By Renee Woodruff
October 20, 2011

A few months ago I took a long-overdue trip back to my hometown of Parkersburg in West Virginia. It had been too long since I'd been home to visit and though it's easy to forget about all of the things that make home so special, this trip reminded me why they say, "home is where the heart is."

In the five days that I was home, I cooked every night with my mom and took morning runs with our chocolate labrador, Miss Bella Rose Brown (yes, that's her real name and yes, I'm partly responsible). My mom even surprised me one day and took me out to the Double C Ranch, a ranch right over the border in Coolville, Ohio, where my family grew up riding. This was so sweet of my mother- I needed the extra practice because it's always so terribly difficult to get away from the city to ride.

We also spent a day running around and went to an old tack store in the middle of nowhere to shop for my riding trip together before stopping for bologna sandwiches at Harmar Tavern (in the nearby town Ohio town of Marietta). I can't tell you the last time I had bologna, as I rightfully probably shouldn't ever have it, but all of my mom's friends said this is menu item for which the restaurant is famous, and I never mess with that. It was a tasty, filling treat!

On Sunday during church I visited with all of the folks I grew up seeing every week, and afterwards my mom took me to a special place in Marietta called The Buckley House Restaurant that features Middle Eastern cuisine. Who knew I could leave New York and still have a comparable meal?

Another thing I loved about this trip? Lounging by our pool in the backyard! I swam nearly every day growing up. I also enjoyed eating the freshest cantaloupe, watermelon, corn, green beans and tomatoes I've ever had. Why is produce never as good in the north? Having a grill makes everything better, and we took full advantage. We grilled everything- pizzas, fish, pork chops, and sweet potatoes. I'll also never forget the movie, Secretariat, that we watched together and the conversations we had sitting out on the back porch at night.

Do you ever go back to visit your hometown? What is that you remember and love so much?

Signing Off Home Sweet Home,


Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Follow her on Twitter or see what she's up to on Facebook!


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