The 2018 craft fair dates are Saturday, November 10 and 17.
Each year as the wind turns bitter cold and the once green, and then golden, and now brown and falling leaves pile up beneath the big oaks and maples in my back yard, my sister and I kick off the Christmas shopping season with a day at area craft fairs and local shops. Even if it doesn’t happen to be a craft fair day, there are plenty of things ot occupy your time in this northern corner of Ohio. “Daytripping to Geneva” is a great way to have some fun and see our rural sites while you support local Ohio merchants and crafters.
You might start your morning with breakfast at Best Friends, 1741 State Route 534 S, Geneva OH 44041; (440) 466-0041. Located right off Rt. 90 and next door to Motel 6, this is the place to go for breakfast at a good price. There’s lots of seating so you won’t likely see a line.
On November 10th, head over to the 37th annual Kris Kringle Craft Fair at Geneva Middle School, 839 Sherman Street, Geneva, OH 44041. Open 9 – 4, admission is a dollar or two. Plan to spend some time here because the school is filled with craft and vendor tables that spill down hallways and into classrooms. You’ll find all kinds of homemade goods from crocheted hats to painted wood centerpieces, photography, pet treats, carved wood items, aprons and dish towels, decorated sweatshirts, jewelry, etc.
If you miss the Kris Kringle event you’ll get a second chance to shop for crafts at the November 17th Harpersfield Community Center Christmas Craft Fair, 5604 Cork Cold Springs Rd. Harpersfield, OH (a few miles south of Geneva just off of Rt. 534). Open 10-4. Admission is a dollar or two. This venue is not huge but the annual one day craft event has been a happening for years and it is always popular. There is usually a bake sale table laid out with fabulous homemade breads, cookies and pies made by local ladies. A snack bar serves a lunch. Browse the rows. Buy some gifts. Buy some things for yourself. Crafters will appreciate every purchase that you make.
Be sure to take cash. Many crafters at both sales aren’t set up to take any other form of payment.
Following either craft event, my next stop is always my favorite shop in Geneva — Catherine’s Christmas, 910 E Main St. Geneva, OH 44041. For hours and info check their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/catherineschristmas.ohio/
Catherine’s is a lovely, older house which is packed room after room with everything you need to decorate for the holidays. The moment you step inside the door, you will be enchanted by holiday scents and sights and the beautiful sound of the vintage-style music box playing in the next room. Make sure you try a sample cup of Friendship coffee and pick up a bag of your favorite flavor to take home. One pass through this inspiring shop is never enough. There is so much to see that each time you enter a room you will spot things that you missed the first time. Candles, snow globes, nativity sets, trees, wreaths, wooden nutcrackers, lights and ornaments are only a few of the things they have to offer. I can never get away without buying at least an ornament or two…or three…
We turn back toward town, and make a stop at the Village Gift Shop, 745 E. Main St., Geneva, OH. It is on the north (right) side of the road just after leaving Catherine’s Christmas. You may think you are entering a car lot showroom–they sell used cars in the adjacent parking lot. But inside you’ll find furniture, antiques, wall art, and more. Prices are reasonable and the selection is unique.
By now, we may be ready to get off our feet for a few minutes and enjoy some lunch or maybe just a cup of coffee. A few feet down the street at the traffic light is Mary’s Diner, 666 E. Main St. Geneva, Ohio 44041; (440)-466-6393;
http://www.marysdinerohio.com This 1950’s themed restaurant is an area favorite and a fun spot to relax. Fried Chicken, spaghetti, burgers, or breakfast all day, you can get just about anything you want here and the food and service are always good.
If we are in the mood for Mexican food. Luisa’s Mexican Grill is unbeatable! 41 N. Broadway, Geneva, Ohio 44041; (440) 466-3327; http://www.luisasmexican.com.. Located in our historic downtown, the restaurant is home to authentic, homemade Mexican favorites, salsas and Tex-Mex style cooking and offers a full-service bar that includes Mexican beers as well as blending Sangrias, Margaritas, and other speciality drinks. We love the decor and yes, that really is an old VW bus next to the kitchen!
After lunch our next stop is Rees’ Corner Store, 18 South Broadway, Geneva, OH 44041; (440) 466-0785; reescorner.com. It’s impossible to miss this beautiful 19th century building in the center of town. Inside is one of the few working old-fashioned soda fountains in Ohio. Shoppers can enjoy a hot fudge sundae or a root beer float while listening to ’50s music and then browse the unique gifts, antiques, memorablila, retro penny candy and more. A pharmaceutical museum display in the back corner revisits the stores earliest days.
Several more shops along North and South Broadway sell antiques and other wares and are worth a peek. Don’t let the “hardware store” moniker trick you into passing up Central Hardware. This is the store locals depend on for just about everything. Walk in the door and you’ll be greeted by a friendly worker, anxious to solve your latest dilemma. This is where you can pick up extra tree lights, outdoor Christmas decor, kitchen gadget gifts, bird houses and seed for winter feeders, and more.
At the north end of downtown, across the railroad tracks and on the left next to Domino’s Pizza is a thrift shop. At the opposite end of town, next to a convenience store is another old, historic house that boasts “40 rooms filled with treasures” on the sign out front. The Geneva Antique Mall now fills the old newspaper office at the corner of Rt. 20 and Forest St.
When you tire of shopping a few other sites worth seeing can be found in Geneva if there is any time left in the day. From South Broadway a right turn onto W. Liberty St. (just before the south end railroad tracks) takes you to the world’s shortest and smallest covered bridge. It takes about a minute to see this kitschy site and snap a photo and you can say you’ve been to another Roadside America stop The bridge was designed by the same man who designed the USA’s longest covered bridge, about 25 minutes away in nearby Ashtabula.
A more historic and traditional covered bridge can be seen as you travel south on Rt. 534. Look to the right as the highway crosses over the Grand River. You’ll have a full view of the Harpersfield Covered Bridge. Constructed in 1868, it is one of Ashtabula County’s 18 covered bridges and one of the prettiest. If you’d like to see it up close, turn onto Harpersfield Rd. or Rt. 307 and follow the signs. It won’t take you too far out of your way. Follow the road across the covered bridge to a lovely little park on the river’s edge.
Grapes have long been a major crop in Ashtabula County where we have more wineries than I can count. Many of them are award winners. Spring Hill, Laurello, and Debonne are local favorites. If it’s approaching dinner time and you don’t mind paying a little more for an extraordinary meal, try one of our area’s finest culinary spots– Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, 5585 State Route 307, Harpersfield Twp., Ohio 44041; 440-466-8466; http://www.ferrantewinery.com/ They often have live music on weekends. Play it safe and call for a reservation.
Looking for a place to stay over? Check out the beautiful Warner-Concord Farms Bed & Breakfast, 6585 South Ridge Road West, Geneva, Ohio 44041; (440) 428 -4485 firstname.lastname@example.org This beautiful home is located on 130 acres of vineyard, woods, and pretty pasture. Each of the three guest rooms has a private bath, two have fireplaces and one has a jacuzzi tub.
Or you could head north of town about 3 miles or so and check in at the Geneva on the Lake Lodge and Conference Center. Take a walk on the beach or just enjoy some great views of Lake Erie while you’re there.
Another option is the Motel 6 at the intersection of Rts. 534 and 90. I understand they always “leave the light on for ya.”
Geneva, OH is just off Interstate 90, about halfway between Cleveland and Erie, Pa.