Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tree City Coffee & Pastry -- Kent, OH

Our favorite coffee shop is Tree City Coffee in Kent. We frequent Acorn Alley and never get tired of their coffee. We stopped by this past weekend for some coffee and treats as a way to jump start our Sunday morning.

Tree City has a blackboard out front which rotates quotes, drawings and coffee specials. 

The decor inside is pretty industrial, we've never actually sat inside Tree City to drink our coffee, because the tables are usually full by the time we get there. Don't worry though, there's plenty of outdoor seating nearby if you don't want your drink to go.

You place your order after the delicious case of pastries. 

Like most coffee shops, you pick-up your order in a different place to keep the line moving. There is fruit/vegetable infused water available for sipping at this end of the bar if you're parched while waiting for your coffee.

Just after Tree City there are steps which lead up to an outdoor patio, this plaza contains Popped! and the Kent Cheesemonger (soon to open). There are plenty of benches and tables in that area and it's a nice quiet place to enjoy your coffee.

Dave ordered the White Chocolate Frappe (contains no coffee) and I ordered the Iced Vanilla Latte.

I also ordered a Vanilla Cheesecake Pop. 

Dave got a chocolate chip cookie.

As per usual, we were very pleased with our visit to Tree City Coffee, although the tables in the coffee shop are always filled, we never have any difficulty navigating through the line. The chocolate chip cookie was pretty big and filled with chocolate chips. The vanilla cheesecake pop was perfect for someone, like me, who just wanted something a little sweet. The White Chocolate Frappe was the drink that we liked the best, but the Iced Vanilla Latte was good too. Tree City has a lengthy list of flavor syrups if you'd prefer to customize your own drink. They also make their own peanut butter and have several peanut butter sandwich options available (cooler than it sounds, think gourmet peanut butter sandwiches) if you're stopping in for a quick lunch or dinner.

My rating of Tree City Coffee:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Twilight & Flashlights at Stan Hywet -- Akron, OH

Throughout the summer Stan Hywet in Akron has been hosting an exhibit entitled Bloom! which features glass sculptures created by artist Craig Mitchell Smith.  The sculptures have been on display throughout the Stan Hywet gardens since June 2nd and will continue to be displayed until September 20, 2015. You can see the sculptures during the day for the price of admission at Stan Hywet or you can attend their Twilight & Flashlights event August 27, & 28 and September 3 & 4 from 7pm-11pm, with the last admission at 10pm.

During the Twilight & Flashlights event all of the sculptures from the Bloom! exhibit are lit up and if you arrive early enough, you can even see the sun set while you conduct your self-tour of the grounds and sculptures. At the Twilight & Flashlights event there is live music throughout the grounds, self-guided tours of the mansion's first floor and refreshments available for purchase.

We attended the Twilight & Flashlights event last Friday (August 21). We arrived at 8pm, just as the sun was setting. 

Dave and I had been to Stan Hywet to see the Bloom! exhibit in late June, but our friends had never seen the sculptures or Stan Hywet's gardens, so they were delighted to be able to experience both in such a unique way.

At the rear of the mansion there was a steel drum band playing. 

Here's a taste of some of the 32 Bloom! sculptures throughout the grounds...

After seeing the sculptures, we decided to tour the mansion as well. The house was completed in 1915 (this is Stan Hywet's 100 year anniversary) and was the home of F.A. Seiberling one of the founders of Goodyear. The manor house is 64,500 square feet, with 65 rooms, 23 bathrooms and 23 fireplaces. There's even an indoor pool in the basement.

A mansion photo from earlier in the evening. 

Photography is permitted inside the mansion (without the use of the flash) and there are guides in every room to answer questions you may have. I took a few photos, but the grandiose rooms are truly best viewed in person. The amount of decoration and detail throughout the first floor of the mansion is intricate -- it's a little difficult for me to comprehend living in a house like that. 

At the entrance to the Stan Hywet Gardens was the All Thumbs bassoon ensemble. They played show tunes and popular songs (think Somebody that I Used to Know by Gotye) all arranged for a choir of bassoons. They were fun to listen to and there was a group on the patio enjoying food and wine while listening to their musical stylings.

Stan Hywet was prepared with everything for the Twilight & Flashlights event. We were provided with flashlights and there was bug spray available if you needed it. I am usually a mosquito magnet and surprisingly I was fine just wearing long sleeves and pants. Once you purchase your ticket you'll be provided with a map of the grounds and information about Stan Hywet itself. If you purchase food or drink, we split a bottle of wine, you can carry it throughout the grounds, but not into the manor. It was a very classy and unique event and I was delighted that we participated in it last Friday. It was a nice way to end the work week. 

My review of Twilight & Flashlights at Stan Hywet:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tulipán Hungarian Pastry and Coffee Shop -- Wooster, OH

Tulipán Hungarian Bakery is located in Wooster, a brief walk from the Wayne County Common Pleas Court. There are several other cafe's and shops located in this area as well, it's a popular location for people to visit during their lunch hour. Tulipán is owned by Elizabeth Lakatos who emigrated from Hungary, bringing with her traditional family recipes. Her daughter Lilly helps to manage the shop as well. 

Aside from pastries, Tulipán offers coffee, breakfast and brunch items. Rolled omelettes, soups, open-faced sandwiches, and crêpes are served all day. 

I'm pretty jealous that Dave has such a wonderful lunch location so near to his work. I'm not in the Wooster area often, but since Dave works downtown he's been exploring the surrounding restaurants and shops. He thought Tulipán looked interesting and offered to take some photos and purchase some pastries for us to try for Ohio Wanderlust. Dave came home and gave me the full report about his experience at Tulipán and he brought home an assortment of goodies to share with me.

We tried four of their pastries as described below: 

Meringue Ultra: This dessert had a meringue shell with raspberry jam filling -- similar to a macaron. The shell was nice and crunchy. Sweet, but airy, a nice very light treat.

Nut Kifli: This pastry wasn't too sweet, it would be a great coffee or breakfast pastry. The filling was similar to the filling that's in a nut roll, but the dough itself wasn't sugary.

Nut Roll: Nut rolls aren't usually my favorite pastry, but Dave loves them, so he was happy with this one.

Dobos Torte: Since Dave went to Tulipán on a work day, I wasn't even aware that they sold dobos torte. I was so happy that he brought a slice home. Growing up this was my favorite recipe of my grandma's and it's still what I request for my birthday cake yearly. Of course, nothing can compare to my grandma's recipe, but this one was still very good. This was Dave's first time having dobos torte, he liked the contrasts between the sponge cake, light frosting and crisp caramel.

My review of Tulipán Hungarian Pastry and Coffee Shop:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Serpent Mound -- Bratton, OH

Dave and I have talked about wanting to go to the Serpent Mound for a few months now, but since it's 3.5 hours away from where we live, it didn't seem like it was a feasible weekend option for us. Since we were already in Hocking Hills this past weekend, we decided to make the slightly over an hour trip from Hocking Hills to Bratton to see the mound.

There are multiple theories as to who built the Serpent Mound and why it's there, but so far excavation and science have yet to definitively prove any of the theories. Something I wasn't aware of is that the Serpent Mount does not contain artifacts or human remains like most other burial mounds which were built by Native Americans in Ohio and other locations. There are artifacts all around the area, but none actually in the mound.

When you arrive at the Serpent Mount you are required to pay a parking fee ($8.00). When we paid the fee we got a chance to look around the museum and gift shop. In the museum there was an informational video playing on loop and we were provided with a map of the grounds.

There is a large observation tower at the beginning of the trail which allowed you to get an aerial view of the Serpent Mound. 

Views from the observation deck:

There was a paved walking path around the entirety of the Serpent Mound.

The path included a few great views of the valley below. 

Back near the parking lot there were two Adena burial mounds which were labeled with signs.

We spent about half an hour to forty-five minutes at the Serpent Mound, I'm glad that we didn't make a special trip to see it, but the Serpent Mound was something I learned about extensively in school as an Ohioan and something Dave learned about in school in New Hampshire. It was a cool experience and would be for school aged children who were learning about burial mounds and effigies in school. 

My review of the Serpent Mound: