August 2014 found my wife and me traveling to St. Louis for the Rathkamp Matchcover Society convention. Starting out on Saturday, we found no matchbooks at our motel nor at the restaurants where we ate. Sunday, after a really good visit at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, we stopped for lunch and a few plays of the slots at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. On Monday, we stopped at the world’s largest teapot in Chester, West Virginia, and then at the world’s largest basket -- the seven-story Longaberger headquarters in Newark, Ohio. Dinner found us at Liberty Tavern in Powell. After dinner, I asked the waitress if Liberty Tavern still had matches with its name. She said that they haven’t had them in a while. After she went to the kitchen, I mentioned to the bartender that I was surprised the place no longer had matches. She reached into a plastic cup on the bar and handed me a couple. Waitresses have been the least knowledgeable many times.
The next day, after a very nice tour of the Ohio governor’s mansion and grounds from the curator and a quick stop at the former mansion (once the Lindberg home), we headed west. In Centerville, Indiana, we stopped at Warm Glow Candle Company. An extensive store, locally made candles, and possibly the world’s largest candle just outside the store plus a multi-colored matchbook were highlights of this stop. Then on to our hotel in Indianapolis. No matchbooks but dinner at Peterson’s in Fishers brought a slim box with its name as well as possibly the best dinner of the trip. We tried another place that once had matches but, sadly, no more. Lots of lightning brought a halt to traveling to other places for dessert and drinks while looking for matches.
Wednesday brought a few surprises. Reading billboards along the way found us stopping at Casey, Illinois, where there is the world‘s largest golf tee at Casey Country Club (she rubber-stamped generic white matchbooks so some might not count this one), the world‘s largest wind chime, the world‘s largest knitting needle, and the rockers for a work in progress -- the world‘s largest rocking chair. Lunch at Richards Farm Restaurant was quite good. Then, on to St. Louis, Missouri. We arrived just a little too late to join friends at Spiro’s. With more lightning, we ended up having to eat in the hotel. The forked lightning was such that I was not even going to walk across the parking lot to get the car.
Thursday afternoon we enjoyed the dog event at Purina Farms. It was too hot for running events but diving into the pool after a Frisbee was a pleasure for the dogs and the audience. Dinner was at Cunetto House of Pasta, my favorite in the Hill area. We ended the evening at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, which has four types of 30-strike multi-color matchbooks, though not specific to this casino. This was the only casino we went to that had matches with its name.
Friday we went to the Arch but first it was a great lunch at Mike Shannon‘s. Stops at three casinos found no matchbooks so we saved money by following our no matchbooks, no gambling rule. We had dinner that evening at our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area, Pueblo Solis.
Sunday and it was time to leave St. Louis. After a stop at the world’s largest catsup bottle in Collinsville, Illinois, we headed east. Dinner in Louisville, Kentucky, found matches at Molly Malone’s. Tourism was the theme for a stop at Farmington House, then the capitol and governor’s mansion in Frankfort and also in Charleston, West Virginia. After a stop at Pearl Buck’s birthplace (we have visited her home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania), we stopped at Snowshoe Mountain (the Inn at Snowshoe), Snowshoe, West Virginia, for the night. I asked the clerk at the front desk if they had matches and she said she hadn’t seen any. Fortunately, the other clerk said she knew where they were and we were rewarded with a nice slim box. An excellent dinner at Foxfire Grille brought a multi-color matchbook.
These were the last of matchbooks and matchboxes for the trip. We had a good stop at the Cass Scenic Railway and then drove home. The matchboxes and most of the matchbooks are scanned and posted on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/matchbooktraveler.