For the past four April's, I have made the trip to The Longaberger Homestead for the Collector's Club Gathering. It is about 6.5 - 7 hours to drive there from Nashville, but always worth it. Once again, this year, I was joined by my best friend, Lisa, as well as my Mom and her friend, Susie.
On Thursday, Lisa and I scooted out of Nashville and connected with Mom and Susie on I-71 near Louisville. We were trying to follow each other along. This was successful until we got to Cincinnati and Mom got busy talking and missed a turn. By the time she managed to get back on the right Interstate, Lisa and I were about 25 minutes ahead of them. She and I made a quick pit-stop for a drink and a snack before we headed back out for our next stop.
We all met at the Prime Outlets in Jeffersonville, Ohio, which is about 40 miles south of Columbus. We hit the Coach outlet, where I picked up two beautiful new bags and The Bath & Body Works Outlet, where I was able to stock up on my favorite bathroom and kitchen hand soaps. I also found a great surprise for Rich. All I can say is that it will be perfect in the office. I might be saving this one for Christmas.
We left there and headed toward the hotel in Heath, Ohio, which is about 30 miles east of Columbus. We checked in, which required more pleading than I felt like dealing with after a long day of driving. Apparently booking through Orbitz means that they will give you whatever room they feel like - even though I had booked two double non-smoking rooms. Mom and Susie got a King Non-Smoking, which they were okay with. They had Lisa and I booked into a double smoking room. This, didn't make me happy. Then, the girl at the desk gave me serious attitude when I asked if we could be moved to a non-smoking room. I managed to plead with her until she caved - and instantly developed a much nicer disposition. I think she needs some good mail.
After the check-in fiasco, we headed over to one of our favorite places to eat. Miller's Essenplatz. It is operated by a nice Menonite family and the food is always sooo good! The fresh, homemade bread and peanut butter/honey spread is worth the trip. YUM-O! We got more than a belly full and after browsing the giftshop for a bit, we ventured back to the hotel to get rested up for a great Friday.
We left at 8 on Friday morning to drive out to Berlin, Ohio, which is probably about 100 miles northeast of Columbus. This is the heart of Ohio's Amish Country. I love it there. It is so peaceful and the shopping is fantastic. We stopped at Tis the Season, which is a year round Christmas shop located on Schrock's Amish Farm. We love this shop. They have three floors of ornaments, decorations and other tree-trimmers. I found several great new ornaments for our big new tree.
From there, we drove just one town over to Charm, Ohio. I love the name of that town! This is the home of Guggisburg Cheese, and the Original Baby Swiss Cheese. We are usually there on Saturday, when they aren't making cheese, but since it was Friday, we got to see the cheese being made. Very interesting. I have no idea what was going on in there, but it sure looked cool. We sampled lot of types of cheese and picked up several varieties to bring home. Good thing we remembered the cooler!
We headed back into Berlin, and against my better judgement, drove through Burger King for a small, quick bite for lunch. Normally, I would have dug my heels in insisting that we eat someplace unique, but we were short on time and I knew we had big plans for supper. After our very non-Amish lunch, we did a little shopping in downtown Berlin. I spent most of my time in a great little shop that had just about every shape of tin cookie cutter you could ever imagine. I should have taken a picture... drat! The prices were great, and I managed to get out of there for under $20.
We all met back at the car and headed back toward Columbus. On the agenda... Easton Town Center. I love shopping there. So many great stores and all in walking distance. It's fantastic. We shopped Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, The Container Store, Lane Bryant and Nordstrom's. Some of these stores we have in Nashville, but we were in a spending mood, so we shopped the familiar places too. We had a great dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and believe it or not, opted for Graeter's Ice Cream for dessert. Oh it was sooo good. It was very late, we were all tired and full (again). So it was time to get back to the hotel. The main attraction was happening on Saturday.
Saturday morning we were up and out of the hotel at 8. This day, we were heading out to The Longaberger Homestead for the Collector's Club Gathering. It was cloudy, kinda cold and very damp. Not great weather, but we were in great spirits. We parked and headed inside after a brief delay in getting Susie's registration packet. The line to get into the event shopping area was snaked around through all of the ropes and way too intimidating for us. So, we decided to head over to the manufacturing building to check things out and get ready for our scheduled time to weave a basket.
We were able to get into to weave about 45 minutes early (thanks to all the people still waiting to shop). We each wove the beautiful event basket. This is so much fun and visitor's can weave a basket anytime they visit the Homestead. Such a great way to learn about the company and leave with a priceless keepsake. If you are planning a visit to Central Ohio, this is a must!
After we made our baskets, we had a great lunch and did lots of shopping. I found several retired products that I had been searching for in the all new Factory Store. After we had seen all there was to see, we decided to drive a few miles into Dresden, Ohio to do a little more shopping. I always love wandering through all the great shops in this cute little town.
It was a great trip and I had a fantastic time. There is just something about getting together with the girls for a nice long weekend of fun and shopping. We'll be back again next year!