the dimensions. The shortest clearance is at 9 ft., 4 in. The truck cleared it-barely! One of Sparky's favorites this time was the State Road Bridge seen below.

State Road Bridge

There are two driving tours for the bridges, if you wanted to cover them all. The north and eastern tour covers 13 bridges and spans 69 miles, the south and western tour covers 6 bridges and spans 68 miles.

Mechanicsville Bridge + Quilt Pattern

If you are a history buff, check out the Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum in Ashtabula, take a tour through the 19th century Jefferson Depot, the Ashtabula Maritime and Surface Transportation Museum, or the Victorian Perambulator Museum, a truly a one-of-a-kind in the world. That would be a history of baby carriages in case you are not familiar with the "p" word! Lucille Ball's baby carriage is in there, apparently and there's enough historic perambulators to fill 15 rooms!

You could go looking for beach glass at Conneaut (pronounced "Connie-ought") Township Park or Walnut Beach.

Italian pizza oven at Nights and Weekends

Eat pizza at the Nights and Weekends Pizzeria in downtown Ashtabula Harbor. Fantastic pizza, and the wood fired oven is from Italy!  Some great locally brewed beer there, too. (Yep, smiles a satisfied Eldo).

In early August, the largest D-Day re-enactment in the WORLD takes place in Conneaut. It's a free event and over 3,000 reenactors help make it happen.

At Brant's Apple Orchard
If you are a crafter or sewer, you might want to take in the Barn Quilts Tour by doing a beautiful drive. Barn quilt motifs are painted on the sides of barns, shops, sign boards, or historical places of significance all over the county. The concept began with a lady in Ohio who wanted to honor her mother and her Appalachian heritage. You can learn the story of each pattern at:

The covered bridge tour and the barn quilt tour is all in the same piece of literature available at the RV park office.
Church in Jefferson with quilt pattern

Sparky's Place
And of course, we just HAD to try Sparky's Place....on Broad Street in Conneaut for a huge fish sandwich and some terrific cheese curds. Just about everything made from scratch. Sparky says, if it has her name on it, it's got to be good--well, we hope, anyway...And it was! It has a cool atmosphere. The owner has it decorated with kitschy stuff all over the place and TWO leg lamps (seen in the movie "A Christmas Story", a classic--"It's 'FRAGEE-LAY'".)

In the short four days we were there, we did a lot of these things and topped it off with the Grape Festival on the weekend, the day before we were to leave for Indiana. This was the first time the grape festival had been held in two years and so the turnout was great. All things grape here--grape ice cream, grape pie, and purple cows. Concord grapes off the vine are amazing!

Sparky ALMOST signed up for the adult grape stomping contest, but watched the little ones do it instead. They came before the grownups. A lady celebrating her 40th birthday had the guts to stomp in a mini dress! The grapes are in a small barrel, held by a guy in a white hazmat suit with a face mask. (He put one on later after getting juice on his face) and it was not at all like we pictured it would be, but still fun to watch. They played funky music with a beat to get the contestants to stomp faster.

We had a great stay in Ohio, and are looking forward to a return visit for some more great spots in Ashtabula County to visit and check out next time. We head out tomorrow for Howe and Elkhart, Indiana, for an extended stay.

Both Eldy and Sparky will be having cataract surgery and doing all the catching up with dentist and doctor visits, to get those out of the way, AND visiting with Eldy's son's family. We are also looking forward to seeing the fall and leaf color changes in Indiana.  See you down the road!



  1. This is a wonderful commentary on the area.

    We always enjoyed each and every stop at Kenisee Lakes (what a wonderful little park.)

    A beautiful rendition of all the things to do in the area, way more than we ever discovered, or did. You are a great researcher.

    I don't recall ever having phone or wifi issues with our Verizon System, but it's been awhile ago, and perhaps I just do not remember.

    Safe travels onward. . .always!

    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words....

  2. I was born in Ohio although nowhere near Ashtabula and had no idea that there were so many wonderful things to do there. This is a great post and the tourist agency of the area should put a link to your blog on their website. But I do wish you had done some grape stomping and Eldy had gotten pictures of it. IF I decide to spend a summer in the cool temperatures of the UPI may very well seek out this area and this campground just because of your blog post. Really well done.

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment, Sherry!