We found Waldo and Johnny Appleseed and a President – It was a good day!

Exploring America in and around Marengo, Ohio!

When we stopover for a couple of nights at a campground, we always ask about any favorite local Mom & Pop restaurants and also what the locals like to show off proudly to  their family and friends when they come to visit.

When we stopped at our current location in Marengo, Ohio those questions were met at check-in with thoughtful silence and then we were finally told that this is farming country and there really wasn’t anything worth seeing or even any special restaurant for that matter. Niki and I aren’t known for taking “No” or “can’t” for an answer so we set the trailer up and headed South down the country road to see what there was to see. Well, our hostess was correct; there certainly are miles of farm land to be seen. After about 10 miles we were ready to give up when we came upon a small village with an honest to goodness village square that Northeasters would be proud of. Things were looking up!

On the Square – Sunbury, Ohio

As we went around the square we saw one side of the square was filled with cars. Almost all parking spaces were occupied. What are we missing here? Scanning the row of businesses we spotted an insurance agency, a real estate agency, a pizza parlor and a Chinese restaurant. However the comings and goings seemed to be centered on The Firehouse Tavern!

The Firehouse Tavern – Sunbury, Ohio

We are not normally tavern frequenters but The Firehouse Tavern is where it’s happening in Sunbury, Ohio (population: 4,715). The place was packed but we did find a table. The decor was definitely early firehouse with the wall photos, flags and uniforms along one wall. Monday is kids eat free night so there was a goodly quantity of tykes and parents. The place had a sports bar country feel to it – loud and a hometown happy place. The servers were cheerful and welcoming and the food was very good. Niki had a Greek salad plate. I had the house special mac and cheese with a couple of sides and we shared a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.

Johnny Appleseed on the Town Square

After leaving the restaurant I decided to give the Town Square a closer look and found Johnny Appleseed on the lawn near the county building. Apparently Johnny would pass through the area nearly every year to check on and tend to any apple trees he had planted.

We found Waldo!

The next day we decided to follow the road North and visit Marion, Ohio. On the way we found “Waldo”. I doubt if the townspeople in Waldo, Ohio ever really noticed it was missing.

Warren G. Harding Home in Marion. Ohio

Marion,  Ohio is where Warren G. Harding lived with wife Florence for 30 years before becoming our 29th President in 1920. During the three month Republican campaign over 600,000 people – including movie stars and pro baseball players – visited the front porch portico to hear speeches speeches, for photo opps and newsreel filming. The building at right, rear was “The Press House” built as office space for newsmen of the time from all over the Country.

Mobile Voting Booth

Also on the property is an example of a Mobile Voting Booth used on Midwest election days from 1880 – 1930.

After President Harding’s death, his wife willed ownership of their home and contents to the Harding Memorial Association. The home, as a museum, opened in 1926 until today. Unfortunately, the home is closed on Tuesdays – when we were there and we could only see the outside.


A short way from the home is the circular marble memorial located on 10 manicured acres where President Harding and his wife are buried. Though Harding was very popular when he died by the time the Memorial was finished his shenanigans had made him very unpopular and they had a hard time finding a dignitary to dedicate it. Finally, it is said that President Hoover gave in and did the dedication.


We had lunch at Pesto Quick Italian in Marion, which we found through some good reviews on the Net. We weren’t disappointed. They put together pasta bowls with toppings you choose, much like they do subs at Subway. Mine was a sausage pasta bowl with half marinara and half Alfredo with sausage, peppers, onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Niki chose a carbonara bowl and a small bowl of Italian Wedding soup. Thumbs up on all from both of us.

Who says there is nothing to see or do around Marengo, Ohio? There is always something either just down the road or around the next corner that’s worth your time for a visit – it’s America.

On the RV road with Niki, Jack and our Furry Kids