Symbols on a local tourist map turned out to be covered bridges, and on a perfect sunny afternoon we set out to see three that are all very near Conneaut.
Whizzing by on the highway, Ohio is flat and featureless. The creeks that wind their way into Lake Erie are invisible. In contrast, covered bridges predate the interstate, along roads that follow the contours of the land, skirting fields that alternate with stands of woodland, gently curving around low hills. The road dips down toward the creek, turns to cross perpendicular to the stream, then straightens out again and climbs up to the level of the fields.
Farmland now competes with housing, creating a suburban/rural combination that is new to us. Our speed dropped as we navigated the country roads and took time to pull over and admire the sights. We were never more than a few miles from the center of Conneaut, yet the landscape was entirely different. Adjacent to Conneaut Creek are vineyards, part of the local wine industry. With everything closed, we have not been able to taste Ohio wine yet.
Between stops on the covered bridge trail, we passed a huge octagonal barn, a wonderful structure that isn’t built any more. Beyond the next bridge, the map on my phone showed Bear Creek Waterfall, so we stopped. A broad sheet of water runs across the rock, pooling part way down before flowing into the creek. Imagine this as the centerpiece of a vast Japanese garden, water flowing across the rock, serene and constant. We watched the flow of the water for a few minutes before continuing on to the next bridge. At the end of our tour, we were at the opposite end of town, still only a few miles from home. All this in one afternoon!
The more we explore, the more we find. Along our route among the covered bridges, we found the Clara D. Peet Preserve, a grassy trail into the woods that we plan to walk another day. Online, I discovered a map of Ashtabula County parks, including at least two others we’ll enjoy exploring during the remainder of our month here.