We’re so glad that you’re considering spending some time in bustling little Ashtabula, Ohio. Most likely, you’re here because you’re a big Bob Dylan fan, and you want to know why he might name-drop our little hamlet in his 1975 ditty “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” And that’s fine — but we’d love you to know that there’s so much more to us.
As soon as you set foot on our streets, you’ll notice something. A bounce in the step of the folks you meet. A pleasant sense of happiness in the breeze. An indefinable sense of ease.
You’ll probably notice the Black Portal too, but don’t worry about that.
You wouldn’t know it from the scant mention in “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” but there’s so much to do here in Ashtabula. For starters, have you ever wanted to paint your own pottery? That’s right, painting pottery that YOU made with your own two hands. Good news, you can do that right here at Becky’s Paint Your Pots.
Becky’s is also on the other side of town from the Black Portal, which is a plus, but really, you shouldn’t worry about the Black Portal, especially because worrying about it only seems to make it bigger.
Did you know that Ashtabula, Ohio is home to many people of Finnish descent? Bob Dylan must not have, or he probably would have mentioned it in “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” FinnFestUSA was held here in 2007, if that gives you an idea of how seriously we take our Finns.
Sadly, Johannes Virtanen, the curator of our Finnish Heritage Museum, was sucked into the Black Portal that year, along with his entire family. Though it’s entirely possible that the Black Portal transported them somewhere else, and they’re totally safe. We really have no idea what it is, or how it works. Maybe they’re in Finland.
Hungry? You will be after you hear all of the restaurant options in Ashtabula, none of which get any kind of adequate review from “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” Whether you’re in the mood for Pizza Hut, Applebee’s, or Long John Silver’s, Ashtabula has got you covered. Bon appétit!
It should be mentioned that if you do go out for dinner, make ABSOLUTE SURE you’re home before 10 pm, because evenings after 10 pm seem to be when the most people are drawn into the Black Portal, and never heard from again. Hopefully, they are in Finland, but again, we have literally no idea. But please, don’t worry about it. Because as we’ve stated, worrying about it seems to make it grow, and we really cannot afford to have it grow any bigger. So, seriously, don’t worry about why deep, guttural chanting comes out of the Black Portal every Spring Solstice, or why sometimes fire shoots hundreds of feet into the air out of the center of the Black Portal, or why you are sure you can hear the screams of your departed loved ones coming from somewhere inside the Black Portal. PLEASE, WE DESPERATELY NEED YOU NOT TO WORRY ABOUT IT.
Have kids? Our Chuck E. Cheese has the biggest ball pit in the county. But, to be honest, please do not bring your children to Ashtabula. Ever since the Black Portal appeared, all the children in town only communicate with each other in a bowel-shaking, low-frequency drone, and doggone it, we cannot understand them.
Did we mention Lake Erie? It’s right here. One of the Great Lakes! The same Great Lakes that Bob Dylan might have been looking at from his Minnesota hometown as he sat down to pen “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go” You can’t find that in “old Honolul-a.”
You’re probably thinking about the Black Portal again, and sorry, we really shouldn’t have brought it up so much. But if you’re wondering, “Well, haven’t you called the National Guard or something?” Trust me; we’re way ahead of you. But when several federal agents disappear into a gigantic swirling portal shrieking in otherworldly agony, Washington tends to stop returning your calls.
The point is, we think you’re going to love our little town. In fact, we really hope so, since no one seems to have been able to leave ever since the Black Portal appeared, which is probably a crazy coincidence, unless, of course, it’s not. Ashtabula, Ohio — as Bob Dylan would say — it’s a town where you can stay forever, and never realize the time.