2015 was a good year for the Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail.
Backed by a grant from the Civic Development Corporation, the steering committee accomplished its goal of adding more large, 8-by-8-foot quilts to legacy barns and covered bridges. The last of these went up as the year came to a close, on the Smolen Engineering Barn in Jefferson Township.
Our 2016 map, which is part of the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau visitor’s guide, will soon be printed. We are running out of room on the map, with more than 60 barn quilts on the trail. Two years ago, there were none.
This spring, we’ll welcome Suzi Parron back to our county as she does a presentation and book signing at the Ashtabula First Church of the Nazarene. Suzi’s first presentation in the county, more than two years ago, got the ball rolling for us to start the trail; imagine what her second visit will do!
We already know that her new book will include a photograph of the Graham Road Covered Bridge decked out in its new barn quilt. Earlier this year, the trail got a visit from Neil Zurcher, who featured it on his One Tank Trip segment. And we’re told that Cleveland Magazine has slated a story about the trail for its May 2016 issue.
All these good things have come about through the dedication of our volunteer steering committee and property owners who are part of the trail. We are grateful for every barn owner who has taken the time and resources to pursue this amenity. And we welcome those who are still sitting on the rail fence to make the move in 2016 and become part of the trail.
During 2016 we hope to bring our focus back to the county’s farmers and their iconic barns. We too often forget the personal sacrifices that farmers make in producing our food. A recent story in The Ashtabula Wave about the Brinker family, which has a barn quilt, will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices. Be sure to check it out!