Story and photos by Grace Ebner
I work a summer job at a daycare. It’s exhausting, and I almost always come home in a bad mood. I can’t help but count down the days until the weekend. So when I found myself feeling stressed out and grumpy on a Tuesday evening, I knew I needed a mood booster. What’s happier than hiking with friends? Hiking plus dinner, of course! So that’s what I set out to do.
After picking up my friend Jana, I drove to Ms. Julie’s Kitchen. Despite having been a vegan since February and a vegetarian for years before, I had never visited Ms. Julie’s Kitchen. Yet I immediately felt welcome as I entered. The mismatched tables, bookshelves of cookbooks and photo albums of Ms. Julie and her gardens created a homey atmosphere. I ordered the black bean burger and my friend chose the falafel. Both were served as hearty helpings in pita bread.
After eating our plants, my friend and I took the short drive to Firestone Metro Park’s Tuscarawas Meadows area. From that lot, we departed on the Redwing Trail, an easy one mile hike. After looping around Turtle Pond, the trail meanders into the woods, following a stream. The dirt path then becomes a boardwalk, talking folks through a marshy section filled with cattails and wildflowers. After a few days of rain, the plants along the trail were especially lush and green.
After an evening spent filling my belly with a delicious plant-based meal and strolling through the park, I was feeling refreshed and reenergized. This combo comes highly recommended for anyone else who feels frazzled at five o’clock on a weekday!
Grace Ebner’s favorite fruit is canteloupe.