Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Dogs

We've turned into a bunch of crazy dog people around here.

This is Sport, our little guy who travels with us each summer.

My cousin, not a dog person, caved and let her kids get a dog this past year. Frisco, a 'Morkie', is the cutest dog ever. I can't believe this face hasn't turned her into an absolute dog lover. Or at least a Frisco lover! Although my cousin claims to be indifferent about the dog, she did bring him along, so maybe she's more invested than she says.

Pip is on the left below. My parents got him here a few years ago (click here for pictures), and he is probably the world's most spoiled dog. Pip's a 'Chorkie', so he and Frisco are almost like half-brothers. They've become fast friends. Pip weighs in at a whopping seven pounds. Frisco is six.

My mother-in-law's best buddy and constant companion, Charlie. He's an old man now. When I walked in to take his picture he barely lifted his head from the couch. He's a huge boxer and now struggles to sit and stand, but still gets excited to see us.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tea at My Grandmother's Teapot in Adamsville

I don't know what took us so long to make it to My Grandmother's Teapot in Adamsville. The tea room is only 15 minutes away, and I've passed it countless times. In fact, I've eaten there in it's previous incarnations. For the past eight years, however, it's been My Grandmothers Teapot. 

This is my Aunt Iris. She is the newest cottage owner in the family. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we 'showered' her with gifts at a surprise cottage warming tea party. The hat, by the way, was just in the spirit of the tea, not her normal attire.

The two sisters who run the tea shop make every delicious item by hand. We ate scones, Welsh cakes, tea sandwiches, and cheesecake. 

After eating, we discovered the wall of hats. We missed that we were supposed to choose a hat to wear during the tea. Oh well. Trying on hats provided us with a good 30 minutes of fun.

My two aunts and my mother.

My cousin and my aunt.

The three 'little' ones. Can I still say that?

Me with my beautiful cousins.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hank's Frozen Custard in Conneaut Lake

We go to Hank's far more than I care to admit. A Conneaut Lake institution, Hank's has been serving frozen custard for 60 years. You can read more about Hank's from my post in 2008, or my post in 2009. Frozen custard is basically soft serve ice cream. Below, my dad is placing his order. 

Girls work at the windows, take orders and fill the orders. They never write down an order. And, I mean never. You might order for 20 people and they'll remember it all correctly. It's still a little (or, a lot) old fashioned at Hank's. While the girls are at the counter, the guys man the cranky old custard machines. These machines, already used when Hank's set up shop 60 years ago, require constant attention. Below, one of the young guys checks the machine and custard.

Below - the counter at Hank's.

My aunt and my cousin's daughter, below.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


As I mentioned a few days ago, Bob learned over this past winter that he is one quarter Italian. We had a quick introduction to his heritage at the reunion last weekend. The family, or more specifically - the men in the family, still play Morra. Morra is an Italian betting game where the competing men display between one and five fingers and at the same time yell out, in Italian, their guess at the total number of fingers. It's loud, animated, and fast.

A distant cousin explains the game to Bob.

The hands, ready to quickly show their fingers.

Bob, still in the background, is attempting to figure out the game, and how to count to ten in Italian.

Bob finally works up the courage to play. Much to his teammates surprise, he even wins some points for the team.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cousins, Then and Now

My husband says that my family has invaded the lake. He's right in a way. His family is from here and is our reason for coming. My family, though, can't stay way. And, I love it! We have visitors in and out all summer long. Some of my relatives have even bought their own cottages (more on that in another post).

I keep snapshots from each summer on our mantle.

I love looking back to see the changes over the years. Below - My kids and some of their cousins on our cottage stairs in 2004.

Below - My kids and the same cousins (minus the little cutie at the bottom of top photo) today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Midway Hotel Key

My husband's grandparents owned the Midway Hotel. What I would give to have seen the place! From stories I've heard, it sounds like a magical summer retreat where families would return year after year. 

We have this old key from Room 38.

I took the picture below from the porch of our cottage. The Midway Hotel stood between our cottage and the lake, and at the time, there were no docks in front of the hotel.  The beach for the hotel, which would be directly to the left of the photo, can be seen in the old postcard on this blog's header.

Unfortunately, the hotel was torn down in 1967, before my husband was even born. We keep this old key hanging on a nail in our cottage.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


A great mystery surrounded Larry Sousa, my husband's grandfather. As far as anyone knew, he showed up in Conneaut Lake around 1930 and never gave any clues about his past. My mother-in-law grew up never meeting a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin. This kind of thing drives me nuts and occupies my thoughts. When Kate came home this past winter with a family history assignment, we decided it was the perfect time to play detective. With only one bit on information to go on, and lots of help from, we were quickly in contact with newly found relatives!

While we will never know the true reason for Larry Sousa's estrangement from the family, it's all in the past now. We were invited to yesterday's annual family reunion at Erie's Waldameer Park and were welcomed with open arms.  The above photo was taken just moments after we arrived.  My mother-in-law met her first cousin for the first time in her life and immediately took a stroll to get acquainted. (You can see pictures of our visits to Waldameer in 2011 here, and 2010 here.)

Since this is all so new and we're still adjusting, I won't give too much away. I will say that Larry Sousa was 100% Italian, something unknown to us until a few months ago. In honor of this new-found heritage, Will had the face painter paint the Italian flag on his arm.

We feasted on homemade meatballs, sausages, and pasta and drank homemade wine. We even won a gift basket in the raffle drawing. Bob and Kate check their tickets below.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Travel Day

Traveling to Conneaut Lake isn't easy no matter how you do it. So, why not make it extra challenging? Yes, this is actually us and all of our luggage at the airport as we wait for Bob to come back with the rental car. 

It was all worth it, though. This is my view tonight...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Horses at the Cottage?

Yes, it's true...horses at the cottage! Years ago, though.
In anticipation of our summer at the lake, I was looking through some old pictures I have of the cottage. I adore this picture. That's our cottage on the right.

The horses were kept at a farm maybe a mile away. My mother-in-law tells stories of riding her horse from the barn down to Midway Beach. Before the summer visitors arrived, in fact, she'd even bathe the winter mud and muck from her horse by riding him straight into the lake and washing him off.