A to Z Challenge: Reflections #atozchallenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]During the month of April 2016 I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge had each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays.

This was my first opportunity to really participate in this annual event, which just completed its 6th year.  It was not easy!!  I had to not only post something daily, but also create a theme and stick with it.  And, in my perfectionist way, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of photos and commentary.  I wrote in such a way to draw people to the more detailed posts, where ever possible. 

It was a load of fun and I completed the challenge.  Not sure how many actually did, but it was certainly tough, yet fulfilling. 

What I really loved about the event was being able to communicate and link up with others doing the same thing.  I have made some new friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I have found some interesting blogs to follow and also have a few new followers.

I most certainly look forward to participating again next year.  Now to start thinking of a good theme for next year.  May actually take a long time!!!

A BIG Thanks to Arlee Bird and her wonderful team!!

My blog was number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts took readers across the back roads of America to many unique towns.  See what other bloggers posted about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

Following is a complete listing of each with the banners associated with each post’s link. Click on the Lettered Banner to go to the specific post.

ABanner600

The A Towns: Amarillo, TX – Adair, IA – Alzada, MT – Alamogordo, NM – Alligator, MS – Alliance, NE – Ada, MI – Akela Flats, NM

 

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The B Towns: Bemidji, MN – Boring, OR – Blackfoot, ID – Burk’s Falls, ON – Booger Holler, AR – Brownsville, TN – Babb, MT – Blackwater, MO – Bena, MN – Bucksnort, TN – Bugtussle, KY – Bugtussle, TX

 

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The C Towns: Cactus Flat, SD – Centralia, MO – Cape Elizabeth, ME – Climax, NC – Climax, KY – Choteau, MT – Cave City, KY – Charm, OH – Chelsea, MI – Champaign, IL – Cut Bank, MT – Caledonia, ON – Cut and Shoot, TX – China Grove, TX – Cool, TX – Coolville, OH

 

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The D Towns: Douglas, WY – DeForest, WI – Discovery Bay, WA – Dublin, OH – Dublin, TX – Dragoon, AZ – Denton, TX – Durant, OK – Danville, IL – Dallas, SD – Denver, NC – Damon, TX

 

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The E Towns: Earth, TX – Eureka Springs, AR – Elbe, WA – Easton, PA – Eldon, IA – Egg Harbor, WI – East Peoria, IL – Embro, ON – Eagle, CO – Endeavor, WI

 

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The F Towns: Flagstaff, AZ – Friendly, WV – Friendship, AR – Flippin, AR – Fair Play, SC – Fergus Falls, MN – Feely, MT – Flippin, KY – Fly, OH – Four Way, TX – Future City, IL

 

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The G Towns: Gainesville, TX – Gothenburg, NE – Guthrie, KY – Gregory, SD – Galata, MT – Glasgow, MT – Glasgow, KY – Gardiner, MT – Gillette, WY – Granbury, TX – Grand Forks, ND – Gravel Switch, KY – Gilboa, OH – Georgetown, TX

 

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The H Towns: Hell, MI – Hamtramck, MI – Hamilton, ON – Hatch, NM – Hico, TX – Hopland, CA – Hoboken, NJ – Hugo, OK – Hershey, PA – Home on the Range, ND – Hamburg, IA

 

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The I Towns: Indian Head, SK – Intercourse, PA – Ironwood, MI – Independence, MO – Idaho Falls, ID – Iona, ID – Inverness, MT – Iron River, WI

 

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The J Towns: Jamestown, ND – Joseph, OR – Jeffersonville, IN – Juneau, AK – Jackson Hole, WY – Janesville, WI – Jackson Center, OH – Jamaica Beach, TX – Jamestown, NY

 

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The K Towns: Kemmerer, WY – Keystone, SD – Ketchikan, AK – Kensington District, ON – Kadoka, SD – Kremlin, MT – Kirkwood, MO

 

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The L Towns: LeClaire, IA – Lake Nebagamon, WI – Lesage, WV – LeRoy, NY – Lizard Lick, NC – Lake Jackson, TX – Lost Springs, WY – Langdon, ND

 

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The M Towns: Mt. Horeb, WI – Meadville, PA – Metropolis, IL – Marshfield, WI – Moenave, AZ – Mystic, CT – Montrose, SD – Minot, ND – Mitchell, SD – Mapleton, ON – Medina, NY – Moose Jaw, SK – Mars, PA

 

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The N Towns: Nicholson, PA – Nekoma, ND – Natchez, MS – Neah Bay, WA – Nauvoo, IL – Newport, OR – Newark, OH – Normal, IL – Nice, CA – New Salem, ND

 

OBanner

The O Towns: Only, TN – Old Orchard Beach, ME – Okay, OK – Oil Springs, ON – Oak Creek, CO – Oacoma, SD – Odd, WV – Onawa, IA – Oddville, KY

 

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The P Towns: Pella, IA – Peculiar, MO – Pierre Part, LA – Point Pleasant, WV – Paris, KY – Paris, TX – Paris, TN – Paris, ON – Port Orchard, WA – Powder River, WY – Paducah, KY – Port Gibson, MS – Palmyra, NY – Perryville, KY – Paxton, NE – Pembroke, NY – Penn Yan, NY – Ponder, TX

 

QBanner

The Q Towns: Quincy, IL – Quartzsite, AZ – Queen City, OH (Cincinnati) – Quicksand, KY

 

RBanner

The R Towns: Roswell, NM – Regent, ND – Rhinelander, WI – Rabbit Hash, KY – Raton, NM – Red Lodge, MT – Riverside, IA – Rugby, ND – Rudyard, MT

 

SBanner

The S Towns: Steubenville, OH – Stanley, ID – Sedona, AZ – Santa Rosa, CA – Staunton, IL – Sisters, OR – Seymour, WI – Santa Claus, IN – Sandwich, NH – Sweet Grass, MT – Shakespeare, ON – Stratford, ON – Sikeston, MO – Success, MO – Soda Springs, ID

 

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The T Towns: Tightwad, MO – Talent, OR – Toad Suck, AR – Thermopolis, WY – Teton Valley, ID – Tetonia, ID – Tuba City, AZ – Tornado, WV – Tavistock, ON – Tomahawk, WI – Tripp, SD – Tunica, MS – Tioga, TX – Ten Sleep, WY – Torch, OH

 

UBanner

The U Towns: Uncertain, TX – Uncasville, CT – Upper Lake, CA – Ukiah, CA – Upton, KY

 

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The V Towns: Vulcan, AB – Valier, MT – Vernal, UT – Vandalia, IL – Vicksburg, MS – Versailles, KY – Vincennes, IN

 

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The W Towns: Wharton, TX – Welland, ON – Wapiti, WY – Wall, SD – Winterset, IA – Winner, SD – Walla Wall, WA – Worland, WY – Walcott, IA – Waldo, AR – West Montrose, ON

 

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The X Towns: Xenia, OH – Lexington, KY – Cotopaxi, CO – Oxford County, ON – Texarkana, AR – Texline, TX – Rexburg, ID – Exie, KY

 

YBanner

The Y Towns: Yampa, CO – West Yellowstone, MT –  Yellville, AR – York, NE

 

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The Z Towns: Zanesville, OH – Zelienople, PA – Zurich, MT

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A to Z Challenge: The S Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

SThe S Towns

Steubenville, Ohio

Welcome to Steubenville, OH
Welcome to Steubenville, OH
Fort Steuben Historical Site, Steubenville, OH
Fort Steuben Historical Site, Steubenville, OH
Market Street by Michael Wojczuk. This was the first mural painted in Steubenville
Market Street by Michael Wojczuk. This was the first mural painted in Steubenville
Dean Martin mural in Steubenville, OH painted by Robert Dever in 1998
Dean Martin mural in Steubenville, OH painted by Robert Dever in 1998
Veterans Memorial Bridge in Steubenville, OH
Veterans Memorial Bridge in Steubenville, OH
Ohio Valley Steelworker by Dmitri Akis
Ohio Valley Steelworker by Dmitri Akis

On the banks of the Ohio River bordering the upper panhandle of West Virginia lies the old steel mining town of Steubenville, Ohio. This is the hometown of the famous actor/singer Dean Martin and is known as the City of Murals, with over 25 larger than life murals painted on the sides of buildings around town. The town of over 20,000 seems to be one of those dying steel towns. As I drove around town I got a sense of sadness. Many old crippled folks hobbling along the streets and many of the downtown businesses were welfare-related businesses. Up on the hill above the city there seemed to be a little more life. But, I also saw obvious signs that the town is trying to redefine itself as a historical tourism location with the murals, a new museum dedicated to the Old Fort Steuben and then the Ohio River scenery of course.  Check out my 2008 blog post about this and other Ohio River towns HERE.

Stanley, Idaho

Welcome to Stanley, Idaho
Welcome to Stanley, Idaho
Jagged Sawtooths near Stanley, ID
Jagged Sawtooths near Stanley, ID
Teepee in Stanley, ID
Teepee in Stanley, ID
Sawtooths as seen from Lower Stanley, Idaho
The Sawtooths as seen from Lower Stanley, Idaho

I visited Idaho a couple of times in 2013 for some work and took the weekends to travel an see some of the sights. One place I had dreamed of visiting was the Sawtooth Mountain Range.  Nestled at the base of the mountain range is the pristine little community of Stanley, which boasts a whopping 60-70 residents year round.  I could SOOO live in this place.  Pristine views, clean air and a few log cabins….even a Teepee…dot the town.  There is only one gas station and a couple of places to eat.  But what got me was the stunning views.  Check out more about my visit to Stanley in 2013 by clicking HERE.

Sedona, Arizona

Century Plant overlooking Sedona, AZ
Century Plant overlooking Sedona, AZ
Oak Creek runs by the famed Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ
Oak Creek runs by the famed Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ
Agave in Sedona, Arizona
Agave in Sedona, Arizona
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
Sumoflam at the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook in 1982
Sumoflam at the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook in 1982

In the early 1980s I attended college at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. During my four years there, I spent much of it working for Nava-Hopi Tours as a tour guide.  One of my twice weekly trips was to Sedona via the amazing switchbacks of the Oak Creek Canyon scenic drive. Personally, I am a fan of the Rocky Mountains, but Sedona most certainly is one of the most scenic places in the United States.  The massive red rocks, the colorful character of the residents, the Pink Jeep Tours, the impressive Chapel of the Holy Cross and more…this is a must see location. I look forward to my next visit to Arizona as I have not been to Sedona since the 1990s.

Santa Rosa, California

Front side of Larry Kirkland's "Agraria" in Santa Rosa, CA
Front side of Larry Kirkland’s “Agraria” in Santa Rosa, CA
Sumoflam at the base of "Cyclisk"
Sumoflam at the base of “Cyclisk”
"Guardian of the Creek" by Mario Uribe. In Santa Rosa's Prince Memorial Greenway
“Guardian of the Creek” by Mario Uribe. In Santa Rosa’s Prince Memorial Greenway

In 2015 I visited California to attend the Woodflock event with Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours. Prior to getting up to Red Bluff, CA where the event was held, I spent a couple of days with some of my acquaintances in the Santa Rosa area and actually got to tour around this funky town. I visited The Hand statue shown above, which is actually titled “Agraria” and is by artist Larry Kirkland. Then there is the ultimate in quirky attractions, a giant obelisk made completely of bicycle parts.  Called “Cyclisk,” this was created in 2010 by Petaluma-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector and weighs about 10,000 lb and is made from roughly 340 recycled bicycles collected from local nonprofit community bike projects. It took nearly four months of welding to manufacture. There are a number of other fun attractions in this artsy little town.  You can see many more photos and more details in my 2015 blog post HERE.

Staunton, Illinois

Henry's Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Rich Henry and Sumoflam with their rabbit at Henry's Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Rich Henry and Sumoflam with their rabbit at Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Sumoflam with buried cars at Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Sumoflam with buried cars at Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL
Rabbit Yield Sign in Henry's Ra66it Ranch
Rabbit Yield Sign in Henry’s Ra66it Ranch

If you have been following my A to Z Blog Post, you would have noticed on the A Towns post that I covered both Amarillo in Texas and Alliance in Nebraska.  These two locations are home to two of the most well know “Car Art” sites in the United States, namely Cadillac Ranch and Carhenge.  Cadillac Ranch is right off of US Highway 66 in Amaraillo.  But if you continue east on US Route 66 into Illinois, you will come across a lesser known “Car Art” and Route 66 memorabilia spot near Staunton, Illinois. Known as “Henry’s Rabbit Ranch (also sometimes written as ‘Ra66it Ranch’),” this place celebrates Route 66 and the people along the highway with its emporium of highway and trucking memorabilia that includes a collection of Campbell’s “Humpin’ to Please” trailers next to a replica of a vintage gas station. Owner Rich Henry and his wife Linda have built up a shop chock full of Route 66 memorabilia, a collection of old half buried VW Rabbits in their unique replicating of “Cadillac Ranch” (thus Rabbit Ranch….) and even have a pen full of live rabbits.  See more about my 2013 visit HERE.

Sisters, Oregon

Welcome to Sisters, Oregon
Welcome to Sisters, Oregon
Three Sisters - nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity
Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity
Mt. Jefferson - at 10,497 feet the second highest peak ion Oregon
Mt. Jefferson – at 10,497 feet the second highest peak ion Oregon

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Oregon three times between 2011 and 2012 while working for iHigh.com.  On one of the trips I attended the Oregon High School Athletic Directors Conference at a resort near Bend and, along the way, drove some back roads, one of which took me into the town of Sisters, Oregon. The town gets its name from a set of three mountains in the Southern Cascades known as “The Three Sisters.”  From town you can also get a spectacular view of Mt. Jefferson, Oregon’s second highest peak.  Though not as high in altitude as Stanley, Idaho, this westernesque town (their biggest employer is a huge ranch), Sisters is another place that I could most certainly love and enjoy. Definitely worth a visit!

Seymour, Wisconsin

Welcome to Seymour, WI
Welcome to Seymour, WI
Hamburger Charlie statue in Seymour, WI
Hamburger Charlie statue in Seymour, WI
Hamburger Charlie's dignified face
Hamburger Charlie’s dignified face

Do you like hamburgers? How about hamburger history?  Back in 2012 on a visit to Wisconsin, we made our way into Seymour, which claims to be the home of the hamburger.  According to its history, Charles Nagreen (1870-1951), put ground beef patties in a bun and began calling them Hamburgers back in 1885.  They have an annual hamburger festival and there are a couple of giant hamburgers in town.  You can see more about Seymour by clicking HERE.

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus Welcome Sign
Santa Claus Welcome Sign
Santa Claus exit and Sumoflam
Santa Claus exit and Sumoflam
Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Police in Santa Claus, IN
Santa Claus Police in Santa Claus, IN
Santa Claus Statue near the Santa Claus Museum
Santa Claus Statue near the Santa Claus Museum

Perhaps you prefer Christmas year round.  You can get that in the village of Santa Claus, Indiana. There are a number of Santa Claus statues around town, Christmas-themed shops, a Post Office that has a Santa Claus in the front and even a Santa Claus Police Department!!  As a family, we made a visit there during the Christmas season of 2015 and had a good time.  You can see more about our visit to Santa Claus and a ton of photos HERE.

Sandwich, New Hampshire

Sandwich, NH - Discovered that you cannot buy a sandwich in Sandwich, NH
Sandwich, NH – Discovered that you cannot buy a sandwich in Sandwich, NH
...but none of the signs led to a sandwich place in Sandwich, NH. #SandwichFail!
…but none of the signs led to a sandwich place in Sandwich, NH. #SandwichFail!

On a trip to Connecticut in the summer of 2015, we made our way into New Hampshire and Vermont so i could knock off the remaining states in my quest to hit all 50.  One of my “wish list” stops was to go to Sandwich, NH in order to get a sat a sandwich there.  We even planned the trip such that we would get there around lunch time.  But, alas, there are no Sandwich places in Sandwich, New Hampshire (that we could locate anyway.)

Sweet Grass, Montana

Blue roofed church in Sweetgrass, Montana
Blue roofed church in Sweet Grass, Montana
Jerusalem Rocks near Sweetgrass, Montana
Jerusalem Rocks near Sweet Grass, Montana
Sumoflam at Jerusalem Rocks in December 2012
Sumoflam at Jerusalem Rocks in December 2012
Jerusalem Rocks near Sweetgrass
Jerusalem Rocks near Sweet Grass
A giant hoodoo overlooks the prairie valley below at Jerusalem Rocks near Sweetgrass, Montana
A giant hoodoo overlooks the prairie valley below at Jerusalem Rocks near Sweet Grass, Montana

Way up north in Montana, practically at the Canadian border is the town of Sweet Grass, Montana. Though predominantly a border crossing, the town has a couple of interesting things.  First off, there is a church with a blue roof…a rarity on the back roads of America.  And then there are the interesting geologic hoodoo formation of the Jerusalem Rocks.  These outcroppings can be visited via a rough dirt road.  I have written about these and some other similar formations in a post HERE.

Shakespeare and Stratford, Ontario

Welcome to Shalespeare
Welcome to Shakespeare
Shakespeare Pies - Shakespeare, Ontario
Shakespeare Pies – Shakespeare, Ontario
Antique Shops in Shakespeare
Antique Shops in Shakespeare
The Avon River and Lake Victoria in Stratford, Ontario
The Avon River and Lake Victoria in Stratford, Ontario
Stratford, Ontario
Stratford, Ontario
A lovely swan on the Avon River in Stratford, Ontario
A lovely swan on the Avon River in Stratford, Ontario

As I have noted before, in 2008 I was working in Canada.  On one a couple of occasions I got to visit the small town of Shakespeare and the neighboring town of Stratford in Perth County. Full of little antique shops and some beautiful scenery, these are certainly two unique places to visit. You can read about some of my exploits in this part of Ontario in 2008 in my post HERE.

Sikeston, Missouri (Honorable Mention)

Sumoflam and wife at Lambert's Cafe - Home of Throwed Rolls
Sumoflam and wife at Lambert’s Cafe – Home of Throwed Rolls
Throwing Rolls at Lambert's
Throwing Rolls at Lambert’s
Lambert's Cafe - Sikeston, Missouri - big place
Lambert’s Cafe – Sikeston, Missouri – big place

I wanted to mention Sikeston, Missouri namely because it is home to one of America’s more unique eateries…Lambert’s Cafe – the Home of the Throwed Rolls. Offering great home style cooking, big portions, and yes, Throwed Rolls – literally throwing them to you across the room – it is a fun and delicious place to eat. Close to the entertainment town of Branson, Sikeston is a great stop along the way.  Read more HERE.

Success, Missouri (Honorable Mention)

Success, Missouri direction
Success, Missouri direction
Success, Missouri
Success, Missouri

I was heading north on US 63 in Missouri one day.  As I got to Houston, MO (in Texas County — NO JOKE!!), I passed the sign above.  I took the 16 mile trek to look for Success.  The road to Success from Houston is lined with old doublewides and rusted out cars.  No joke!!  And once you find Success, you will see that there is not much there.  At least you can say you found it.

Soda Springs, Idaho (Honorable Mention)

Soda Springs Historic Marker
Soda Springs Historic Marker
Idan-Ha Drive In Theatre - Soda Springs, Idaho
Idan-Ha Drive In Theatre – Soda Springs, Idaho
Murals in Soda Springs
Murals in Soda Springs
The Soda Springs Geyser - erupts every hour on the hour
The Soda Springs Geyser – erupts every hour on the hour

And my final S Town is Soda Springs, Idaho.  It sits on top of many hot springs and has a geyser too!! There is a lot of history here.  In fact, Brigham Young, the great Mormon leader, even had a home here.   Soda Springs has the only captive geyser in the world.  It was discovered in an attempt to find a hot water source for a swimming pool.  On November 30, 1937, the drill went down 315 feet and unleashed the geyser.  The extreme pressure is caused by carbon dioxide gas mixing with water in an underground chamber.  The water is around 72 F.  It is now controlled by a timer.  It erupts every hour on the hour and reaches heights of 100 feet year round.  You can read more about my visit to Soda Springs and other areas in Idaho and Wyoming HERE.

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Learn More About the A to Z Challenge and visit hundreds of other participating blogs (click logo below)

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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FOOD FOOD FOOD – Part 3: Donuts, Bakeries, Pies and other sweet places on Less Beaten Paths

Voodoo Doughnut - Portland, Oregon
Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, Oregon

Ahh…now that the BBQ and Chicken Fried steaks are done, how about something sweet?  Nothing like fresh donuts and pies!!  But who needs the chains?  How about some great independent bakeries and doughnut places?  Every Picture Tells a Story, Doughnut?

Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, Oregon

Voodoo Doughnut
Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is probably one of the most unique doughnut places in the world (not just the U.S.)!!  Yes, they have amazing doughnuts, but they also have stained glass windows and even a wedding chapel.  They have been featured on dozens of food and travel shows as well.  And, by the way, make sure to bring cash if you want to eat.  That is all they take.

Doughnuts at Voodoo
Doughnuts at Voodoo
Miami Vice Doughnut
Miami Vice Berry – Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting, blue raspberry powder and pink sprinkles.

The menu of great items is abundant and ever changing at Voodoo Doughnut.  On my visit in March 2012, I picked up a few, including their most popular items.  Here is a sampling…

The Voodoo Doll - Raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake!
The Voodoo Doll – Raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake!
Bacon Maple Bar - Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top! Out of this world yummiferous!
Bacon Maple Bar – Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top! Out of this world yummiferous!
Triple Chocolate Penetration - Chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs! I was Coo Coo for this one...
Triple Chocolate Penetration – Chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs! I was Coo Coo for this one…
Ain't That a Peach Fritter - Peach fritter topped with cream cheese frosting with pink and orange sprinkles! This one was HUGE.
Ain’t That a Peach Fritter – Peach fritter topped with cream cheese frosting with pink and orange sprinkles! This one was HUGE.
Dirty Snowball - Chocolate cake doughnut with marshmallow topping, dipped in coconut and a dollop of peanut butter in the middle!
Dirty Snowball – Chocolate cake doughnut with marshmallow topping, dipped in coconut and a dollop of peanut butter in the middle!

Other unique items include Mexican Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Cake doughnut dusted in cinnamon sugar and cayenne pepper); Captain My Captain (Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch); The Loop (Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and Fruit Loops); Grape Ape (Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting, grape dust and lavender sprinkles); Dirt Doughnut (Raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and Oreos); and there are a few that I won’t include in here (they are a bit on the nasty side….)

It is no wonder there are always lines at Voodoo Doughnut - 24/7
It is no wonder there are always lines at Voodoo Doughnut – 24/7

And did I mention the stained glass and wedding chapel? And, oh yes, the proprietors are ordained ministers!!

Voodoo Doughnut Stained Glass
Voodoo Doughnut Stained Glass
Voodoo Doughnut in the Pink Boxes
Voodoo Doughnut in the Pink Boxes

Paris Bakery – Paris, Ontario

Paris Bakery - Paris, Ontario
Paris Bakery – Paris, Ontario

I lived in Paris, Ontario for a few months in 2008 and it had many benefits. It is a beautiful small town that is sliced by a lovely river (actually, two of them). There is a picturesque downtown area with a number of unique shops and one of those shops opens early (6 AM) everyday from Tuesday to Saturday and provides a pleasant aroma to the early morning air. In this day and age of big box grocery stores and fast food chains with their baked goods, a good Mom and Pop type of bakery is getting difficult to find. Paris Bakery remains one of those “pleasant places.”

Ross is up early making the rolls
Ross Avery is up early making the rolls
Gerry makes the specialty bread
Gerry Power makes the specialty bread
Owner Vickie Shows off the Goods
Owner Vickie Norris Shows off the famous Chelseas

Unlike the young folks who throw the donuts in the oven at Tim Horton’s and Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, Gerry and Ross have been baking for over 100 years combined. Indeed, Gerry has been in the bakery business since he was 12 years old! And like many other small bakeries, this is a family affair. Vickie’s sister Liz works at the bakery as does Gerry’s daughter-in-law Heather. There are a couple of other who family members there as well.

Chelseas were the specialty
Chelseas were the specialty

 

Famous Butter Tarts at Paris Bakery
Famous Butter Tarts at Paris Bakery
Tasty Chocolate Cupcakes
Tasty Chocolate Cupcakes
A Rack of Goodies at Paris Bakery
A Rack of Goodies at Paris Bakery
Lemon Tarts
Lemon Tarts at Paris Bakery

Vickie Norris sold the bakery in January 2013, but some of the staff has remained.  Vickie now runs the shop next door, which she has owned for a while, called The Paris Health Store and Yoga Studio.  I think all that go to the bakery may need to visit Vickie’s new business to get back in shape after the Chelseas, doughnuts and breads!

Frontier Pies – Rexburg, Idaho

Frontier Pies - Rexburg, Idaho
Frontier Pies – Rexburg, Idaho

OK, so this place is really a restaurant, but it is called Frontier Pies and that is what is famous for.  So, have some pie….the pictures say it all…

Frontier Pies - the real good stuff
Frontier Pies – the real good stuff
More Pies
More Pies at Frontier Pies

Oh, and I should mention that they make great breakfast, lunch and dinner items too!

Jaarsma Bakery – Pella, Iowa

Jaarsma Bakery - Pella, Iowa
Jaarsma Bakery – Pella, Iowa

Going Dutch was never so good as it was when I visited Pella earlier this year.  This is Holland-ville USA and the Jaarsma Bakery does not disappoint with Dutch baked treats.  Famous for its “Dutch Letters”, their other treats are just as good.

Dutch Letters - S shaped pastry filled with almond cream and sprinkled with sugar. Delectable!
Dutch Letters – S shaped pastry filled with almond cream and sprinkled with sugar. Delectable!
Bear Claws - you will be scratching the glass case to get one of these
Bear Claws – you will be scratching the glass case to get one of these
Almond Tarts at Jaarsma Bakery
Almond Tarts at Jaarsma Bakery
A whole case of goodies at Jaarsma
A whole case of goodies at Jaarsma

And, when done at the bakery, go get some Pella bologna a couple of doors down…

International Bakery – Omaha, Nebraska

International Bakery - Omaha, Nebraska
International Bakery – Omaha, Nebraska

Dutch baked goods are not the only delights out there.  A good Mexicana Panaderia is also a great place for baked goodies and, typically a bit cheaper.  I visited the locally famous International Baker while in Omaha for the 2012 US Olympic Swim Trials.  Made for a great morning breakfast on Mexican Sweetbreads and other delights.

Cases of Goodies at International Bakery
Cases of Goodies at International Bakery
Coconut covered chocolate iced donuts
Coconut covered chocolate iced donuts
Mexican Jelly Rolls at International Bakery
Mexican Jelly Rolls at International Bakery
Ahh...Sprinkles
Ahh…Sprinkles

Not everything here is sweet.  There are some great Cream Cheese Jalapeno Bolillos there as well.  These guys are like little soft baguettes filled with cream cheese and jalapenos.  Wowzers!!

Jalapeno Bolillo
Jalapeno Bolillo
Lots of goodies for the road
Lots of goodies for the road

And while there don’t forget the strawberry conchas.  Everything is 50 cents so you can’t beat the price.  But, bring cash as that is all they take.

Dutch Haven – Ronks, Pennsylvania

Dutch Haven - Ronks, Pennsylvania
Dutch Haven – Ronks, Pennsylvania

If you are going to go to Amish country in Lancaster County, there are a few places to visit including Intercourse, Paradise and Bird-in-Hand.  You also need to stop in Ronks on the Lincoln Highway between Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand and visit the Dutch Haven for some real yummy Shoo-Fly Pie.

Dutch Haven - home of Shoo-Fly Pie
Dutch Haven – home of Shoo-Fly Pie

Shoo-fly pie is basically a molasses pie. Some say it is a variation of the older Treacle Tart. Treacle is a British term for any syrup made from refined sugar cane, which would include molasses.  Gooey sweet goodness.

The Shoo-Fly Pie
The Shoo-Fly Pie – yummiferous

Presti’s Bakery – Cleveland, Ohio

Presti's Bakery - Cleveland, Ohio
Presti’s Bakery – Cleveland, Ohio

I was born in the Little Italy area of Cleveland.  Unfortunately, I was taken away from there when less than a year old.  I never had the chance to meet my real father.  However, I have been back there numerous times to visit my half brother and half sisters.  And, each time I go to Cleveland I have to make a visit to Presti’s Bakery.  Great cannoli and other baked goods.

Presti's Goody Case
Presti’s Goody Case

They also make some great stiffed breads with good Italian meats and cheeses and veggies.  But, nothing tops the melt in your mouth tingle your tongue cannoli.  And, you can get them in a nice box to go.

Presti's Cannoli to go
Presti’s Cannoli to go

Along the Less Beaten Paths there are many interesting places to stop and get some goodies.  I wish I had more time to stop at them all.  Here are a couple of more places I could have visited while on the road.  At least I snapped a photo of some of them…

Other Places I could have gone

The Donut Whole - Wichita, Kansas
The Donut Whole – Wichita, Kansas
Shakespeare Pies - Shakespeare, Ontario
Shakespeare Pies – Shakespeare, Ontario
Windchill Donut Shop - Port Huron, Michigan
Windchill Donut Shop – Port Huron, Michigan
The Chocolate Chicken - Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
The Chocolate Chicken – Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Route 66 Cookies - Commerce, Oklahoma
Route 66 Cookies – Commerce, Oklahoma
Heavenly Donuts - Portland, Oregon
Heavenly Donuts – Portland, Oregon

Check back in a couple of days for Part 4: Leftovers – all the other places

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