Dear Honey Run Friends,
I genuinely love to travel. The thrill of travel for me is not so much the destinations but the experience of the local people. I enjoy eating the local cuisine, talking and visiting with the locals, and traveling around to see the surrounding area while learning about their culture and customs. I am always amazed to see that despite speaking a different language, practicing a different religion, and living in very different homes, we are all the same. We are all seeking love, friendship, and the best life for our family and ourselves.
This summer I made a resolution to travel every road in Holmes County. I am more than halfway to my goal, and the experiences I have encountered along the way have reminded me of my travels in Europe. One of my favorite things about Europe is the little towns and stores in the middle of nowhere. As I was driving through the northwestern part of Holmes County, I stopped at a home that houses Holmes County Pottery and met Cary and Elaine Hulin. When I entered their studio I realized this was going to be my lucky day.
Elaine greeted me and Cary said hello, though he was busy at his potter’s wheel shaping a vase. Elaine explained their pottery making process and took me into their showroom. As I walked into their showroom I felt as though I had just flown 5,000 miles east and landed in Europe. Clean white walls with a wood ceiling encased the room as track lights softly lit the colorful pottery that was on display around the room in a gallery-like setting.
Soon after, Cary began describing how they make their own clay. He continued to share the process, discussing how many pieces he will throw in preparation for the firing of their wood-fired kiln. Then, the discussion of the kiln led to a tour of the shed that housed the kiln. I learned more about pottery and the old-world techniques in that hour’s conversation with the Hulins’ than I ever imagined I would know in my lifetime. The takeaway for me was their passion. It is so refreshing to meet people who value quality and technique.
My next stop was to be Bowden Bells just a few miles down the road. I did not know what to expect, and as I pulled in I passed a number of colorful yard art. I walked into what appeared to be a large garage and I was instantly transplanted into an artist’s loft in New York City, decorated and laid out like a funky and colorful gallery. Jan Bowden emerged from a backroom and introduced herself. After a couple of minutes I knew we would be fast friends. Jan, like me, says it like it is and does not pull any punches.
She guided me through her studio, showing me her kiln for melting glass, her welding and metal cutting area, and the machine shop where she can assemble her inspirations. Jan moved to Holmes County 18 years ago and we shared stories of how we both have been accepted by the locals and some general experiences as a resident of the county. We talked for close to an hour, before I toured through the art in her front yard and she showed me a couple of the larger, commissioned pieces she was working on.
The flow and color of her work is exciting and brings a smile to your face. I stopped to look at the bells she and her husband have made from recycled materials and told her that I would definitely be in touch in the future.
The refreshing thing I learned during this short afternoon of travel within Holmes County is that there are so many local artisans creating one-of-a-kind products and experiences. Traveling the winding gravel roads (purposefully staying off of the state routes) reminded me of winding my way through the hills of almost any European countryside — and yet I was only 15 minutes away from The Inn at Honey Run. Why did it take me almost five years of living here before I found these gems of Holmes County? I don’t have a good reason, other than that I allowed the busyness of life to get in the way of experiencing life. I won’t make that same mistake again.
As I continue to push forward towards my goal of driving every road in Holmes County I will be creating a few shared driving tours through the county. My hope is that you will take the time to retrace the path I forged and find your own “European Experience” right here in Holmes County. I pray that you find it as rewarding and enlightening as I did.
7 responses to “Letter from Jason — Meeting Holmes County Artists”
I used to come to Honey Run with my mother not too long ago. I would love to bring my husband as he has Old Order Mennonite relatives in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, whom we’ve visited. (We also live near the Amish/Mennonite community of Goshen.) The reason for the comment is the two places you just described sound exciting! Do we ask you for directions or do you guarantee they will be on a tour?
Marci, thanks for your note. I haven’t yet finalized the routes for the driving tours, but the staff at the front desk would be happy to give you directions the next time you’re in the area! Hope you’ll get to explore Holmes County soon.
We were in Holmes County in June and did not see either of these places. Thanks for sharing your experience. Looking forward to read more about your travels in Holmes County.
We did enjoy are stay at the Inn at Honey Run. Great place and hope some day to return.
Your email was So Timely! 5 of us (2 from Akron and 3 from Alliance Area) are meeting for lunch at Tarragon at 12:00 tomorrow. (The 5 of us-there were 6, devote the months of May through November, exploring “All things Ohio”. Although we have stayed at Honey Run previously- eaten at what now is known at Tarragon,many times-explored Berlin,Walnut Creek, Sugarcreek etc. we chose Tarragon to help celebrate my husband’s birthday with HRun.(BDay-8-5-2014 today..)
On my list of to-do’s for after lunch was Holmes County Pottery! So glad to receive your review! Enjoy receiving updates of Honey Run–our overnight(s) trip this year is to Bob Evans Farm Festival -Oct. 10th. We start our ‘discovery trip’ at Gallipolis. Then Bidwell for Farm Festival. On to Portsmouth-River mural/Museum-
Great Serpent Mound and last stay is in Chillicothe- and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park- where our son, Dr. Bret, is Chief Archaeologist..OTHERWISE- your 2 nights lodging + “food”, might have been on our itinerary…for this year’s overnight(s)…
Hope you’ll have time to say “hello” to the’ Ruby Resevation ‘group tomorrow.. Bet you didn’t expect to receive a “Leave a Comment” like this, did you?
Regards, Jim and Joan Ruby
Dear Joan & Jim,
A happy birthday to Jim! It’s wonderful to hear about your own explorations in Ohio, and I know that Holmes County Pottery will be a great addition to the list. Enjoy your adventures!
My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at the Inn at Honey Run and I had the supreme pleasure of eating the BEST granola i have ever tasted. I was able to buy one small bag, but I would love to be able to make this at home, or get some more. My cancer has reurned, so I can’t drive any more, but I crave your granola!
Thank you! Sincerely, Lynn Roe
Lynn, we are so happy to hear that your stay with us was a memorable one and a tasty one, too.
Keep an eye on your mailbox — there should be a package from the Inn at Honey Run arriving any day now. All the best, from all of us!