|Jasper and his Grandma just across the river in Wheeling.|
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
How could Jasper's Grandma deny him a visit to the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum? He was super excited to see this Mecca of all things Lego. It's kind of a surreal place. It's in a really atmospheric old school building, with most of the original features intact, which is guaranteed to make you feel nostalgic if you ever attended school in such a building. Some rooms have lots of natural sunlight streaming in, but most are dimly lit or lit mainly with blacklights. Most rooms have many carefully placed displays and dioramas, some of which have been shipped there after serving as displays at Legoland. All are spectacular, but none seem to really have been designed with dusting in mind. I'm sure the task of properly cleaning them on a regular basis must be overwhelming. Almost every room features displays with buttons visitors can push to turn on lights or motors. Some rooms have works in progress. A few have other kinds of toys, seemingly as an afterthought. Someone had donated a collection of lion toys and other lion shaped ephemera that is completely over the top. In the gymnasium, a vast Lego mural stretches over the floor. In 2007 when it was created, it won an official Guinness World Record for the largest Lego image. Lego told Guinness never to use their company name in an award again, so the record will forever stand! The mural depicts a large tractor-trailer rolling past mountains. On its side is a picture of Alamo Square in San Francisco, for no apparent reason. Jasper was, naturally, completely overwhelmed. While in the area, we experienced yet more pangs of nostalgia dining at Mehlman's Cafeteria in St. Clairsville. We were persuaded to go after reading a Yelp review that said, "I'd be a fool to turn down good, cheap food!". Yes, you would. It's not about to win any fancy awards, but lunch for all three of us was under $20 and super tasty. And the atmosphere alone was priceless. Later we all had a craving for ice cream, and found Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream, also in St. Clairsville. It's tucked behind a drive thru farm and garden supply, with no signage whatsoever. The ice cream is divine. Many of the flavors have names that suggest they were created by dudes throwing random things together to see what would happen, plus lots of traditional favorites.