Sunday, May 15, 2005

toledo calling

Pictures and stories from a trip with the family to the Glass City, Toledo, Ohio...

Our story begins just north of the Michigan-Ohio border, at the outlet mall in Monroe. At one time, this was a thriving retail centre, with three full sections. Today, only one is near-capacity, while only a Pepperidge Farm outlet and one other store remain open in the section shown above. The in-between section was torn down years ago. However, my Mom still has good luck at the remaining stores, so we haven't written off this "dead mall" yet.

This was our primary destination, the Libbey Glass outlet store. Located in one of Toledo's many failed projects to resurrect its downtown, this is the only part of the Erie St. Market one could honestly say is healthy (the outdoor market looked meagre, the indoor all but replaced by antiques).

This is what happens when the Bradburn family is let loose in a glass outlet store. Kitchen sets and other items for Amy, Xmas glasses for Mom, set of mixing bowls for me - all for $76 US.

After Libbey, we drove south along the Maumee River down to Perrysburg. In one cruddy neighbourhood along the way, we saw this invitation we had to refuse (corner of Miami and Fassett, Toledo)

This is the Perrysburg Big Lots, which was a TG&Y dime store when I was kid. I think we used to go there because Dad always found thick notebooks cheap. A quarter of a century on, it continues to deliver the bargains. Among this trip's finds: Faygo in old-style bottles and a box of Boo Berry for Mr. Trueman.

Since we were in the neighbourhood, we stopped by the Holiday Inn French Quarter, where we took out family vacations back in the late 70s/early 80s. The last time I'd set foot in there was on the way back from Cleveland a few years ago. I had recalled not being able to find the main attraction, the New Orleans-themed Holidome (one of the first in the chain). Why New Orleans in northern Ohio is anybody's guess, but I remember always having fun whenever we went. One trip stands out: Amy will never live down barfing outside the Kroger across the road. That resulted in Dad and I eating alone at the hotel restaurant one night, where I had the tallest, thickest onion rings I've seen to this day.

During my last visit, I thought the pool shown above was the Holidome, stripped down to basics, with an added beer garden.

Turns out I was wrong... we found the rec area we remembered. Since it was accesible through a semi-hidden hallway from the other part, it's easy to understand how I missed it. New theory: the pool we didn't remember was either there but reserved for adults, or it was built over what had been a larger outdoor area.

This is the former mini-putt, where the ping-pong tables have been moved. The course itself didn't appear to have been used for golf for years, judging by the faded look of the plugs used for the holes.

Here's a view of the sides of the Holidome. Other than a paint job, it looks much I remmeber it...even the pool table. Didn't see any kids munching on popcorn while watching Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Also found the video game room, which had several games old enough to have been the same ones I once popped quarters (i.e., Ms. Pac-Man).

Here's the pool we remember.

One of these days, out of nostalgia and a need for an oddball vacation destination, I'll spend a night and soak up more memories. - JB

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