Today is a perfect day to sit back and relax, to enjoy the beauty of nature, and to appreciate my hometown Burton. Sitting in the middle of the circle on a picnic bench, I am facing north looking down North Cheshire Street and recalling all the wonderful memories I’ve had in this beautiful town.
Just to the left down Spring Street is the fire station where, years ago, I participated in a craft show and sold some of my first pieces of woodworking when I was just about 10 years old. Farther down Spring Street is the house where my mom used to live and where we celebrated many wonderful Christmas mornings together with my whole family. For many years my mom has worked out of her home and it was always nice to be able to stop by anytime and walk in and be able to sit down and visit with her, my step dad Tony, and my younger brother Caleb.
Just across the way on Baird Street sits Miss Car’s Studio behind the library. That place holds many memories for me. Over 20 years ago it was home base to Child Shop – a mail order business that my friend Grant’s parents started and ran for a few years. There were always interesting puzzles, tables, boxes, and furniture items in various stages of construction, and the place always smelled of fresh cut pine which is one of my favorite fragrances.
After that, my sister moved her brand new business Emeth Gymnastics into the building around 2003 and made a the large back room into a fully functional gymnasium. I remember my dad spent many hours in the crawl space insulating the floor, and then we had an Amish crew come in and put plywood sheeting on the ceiling so that we could insulate better and also attach the rings and climbing rope up there. Mrs. Paula Jolly was one of the friendly faces that I would see first thing when I walked into the office as she was tucked back in her little office nook to the right of the front door.
Today, Miss Car has a wonderful large space where she teaches her preschool classes and art classes for all ages. I love walking in to see the space is still being used for creative education. That building has been used for such artistic and educational products and services for many years now, and I hope it continues to do so for many years to come.
As I wander back up to Spring Street and turn the corner back onto North Cheshire, one of my favorite smells wafts out from the full height French doors as the bells jingle and another happy customer walks out from Coffee Corners. I find my way inside and am greeted by the familiar happy voice of Sue as she smiles and says, “What can I getcha?”
It’s been great to see how over the years they have gone from only having coffee and a few pastries to where they are now a full service cafe that has breakfast, lunch, light dinner options, along with beer and wine selections. Coffee Corners is a wonderful place to sit and relax quietly with a good book, or to meet a friend and catch up, or just sit outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery and friendly faces as they pass by.
Across the street sits Hill Hardware. I remember years ago I would go in and see Keith behind the counter as I asked for a new pocket knife or to get one of the windows repaired I had broken with a foul ball at my friend’s house. Today, Dave and Mary Anne carry on the tradition of the place, and it is wonderful to walk in and still smell that authentic old world hardware store smell. You know that you’re walking in somewhere that you’ll actually be able to talk to someone who knows how to fix things and what to recommend.
Unlike the big commercialized Home Depots of our world, Hill Hardware is a place where relationships matter, and good advice comes with any purchase. This old fashioned style of doing business is something that I miss when I’m in other towns, but it’s something that I have come to appreciate and expect when I’m here at Hill Hardware.
Out the door I go and I head south and east around the circle down the sidewalk. Before I know it, I’ve come across a stately and romantic old Victorian building. It’s been empty for so many years, but I am so happy to see now that Quintealia’s has found their home there. When you step inside you’ll find that you’ve been transported back in time to a wonderful place where you can have high tea and sit and experience decadently delicious morsels like biscotti and rum cake.
Annette and Renee are authentic and unique and have captured an experience that I believe everyone should try out. You will truly experience time travel and will come away relaxed and happier than before you walked in the door.
Now that I’ve made it back from my mini time travel experience in Quintealia’s, I head across the street back into the circle and head toward the log cabin. For many years, even when I was younger, I never ventured into the cabin. I don’t know what I was waiting for! It is truly a unique and nostalgic experience.
Inside, I’m greeted by Amy who brings out the feeling of what it must have been like to be a settler here years ago. She is a tough and beautiful woman who reminds me of the kind of people that settled our great land of the Western Reserve. Her husband Mike could also easily pass for a lumberjack – and I don’t have to say how good looking he is, he already knows that, and he’ll tell you so if you ask him. There is such a sense of joy and happiness inside the cabin, and when the logs are crackling on the fire and you hear old guys back in the syrup boiler room laughing, you get to taste that old world charm that makes up Burton.
By now, I’ve been wandering around Burton for hours and it’s starting to get late. I head back to my car and start to make my way back down Goodwin Street to my home. As I am turning down the road and passing by one of my favorite cemeteries, I am thinking to myself, “These are a few of the celebrities of Burton,” and I chuckle.
I love where I live. I love Burton, I love Geauga County, and I love living in the beautiful countryside that we do. If you haven’t stopped and stood back to look in awhile, I would encourage you to do so today. We have so many things to be thankful for here. Wonderful people, beautiful views, and the small town feel of Burton, Ohio.
What do you think? What are your favorite places in Burton? What memories do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments below.