The Historic Canal Experience

“Low bridge, everybody down
For it’s low bridge when we’re coming to a town
You can always tell your neighbor,
You can always tell your pal,
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.”

Did you know that while famous, “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” is not an authentic Erie Canal folk tune? While it does describe the canal experience accurately, it was actually written after the canal’s heyday. We learned that (and a whole bunch of other facts about canal life!) when we visited the Miami & Erie Canal Historical Canal Experience in June!

The Historic Canal Experience is part of the Metroparks Toledo system, and is located a bit outside the city in Grand Rapids, Ohio. The canal links Toledo to Cincinnati, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

You can walk through the Ludwig Mill, a working water-powered saw and gristmill. It’s a fascinating place, and I really enjoyed seeing all the machinery needed to get the job done. We went all the way to the top floor, and a few of us even ventured down to the basement to see where the water comes in!

I always find it interesting when a location has a flood record for posterity’s sake…1904 was a rough year!

The train bridge is a reminder of how quickly the canal’s usefulness came to an end once the railroad came through the area:

The best part of the experience is the ride on The Volunteer, a replica of an authentic mule-drawn canal boat. We got to see how the men and mules moved the boat through the locks, and we were treated to a musical experience the day we went, which made the history come alive in a unique way!

I really didn’t know anything about mule-drawn canal boats before this experience, so it was a great opportunity for all of us to learn something, and I really enjoyed it!

A Road Trip Inspired by M*A*S*H–Day Four


Our trip was inspired by Jamie Farr’s/Maxwell Q. Klinger’s love of Toledo, but you can’t take a trip in his honor without also recognizing his mentor, Danny Thomas, so we stopped by Danny Thomas Park in the morning. As Jamie Farr said when his park was dedicated (keep reading to see that) “The great Danny Thomas has a park named after him on the south side of Toledo and I have a park named after me on the north side of Toledo. This is the only city in the United States guarded by two noses!”

After visiting the park, we drove a bit outside Toledo to The Historic Canal Experience, which gave us the opportunity to ride a canal boat down a section of the Miami & Erie Canal, go through a lock, and tour an old mill. It was a really cool experience…stay tuned for full details!

One of the main destinations of our Klinger road trip was dinner at Tony Packo’s. I absolutely loved the place…it felt like a neighborhood pub, but Hungarian, which makes sense since it’s in Toledo’s Hungarian neighborhood (see St. Stephen of Hungary Parish just down the street!). I felt like I had come home!

We also stopped at Jamie Farr Park, which is not too far from the intersection Klinger says he’s from in “The Grim Reaper”…Michigan and Galena. I really love the quote on the plaque!

And then on to the Toledo Mudhens game! I really liked their ballpark, and it was so much fun sitting so close to the field!

We didn’t see Muddy, but we did get to have a picture taken with Muddonna!

Ryan also found Cat Trick, one of the Toledo Walleye’s mascots:

It was a great game…the Mudhens were in the lead for most of it, but the Buffalo Bison tied it in the ninth, setting the stage for a walk-off home run by Joe Rizzo.

It was a fireworks night, so while they set that up, the crowd was entertained with music, dancing, and a giant beach ball!

The fireworks were amazing!

I kind of didn’t want to leave when they were done, but we had a day of driving ahead of us, so I bid Toledo a reluctant farewell.